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Study Pharmacy at Otago

What is pharmacy?

“The School of Pharmacy gave me the knowledge, the skills, and the confidence to begin my career as a pharmacist. You feel that you graduate as a health professional with a vast knowledge base to build upon.”

— Kiri Aikman
Pharmacy Graduate

As the experts on medicines, pharmacists are essential members of the healthcare team. They have the skills and knowledge to help patients understand and use their medicines in the most appropriate way.

They are responsible for optimising medication use and may also be involved in the development and manufacture of medicines.

Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences, and ensures the safe and effective use of medication.

Pharmacy is a varied profession, from manufacturing medicines through to optimising patient health-related outcomes and providing ongoing monitoring of their effectiveness.

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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 do strongly recommend you take chemistry, physics, and biology 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 the Health Sciences Admissions Office first.

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What will I study?

After selection from Health Sciences First Year, or from one of the other categories, you commence the second year of your four-year degree.

Here you will build on the fundamental sciences studied during HSFY.

You will also learn about the practice of pharmacy along with the legal and social aspects of healthcare which are continued throughout the course. You will then study a series of integrated module-based papers, where the focus is person-centred care in clinical settings and patients in the community.

The integrated studies teach you how to apply what you learn at university to the practice of pharmacy. During these studies, you will have 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 programme. You must register with the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand to be eligible for the pre-registration training programme. This is undertaken as paid employment at an approved site in a hospital or community pharmacy. It is your responsibility to arrange the employment at this site.

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Admission to the Pharmacy programme

You will generally enter the Pharmacy programme following the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) programme.

There are 120 places available for New Zealanders and permanent residents in the second year of our programme, as well as an additional 30 places for international students.

Your application for admission must be made to the Division of Health Sciences by 15 September of the preceding year.

There are several different categories of admission, although most students will be selected on their performance in HSFY.

Entry is competitive, and an average grade of B- or better is required for eligibility and typically a B average is required to gain a place (passing all HSFY papers). This grade standard is only a guideline and not a guarantee.

If you select only Pharmacy as your choice, you will be given preferential consideration.

The School of Pharmacy is committed to supporting Māori and indigenous Pacific Islands students for entry into Pharmacy.

You may also enter the programme after two or more years of university study or as a university graduate. In these categories, you will need to have successfully completed papers equivalent to the Otago HSFY prior to applying for entry into Pharmacy.

If your background does not fit the categories specified above, you can still apply for admission under the Alternative category. In every case, applicants have to demonstrate that they have completed work equivalent to the requirements of the Otago HSFY course and meet the minimum academic standard.

How do I apply?

Refer to the Health Sciences website for further information.

Health and conduct

The Division of Health Sciences requires all applicants applying for any of its health professional programmes to declare any criminal or disciplinary charges they have faced, or are facing, and any health status issues which could affect their participation in clinical aspects of the programme or their overall fitness to practise.

Contact the Health Sciences Admissions Office for information.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 is aimed at providing better protection for vulnerable children. One of the ways it aims to do this is by introducing ‘safety checking’. Applicants who enter the programme will receive further information regarding the timing of these checks.

Immunity status

Students who are admitted to Pharmacy are required to be vaccinated during their first year of the Pharmacy Professional Programme, if necessary. Please refer to the Infectious Diseases Policy for Health Professional Students for further details.

International applications

Persons who do not hold New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency should email their enquiries to the University’s International Office:

Email international.admissions@otago.ac.nz

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Postgraduate study in pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy has a comprehensive postgraduate programme, including clinical and social pharmacy programmes up to master’s level. The School also offers research qualifications such as a PhD.

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Careers in pharmacy

While most pharmacists work in community and hospital pharmacies, many also work in primary healthcare environments (with general practitioners), government organisations, industry, medical writing, and academia.

Opportunities for pharmacists are constantly growing as the healthcare sector changes to meet the needs of our communities.

These opportunities include adherence and clinical medicine review services which aim to optimise health outcomes for their patients.

Pharmacists also provide long-term care services for patients with chronic illnesses, as well as dispensing prescriptions, and assessing and treating some ailments.

The goal of clinical medicines review services is to optimise health outcomes of patients by appropriate choice of medicine and dosing schedule, to both increase the effectiveness of medicines and avoid unwanted side-effects or drug interactions.

Some pharmacists offer specialist medicine review services to rest homes or people with complex medication regimens.

Hospital pharmacists are responsible for serving the medicinal needs of hospital patients, as well as outpatients who require specialised medicines. Their role also centres on patient care with the majority of hospital pharmacists conducting clinical medicines reviews to optimise health outcomes for patients. Hospital pharmacists may also be involved with the manufacture of intravenous and oncology medicines, while others provide expert advice on medicines.

Some pharmacists work in industrial pharmacy, developing new pharmaceutical products for human or veterinary use. Some responsibilities undertaken by industrial pharmacists are formulation and production, quality control, provision of information on new products, clinical evaluation of new products, and the marketing of medicines.

Graduate profile – Kiri Aikman

Kiri Aikman (2015)Kiri Aikman has no regrets about choosing to study pharmacy at the University of Otago. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to date,” she says, “I am passionate about helping people and making a positive difference to their health.”

Kiri’s decision to become a pharmacist grew from a part-time job at a community pharmacy while she was at secondary school. After completing Health Sciences First Year, she entered Pharmacy and never looked back. “The School of Pharmacy gave me the knowledge, the skills and the confidence to begin my career as a pharmacist,” she says, “you feel that you graduate as a health professional with a vast knowledge base to build upon.”

There were countless highlights in Kiri’s degree, but she particularly benefitted from the tight bond, due to the small class size, that students form from day one. She also enjoyed learning about diseases, and about the patient behind the disease. “There was always a strong patient focus,” she emphasises. The variety of subjects were both challenging and rewarding and the lecturers were fantastic. “We were taught, and inspired, by some of the best professionals in their field. They became great mentors.”

Where has Kiri’s degree led her? She is now working as a fully-registered clinical pharmacist at Auckland City Hospital, and deals with patients and their medical conditions on a ward-based level as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Kiri has many goals for the future. She hopes to complete further postgraduate study to specialise as a clinical pharmacist and travel the world in this role.

“The rewarding thing about pharmacy is that that career path is not narrow,” Kiri says, “there are many different avenues to explore and it is an evolving profession.”

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Contact the School of Pharmacy

Tel +64 3 479 7271
Fax +64 3 479 7034
Email pharmacy@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/pharmacy

Physical address

Level 7, Adams Building
18 Frederick Street
North Dunedin
Dunedin 9016
New Zealand

School of Pharmacy on Google Maps

Postal address

School of Pharmacy
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

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Pharmacy qualifications

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Pharmacy papers

See the full list of Pharmacy (PHCY) papers.

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Programme requirements

Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)

Note: Students who commenced with Second Year papers prior to 2018 should refer to the 2017 University of Otago Calendar for current Third Year and Fourth Year paper requirements.

Year Papers Points
1st year

Health Sciences First Year Course

Note: Students enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course will be required to achieve a satisfactory mark in a standard diagnostic English test or another approved measure of achievement.

126
2nd year

PHCY 210  Introduction to Pharmacy

PHCY 211  Fundamental Pharmaceutical Science

PHCY 220  Integrated Modules A

Note: Candidates for the second and subsequent years of the BPharm programme will normally have passed all papers for the previous year of study.

12

48

60

3rd year

PHCY 310  Integrated Modules B

PHCY 320  Integrated Modules C

60

60

4th year

PHCY 410  Elective Studies A**
PHCY 420  Pharmacy Practice Leadership and Management**
PHCY 430  Elective Studies B**
PHCY 431  Structured Practical Experiential Programme**
PHCY 432  Applied Pharmacotherapy and Patient Care**

15
15
15
20
55

**Further information will be available for these papers in early September.

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Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours (BPharm(Hons))

Year Papers Points
1st year

Health Sciences First Year Course

Note: Students enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course will be required to achieve a satisfactory mark in a standard diagnostic English test or another approved measure of achievement.

126
2nd year

PHCY 210  Introduction to Pharmacy

PHCY 211  Fundamental Pharmaceutical Science

PHCY 220  Integrated Modules A

Note: Candidates for the second and subsequent years of the BPharm programme will normally have passed all papers for the previous year of study.

12

48

60

3rd year

PHCY 310  Integrated Modules B

PHCY 320  Integrated Modules C

60

60

4th year

PHCY 410  Elective Studies A

PHCY 420  Pharmacy Practice Leadership and Management

PHCY 431  Structured Practical Experiential Programme

PHCY 480  Honours Research Project

PHCY 485  Applied Pharmacotherapy and Patient Care for Honours

15

15

20

36

58

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Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing (PGCertPharmPres)

Papers

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Downloads

Pharmacy infosheet (PDF)