Pharmacy Courses in the UK in 2024

Pharmacy courses in UK are highly regarded for their quality and comprehensive curriculum. For international students aspiring to embark on a career in pharmacy, the United Kingdom stands out as a premier destination.

The United Kingdom’s pharmaceutical industry is not only a vital contributor to its economy but also a global player of significant influence. The UK Retail Pharmacy Market, which is projected to grow from $27 billion in 2022 to a staggering $39.59 billion by 2030, reflects the robust and dynamic nature of the industry. This growth, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.9% during the forecast period of 2022 – 2030, underscores the consistent demand for pharmacy services in the country.

As the pharmaceutical market expands, the demand for qualified and skilled pharmacists continues to rise, emphasizing the crucial role that pharmacy courses in the UK play.

Why Study Pharmacy Courses in the UK?

Studying pharmacy courses in England provides candidates with a high-quality, rigorous curriculum along with a strong emphasis on practical training. Students benefit from exposure to a diverse healthcare system and clinical experience in hospitals and community pharmacies.

Additionally, UK pharmacy qualifications are internationally recognized, enabling graduates to pursue global career opportunities.

Here are the top five reasons to study bachelor’s and MSc pharmaceutical science in UK:

  • 1. High-Quality Education: The UK is renowned for its world-class education system. Undergraduate as well as MSc pharmaceutical science in UK are well-structured and offer excellent academic resources, ensuring students receive a top-notch education.
  • 2. International Recognition: Master degree in pharmacy in UK qualifications are recognized worldwide, enabling graduates to pursue pharmacy careers globally or return to their home countries with valuable credentials
  • 3. Market Size: In 2020, the annual turnover of pharmaceutical goods wholesalers in the UK exceeded 57 billion British pounds, affirming the sector’s substantial economic presence. The United Kingdom’s pharmaceutical market ranks among the top 10 national markets globally, accounting for approximately 2.3 per cent of the global pharmaceutical sector. This is indicative of the job opportunities available in the UK.
  • 4. Competitive Salaries: In the private sector, pharmacists can expect a competitive salary structure, with beginners starting at £33,706 per year and experienced professionals earning up to £65,262 per year.
  • 5. Work-Life Balance: The typical workweek for pharmacists spans 38 to 40 hours, offering a stable routine. However, it’s important to note that the work schedule may involve evening shifts, weekends, and bank holiday rotations, providing flexibility and ensuring coverage for patient needs.

Top Universities For Pharmaceutical Courses in the UK

There are several top universities renowned for their master degree in pharmacy in UK. These universities are highly regarded for their pharmaceutical programmes, offering students access to cutting-edge research and exceptional academic resources.

What’s the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmacology courses?

Pharmacy and pharmacology are related but distinct fields of study. Pharmacy programmes primarily train students to become licensed pharmacists, emphasizing practical skills for dispensing medications and providing patient care. The curriculum includes pharmaceutical chemistry, drug formulation, and clinical rotations. Graduates work in healthcare settings.

In contrast, pharmacology focuses on understanding the mechanisms, effects, and interactions of drugs with living organisms at a molecular and cellular level. Students in pharmacology programmes explore topics like pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and drug development, often leading to careers in research, academia, or pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmacy students typically pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, while pharmacology students may opt for Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degrees. Pharmacists require licensure, whereas pharmacologists may not.
The key distinction lies in career outcomes, with pharmacy graduates becoming pharmacists who manage medications directly, while pharmacologists contribute to drug research, development, and understanding.
If you are wondering which pharmacy course is best, then the table below will be a useful resource:

Name of the College Courses Available  Fees
Queen’s University Belfast Pharmaceutical Sciences (Sandwich) BSc £25,300
Master of Pharmacy £25,300
University of Strathclyde Biochemistry and Pharmacology BSc (Hons) £22,450
Master of Pharmacy £24,950
Cardiff University Medical Pharmacology BSc (Hons) £27,715
Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) £28,200
Ulster University Master of Pharmacy with Honours 15,360
University of Bath Pharmacology BSc (Hons) £28,800
Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) £28,800
University of Nottingham Pharmaceutical Sciences BSc (Hons) £28,600
Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) £28,600
University of Leeds Pharmacology BSc (Hons) £30,250
Pharmacology MBiol (Hons) £30,250
University College London Pharmacology BSc (Hons) £34,400
Pharmacy MPharm £31,100
University of Lincoln Pharmaceutical Science BSc (Hons) £17,200
Pharmaceutical Science with Business Management MSci £17,200
University of Birmingham MPharm Pharmacy £27,180

Eligibility Criteria & Admission Requirements for Pharmacy Courses in UK

Becoming a pharmacist involves a structured path of academic and practical training spanning five years. During the initial four years of this journey, prospective pharmacists undertake a Master’s degree in pharmacy (MPharm) at a university, where they acquire essential theoretical knowledge and skills.

Following the completion of the MPharm programme, aspiring pharmacists transition to a one-year paid work placement known as a ‘foundation training year.’ This pivotal year provides them with invaluable hands-on experience and practical insights into the field of pharmacy.

Upon successfully completing the foundation training year, individuals are eligible to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). This registration marks a significant milestone as it grants them the legal authority to practice as licensed pharmacists, allowing them to contribute to the healthcare system and provide essential pharmaceutical services to the community.

The general eligibility criteria are as follows:

A level or equivalent:

  • To be eligible for admission, candidates should possess three A levels or equivalent qualifications, with a focus on chemistry and another science or mathematics subject.
  • Standard MPharm degree programmes typically have A-level grade requirements ranging from AAB to BBB, although pharmacy degrees with a foundation year may offer more lenient grade requirements.

GCSEs or equivalent:

  • In the application process, universities often take into account GCSE grades or equivalent qualifications in conjunction with predicted A-level grades.
  • Most pharmacy schools expect applicants to have a minimum of five GCSEs, including mathematics, English language, and at least one science subject.

English Language Requirements

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English are usually required to fulfil English language proficiency criteria through exams like TOEFL or IELTS in order to pursue masters in pharmacy UK and bachelor of pharmacy in UK.

Note: International students may have different entry requirements depending on the country of residence. It is advisable to visit university websites for detailed information.

Cost of Studying Pharmacy in UK

The cost of studying pharmacy in the UK can vary significantly depending on several factors. For international students, tuition fees typically range from £15,000 to £30,000 or more per year, making it essential to plan and budget accordingly.

For international students arriving in the UK without dependents, budgeting for living expenses is crucial. On average, you should anticipate monthly costs of approximately £1,300 to £1,400 in London or £900 to £1,300 in other parts of the UK. This budget should encompass various expenditures, including accommodation, utilities, groceries, and other essential living costs, as recommended by the British Council.

Scholarships to Study Pharmacy Courses in England

There are various masters in pharmacy UK and bachelor of pharmacy in UK scholarships available for international students. They are as follows:

1. University-Funded Postgraduate International Scholarships at Queen’s University Belfast:

Queen’s University Belfast offers postgraduate scholarships for international students, including pharmacy students. These scholarships are typically awarded based on academic excellence and can significantly reduce tuition fees.

2. Commonwealth Scholarship:

The Commonwealth Scholarship is a prestigious opportunity for students from Commonwealth countries, including those in the field of pharmacy. These scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other study-related costs.

3. Chevening Scholarship:

The Chevening Scholarship programme is funded by the UK government and supports outstanding individuals to undertake postgraduate studies in the UK. It covers tuition fees, living allowances, and other expenses.

4. British Council’s Women in STEM Scholarship:

The British Council’s Women in STEM Scholarship is designed to empower and encourage women to pursue postgraduate studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, including pharmaceutical sciences.

These scholarships provide valuable financial assistance to students pursuing B pharm UK and M pharm in UK. They recognize academic achievements, leadership potential, and contributions to various fields of study, including pharmacy, and aim to make higher education more accessible to talented individuals from around the world.

Qualifying Exams for Pharmacy in the UK

Aspiring pharmacists in the UK must undertake a pre-registration year to become eligible for registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council, the accredited regulatory body for pharmacists.

Securing a pre-registration placement can be competitive, and it’s important to review the specific requirements outlined by the General Pharmaceutical Council or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland for Northern Ireland applicants.

During the pre-registration year, candidates work in a paid placement that enhances their professional skills. Opportunities are available in various settings, including NHS hospitals (England and Wales), Scotland (NHS Education Scotland), and Northern Ireland (advertised through schools of pharmacy).

Some students may have the chance to do split placements or internships, dividing their time between hospital, community pharmacy, or industry roles. At least six months of the pre-registration year must be in a patient-facing role to gain registration. Graduates must pass the General Pharmaceutical Council registration exam (or register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland) after completing 52 weeks of pre-registration training to practice as pharmacists.

Many pharmacists opt for further study, ranging from certificates and diplomas to pursuing a PhD. Maintaining registration requires pharmacists to engage in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and submit an annual CPD portfolio, ensuring their skills remain up-to-date.

Students after completing B pharm UK and M pharm in UK can specialize in various areas, such as Special Interest (PhwSI) roles in primary care or pursuing further degrees like a clinical pharmacy. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is involved in discussions about recognizing post-graduate qualifications in a professional framework structure.

Another route available for international candidates is The Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme (OSPAP). It is the initial step for non-European Economic Area pharmacists seeking registration in England, Scotland, and Wales. It’s a postgraduate programme leading to either a Postgraduate Diploma (typically nine months) or a Master’s degree (usually one year). Following OSPAP, candidates must complete a pre-registration training year and pass the registration assessment.

It’s essential to note that OSPAP completion doesn’t guarantee pre-registration placement or job placement as a registered pharmacist. Visa requirements, including a minimum salary threshold, often apply to students from outside the European Economic Area. Six institutions in England, Scotland, and Wales offer the OSPAP: Aston University, University of Brighton, University of Hertfordshire, Kingston University, University of Sunderland.

Career Opportunities and Jobs After Studying MSC

After completing a master’s degree in pharmacy in UK, young graduates can explore some of the following roles:

  • Hospital, GP Surgeries, Prisons, and Community Pharmacies: Students can work as a pharmacist in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, GP surgeries, prisons, and community pharmacies, providing essential healthcare services to patients.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Graduates can contribute to drug development, research, and the production of medications.
  • Management or Academia: Individuals have the opportunity to pursue a career in pharmacy management, overseeing healthcare operations, or enter academia, engaging in research and education within the field.
  • Government Advisory Roles: Experienced candidates can share their expertise to advise the government on optimizing medicines and pharmacy services for the benefit of the public.
  • Teaching and Innovation: Experienced professionals can educate the next generation of pharmacists using cutting-edge technology such as virtual reality, shaping the future of pharmacy education and practice.

Some other roles include pharmacy technicians, pursuing research projects, working on drug discovery or even heading a hospital pharmacy.
MSc pharmaceutical science UK earn competitive salaries. For example, in the NHS, pharmacists typically start at band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scale, with salaries ranging from £35,392 for those with less than 2 years of experience to £42,618 for those with over 5 years of experience.

They also receive at least 27 days of annual leave and bank holidays, which increases with service, along with NHS pension benefits. In the community pharmacy sector, pay and benefits are usually aligned with NHS pay rates, and some pharmacists may choose to own and operate their own community pharmacies. Private sector salaries for pharmacists tend to be higher.

Frequently asked questions

Can international students study pharmacy in UK?

Yes, international students can study BSc Pharmacy UK as well as master’s degree.

Which course is best for pharmacy in UK?

One of the most recognized pharmaceutical courses in UK is the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programme, which typically lasts for four years. This programme is designed to train and qualify individuals as pharmacists in the UK.

How much does it cost to study pharmacy in UK for international students?

The tuition fees for international students studying pharmacy in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific program. On average, international students can expect to pay between £20,000 to £30,000 or more per year for pharmacy programmes in the UK. The exact cost will depend on the institution and the course chosen.

How much is the OSPAP fee UK?

The OSPAP UK fee can range from £15,000 to £30,000

Who is eligible for OSPAP course in the UK?

OSPAP course in UK is a recognized qualification intended for qualified pharmacists who are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) or who hold an EEA pharmacist qualification that is not considered ‘relevant’ (except for a UK-recognized pharmacist qualification). This programme is designed for those seeking to become registered pharmacists in the UK. To advance toward registration as a pharmacist in the UK, completing the OSPAP postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is a necessary step.

How do you take the Ospap exam?

Students can follow these steps:

  • Apply to the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council) for OSPAP course eligibility.
  • Pass the GPhC adjudication process, including assessment of qualifications and English language proficiency (e.g., IELTS score).
  • Contact the GPhC directly if you encounter any issues during the adjudication process (the university cannot assist with this).
  • Select your preferred institution for OSPAP study when applying to the GPhC (you can choose more than one).
  • The GPhC will forward your application to your preferred institutions for further assessment.
  • Once offered a place, provide a copy of your GPhC-approved adjudication letter and proof of English language proficiency.
  • Prepare for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which can be completed if you’ve been living in the UK for more than three months. Alternatively, provide a letter of good standing from the police in your home country if you haven’t met the residency requirement.
  • Contact the university if you have questions or need clarification on any of these requirements.

What is the Ospap course in the UK?

The Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme (OSPAP) is a postgraduate programme in the UK designed to help pharmacists who qualified outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) gain recognition and registration as pharmacists in England, Scotland, or Wales. It includes coursework and assessments to ensure candidates meet the required standards for pharmacy practice in the UK.

There are six institutions in England, Scotland, and Wales offering the OSPAP UK course, including Aston University, University of Brighton, University of Hertfordshire, Kingston University, and University of Sunderland.

Can I work as a pharmacist in the UK?

Yes, after completing the necessary pharmacy education, pre-registration training, and registration requirements, you can work as a pharmacist in the UK.

Can I work in India after studying pharmacy course in UK?

Yes, you can work in India after studying a pharmacy course in the UK. However, you may need to fulfil additional requirements, such as registering with the Pharmacy Council of India and meeting any specific licensing or registration criteria set by Indian authorities for practising pharmacy in the country.

How to apply to UK universities with TC Global?

TC Global can help you with pharmacy courses in UK. The process of applying to study abroad can be very overwhelming.  You can reach onboard with TC Global, and get all the help you need to start your study abroad journey.

Here’s how TC Global can assist you:

  • Course Selection: TC Global’s expert counsellors will guide you in shortlisting the best pharmaceutical courses in UK or even an OSPAP course in UK as well as universities that align with your career goals and preferences.
  • Submitting applications: TC Global plays a crucial role in simplifying and enhancing the application process for BSc pharmacy UK as well as postgraduate degrees. Our expert guidance ensures that all aspects of the application, from preparing the necessary documents to reviewing your application essays are handled smoothly and efficiently.
  • Admissions: TC Global helps streamline the application process, ensuring that all required documents are in order and submitted on time, increasing your chances of acceptance.
  • Financial Guidance: TC Global helps you explore scholarship opportunities and financial aid options, ensuring that your education is both affordable and accessible.
  • Pre-departure Support: Before you leave for the UK, TC Global offers pre-departure guidance, including information on accommodation, local culture, and what to expect when you arrive.

Reach out if you need to explore pharmacy courses in UK!

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