Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Study Pharmacy at Otago

Go beyond the script.

Pharmacists help improve health outcomes for communities, while enjoying an amazing work–life balance.

As medicine experts, pharmacists work directly with patients, helping them understand their medicines and how to use them in the most effective way.

Pharmacists are essential members of the healthcare team. They’re trusted by other healthcare professionals to assess prescriptions and recommend the best combination of medicines.

But this is just part of their role. As a pharmacist, you can also assess and treat health conditions, prescribe medication, and give life-saving vaccinations. This is the future of pharmacy – going beyond the script.

Ready to enrol?

Get Started

Why study Pharmacy?

Career opportunities

You will have many opportunities as a pharmacist. You can work in, and/or own, a community pharmacy and enjoy close relationships with the local community by making medicine-related decisions, monitoring patient therapy, and consulting with physicians and other healthcare providers. Alternatively, you could work in a clinic and provide advice to patients and healthcare professionals about medicines.

As a hospital pharmacist, you are able to specialise in many areas, for example: diabetes, paediatrics, intensive care, respiratory medicine, infectious diseases, cardiology, mental health, cancer management, and more. Hospital pharmacists are a core team member and contribute to hospital ward rounds with the medical team, advise medical and nursing staff, and provide information to patients about their medicines.

Pharmacists also fulfil important roles in places such as the Ministry of Health, Medsafe (medicines registration agency), universities, drug companies, pharmacy regulatory bodies, Pharmac and the armed forces.

Finally, pharmacists can continue their education and complete graduate studies in a variety of disciplines including clinical pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, and social and administrative pharmacy and embrace additional careers in academia or industry.

Pharmacy at Otago

What is pharmacy?

Pharmacists often work in community pharmacies, in hospital pharmacies and in medical clinics.

For these reasons, pharmacists are the health professionals you see most often. They're truly at the heart of healthy communities.

Pharmacists can continue on to become pharmaceutical scientists to develop new medicines – or with government and research organisations.

Some patients have chronic or ongoing health issues, and rely on regular contact with community pharmacists to help manage their conditions. Other patients have an acute (short-term) condition that can be treated by medication.

As a pharmacist, you can make an authentic difference to the lives of your patients, their whānau, and their communities.

What will I study?

After selection from Health Sciences First Year (HSFY), or from one of the other categories, you will commence your pharmacy degree in the second year of university study. Here you will build on the foundational sciences that underpin pharmacy such as drug design, delivery and pharmacology. You will learn about the practice and role of pharmacists in improving the health outcomes of patients and focus on person-centred care in clinical settings and patients in the community.

The integrated papers are supported by a comprehensive skills programme that teaches you how to apply what you learn to the practice of pharmacy. You'll get hands-on time in our Virtual Professional Practice Laboratory, where you'll use the latest procedures and technologies. You'll also get real-life experience at our pharmacy clinic – the only university pharmacy clinic in New Zealand and Australia – and opportunities to learn in different types of pharmacy environments alongside practising pharmacists.

Once you complete your fourth year and graduate, there is a one-year, pre-registration internship programme which is overseen by the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand. This is undertaken as paid employment at an approved site in a hospital or community pharmacy.

Admission to the programme

There are 120 places available for New Zealand students and some additional places for international students.

Admission to pharmacy is competitive, you can apply:

  1. At the end of Health Sciences First Year (HSFY). Entry is based on your grades achieved during this year. You will have a better chance of admission if you apply under the Single Programme Preference (where you only apply for pharmacy).
  2. In the Graduate category, once you have completed two or more years of University study.
  3. In the Alternative category.

We strongly encourage students who are of Māori or Indigenous Pacific descent to apply to Pharmacy. Please request this to be taken into account as part of your application.

Immunity status

Students who are admitted to pharmacy are required to be vaccinated during their first year of the programme, if necessary.

Refer to the Immunity status section of the Guidelines for Admission page

International applications

Persons who do not hold New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency should contact the University's International Office.

Postgraduate study

The School of Pharmacy has a comprehensive postgraduate programme, including pharmacy professional programmes up to master's level.

The School also offers research qualifications such as a master's and PhD.

How to apply

Application information for admission into the Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) programme is available on the Division of Health Sciences website:

Pharmacy: Guidelines for Admission

Pharmacy qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:

Background required

There are no subject requirements for entry into the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) programme, which makes up the first year of the pharmacy degree, but we strongly recommend you take Biology, Chemistry, and Physics to Year 13.

HSFY must be your first year of university study and can only be studied at Otago. If you are considering tertiary study before enrolling, you are strongly advised to contact AskOtago first.


PHCY papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
PHCY210 2024 Introduction to Pharmacy 12 Semester 1
PHCY211 2024 Fundamental Pharmaceutical Science 48 Semester 1
PHCY220 2024 Integrated Modules A 60 Semester 2
PHCY310 2024 Integrated Modules B 60 Semester 1
PHCY320 2024 Integrated Modules C 60 Semester 2
PHCY410 2024 Elective Studies A 15 Full Year
PHCY420 2024 Pharmacy Practice Leadership and Management 15 Full Year
PHCY430 2024 Elective Studies B 15 Full Year
PHCY431 2024 Structured Practical Experiential Programme 20 Full Year
PHCY432 2024 Applied Pharmacotherapy and Patient Care 55 Full Year
PHCY480 2024 Honours Research Project 36 1st Non standard period
PHCY485 2024 Applied Pharmacotherapy and Patient Care for Honours 58 Full Year
PHCY510 2024 Evidence-Based Practice 30 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2026
PHCY511 2024 Patient-Centred Care 30 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2026
PHCY520 2024 Applied patient-centred care 30 Semester 1
PHCY521 2024 Elective topics in patient-centred care 30 Semester 2
PHCY590 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 3rd Non standard period, 4th Non standard period, 5th Non standard period, 6th Non standard period, 7th Non standard period, 8th Non standard period
PHCY621 2024 Special Topic: Pharmacy Prescribing: Access and Equity 30 Semester 1, Semester 2
PHCY622 2024 Special Topic: Pharmacist Prescribing 30 Semester 2

More information

Contact us

School of Pharmacy
Tel +64 3 479 7271

Studying at Otago

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

Back to top