Students interested in studying a healthcare-based subject at university will benefit from a pharmacy degree due to the innovative, modern education provided throughout the course. Throughout the degree program students learn primarily about pharmaceutical principles, professional practice skills and pharmaceutical sciences. A pharmacy degree taken at the undergraduate level is awarded as a MPharm degree and takes four years of study to complete.
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During the first year of study students are introduced to core modules such as being a pharmacist, essential skills of pharmacists, bacterial and fungal infections, pharmaceutical microbiology, and sterilisation.
The second year of study focuses on developing the understanding of the sciences related to pharmacy as well as interpreting prescriptions. Modules for this stage include principles of drug action, therapeutics, dispensing of drug products, biochemistry, and sexual health and pregnancy.
Year three of the degree focuses more on the clinical aspects of the degree and students study modules including pharmaceutical legislation, pharmaceutical biotechnology, pharmacy practice, cancers, and central nervous systems disorders.
The fourth year of study focuses primarily on discussing patient medication with doctors in GP surgeries and hospitals, and includes modules such as responding to symptoms, advanced pharmaceutical care, prescribing, drug discovery, and future medicines.
Almost 40 universities offer a pharmacy degree to undergraduate students with the top five universities being Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast, Cardiff University, Robert Gordon University and the University of Nottingham. To gain entry to these universities students must have gained three A Level grades AAB – BBB with one grade being in Chemistry. It is also desirable for students to have gained a second A Level in another science subject including Mathematics, Biology and Physics. It is also standard for students to have previously gained GCSE grade B or above in both Maths and English.
Entry requirements will vary depending on the university you are applying to and you are advised to check with the institution directly for a list of entry requirements.
If a pharmacy degree graduate wishes to work in the industry as a pharmacist they must undertake a pre-registration year. The pre-registration year is a year of salaried training, with an examination at the end of the year. Once this has been completed, graduates can go on to work within community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and industrial pharmacy. Other careers in pharmacy include academic and veterinary pharmacy, royal army medical corps and prison service pharmacy.
A postgraduate degree in pharmacy is also another option for pharmacy degree graduates, with courses taking around twelve months of full time study to complete.