The Complete Guide to Earning Your Pharmaceutical Degree Online

The Complete Guide to Earning Your Pharmaceutical Degree Online

With the rise of online education, it’s more within reach now than it’s ever been. Online education is the perfect way to balance work, family, and personal responsibilities while furthering your education.

However, just because you can hypothetically get your degree in your pajamas doesn’t mean you have to put in any less effort. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about pursuing your pharmaceutical degree online, from benefits and challenges to course structure and career prospects.

Why choose an online pharmaceutical education?

The ability to learn from anywhere offers untold benefits for those looking to break into any industry. Aside from convenience, here are just a few reasons why an online degree makes sense:

  • Lower tuition fees make online education more accessible to people without taking on tens of thousands in loans.
  • No need to commute to a campus saves time and money, plus it makes more sense for students who don’t own a car.
  • Access to top-tier universities is a lot easier when you aren’t limited to the confines of nearby cities and towns.
  • A wider variety of programs and specializations are available when you diversify your options across the country.
  • Greater flexibility means you can earn a degree while keeping your job.

Drawbacks of pursuing a pharmaceutical degree online

While there are plenty of reasons to pursue an online degree, there are a few major drawbacks you have to consider:

  • Less structure means you need plenty of self-discipline and motivation.
  • A lack of face-to-face interaction makes it difficult to ask questions and get feedback.
  • Some online pharmaceutical programs require specific software and equipment, which you might not have room for in your home workspace.
  • If you don’t have a reliable internet connection, you won’t make it to the class.

What to expect from an online pharmaceutical degree program

An online program will cover the same core subjects as a traditional on-campus program. This typically includes courses in:

  • Pharmacology
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Pharmacy law and ethics

Besides that, here are a few things to expect when you enroll in an online degree program:

Virtual learning environment

Blackboard and Zoom are about to be your two best friends. Online programs use a variety of tools and platforms to create a collaborative environment that mimics a lecture hall or classroom setting. Expect to use discussion boards, video lectures, and interactive assignments. In some of your coursework, you’ll also use virtual lab simulations to provide hands-on experience.

Communication with instructors and peers

While you’re learning without face-to-face contact, your professors will still have office hours, one-on-one time with you, and be available via email, online chat, and/or text.

You’ll also have to participate in group projects, where you’ll coordinate with your classmates to complete assignments. For example, you may have to work with a few other students to create a long research paper or present a case study.

Self-paced coursework

Most online programs allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, so long as they meet set deadlines. This gives you more control over how you get your work done and when you take breaks. It also enables you to work when you feel most productive.

Is an online pharmaceutical degree just as valuable?

While pharma is definitely an industry where hands-on experience is beneficial for the student (and respected by others), earning a degree from an accredited university is valuable whether you earn it online or in-person. The perception and value of online degrees have significantly evolved, with many students and employers recognizing the quality and rigor of online education.

Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies highlights the advancements in online education, noting that online courses have become more engaging and interactive. A meta-analysis cited by the university found students working in online environments actually performed slightly better than those in traditional classes.  


It’s important to consider the pros and cons before investing in an online pharmaceutical education. On one hand, it enables students to get their degree from anywhere. On the other, it’s something that requires considerable self-motivation, plus a feasible workspace. Be sure to research and compare different programs before making your final decision. 

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