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Pharmacy - A Rewarding Career

The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Quality of Teaching in the School

An Outline of the MPharm (Hons) Course


Entrance Requirements

Admission Procedures

Vacational Training

MPharm Course Units

Reading List

Course Handbooks

Past Examination Papers


Pharmacy - A Rewarding Career

Today more than ever before, administering the nation's health service needs a team effort involving many professions. One of the most dramatic advances in health care has been the development of highly specific and effective medicines - medicines that have virtually eliminated some diseases which were major killers in the recent past, and that have reduced the impact of many others. The pharmacist is the member of the health team who is mainly concerned with drugs and medicines.

Students taking a degree in pharmacy can feel confident that they are entering upon a career in which there will always be a need for their services.

Community Pharmacy
Three out of five pharmacists practice in community pharmacy. A high level of pharmaceutical training is required to ensure that increasingly complex medicines are dispensed with care and knowledge and sold with professional responsibility. In this field, through everyday contact with the general public, the pharmacist is able to add a further dimension to the practice of pharmacy in being a readily accessible, qualified advisor on health matters. This combination of a scientific discipline working within a social context provides a great deal of the satisfaction enjoyed by those in community practice.

Hospital Pharmacy
The hospital pharmacist is responsible for providing all the medicines needed by hospital patients. To carry out this work some hospital pharmacies have small-scale manufacturing departments where the preparation of sterile injections and intravenous fluids takes place as well as non-sterile production and pre-packaging. The hospital pharmacist is expected to be able to advise medical and nursing colleagues on the actions of medicines and on any toxic effects that must be watched for.

Pharmaceutical Industry
In the pharmaceutical industry about 5% of Britain's pharmacists are employed in research, production and marketing of medicines. This is a field which calls for innovative skills because it is to the major manufacturers that society looks for the provision of new treatments for the relief of human ills.

Pharmacy can offer rewarding and worthwhile careers to both men and women. There can be few careers that offer such a variety of interesting employment.


The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Established in 1883, the School of Pharmacy in Manchester is one of the oldest schools of pharmacy in the country. Measured in terms of student numbers, the School is one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy.


Quality of Teaching in the School

As a result of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Review visit to the School over the period of 18th to 21st October, 1999, the School was awarded a perfect score of 24 points out of 24. The degrees assessed at Manchester were the undergraduate MPharm, the postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Clinical Health Services Pharmacy, and the distance-learning modular PIAT MSc (PIAT stands for Pharmaceutical Industry Advanced Training). Further information on the quality of teaching in the School is available.


An Outline of the MPharm (Hons) Course

The degree course aims to provide a base on which can be built a sound understanding of all aspects of pharmacy. This base is made from a blend of rigorous scientific studies in organic chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry with aspects of behavioural sciences. Students are provided with instruction and guidance to enable them to acquire all the knowledge and skills necessary to embark on a successful career in Pharmacy.

By the end of the first year, students will have received a grounding in the sciences fundamental to pharmacy and an introduction to the practice of pharmacy.

The second and third years aim to provide the science base for a lifetime in pharmacy irrespective of the career path of any individual student. It is during these years that we aim to provide most of the instruction in the Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The objective of the fourth year is to prepare the student for the post-graduate years and to provide, on the one hand, the completion of the scientific base of Pharmacy, and on the other, to give each student the opportunity and experience of working on an individual research project; the latter with the aim of giving practice at information retrieval and data analysis coupled with written and oral communication skills.

Throughout the course emphasis is placed on modern teaching methods alongside traditional lectures. Many lecture courses are supplemented by Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) packages and by Interactive Video packages which have been developed within the school. A great emphasis is placed on tutorial sessions and the development of communication skills by the student through written and oral presentation.

At its conclusion, each course is assessed by the students by means of a questionnaire. Information from this source is evaluated, and where necessary, changes made to improve the course.



In general, the pass mark for examinations held for the Pharmacy course is 40%, which is the University norm. There are two exceptions to this rule. The professional examinations in the Compounding and Dispensing of Medicines - a practical examination - and in the Law relating to Pharmacy for which the pass mark is 60%. Dispensing is the only formal practical examination held in the School, all other practical courses being continuously assessed, each assessment contributing to the final mark in the appropriate examination subject.

The University year is divided into two semesters and examinations are held at the end of each semester.

Resit examinations take place in September and passes must be achieved in all subjects in order for students to proceed to the next year of the course.


Entrance requirements

The most popular route of entry to the course is via A-level qualifications.

Standard entry requirements are:

i)   Three A-level passes in Chemistry and in two other subjects selected from Mathematics, Physics and the biological subjects. Present offers are usually for grades BBB.
ii)   Two subjects may be offered at A/S level in place of one A-level provided that one of the A-levels is Chemistry and that one of the A/S levels is in a science subject.

A Grade B pass at GCSE in Mathematics and English Language is required as are passes at GCSE in Physics and a Biological subject at grade C or above, if not offered at A-level or A/S level.


Admissions Procedures

Formal applications for admission should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), PO Box 28, Cheltenham, Glos. GL50 3SA.

All applicants to whom offers are made will be given the opportunity to visit the School and to talk with members of the School. These visits take place during November, December, January and February.

If you have any queries about the course or about entrance requirements, please contact:-

The Admissions Office
School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Manchester
M13 9PL
Tel No (0161) 275 2334


Vacational Training

It is the School's policy to encourage and to give undergraduate students assistance to gain experience in community, hospital and industrial pharmacy during vacations. In addition to the educational benefits of reinforcing and supplementing the pharmacy practice components of the course, such professional training/experience has proved to be an advantage to students when they come to arrange their pre-registration training and to plan their future professional careers.

Formal links have been established with community pharmacy over a good number of years and an introductory scheme administered by the School has lead to periods of employment being available during the vacations. The School is able to arrange, for most students, a period of practice training in community pharmacy (8 weeks in the summer vacation between 3rd and 4th year). The objectives of this practice training are:-
a) to provide the opportunity for the student to develop communication skills in the practice situation.
b) to enable the student to develop a responsible attitude.
c) to enable the student to develop an understanding of the legal and ethical principles which apply in pharmacy practice.
d) to provide the student with the opportunity to relate their academic knowledge to the practice of pharmacy.


MPharm Course Units

Semester 1
Basic Organic Chemistry
Foundation Biology
Foundation Maths
Foundation Physics
Social Pharmacy (1)
Practical and Learning skills
Information Technology
Laboratory Safety
Core Tutorials
Effective Writing

Semester 2
Functional Group Chemistry
Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
Social Pharmacy (2)
Physical Pharmacy
Introductory Microbiology
Core Tutorials

Semester 3
Pharmaceutical Analysis
Foundation Statistics
Social Pharmacy (3)
Physiology (1)
Microbial Pathogenicity and Immunology
Core tutorials
Selective Toxicity
Medicines Design (1)

Semester 4
Social Pharmacy (4)
Medicinal Chemistry
Physiology (2)
Forensic Science
Core Tutorials
Medicines Design (2)

Semester 5
Pharmacology (1)
Social Pharmacy (5)
Extemporaneous Dispensing
Complementary Therapies
Pharmaceutical Microbiology
Core tutorials

Semester 6
Social Pharmacy (6)
Pharmacology (2)
Non-extemporaneous Dispensing (1)
Law relating to Pharmacy
Drug Metabolism & Disposition
Disease Management (1)
Rational Drug Design
Core Tutorials

Semester 7
Disease Management (2)
Non-extemporaneous Dispensing (2)
Law Relating to Pharmacy
Social Pharmacy (7)
Polymer Drug Delivery
Novel Drug Delivery Systems
Molecular Basis of Cancer Therapy
Advanced Topics in Chemotherapy
Microbial Disease and Immunisation
Drug Development Workshop
Pharmacy Practice
*Effector Mechanism in Smooth Muscle as sites of Drug Action
*Advanced Neuropharmacology

Semester 8
Social Pharmacy (8)
Pharmaceutical Care
Production & Characterisation of Clinically and Commercially Important Drugs
Influences on Professional Practice
Pharmacokinetics - Dosage
Regimen Design
*Experimental and Clinical Pharmacokinetics
Disease Management (3)
*Human Reproduction
*Molecular Toxicology

* School of Biological Sciences Modules


Reading List

The John Rylands University Library of Manchester maintain a reading list of material required for the MPharm course.


Course Handbook

The Handbooks for each of the four years of the MPharm course can be viewed online.


Past Examination Papers

Past examination papers are available online.

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