Can a microbiologist open a Pharmacy Shop? Can a microbiologist open a chemist shop?

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, achaea, fungi and protozoa. This discipline includes fundamental research on the biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, ecology, evolution and clinical aspects of micro organisms including the host’s response to these agents. It is the scientific study of micro organisms, those being unicellular, multicellular or acellular. Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including Virology, Bacteriology, Protistology, Mycology, Immunology and Parasitology.

Pharmacy is the clinical health science that links medicine with chemistry and it is charged with the discovery, production, disposal, safe and effective use and control of medications and drugs. A Pharmacy is a medical institution where drugs prescribed by a doctor as well as over-the-counter drugs are sold to patients and the general public. A pharmacy is run by a licensed Pharmacist.


With just a degree in Microbiology, by law a Microbiologist cannot open a Pharmacy as it is the sole responsibility of Pharmacists and as the Microbiologist is not qualified to open a Pharmacy. A Microbiologist may choose to become a Pharmaceutical Microbiologist however this still doesn’t qualify the Microbiologist to open a Pharmacy. This involves the study of synthetic chemotherapeutic agents and antibiotics, the production and synthesis of antibiotics and antimicrobial agents as well as the quality control of pharmaceutical products. Drugs of microbial origin and separation techniques in Pharmacy are also studied.

There is also the option of getting a Masters in Pharmacology from your first degree in Microbiology. Such Microbiologists work mainly in quality control and assurance and in the Microbiological department of Pharmaceutical companies and their primary role to the quality of raw materials and freedom from harmful microbes. They also test the effect of manufactured drugs on microorganisms. Note that with a Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Microbiology, you are not a Pharmacist, cannot open a Pharmacy, cannot establish a pharmaceutical industry and cannot work in a Community Pharmacy.

The only way a Microbiologist can legally open a Pharmacy is by studying Pharmacy in the University and getting a degree and license to open a Pharmacy. The knowledge gained studying Microbiology will definitely make studying Pharmacy easier. But note that easier does not mean easy, the student may find certain courses in Pharmacy less challenging especially those in the biological sciences such as virology, biochemistry and physiology but other areas such as the formulation sciences, anatomy and medical practices will still proffer some level of difficulty.

Most universities accept students with minimum of a 2nd class upper in relevant courses (Microbiology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, etc) for admission to study Pharmacy. . It is also advisable to visit your proposed school of admission for enquiries. You can get admission by buy a Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Direct Entry Form (JAMB DE Form).

Olayinka Shyllon

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