Since you’re up to date with what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) at Monash University, it would come as no surprise if you’re now looking for a student’s real opinion on the course.
If that’s you, you’ve come to the perfect place!
We got to chat to Vivienne, a third year pharmacy student who gave us the lowdown on the course — the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and the pros and cons.
To find out more, keep scrolling!
Why should you study a Pharmacy degree at Monash Uni?
The four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) is an undergraduate degree offered by Monash Uni for students keen on gaining all of the essential tools to work within healthcare. You’ll get to know all about medicine, how different medicines work and what their effect is on the body.
The career focused and practical program is designed to provide a direct avenue into the healthcare world. Whether you want to become a hospital pharmacist, aged care pharmacist, drug safety officer or an academic, the Bachelor of Pharmacy is the degree for you.
If you need any more convincing, Monash is ranked number one in Australia and number two in the world for their pharmacy courses. If you had access to any uni in the world, Monash would still be a top pick!
The entirety of the Bachelor of Pharmacy course at Monash is accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council so you can be confident that you are receiving a top notch and transferable education that can take you anywhere.
Top 3 Pros of a Pharmacy degree
#1: Great work experience opportunities
A super valuable feature of the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree is the amount, length and quality of the compulsory and optional internship programs. In fact, Vivienne told us, “Monash Pharmacy has the most amount of placement experience time out of all pharmacy courses.”
Your main subjects that cover your future placements are known as Student Experiential Placements I and Student Experiential Placements II. They fall under the Professional Experience category which is one of the six classifications that make up your pharmacy study plan.
You can take a look at your entire study plan right here!
Vivienne added, “You’ve got heaps and heaps of professional practice, and skill development activities incorporated into the course. So, each semester, you have one unit that is like a professional practice unit, where they teach you skills and just train you up.”
#2: Transferable skills
According to Vivenne, another great aspect of the course is the transferable skills that will come in handy no matter where you end up once you graduate. Through practice, you’ll be constantly developing essential skills like communication, collaboration, interpersonal skills and accuracy (just to name a few).
“Everything you learn is applicable to your job later on. Do you know how in biomedicine and you can learn really funky, weird, super hard sciency stuff that you’ll never need again? In pharmacy, you’re learning things that will always be important — you learn about medicines, you can see it for yourself, practical, applicable knowledge,” Vivienne explained.
#3: Can work part time while you study
“The third pro of the degree is that every Pharmacy student can work as a student pharmacist part time outside of university. So, that means you can work at a Chemist Warehouse or a Terry White Chemist as a pharmacy student where you learn how to work as a pharmacist, and you get paid for it. And then you also apply a university knowledge while you’re working,” Vivienne said.
So, not only will you be gaining professional experience through internal university programs but you’ll also get plenty of chances to work outside of uni.
Top 3 Cons of a Pharmacy degree
#1: Large workload
As you can imagine, the Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash is a program that requires some pretty big levels of commitment, dedication and passion for the discipline. It’s not an easy course but in saying that, if healthcare is where you want to go, it’ll be totally worth it.
In fact, Vivienne told us that the tough workload and long study days are easily comparable to a Medicine degree. So, while there are plenty of pros to balance it out, the large workload, according to Vivienne, is one of the cons.
Vivenne explained, “So, the course is set out to have four days of university content a week. So you have to study for four days. Those are the four contact days. […] traditionally, and normally, you’re mentally studying four days a week because they release content every day. So, if you don’t do a day, you’re behind.”
As long as you’re doing your best to allocate enough time for tutorials, lectures, assessments and independent study, you’ll be okay. This would also be a great time to mention that your tutors are a great support network and resource if you’re needing some extra assistance! They’re there to help out.
#2: Prescriptive course structure
“Another con would be that there’s no like flexibility in choosing your subjects. When you pick Pharmacy, you only have Pharmacy units. You can’t pick any other units or subjects. It’s already set out. You can’t arrange your timetables,” Vivienne explained.
So, while there will be hardly any chance to explore different areas of interest, you can be sure that your degree is teaching you everything there is to know. Monash has got to be on top for a reason.
#3: Vivenne couldn’t list a third
With this being said, everyone has a different experience at uni. So, you may love the bits that Vivenne didn’t like too much and vice versa!
Vivienne told us that she hasn’t really had any regrets in her Pharmacy course.
Despite the cons listed above, Vivienne said that she has thoroughly enjoyed the course and has loved learning about all the content. So, if you’re tossing up the option of studying Pharmacy, perhaps this is your sign!
What do you wish you had known before starting Pharmacy at Monash Uni?
#1: Strict study plan
As we’ve mentioned, the Pharmacy course at Monash has a tough workload and a structured study plan that doesn’t give too many opportunities to specialise or explore other areas. Vivienne told us that this is something she wished she had known beforehand, “I wish I had known how strict the study days are. Our day off isn’t really a day off, you still have to complete the work.”
Vivienne added, “I honestly think if anyone tries to neglect the structure of our study days, then they’re going to fall behind. Like, severely. There’s not that much like freedom with Pharmacy. It’s pretty strict in like, the timetable and everything.”
So, that’s something to take on board if you’re considering the course! It’s a big commitment!
#2: There’s a big world out there (that isn’t limited to pharmacy)!
When you’re in such a career driven degree, like Pharmacy, it can often be easy to feel pigeonholed in the one discipline. But Vivienne is here to let you know that that’s not the case!
“As a pharmacist, you can work in different areas. You don’t have to be a Chemist Warehouse pharmacist. You can be a hospital pharmacist or work for pharmaceutical companies.”
Or you could even stick to research or academia. In reality, you don’t have to even become a pharmacist!
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
Monash’s main claim to fame, their distinguishing trait and the point that we continue to make, is their through-the-roof-rankings. According to the QS Top Universities Rankings, Monash slots right underneath Oxford and right above Harvard — you’re looking at a pretty prestigious and accomplished program!
Alongside that, Vivienne also gave an honourable mention to Monash’s location. “First of all, Monash is in the city, the campus is in the city. So it’s in a pretty good location. If you’re like a domestic student, or even an international student, it would be great since it’s so central,” she said.
You’ve also got a great faculty if you’re needing a little extra support, resources or academic assistance. The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is made up of past and current pharmacists who have a limitless amount of wisdom to share.
What inspired you to choose Pharmacy at Monash Uni?
“First of all, Pharmacy itself is a really interesting course, because whatever you learn, you can apply it to real life. And it sticks in your head. Also, you definitely get a job out of it. So, there’s that job guarantee.”
There you have it. Those were Vivienne’s main motivating factors when it came to scoring herself a position in the Bachelor of Pharmacy course at Monash Uni.
What are the possible career paths?
As Vivienne pointed out, the skills that you’ll develop as you progress through the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) course will be applicable to almost any industry — even beyond the pharmacy and healthcare world.
Perhaps you’ll decide to focus on drug safety or mental health pharmacy or pharmacy for aged care. Maybe you’d even like to stay in academia and continue research or begin teaching! Your options are endless.
Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!