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FAQs

Undergraduate programme

Where can I find information about the Single Programme Preference option?

Visit the Division of Health Sciences admissions page

How do I become a pharmacist?

In order to become a registered pharmacist within New Zealand, you need to complete the four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) or Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours (BPharm(Hons)) degree, and successfully complete a one-year internship run by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand?

What does a pharmacist do?

A pharmacist is involved in all aspects of medicine delivery to patients. For example, in a community pharmacy a pharmacist will dispense (prepare and package) the medicines a doctor has prescribed for a patient. They are also involved in selling medicines to a patient or customer for which a prescription is not required, such as cough cold remedies, pain relief, and emergency contraception. Additionally they counsel patients as to how to best take the medicines they have been prescribed and they may provide additional information about the disease and how these medicines will work. Pharmacists can also have other roles, for instance they may work in hospital providing a range of services including medicine information and cancer chemotherapeutic agents, or they may work in the pharmaceutical industry developing and/or testing new medicines. Some pharmacist work in more unusual areas, for example those that work for Pharmac (the Government agency that funds medicines) or even in border control—preventing unlicensed and illegal drugs being imported into New Zealand.

What can I do when I graduate?

Most pharmacists work in community pharmacies, while others work in hospitals. Many find varied careers in industry, where they may be involved with developing new products, quality control, evaluation, or marketing. The medical publishing industry employs pharmacists as editors and writers, and government organisations use pharmacists in legal, advisory, technical, editorial, and administrative positions. Graduates are increasingly becoming involved in teaching and research.

Why should I become a pharmacist?

You should consider a career in pharmacy if you are interested in disease and medicine therapy. Pharmacists know more about medicines than most doctors do—that is, they are an expert in medicines! It is also important that you are interested in patients and their health, and in helping them achieve optimum benefits from their medicines. It is also desirable that you are interested in science especially chemistry as that underpins medicines including how and why they are used and how they are formulated

What are the prerequisites to enter the BPharm programme?

Entry into the BPharm programme is competitive and primarily based on results from the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) course. In addition, the Pharmacy Admissions Committee may select candidates who have two or more years of University study or are university graduates. Applications may also be considered from Māori or New Zealand Resident Pacific Islanders.

Who do I contact regarding admission to the degree?

Contact the Health Sciencs Admissions Office. Applications close on 15 September annually. Please see admission dates on the Division of Health Sciences website.

Do I need a first aid certificate?

No.

What courses are run in the BPharm?

The Bachelor of Pharmacy is a set course. The first half of the degree covers pharmaceutical, clinical and social sciences that will underpin the understanding of drugs and pharmacy. The second half of the degree focuses on professional practice and quality use of medicines In addition some time is spent in community and hospital pharmacies, either in New Zealand or as part of an international exchange scheme in approved countries. Please see the university website for more information.

Can pharmacists prescribe?

Not at present, however the Pharmacy Council are revisiting this area. A requirement would be to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmacy Prescribing.

Can I do further training after I have registered as a pharmacist?

Yes. The New Zeaalnd College of Pharmacists offer continued education. Formal postgraduate qualifications may be gained by distance learning through the School of Pharmacy's postgraduate professional programmes.

Can I apply for a University PhD scholarship?

Yes, see the University of Otago website.

Can I do a postgraduate research degree after I have completed my BPharm?

Yes. With a GPA of B+ or higher you may enter the Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy (Research). This will then enable you to enter the PhD programme.

What qualifications do I need to have in order to do a PhD in the School of Pharmacy?

You will need to have completed a bachelor's degree in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences or a related field. In addition you will have completed either a master's degree, honours degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy, or two research-based summer studentships. You must have prior research experience.

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Postgraduate programmes

How do I enrol for a postgraduate programmes course?

The quickest method is to enrol online via the University of Otago website.

Can I withdraw from or change my course / paper?

Yes, but there are certain dates by which these can take place. Dates are on the University of Otago website and in the Guide to Enrolment.

Can I take more than one paper a semester?

No it is not supported by the course co-ordinators to take more than paper per semester.

Are there any prerequisites?

Prerequisites are outlined in the Guide to Enrolment.

Are there any workshops for the paper?

Yes. All papers have either one or two workshops—held in Auckland or Dunedin unless otherwise stated. Workshop dates and venues are provided here and updated regularly. All workshops are compulsory to attend. 

Do I have to complete the PGDipClinPharm papers in a certain order?

Yes, you complete papers PHCY541 and PHCY542 before moving onto PHCY522, PHCY523, or PHCY548. It is recommended that you complete PHCY522 and PHCY523, before moving on to PHCY512. Please see suggested programme structures.

How do I enrol for a postgraduate programmes course?

The quickest method is to enrol online via the University of Otago webpage.

What happens if I cannot attend a workshop or audioconference session?

You must contact the paper co-ordinator as soon as possible. All workshops are compulsory so if you are unable to attend you may not be able to complete the paper.

Who do I send my assignments to?

Assignments should be uploaded to Blackboard under 'Assignments' section unless otherwise stated.

Is there an exam for the paper?

Some papers have external exams while others are internally assessed. The programmes of study provides materials about each programme and paper.

What happens if I do not pass a paper?

Hopefully this won't happen. If it does, you will have the opportunity to repeat the paper the following year.

Can I start in any semester?

This will depend of prerequisites for papers. Please check details for the programme of study.

What is the maximum period of time I can take to complete my PGCertPharm?

Two years part-time.

What is the maximum period of time I can take to complete my PGDipClinPharm?

Ffour years part-time.

What is the maximum period of time I can take to complete my MClinPharm?

Two years full-time or four years part-time.

Do I need access to the internet?

Yes, to access email and Blackboard. It is preferable that you have access to a laptop that has wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity.

How do I find out how much it costs to study a paper?

Each paper costs approximately NZ$2,700 for domestic students. For more details link to the cost per paper or go to otago.ac.nz/subjects and search by paper code.

What qualifications do I need?

You need to be a pharmacy graduate, and a registered pharmacist to enrol in the PGCertPharm (Endorsed in Medicines Management). To enrol for the PGDipClinPharm you need to be registered for practice as a pharmacist in the country of residence. To enrol for the MClinPharm every applicant must hold the PGDipClinPharm qualification.

What is the process for International students and can I enrol?

International student applications are not accepted for these programmes.

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