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My experience studying Pharmacy at Sunderland and how you can prep yourself

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Published: October 8, 2020

Hi, my name is Ying and i'm a current MPharm student. It can be exciting yet nerve-wracking to start your first year at uni, and it gets even worse when you have no clue what to expect from the course you are taking. Fret not, here are some of the insights on what the Master of Pharmacy course is like and what you can do to prep yourself better!

Student in simulated pharmacy, putting medicine in a basket

So what is the course?

The Master of Pharmacy Course is a four-year course where each year is specially designed for students to pick up the skills and knowledge needed to practice as Pharmacists in the best possible way. For example, in Year One, modules are designed to bring every student with a different educational background and levels of knowledge to the same page. While in Year Two and onwards, you will be diving deeper into the specifics, i.e. you will be touching on in-depth pharmacology for each drug in every Human System and some Pharmacy Law.

SIDENOTE: After graduating from uni, you will be working as a pre-reg student for one whole year (it could be at a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, GP Practice, or Industry). After that, you will then need to pass a pre-registration exam to practice as a Qualified Pharmacist in the UK legally.

Pharmacy students in classroom working on laptops


How is it delivered?

Learning materials are delivered in a few ways: lectures, seminars, labs, clinical skills, and pharmacy practice training sessions. We normally have 8 to 10 hours of lectures per week. Due to the ongoing pandemic, all lectures are now conducted online. The most exciting bit would be going on placements! We get to do placements every year so students can get hands-on experience as to what being a Pharmacist is like.

Topics you will be learning

Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
Understanding what is going on in the human body when there is a medical condition.
Understanding what type of drugs can be used for treatment.

How are drugs (ie tablets and capsules) formulated
How are they manufactured in industrial companies?

What are the chemical properties of a drug?
How do they function at an atomic/molecular level? 

Clinical skills
Practice clinical examinations and familiarize yourself with the steps in taking a proper medical history. 

Pharmacy practice
Chances to brush up your communication skills when talking to patients, explaining their medical conditions, use of drugs, and such. 

Understanding the Pharmacy Law and the legal requirements of a prescription. 
Dispensing sessions are run fortnightly.


How to prep yourself

Be resourceful
We have two wonderful libraries, one at each campus so be sure to make full use of them! As a pharmacy student, you will most likely be using the Murray Library a lot more often as books related to what we learn are mostly located at this library. Here is a list of recommended books by our lectures that can be helpful for your studies: Rang and Dale's Pharmacology, Aulton’s Pharmaceutics, BNF, and FASTtrack Pharmacology.

Be Hardworking
This is not an easy course to take with tight schedules to follow, so I am not going to lie. However, this does not mean it is not possible to get good results and pass with your heads up high. Dedication towards the course is key, and procrastination is not going to get you anywhere. My top tip is to always finish revising what you have learned for the week so you can start afresh the next. Dragging your work to the following week will only make you even more stressed!

Finally, ENJOY your uni life!! 
To most of you, this might be the first time ever in your entire life living out alone. While studies cannot be neglected, your social life is equally important as well! Take a load off at some time during the week and just do whatever you enjoy doing. Take this opportunity to go out and about the city and the places nearby. Join a club or a society and make new friends, after all this is uni that we are talking about!


Yan Ying Khoo

MPharm student




Topic: Student lifestyle