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:
- 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).
- In the Graduate category, once you have completed two or more years of University study.
- 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.
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
Persons who do not hold New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency should contact the University's International Office.
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
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:
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 Health Sciences Admissions first.