To become a pharmacist you first need to obtain a pharmacy degree which can take up to four years, following on from this you need further period of pre-registration training. The aim of this page is to give you the necessary knowledge and information about degree courses that you need to make an informed decision when choosing a university and course.
Good pharmacy courses should be constantly updated to keep up to date with the new drugs constantly coming onto the market and to prepare students for work in the pharmaceutical industry. The ultimate aim of any course being to produce graduates who have the professional, scientific and clinical knowledge to practice as a pharmacist.
Pharmacy degree overview
Most programmes are integrated with other health care fields and research departments like nursing or medicine. They tend to focus on transferable skills, with a patient centred approach that encourages students to work to the highest professional and ethical standards.
Some degree courses invite industry experts from the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS to teach specialist elements of the pharmacy course. This provides students with an excellent opportunity to make contacts and speak directly to key industry individuals.
The beginning of the course involves fostering and developing the basic clinical skills required and also equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to study effectively.
From the second year onwards more emphasis is placed on work experience and students undertake trips to community pharmacies, local hospitals, GP practices and clinics. The teaching will take on a more problem based focus with opportunities to be involved in research projects.
Pharmacy degree assessment
Coursework is continuously appraised throughout the year with examinations generally held at the end of each year.
A typical pharmacy degree structure and course content
Year 1 modules
- Pharmacy Orientation Course
- pharmaceutical sciences
- Biological and physical sciences
Year 2 modules
- Physiology and Pharmacology
- Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry
- Introduction to Pharmacy Practice
- Advanced Drug Delivery and Medicines Development
- Molecules in medicine
- Management and Organisational Aspects of Pharmacy Practice
Year 3 modules
- Cellular Biochemistry and Introductory Microbiology
- Physicochemical Science and Medicines Design
- Nutrition in Health and Disease
- Pharmacy in Practice
- Pharmaceutical Care Planning
Year 4 modules
Students may be allowed to choose optional modules related to their own specialist areas.
Other areas of study
- The pharmaceutical industry.
- The development of safe, effective commercial drugs.
- Talking to patients.
- Collaborative working.
- Validating manufacturing procedures.
- Drug delivery
- Health economics
- The supply of medicine.
- Pharmacy Legislation
A pharmacy degree will teach students
- How to evaluate research methodologies.
- Effectively communicating with specialist scientific audiences.
- The foundations of basic biology i.e. cell biology, physiology.
- Microbiology and the body’s major organ systems.
- Formulation and Medicines Design.
- How drugs are incorporated into medicines.
- Data handling skills.
Pharmacy personal statement
Below is a personal statement written by one of our writers. You can use this example to gain an idea of how to structure and put together your own one. You are strongly advised not to copy or plagiarise it, instead use it as a resource to inspire your own creative writing.
“I am looking for a degree course that will give me the basis for advancing my career further in the field of pharmacy. I have always nurtured an interest in the healthcare profession and have a strong desire to work in a environment where I will be able to interact directly with patients. After considering various career roles I settled on becoming a pharmacist as it seemed to have everything I was looking for in a job. It would be a responsible position in a community based setting that would involve me in consulting individuals and advising them on suitable medical treatments that would make them better.
Before embarking upon a degree in pharmacy, I wanted to be aware of what I’d potentially be getting myself into for the rest of my life. I didn’t really know what a pharmacist actually did during the day and so I decided to take a part time job in a pharmacy to see what a typical day was like. For three months I worked in a busy store, liaising closely with pharmacy staff and other healthcare professionals to meet the daily needs of patients. I found it to be a very interesting and satisfying experience which confirmed to me that it was a career I’d like to pursue.
I’m not at all daunted by the prospect of university life, as a matter of fact I’m positively looking forward to it. Apart from enhancing my academic abilities I also see it as a opportunity to experience the vibrancy of student life and to further develop my social and personal skills. Ideally I’d like to enrol on a degree programme that is dynamic, clinically orientated and has strong links to the pharmaceutical companies. This is why I have spent a considerable amount of time looking for a suitable course by reviewing the many different universities and programmes on offer. After a lot of searching I am pleased to say that your institution meets all my requirements and appears to me to be a great place to continue my higher education.
Furthermore upon visiting your campus I got the feeling that it was a very inclusive environment and a great place to study. Whilst there I met course staff and lecturers and after talking to them came away with the feeling that they will be there to give me the required support, supervision and guidance that I need throughout my studies. I feel confident that a degree from your university will definitely help to kick start my career and will give me a competitive edge when applying for jobs after my graduation.”
Typical university interview questions
Why did you choose to apply to our university?
- The modules in your course are exactly linked to the subjects that I want to study.
- The information you learn on your course is invaluable in your professional life.
- On a visit to your campus I was very impressed by the mixture of graduate entry students and undergraduate students of varying ages and backgrounds, all of whom appeared to complement each other.
Career prospects and degree relevancy
Due to high demand from employers and industry from a wide range of fields the vast majority of pharmacy graduates move straight into full time employment. Career opportunities exit in various medical and scientific fields in both the private and public sectors.
Pharmacist CV examples
Pharmacist CV template
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Student loan company
UCAS personal statement
University interview questions
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