BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD

USYD Pharmacy - Fact Sheet

Are you interested in studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD, but unsure what it’ll be like?

All of your questions to do with majors, core units, assessments, culture and more will be answered below! 

Scroll down to find out more!

What is a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD?

A Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD involves the study of how clinical drugs are produced and how medications transform the human body. This degree will allow you to become a registered pharmacist, providing you with the necessary skills and abilities needed for a pharmaceutical career within the healthcare landscape. 

Sydney Pharmacy School is considered to be Australia’s first pharmacy school ever, and prides themselves on being an exceptional choice if you want to pursue a career in healthcare. Their unique curriculum, diverse career opportunities, numerous placement experiences and supportive professional and social networks are only some of the reasons to study Pharmacy at USYD.

In other words, if you have a passion for science, health and medicine, a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD could be for you!


Honours can be completed in fourth-year, which is invitation-only for high achieving students (those on a distinction average). An honours degree in Pharmacy will not only further your knowledge of health and medicine, but it can also initiate a career in research and act as a vehicle to completing a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy – the highest university degree you can complete). 

Career Paths

A Bachelor of Pharmacy can enable you to become a registered pharmacist, but it can also provide you with the following career paths:

    • Primary care pharmacist
    • Community pharmacist
    • Hospital pharmacist
    • Poisons information specialist
    • Clinical trials pharmacist
    • Specialist pharmacist
    • Compounding pharmacist
    • Research and education
    • Regulatory affairs
    • Manufacturing and quality control
    • Industry sales and marketing 

This degree is also accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council. This means in order to become a registered pharmacist after you graduate, you have to complete one year of practical training that’s supervised so you can register with the Pharmacy Board of Australia

Learn more about a career as a Pharmacist here!

Core Units and Majors

What are the Core Units?

In first year, the core units you will study are biology and chemistry, along with other foundational and social pharmacy studies units. 

Biology will involve the study of human biology and how our bodies are able to fight disease and maintain our health. On the other hand, chemistry will provide you with essential knowledge needed for later pharmacy units, as it is the study of molecular processes and structures. 

In the last three years of the degree, the core units you’ll study are focused on higher levels of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, as well as specialised clinical pharmacy studies. These will involve studying drug discovery, microbiology and infection, cardiovascular and renal disorders, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neurology and mental health and many more. 

Clinical Placements

Within these final years, you will spend a sufficient amount of time in clinical placements in both community and hospital pharmacies to gain real-life practical experience. Clinical placements will give you the opportunity to participate, observe and apply your pharmacy theory and skills that you’ve learnt throughout the degree in a real-world, professional environment. 

The overall aim for the Clinical Placement Program is to allow you to recognise what your future role as a professional registered pharmacist will look like, and simultaneously develop your own professional skills and abilities. Throughout your placements, you will be required to maintain an e-portfolio to reflect on your experiences

By the end of your final year, you will have completed three, two-block placements (which are known as Clinical Placements A, B and C) in health and clinical experience. 

USYD Pharmacy - Student Quote


Completing a major is not compulsory in a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD. You do, however, have the option to complete either units Industrial Pharmacy or International Pharmacy as a major in your fourth year. 


How to Get into a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD

The ATAR cut off for this degree is an ATAR of 90. You can find other admission pathways into a Bachelor of Pharmacy here!

If you don’t get the required ATAR, you can follow your interest into USYD another way by checking out their ATAR search tool to find another course. Once you’re accepted into a course with a lower ATAR, you can apply to transfer into Pharmacy after one year of study, with that year’s results taken into account, so study hard!

Prerequisites and Assumed Knowledge

This degree has a prerequisite of Mathematics (Band 4 or higher). The assumed knowledge for Pharmacy at USYD is HSC Chemistry, Biology and Physics – it isn’t compulsory to have done these subjects but it is highly recommended that you do!


The Sydney Pharmacy School has the following undergraduate scholarships available:

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme: Value of $15,000 for 5 years, eligible for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander pharmacy students and members of the student Rural Health Club.
    • Blooms the Chemist – John Sidgreaves Scholarship: Value of $5000, eligible for final year pharmacy students.
    • Peter Giles Memorial Scholarship in Pharmacy: Value of $6000 for course duration, eligible for Domestic students about to start a Bachelor of Pharmacy, and in financial need.
    • Umberto Cincotta Scholarship in Pharmacy: Value of $6000 for up to 4 years, eligible for domestic Bachelor of Pharmacy students and high academic achievers.

You can find out more about the scholarships offered for the School of Pharmacy here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

All courses at USYD are taught in two semesters per year. However, the number of contact hours varies per subject in a Bachelor of Pharmacy. 

Class Structure

In the first three years you will undertake four subjects per semester (on a full-time load), which can vary from 20 to 25 hours at uni per week. These hours are made up of lectures, tutorials, and labs.

Teaching Format for USYD Pharmacy: Lectures, tutorials and labs

As lectures are only made up of pharmacy students, there is only a maximum of 200 people attending each lecture. You’ll find that this type of class is mainly just a lecturer dispensing their knowledge to students, so it’s not very interactive.

Not to worry though, there’ll be more hands-on time and class discussions within tutorials and labs. Tutorials can have up to 20 students and labs have more around 40 students; these smaller class sizes mean that you have more opportunities to ask your tutor questions if you’re ever unsure of anything! 

Every subject will have 3 x 1 hour lectures and/or a lab and tutorial, particularly in your first and second year. Something to note here is that you should come prepared for labs or tutorials, because they’ll most likely cover the content learnt in lectures!

By your third year, you will complete your first clinical placement, which also involves 3 to 4 hour lectures and placement debrief tutorials per semester.

What are the assessments like?

The assessments in a Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD are very exam-based, where most exams are worth over 50% of your final grade and you have to pass them to pass the unit.

Other assessments can vary from quizzes and laboratory work (including practical assessments), to written scientific reports. Some subjects will have group assessments like a team project, yet as pharmacy is a heavy maths and science field of study you will mostly be working independently

In third year, you will have an oral exam which will count towards every single third year subject you undertake. 

Skills That You Refine and Learn 

USYD Pharmacy - Skills

A Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD will not only give you the necessary mathematical thinking and scientific analytical skills needed for a career in pharmacy, but it will also give you imperative accuracy and methodical skills. 

Your ability to pay high attention to detail will also be refined, along with necessary interpersonal and communication skills (as a pharmacist, these skills are vital!). 

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?


The Pharmacy Faculty (staff) are known to be very understanding, accommodating and supportive of all pharmacy students, as they recognise how intense and difficult the degree is (this could also be because pharmacy has quite a small cohort).

In doing so, they know everyone has on and off days, so they have a ‘third year rule’ and ‘fourth year rule’ where if you fail any exams in these years you have two free chances to re-sit them. 


The vibe of studying Pharmacy at USYD is definitely one where you’re able to form close friendships, as the pharmacy faculty is usually small meaning that you’ll most likely become quite close with your own cohort

Pharmacy culture also allows you to participate in sporting activities with other health-related faculties, and join societies like the Sydney University Pharmacy Association (SUPA). On top of providing educational training, SUPA gives pharmacy students the opportunity to network with pharmaceutical companies and discounts on textbooks and other required equipment needed for the degree.

PLUS they have pub crawls, harbour cruises, a Gala ball and trivia! What more could you want! 

Want more? Learn all about the pros and cons of USYD Pharmacy here!

Isabelle Plasto is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and in her third year of a Media and Communications degree at the University of Sydney, majoring in Digital Cultures. You can find her work published in Dementia Australia’s August 2020 eNewsletter, an organisation very close to her heart. Apart from writing, Issy loves to travel, cook and boogie to 70s disco music.


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