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During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are working to transition many of our courses to an Online Asynchronous or Live Online format.  Please see the certificate matrix, under "Courses", for course format details.

Drug Discovery & Development Program Overview


Modern drug discovery utilizes multidisciplinary project teams and attempts to simultaneously move forward with as many aspects of the overall drug discovery and development process as possible. This environment requires that scientists not only be deeply trained in their area of specialty, but also possess a broad background, vocabulary, and appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of related disciplines. UC San Diego Extension's professional certificate is designed to help meet that need.

Delivery Format



Estimated Cost


*includes the certificate fee, course fees, and required textbooks


1.5 - 2 years*

*varies by student and courses taken per quarter


5 required,
2-3 electives

Academic Credit

19 units 



Program Audience


This certificate is intended for individuals with educational backgrounds in chemical and biological sciences at the bachelor, masters, or Ph.D. level interested in entering or becoming more effective at working in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry.

Key Program Topics

  • A general overview of the drug discovery and development process
  • Key background material in biology or chemistry
  • Gain a basic understanding of the introductory concepts and use of toxicology
  • Get an overview of the application of pharmacokinetic concepts to all stages of drug development
  • Comprehensive understanding of the biochemical aspects of drug metabolism in the drug discovery process
  • Learn both the conceptual and current methodology being utilized in the discovery of new targets for drug intervention

Program Benefits

  • Comprehensive training designed to immerse you in the skills needed to successfully get started or advance your career
  • Immediately applicable skills to your research
  • Developed and taught by industry professionals
  • The addition of electives allows the student to round out their certificate education with courses that are most appropriate to their current or future career needs


Course Formats



Fully online Instructor-led training on your schedule with no set meeting times. Lectures are pre-recorded and your instructor will set weekly discussion topics to help you engage with the content and share meaningful experiences. Click on the “Online” section on the course pages to view course details.



Live Online:
Fully online instructor-led training using live virtual class meetings via the Zoom conferencing system. Click on the “Live Online” section on the course pages to view details of the online meeting times and instructor information.

Note: Not all formats may be available every quarter.

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There will be a $95 fee upon
acceptance into the program