Pharmacy school

Pharmacy school

The basic requirement for pharmacists to be considered for registration is an undergraduate or postgraduate Pharmacy degree from a recognized university. In most countries this involves a four- or five-year course to attain a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). In the United States, students graduating after Jan 1, 2003 must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy degree to become a licensed pharmacist; this requires completion of four years at an accredited college of pharmacy (most students applying for admission into a college of pharmacy already have an undergraduate degree; however, many schools admit students after completion of 2 years of undergraduate pharmacy prerequisites or directly from high school into a six-year accelerated program). Any person holding a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy who graduated before this date is grandfathered and can register.

To practice as a pharmacist, registration with the country, state or province's regulatory body is required. There is often a requirement for the pharmacy graduate to have completed a certain number of hours of experience in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. If the regulatory body governs an entire country, they will usually administer a written and oral examination to the prospective pharmacist prior to registration; if its jurisdiction is limited to a specific area (e.g., a state or province), the required examination is administered by a national examining board.



In Australia a pharmacist must complete an undergraduate four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy course followed by an internship and independent examinations set by resepective state registration boards. In addition, graduates are required to complete an approved graduate training course. There is the option of a postgraduate two-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) course for those with undergraduate science degree background.

Since 1st July 2010 pharmacists are registered nationally with the Pharmacy Board of Australia, having previously been registered by individual states. Graduates are required to complete one year of practice under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. In addition, graduates are required to complete an approved graduate training course. On meeting these requirements, graduates are eligible to sit the registration examination which may involve both written and oral components.


In Canada, a pharmacist must complete an undergraduate four-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree after completing a minimum of 1 or 2 years of university prerequisites studies beforehand. The University of Waterloo and The University of Toronto Pharmacy school requires 2 years of prerequisites [1]. The degree is composed of coursework and clinical experience through required internships and placements, followed by completion of a national board examination administered by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).

Many hospital pharmacists also complete a hospital pharmacy residency program. This is a 12-to-24 month directed postgraduate learning experience. Through structured rotations in pharmacy practice, education, research, and administration, residency programs aim to prepare pharmacists for challenging and innovative pharmacy practice. Graduate residents are an important source of highly qualified pharmacists trained in institutional practice. Most residency programs are accredited by the Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board on behalf of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists.

Finally, there is the option of a postgraduate two-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) course for those with a Bachelor of Pharmacy or equivalent degree. This advanced PharmD program can be pursued in Canada or at several schools in the United States (as the "non-traditional" PharmD). The advanced PharmD programs in the US, however, were phased out by the introduction of the entry-level PharmD programs, which although identical in name differ from the advanced level PharmD programs in terms of depth and scope of training.

The profession of pharmacy is regulated on a provincial level. The provincial regulatory authorities are directly responsible for granting pharmacist licenses, assessing the competency of pharmacists and ensuring public safety. The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) was established in 1995 as a way to harmonize the activities of the provincial regulatory authorities. They represent the interests of the provincial authorities and serve as a national resource centre for all pharmacists. CPhA is actively involved on several NAPRA committees.


In Chile, students must study six years to become pharmacists. The best school of pharmacy is at Universidad de Chile [1], in Santiago de Chile. Chilean pharmacists are prepared not only to dispense and be able to work at clinical and communitary pharmacies, but in Pharmaceutical, Food and Cosmetic industry at every level, including drug development (a Degree is needed here), manufacturing, management, marketing, etc., due to the very strong scientific preparation they receive, including engineering and pharmaceutical technology topics. The official title for pharmacists in Chile is Químico Farmacéutico (Pharmaceutical Chemist), and their degree is Licenciado en Ciencias Químicas y farmacéuticas (Bachelor in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences).


The pharmacist (Danish: farmaceut) education in Denmark takes place either at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen [2]

The Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree (Danish: bachelor i farmaci) takes 3 years. The Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree (Danish: cand.pharm.) takes 2 more years — a total of 5 years. To work as a pharmacist in a Danish pharmacy a MPharm degree is requested.

After graduation as a pharmacist (MPharm), you can begin the 3 year Doctor of Pharmacy (DPharm) education programme (Danish: dr.pharm.).

Beside the pharmacists, in Denmark there's another professional group with a pharmaceutical tertiary higher education — i.e. the pharmaconomists (experts in pharmaceuticals) whose education takes place at Pharmakon—Danish College of Pharmacy Practice [3].


In France, a six-year PharmD (called "Diplôme d'Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie") must be completed. At the end of the 5th year, young pharmacists can choose to pass a competitive examination: If they succeed, the few students chosen can then follow a four-year specialty (like Physician). It is a pharmaceutical residency called "Internat en Pharmacie". During this residency, pharmacists specialize in Laboratory Medicine called "Biologie médicale" or in Hospital Pharmacy.


In Greece, a four year University course must be completed. This course is offered by the University of Athens [4], the University of Thessaloniki [5] and the University of Patras [6]. The course comprises 4 years of theory and laboratory practice and a 5th year of compulsory, full-time in-service training in a community pharmacy and the pharmaceutical department of a hospital. An additional trimester placement in a pharmaceutical industry is also an option, however it does not count towards the acquisition of the license to practice. Upon successful completion of the course, a Degree in Pharmacy is awarded. Since September 2011, undergraduate students that have completed a thesis in the University of Athens during the 5th year of their studies, are able to obtain a Certificate, equivalent to Master Degree, together with the Bachelor of Pharmacy.

The pharmacy graduate may pursue a career in the industry after graduation. A career in this field does not require a license to practice pharmacy. However, pharmacists wishing to open a pharmacy, work in hospitals or in the National Organization of Medicines [7] must first successfully participate in board examinations organized by the Greek Ministry of Health, in order to obtain a License to Practice Pharmacy.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, a 4-year BPharm degree must be completed followed by one year of pre-registration training. The one year of pre-registration training has recently been replaced by an internship programme[2], for which the student both works and completes assignments, leading to the award of an M.Pharm degree from the Royal College of Surgeons. Currently this is an interim programme which will run for three years (for the classes of 2009, 2010 and 2011). It is likely that in the future a five year integrated Masters programme will come onstream. At the moment there are three universities in Ireland offering a B.Pharm degree: Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, as with other western nations, a four year BPharm must be completed, followed by an internship at a pharmacy (Community, Hospital, Industry &/or University). Pharmacists are registered with the Pharmacy Council and must meet competence standards as set by the Pharmaceutical Society Of New Zealand. The degree can be taken at University Of Otago in Dunedin and University Of Auckland in Auckland. The School of Pharmacy is divided into three main sections of research focus. These are:

Division of Pharmacy Practice: Focussed on the inter-relationship between pharmacists and the communities they serve. Division of Phamaceutical Sciences: Focussed on the molecular mechanism and biological basis of drug development. Division of Pharmacotherapy: Focussed on the application and effects of pharmaceuticals in clinical settings.

Postgraduate studies include diplomas, Masters, PhD and DPharm. which may be clinical, practice or pharmaceutical specialties.


In Portugal, the degree in Pharmacy is a MPharm program called Master Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Portuguese: Mestrado Integrado em Ciências Farmacêuticas) and is already adapted to the European Bologna process. It consists of 5 years of study with the last semester consisting of full-time in-service train at a community pharmacy (four months) and at a pharmaceutical department of an hospital (two months).

After obtaining the degree certificate graduates must join the Order of Pharmacists (Portuguese: Ordem dos Farmacêuticos), the regulatory and licensing body for the pharmaceutical profession in Portugal, in order to be registered as pharmacists and become legally able to exercise the profession.

Presently, there are five public and four private universities offering the MPharm degree in Portugal, being the public faculties of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon, University of Porto and University of Coimbra considered the classical pharmacy schools in the country.


In Qatar, a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy is required to practice as a licensed pharmacist. Qatar University (the only national university) [8] began to offer a 5-year BSc (Pharm) degree in 2007. A 6-year PharmD degree program has also been approved, with student intake expected by 2011. In 2008, the College of Pharmacy became Qatar University's seventh college, which has received early accreditation by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). It is currently the first and only pharmacy college in the country.

South Korea

In South Korea, a new 6-year pharmacy education system has been implemented since 2011.


In Spain, the Degree in Pharmacy (called licenciatura en farmacia) is consisting of 5 years. Last one is divided into two semesters, first one is similar as previous years (theory and laboratory practice) but second one is a full-time in-service training in a community pharmacy or at the pharmaceutical department of a hospital. This estructure is changing by another according to European Higher Education Area's System.

After obtaining degree certificate, there is the chance of opening a pharmacy sitting an examination in order to achieve a license. There is also the chance of postgraduate programs as Masters (Industry, Consultant pharmacist, phytotherapy, etc.) and Doctorates and of carrying hospital specialty programs out (FIR or farmacéutico interno-residente, pharmacist intern-resident) by means of an examination like medical specialties (MIR). These specialties are: "Hospital pharmacist", "Clinical microbiology and parasitology", "Clinical biochemistry", "Clinical immunology", "Clinical analysis", "Radiopharmacy" and "Drug and medicines' control and analysis".

There are 15 universities with licenciatura in Pharmacy in Spain, three of them are private universities.


In Thailand, there are currently two kinds of programs for Pharmacy studies.
1) a regular 5 years program - Bachelor of Pharmacy
2) a 6 years program - Pharm D.

The universities in Thailand still base their teachings on the regular 5 years program while preparing itself to be ready for the 6 years Pharm D. program. Anyone graduating with B. Pharm can take extra 2 years course to complete Pharm. D.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, integration with the European Union has resulted in the BPharm and BSc courses being superseded by a four-year course for the qualification Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). In Great Britain the General Pharmaceutical Council is responsible for regulation of pharmacy affairs and in Northern Ireland it is the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. Graduates must complete one year of practical training and pass a registration examination before they can be entered on the register of pharmacists, known as the register of pharmaceutical chemists.

Please see the List of schools of pharmacy in the United Kingdom which offer the MPharm course.

Pharmacists registered in other countries can also register in the UK. Overseas pharmacists are required to undertake the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP), a one year intensive course focused on pharmacy practice in Great Britain. OSPAP authorisation can be given by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the course is undertaken either the University of Sunderland, Aston University, Robert Gordon University, Kingston University or the University of Brighton. However, pharmacists that have obtained their qualifications and are registered in other countries of the European Economic Area can register with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain without undergoing additional or pre-registration training.

Pharmacists in the UK can now be accredited to perform a number of enhanced services. These include but are not limited to Medicine Use Reviews (MUR's) and Patient Group Directives (where certain prescription only medicines can be sold by the pharmacist for indications of hair retention, weight loss and erectile dysfunction).

The titles Pharmacist, Pharmaceutical Chemist and Pharmaceutist are legally protected in the United Kingdom[3]. They can only be used by individuals that are registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain ; any other users are guilty of a criminal offence.

United States

Traditionally in the United States, the Bachelor of Pharmacy was the first-professional degree for pharmacy practice. However, in 1990, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) mandated that a Doctor of Pharmacy would be the new first-professional degree beginning with the class of 2006.


Today, individuals seeking to become pharmacists must first complete a pre-pharmacy undergraduate program. This program consists of a minimum of 60-90[4] semester credit hours (90-100 quarter credit hours) of undergraduate coursework in basic and advanced sciences; however, many students find completion of a four year program (between 120-130 semester credit hours) leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, chemistry, or a similar field enhances their chances of admission. In addition, a PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) score is required at most colleges and schools of pharmacy. Additional requirements for entry may include essays, references, an interview or participation in other on-campus activities. Admission is highly competitive. Web sites such as , , and exist that offer advice and tips on how to gain entrance into pharmacy school.

Professional coursework

After admission, a student will typically complete a four year pharmacy program, although some schools offer accelerated three year programs. The curriculum typically begins with courses in physiology and pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacognosy, pharmacology and toxicology. Once a student is proficient in these core pharmaceutical sciences, instruction in evidence based therapeutic application of pharmacologic agents begins. Aside from usage of agents, students are taught to recognize and assess risk factors for disease, interpret clinical data and recognize interactions of drugs and disease states.

While most schools teach the core science courses separately, some schools take a systems-based approach, teaching all of the material from physiology to therapeutics for a particular body system before moving on to another. Augmenting the pharmaceutical sciences, courses in ethics, management, pharmacy law, communications, public health and advocacy are taught throughout the professional program.

In addition to didactic work, students of pharmacy are required to have practice experience. These experiences are generally directed by the school, conducted under the supervision of a preceptor and are intended to complement work done in the classroom. The final year of most programs consists entirely of practice experience. Successful completion of the practice experience objectives may yield academic credit and satisfy state pharmacy board requirements for internship.

Upon completion of all professional curriculum and practice experiences, the student will graduate and be awarded the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and typically seek licensure by examination.


Pharmacists must be licensed by the state pharmacy board of the state in which they wish to practice, with one exception: A pharmacist with an active license may practice in a federal facility regardless of the state which issued the license.

In order to obtain an initial license, or license by examination, a candidate must have graduated from an AACP accredited school or college of pharmacy, satisfy requirements for internship, write and pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), in some states write and pass the Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) and sometimes an additional state exam. Upon licensure, one may then be designated "Pharmacist" or "Registered Pharmacist" ("R.Ph."), as usage of these titles are generally regulated by state governments.

A pharmacist in good standing may reciprocate an active licensure by examination to another state. Typically the requirements for licensure by reciprocity are less intensive and may require as little as passing an additional law exam.

After obtaining a license, it must be periodically renewed by completing continuing education and other requirements as prescribed by the state of licensure.

Post-graduate work

A new pharmacy graduate may choose to complete an optional post-graduate residency (one to three years) rather than entering directly into pharmacy practice. A pharmacy residency consists of one to two years of general residency and one to two years of specialized residency. Residencies allow a graduate to further hone their clinical skills in a structured environment..


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