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Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (BPharmSc)

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The Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science is a new 3-year degree and the only one of its type in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Pharmaceutical science includes a broad range of scientific disciplines critical to the discovery and development of new drugs and therapies. Pharmaceutical science students should be interested in science and technology and have a passion for medicines to prevent and treat disease in plants, animals and humans.

This lab-based degree offers an in depth understanding of the scientific basis of the discovery, design, development, formulation and use of drugs. Areas of study include medicinal chemistry, microbiology, pathology, formulation science, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and more. Students will also gain key practical skills for their future career.

As a pharmaceutical science student at Otago, students will benefit from small class sizes and personalised instruction. They will be trained by our world renowned team of scientists and industry experts with a modern student-centered curriculum that is responsive to industry changes and needs.

The curriculum uniquely intertwines rongoā Māori to help understand medicines beyond western practices.

Students will have access to a state-of-the-art laboratory, interprofessional learning environment and supportive student culture.

View the Study Pharmaceutical Science video in the School of Pharmacy website.

What will I study?

You will begin your three-year Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree by taking general first-year papers including chemistry, biology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and physics. This is a similar structure to the Otago Health Sciences First Year programme with an optional seventh paper. If you have completed HSFY you can enrol in the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science at second year level.

Second- and third-year pharmaceutical science offers teaching comprised of lectures, laboratory classes, tutorials and workshops. The teaching approach incorporates contemporary student-centered learning, including interactive workshop sessions.

In second year you will learn foundation knowledge and skills in pharmaceutical chemistry, formulation principles and principles of disease.

In third year you will learn to apply your knowledge to contemporary challenges in chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, natural products and medicines, rongoā Māori, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, drug delivery and topics in the pharmaceutical industry.

The flexibility of this degree gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your study to your own personal interests and career aspirations with room for two additional papers in second and third year offered by other departments at the University of Otago.

A graduate of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree will demonstrate specialist knowledge and practical skills and be able to apply their knowledge to solve contemporary challenges in pharmaceutical science as part of developing medicines of international relevance.

Graduates of this degree are encouraged to do an Honours degree to begin their journey into postgraduate research and a PhD.

Career outcomes

Employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry are diverse and rapidly growing internationally. With a degree in pharmaceutical science students will be qualified to take on professional roles in other areas too, including:

  • Scientist researching and developing new drugs and medicines
  • Formulation scientist in food, cosmetics, pharmaceutics and agrichemical industries
  • Regulatory affairs officer evaluating medicines for government agencies and companies
  • Border control agent conducting identification and analysis of drugs
  • Clinical trials associate testing the safety and efficacy of medicines
  • Marketing and sales of medicines for human, veterinary and agricultural use
  • Quality control chemist testing to ensure high quality medicines are produced
  • Patent attorney advising on intellectual property and patent law

Background required

There are no subject requirements for entry into first year at Otago, but we strongly recommend you take chemistry, biology and maths.




Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (BPharmSc)

  1. Structure of the Programme

    Every programme of study for the degree

    1. shall consist of papers worth not less than 360 points
    2. shall include at least 180 points for papers above 100-level, of which at least 72 points shall be for papers above 200-level
    3. shall satisfy the requirements set out in the Schedule of papers required for the degree
    4. may include one or more optional minor subjects that satisfy the Minor Subject Requirements listed in Science Schedule A, Arts and Music Schedule A, Commerce Schedule A, or the Bachelor of Health Sciences Schedule. No paper may count for both the Schedule of papers required for the degree and a Minor Subject Requirement or for more than one Minor Subject Requirement unless that paper is at 100- or 200-level and specified as compulsory for both requirements.

  2. Prerequisites, Corequisites and Restrictions

    Every programme of study shall satisfy the requirements for prerequisites, corequisites, and restrictions set out in the Prescriptions (published in the Guide to Enrolment).

  3. Cross Credits

    A candidate who is enrolled for the degree concurrently with another degree, or who has completed one degree and is proceeding with the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science, may cross-credit 100- and 200-level papers that are common to both degrees up to a maximum of 126 points where the other degree is a three-year degree.

  4. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study that does not comply with these regulations.

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.

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