Our integrative approach and problem-based learning in teaching enable pharmacy graduates to apply their scientific and clinical knowledge immediately and beneficially upon their entry into the healthcare profession.
The Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) programme aims to nurture competent graduates with a solid knowledge of pharmacy alongside their abilities to apply the core knowledge and skills effectively, humanely and ethically when it comes to the delivery of pharmaceutical care. By adopting the highest standard of professional practice, our graduates will contribute tremendously to the pharmacy sector and its professionalism as well as the general health and well-being of the patient community.
What is Pharmacy?
Pharmacy is part of the healthcare profession that links the basic health sciences with the clinical application of drug treatment. Simply put, it is the art of practice to ensure the safe and effective use of drugs. The traditional scope of pharmacy is all about the compounding and dispensing of therapeutic agents. However, modern pharmacy emphasises the provision of optimal pharmaceutical care to patients, implying a responsible provision of drug therapy to improve a patient’s life expectancy and quality of life as definite outcomes as shown below:
- The treatment of diseases;
- The elimination or reduction of symptoms;
- Arresting or slowing the disease process; and
- Disease prevention/ health promotion.
As the healthcare industry develops a strategy towards the individualised rational use of therapeutic agents, the role and responsibilities of pharmacists grow in importance day by day.
Role of Pharmacists
Pharmacists are essentially the experts on drugs. They work as a part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team to provide quality pharmaceutical care to patients, such as providing clinical pharmacy services, recommending appropriate drug choices and monitoring outcomes of drug therapies. Pharmacists are able to practise in a wide variety of workplaces, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmaceutical industries and regulatory agencies. Pharmacists can specialise in various areas of practice, from haematology/oncology, infectious diseases, drug information, critical care to paediatrics, and many more.
“Pharmacists can contribute to the safe and effective use of medications through clinical practice, research and teaching. We continue to learn and share what we know with students, colleagues and the community, at every step along the way.”
Professor Esther Chan
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy
“From offering professional advices for common illnesses at community pharmacy, to researching on new treatments for life-threatening diseases, pharmacist impacts people’s lives in different aspects every day. This is a profession with huge diversity that I am honoured to be a part of”.
Ms Wynne Hui
Pharmacist in Drug Office, Department of Health, HKSAR
With the support of Queen Mary Hospital, not only do HKU undergraduates enjoy early clinical exposure but also benefit from the inter-professional collaboration of pharmacists and clinicians through on-site education in wards and outpatient clinics. Furthermore, Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong also provides an additional training site exclusive to our HKU students.
Diversified “fit-for-purpose” teaching pedagogies have been adopted to manifest the specific features of the curriculum, enhanced by the introduction of The Pharmacy Experiential Education Programme (PEEP) and the Enrichment Modules. Besides, as an area of strength in the Medical Faculty, the problem-based learning (PBL) approach in teaching is applied to encourage critical thinking and self-directed learning skills, encouraging interdisciplinary inquiry from students and fostering their lifelong learning skills.
Through gaining hands-on experience in this subspecialty, students have the opportunity to witness and spot the increasing demand of the local industry for professional pharmacy services. A wide spectrum of topics related to the practicality of industrial pharmacy is taught by the industry’s experts with extensive work experience.
A key characteristic of the programme is to enhance students’ proficiency in providing primary healthcare services, particularly patient education. Students have various opportunities to acquire patient counselling and communication skills step-by-step while the level of mastery will gradually increase with the magnitude of complexity in a range of situations.
The programme equips future pharmacists in Hong Kong with the knowledge of Chinese Medicine as well as Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM), including herbal medicines, nutraceuticals, healthcare products and cosmetics commonly used by local patients in conjunction with Western medicines.
The Enrichment Modules will encourage pharmacy students to seek tailored placement at either academic institutions or non-profit community service organisations. The programme aims to encourage social-minded students to translate knowledge into practice, contribute to society, and broaden their horizons beyond pharmacy while establishing their interpersonal networks across different sectors and professions. This enrichment experience can enhance students’ understanding towards the local community and raise their awareness of social issues, inspiring them to proactively contribute to society in their future careers. It also allows students to build cross-sectorial networks to promote social innovations and build positive social capital in Hong Kong. The students’ enrichment experience reflects the culmination of their personal and professional development throughout the BPharm study and its fruits.
Our BPharm students also have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange programme. Our department has established strong links with the pharmacy departments of University of Rouen (France), Sojo University (Japan), King’s College London (UK), University College London (UK), and University of Illinois Chicago (USA).
The Pharmacy Experiential Education Programme (PEEP) under the Bachelor of Pharmacy curriculum is well-structured with experiential learning experience. Students in their second and third years of study shall complete on-site placements in different pharmacy practice settings outside the classrooms under the supervision of pharmacist preceptors throughout regular semesters and in the summer. Building on the knowledge taught in the introductory pharmacy courses in Year 1, our experiential education enriches the pharmacy curriculum with perspectives of contemporary pharmacy practice in the local setting and enables students to apply and expand upon the knowledge and skills acquired from the didactic coursework in the pharmacy curriculum.
Our experiential education represents a cumulative learning experience that prepares students for more advanced practice experience in the clerkship and Enrichment Modules during their final year of study. In addition to competencies as pharmacists, PEEP is also intended to offer students longitudinal exposure to the practice settings where they can develop personal and professional attributes such as professionalism, ethics, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and commitment to lifelong learning.
The programme ensures that students are adequately prepared to provide expert service at the community level through placement openings provided by several largest community pharmacy chain stores in Hong Kong. As part of the curriculum, each pharmacy student will have the chance to gain work experience in various pharmacy settings during the term time. Students will rotate among different roles, from the hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy to any term position within the pharmaceutical industry for at least one week in each setting during their final year of study. In addition, students will have the opportunity to carry out a research project in a specialised area of their choice, ranging from pharmaceutics, pharmacology, pharmacy practice to clinical pharmacy, under the supervision of our academic staff. This research experience will be critical for the future career of pharmacy students in both the academic and pharmacy workplace.
The programme offers students invaluable opportunities for interprofessional learning throughout the four-year curriculum, including a patient care project (PCP) and interprofessional education as well as a collaborative practice (IPECP) with students from the Medicine, Nursing and Chinese Medicine programmes. These interprofessional learning activities will utilise the expertise of students from diverse backgrounds and foster teamwork, cooperation, and communication between different healthcare professionals in the future.
Running over a four-year duration, the whole programme comprises a variety of courses amounting to 258 credits*, which shall include the following:
- Pharmacy core courses: 192 credits
- Pharmacy elective: 12 credits
- Common core courses: 36 credits
- Language courses: 18 credits
*Subject to the approval of the University
- Essential Skills for Pharmacy Students
- Integrated Course in Basic Sciences: Anatomy, Physiology & Biochemistry
- Research Methods in Pharmacy Practice
- Introduction to Pharmacy
- Drug Discovery
- Core University English
- Common Core Courses
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry
- Dosage Form Design
- Pharmacy in Body System Series:
- Cardiovascular & Renal
- Gastrointestinal System, Drug Kinetics and Toxicities
- Respiratory System
- Pharmacy Practice: Introduction
- Academic Communication for Pharmacy Students
- Practical Chinese for Pharmacy Students
- Common Core Courses
- Advanced Drug Delivery
- Pharmaceutical Analysis
- Pharmacy Practice: Community Pharmacy
- Pharmacy in Body System Series:
- Central Nervous System, Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders
- Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
- Research Methodology and Research Project #
- Pharmacy Practice: Pharmacy Law and Ethics
- Industrial Drug Development
- Biopharmaceutical Technology and Future Medicines
- Pharmacotherapy of Special Populations
- Enrichment Modules
- Molecular Medicine*
- Molecular Pharmacology*
- Big Data in Healthcare*
- Chinese Medicine for Pharmacy Students*
- Cardiopulmonary and Renal Systems**
# All Year-4 students have to complete a research project
* Elective Courses
** Elective Course for articulation to the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) upon graduation
Articulation to HKU MBBS and Completion of Two Professional Degrees in Eight Years
Starting from 2019/2020, the HKU BPharm Programme has been offering an articulation arrangement with the HKU MBBS Programme. Students with an outstanding performance by Semester 1 of Year 3 can choose to attach to the MBBS curriculum for one semester. Upon completion of the BPharm Programme and having satisfied the admission criteria of the MBBS curriculum, students can then be admitted directly to Year 2 and be exempted from the Year 3 Enrichment Year requirement. Ultimately, they obtain dual professional degrees in BPharm and MBBS from HKU in a span of eight years.
Completion of two professional degrees in eight years
Professional Recognition & Career Prospects
The programme has been granted accreditation by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong. Students who have completed a full-time pharmacy degree and one year of internship on top of the degree are qualified to become registered pharmacists in Hong Kong.
Career Prospects for Pharmacy
Academia / Research in Universities, Higher Education Institutes
- Pharmacy Education (pharmacy trainers or technicians)
- Scientific Research
- Health Promotion
- Knowledge Transfer
- Further Study (e.g. PhD, Medical or any Research Degree)
Roles in Local Manufacturers, Multinational Corporations within Pharmaceutical Industry
- Manufacture and Supply
- Quality Assurance (QA)
- Drug Research and Development (R&D)
- Regulatory Affairs
- Business Development
- Medical Information
- Sales and Marketing
- Clinical Trial
- at Chain and Independent Pharmacies
- Community Pharmacist
- Primary Care
- Business Management
- Veterinary Pharmacist
- in Non-Profit Organisations
- Visiting pharmacist in elderly homes
- Healthcare project coordination
Hospital Pharmacy in Hospital Authority and Private Hospitals
- Pharmacy Intravenous Admixture Service (PIVAS)
- Clinical / Specialist Pharmacist (e.g. Paediatrics, Oncology)
- Medical Information
- Information Technology
- Clinical Trial
- Drug Procurement
Department of Health / Drug Office
- Policy Planning
- Drug Registration
- Clinical Service
- Public Health
- Medical Writer / Editor
Graduates can consider a taught Master of Advanced Pharmacy programme or pursue academic pharmacy through research postgraduate study.
“Using our specialised drug knowledge to optimise the medical treatment for patients is what makes our job as pharmacists meaningful.”
Ms Jody Chu
Senior Lecturer, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy