Graduates of pharmacy degrees work right at the heart of human healthcare, taking on roles relating to the design and development of new treatments, prescription and care management, and advising on the range of medical options available. Read our guide to studying pharmacy at university, including an overview of common course topics, specializations and career paths.
What do pharmacy degrees cover?
If you study pharmacy at university, you will typically take modules focusing on chemistry, human biology and physiology, pharmaceutics (how medicines are made) and pharmacology (how drugs interact with the body). Most pharmacy degrees combine academic research with more vocational training and professional pharmacy skills, such as learning about legal and ethical issues, and how to interact with patients. You will learn all about prescriptions, drugs, medications and clinical practice, and practice responding to different scenarios. As you study pharmacy, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a particular type of role (such as new medicine development or patient care), or in a particular field of medical care (such as infectious diseases, or care of the elderly).
Entry requirements for pharmacy degrees
Entry requirements for pharmacy degrees vary between different institutions, but you’ll almost certainly need to have studied chemistry to a high level, preferably alongside a combination of biology, physics and mathematics. As entry to pharmacy degrees is typically very competitive, you will be expected to have excellent grades in all of these subjects, as well as a high level of proficiency in the language in which your program will be taught.
Course structure and assessment methods
The types of pharmacy degrees available may vary depending on where you study pharmacy. In some regions of the world, a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) is offered; elsewhere, the main option is a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). If you want to study pharmacy abroad, or would like to be able to work in different countries after graduating, it’s important to check where your qualification will be recognized. For example, in the UK, you will need at least an MPharm in order to be accepted for the year-long training course that allows you to register as a professional pharmacist.
Pharmacy degrees are typically taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and practical exercises. Most universities offer a work placement at some point during your studies. Assessment is based on theoretical and practical examinations and course work.
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