Are you interested in medicine and the way it interacts with the body? Perhaps you’re curious about public health and want to get involved in fostering a healthy community! If this applies to you, Monash Pharmacy may be a great fit!
Monash University’s Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) might be the perfect option for those looking for the next best step in their pharmaceutical, health and medicine endeavours.
Below, we’ve put together everything there is to know about the degree, culture, units, assessments, cohort and what it’s really like studying pharmacy at Monash Uni.
Let’s dive in!
What is a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) at Monash?
The Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) is a four year undergraduate degree that teaches everything there is to know about medicine, how different medicines work and what their impact is on the body. Before you know it you’ll graduate with the expertise to work as a fully fledged pharmacist or another valuable member of the healthcare system.
Since becoming confident in pharmaceutical practices is the end goal of this degree (hence its title), you can expect your degree to be career-driven, practical and work experience-focused. It’s a degree that’s designed to provide a direct avenue into the healthcare world so that as a graduate you’ll be able to make a difference to people’s health throughout hospitals, aged-care facilities and local communities.
Throughout your degree you’ll have access to advanced teaching technologies that are unique to Monash like their web-based pharmacy simulation as well as electronic portfolios to demonstrate your achievements and increase employability later on.
Another great feature of the program is that your entire course is accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council. So, that says a lot about the professionalism of the degree to heavily support you in future endeavours!
It’s a lot to cover so we’ll get into the nitty gritty right… now!
As the name of the degree suggests, this is an Honours program so the extra year of study is included in the course. This means that you’ll be studying a fourth year of Pharmacy to become qualified, gain an advanced understanding, increase career flexibility and enhance employability!
As a graduate from the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at Monash Uni, you’ll have access to a world of opportunity when it comes to scoring your first full-time gig. Likely, you’ll be going into Monash’s pharmacy degree with the end goal of becoming a pharmacist — which is great!
The course will provide you with all the tools and knowledge required to ace a pharmaceutical degree. However, there’s always a chance that you’ll get there and realise that becoming a pharmacist isn’t the only thing that you want to do — and that’s okay too!
The great thing about this course is that you’ll be gaining valuable and transferable skills that are appreciated in a wide scope of workplaces. The kinds of positions that you may like to consider include:
- Community pharmacist
- Hospital pharmacist
- Consultant pharmacist
- Primary care pharmacist
- Researcher or academic
- Clinical trials specialist
- Aged care pharmacist
- Drug safety officer
- Mental health pharmacist
- Medical sales representative
- Regulatory affairs officer
So, there are a lot of options! There are a variety of different avenues to take when it comes to pharmacy. You could even get into research, academia or teaching!
Core Units for this Degree
To graduate from the Bachelor of Pharmacy program at Monash, you’ll be required to successfully completely 192 credit points. Credit points, or units as they’re also called, are the way that universities measure the workload of a particular subject.
As a pharmacy student at Monash, your subjects will range between 6 and 18 credit points each.
Pretty much all the classes that you’ll be taking as a pharmacy student are prescribed and structured. So, you won’t get too many chances to tailor the degree to your own interests but it’ll pretty much guarantee you a great group of friends since you’ll all be following the same study plan.
The Bachelor of Pharmacy program is divided into 6 distinct categories. These will ensure that you’re receiving an extensive and well-rounded understanding of the discipline.
Your course is broken up into the following themes:
|Structure and function of the body||This part will be all about how the body works. In the subject that teaches this theme, you’ll be gaining a fundamental understanding of the human body and how it functions. This will include how the cells, molecules and organs support the body’s function.|
|Drug structure, disposition, and action||The three subjects that make up this part will be all about how medicines work and impact the body. So, you’ll be developing an in-depth understanding of different medicines, their effects, as well as the pre-formulation, formulation, manufacturing and packaging of pharmaceutical products. Therefore you’ll be getting to know how medicines can be absorbed, distributed and eliminated from the body.|
|Professional practice||To understand what pharmacists do (which is what this section covers), you’ll be taking 5 different subjects that will teach the relevant sociocultural context for the various social values, attitudes, legal issues, ethical concerns and appropriate behaviour that’s necessary for practice.|
|Comprehensive care||These 8 subjects will be all about the relationship between pathophysiology and the design and clinical use of drugs when managing various health conditions.|
|Inquiry and innovation||In these 3 subjects, you’ll be focusing on a project that applies the skills and knowledge you’ve learned to explore creative, innovative and effective solutions in a variety of environments — like a lab, clinic, broader society or a workplace.|
|Professional experience||Finally, these 2 subjects will be all about developing the professional experience required to feel competent and confident in a pharmaceutical workplace. So, this will include a 12 week placement in a variety of clinical settings.|
So, that’s the structure of your course! Even from the titles and their briefs, it’s clear that the Bachelor of Pharmacy is a program that values the practical components in order to gain the essential experience.
You can take a deeper look at the structure of the course in the drop-down sections here!
What are the Core Units?
Now, we’ll take you through a few of the core classes that you can expect to take as a Pharmacy student at Monash.
Core Units Description
How the Body Works In this first year unit, you’ll be gaining a foundational understanding of the human body as a functioning system — with an emphasis on the functions of cells, molecules and organs. This class will be focusing on the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry knowledge essential for pharmacists.
How Medicines Work You can expect this introductory unit to be all about the process of transforming drugs into medicine. You’ll be learning about the factors that contribute to the oral absorption of drugs and the properties of molecules that indicate the stability, dissolution, solubility and permeability of drugs.
Professional Practice I This unit will be all about a pharmacist’s role in assisting consumers with their medicine. As a member of healthcare, you’ll be gaining an essential understanding of human behaviour, cultural considerations and professional communication required in healthcare.
Comprehensive Care: Cardiovascular In this subject, you’ll develop an understanding of the skills required to diagnose and manage patients with cardiovascular conditions like hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis and thromboembolic disorders. These comprehensive care subjects cover a range of specific health conditions that you’ll learn about in detail.
The other notable mentions include dermatology, endocrinology, blood, brain and cancers, pathogens as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
So, there you go! There’s quite a lot to cover but since the degree is so structured, you can feel confident that Monash has chosen essential topics that will assist you throughout your career.
Is there a built-in internship program?
Sure is! Like we mentioned earlier, the sixth category that you’ll cover throughout your Bachelor of Pharmacy degree is known as Professional Experience.
These 2 units (Student Experiential Placements I and Student Experiential Placements II) are the main practical placement opportunities in the course. These include a 12-week placement in a variety of clinical settings to give you an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge that you’ve developed throughout your degree.
You’ll get some great experience, gain academic credit and give your resume some oomph as you refine your communication, teamwork, empathy and problem solving skills to get you ready for the real thing!
These subjects are provided by the Student Experiential Placements Program and are another great feature of Monash’s Pharmacy degree — which by the way, ranks second in the world!
How to Get into a Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash
To apply for the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) course at Monash, you’ll need to get an ATAR of at least 84. If you haven’t quite gotten that mark, there is absolutely no need to stress!
While it is quite a competitive degree and requires a pretty big commitment, there are still other ways in. Monash understands that an HSC mark does not give a proper indication of your skills, talents, interests and abilities.
First, take a look here if you’ve received some alternative credit that may help your admission process.
Next, see what kind of diplomas you could get through Monash’s main alternative entry pathway, Monash College. These short courses will provide you with the qualifications necessary to score you a place in a Bachelors program at Monash. It’s a path designed for aspiring Monash students who haven’t quite gotten the mark or previous experience.
There’s a whole section on Monash College’s website dedicated to Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. So, all you need to do is complete a ‘Foundation Year’ at Monash College and you’ll be well on your way to joining the next first year cohort in Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Science!
Any assumed knowledge?
There are a few subject prerequisites that you’re expected to have graduated with to apply for the Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash. You’ll need to graduate high school having successfully completed an English subject, some kind of Maths and a Science subject.
So, if you’re choosing your Year 11 and 12 subjects and Pharmacy seems like the right path for you, make sure you’re choosing some maths and science subjects too.
You can also take a look at the prerequisites for other students here!
Monash Uni offers a wide range of scholarships to potential students on account of a variety of different reasons. Perhaps you’ve performed excellently at school or in athletics, maybe you’ve consistently engaged with your community or have participated in different leadership roles — there could be a scholarship for you!
You could also be eligible to apply for a scholarship on the basis of financial difficulties, emotional hardship, a medical condition or if you have a disability.
You can take a squiz at which one would best suit you here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
Monash Uni uses the semester system. This means that as a student, you can expect to undergo your studies through 2 main sessions with a pretty decent break in between.
If you’re someone that values a chance to refresh and focus on some non-uni related things, then this structure may be perfect for you.
The amount of subjects that you’ll be taking at a time varies depending on how far you are in your degree and the format of the unit. This also applies to the kinds of classes that you’ll take for a particular subject.
Since Pharmacy at Monash is such a structured degree, you won’t have to worry about figuring all this out — you’ll be automatically put in these classes.
Either way, at some point in your degree you’ll be attending lectures, tutorials, labs and workshops. All up you can expect to be on campus for anywhere between 10 and 25 hours.
As a Pharmacy student at Monash, most of your lectures will be pre-recorded so you can watch them wherever you want. Every now and again, you’ll be encouraged to attend these lectures in person, where a lecturer or guest speaker standing up the front of a class discussing the content that’s displayed on a Powerpoint.
Lectures are quite passive experiences. You won’t really be chatting or discussing the content at all. It’s more a chance to take notes, prepare any questions you may have and get your head around the material. There’ll be around 100 students attending these lectures and they’ll last anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
Lectures will generally inform your future tutorials so knowing you’ll have an upcoming tutorial is a great motivation to prepare questions or discussion points that you’d like a little more support with. You’ll have a tutorial for each of your subjects and these will give you a more intimate chance to chat with your peers, lead discussions and feel a bit more confident in your weekly content.
Tutorials will usually have around 20 to 30 students in a class and will, again, last around 1 to 2 hours.
“You have a whole unit on labs in second year in your first semester but basically they teach you how to make creams, ointments, medicinal solutions and antibiotic powers — mixing them with water and stuff like that. They’ll last about 2 hours and you’re in a class with around 30 people…. It’s like a cooking class!” — Vivienne L.
A lab is a session where you can apply your theoretical knowledge in practical situations.
You’ll be guided by a teacher who will take you through all sorts of methods to prepare different medicinal solutions. These classes will last about 2 hours with around 30 other people in your class.
Your workshop sessions are pretty much a perfect mix of labs and tutorials. They aim to provide practical and theoretical classes to consolidate your knowledge in real situations.
While they do have quite a hands-on focus, you’ll still be given plenty of opportunities to facilitate discussion, interact with your peers and present your findings. These will run for around 1 to 2 hours and will also house about 30 other Pharmacy students.
Like any university degree, your assessments are going to vary depending on the format and structure of the class that you’re taking. Either way, you can always expect to be assessed on a nice combination of theory and practice.
You can expect to be graded on valuable and transferable skills that will come in handy when you enter the working world.
For the most part, you can expect to be doing exams, presentations, methodology, placements and speeches!
Skills You Refine and Learn
As a student in the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) program, you can feel confident that you’ll graduate with the highly sought-after skills that can be effectively utilised in and beyond the pharmaceutical industry. As you can see, you’ll be developing valuable and extremely transferable skills that will be appreciated in any workplace.
Importantly, as an aspiring pharmacist your interpersonal and collaborative skills are going to be essential to liaise with clients and support customers. You’ll be needing advanced accuracy, decisiveness and memory skills to consider the benefits and complications of particular medicinal solutions so that your treatments will be as effective as possible.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
As a student in the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) course, you’ll be positioned within the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The great thing about being in this faculty as a Pharmacy student is that you’re surrounded by supportive and likeminded staff who have plenty of pharmaceutical experience to share.
You’ll foster valuable relationships with tutors and staff who know all about how medicines interact with the body from a historic, contemporary, cultural and social perspective.
You can expect your Pharmacy cohort to be as welcoming, committed and passionate as you are. You’re all in a pretty demanding degree and one that requires a heightened awareness of social issues and public health. So, you can be sure that your peers will be empathetic and willing to help you out.
Clubs and Societies
There are plenty of clubs and societies to choose from at Monash Uni. In fact, the uni offers over 100 student-led associations that are busting to get you on board.
No matter where your interests lie or how whacky you think your passion is, there’ll be a club for you. So, stick to what you know by joining the Pharmaceutical Science Society or branch out and embrace your funky side in the Improv and Drama Club or the Photography Club! There’s something for everyone.
As a current, future or potential student at Monash, you can expect to feel constantly supported in the uni environment. Uni culture — especially when it comes to the intensity of pharmacy degrees — can be really tough sometimes.
So, if there’s one thing to keep in mind when you’re studying, it’s to not be afraid to ask for help. Monash provides plenty of resources for students who are struggling mentally, need some academic assistance, language support or just want someone to talk to. Whatever it is, Monash is there to help and they want to help.
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!