If you’re science-inclined and enjoy helping people, you may be considering a Bachelor of Pharmacy at QUT!
In the centre of Brisbane, right near the water, you’ll find the Queensland University of Technology. Today we’re going to break down exactly what it’s like to study a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) here, including an insight into the staff and subjects you’ll interact with.
Keep reading to learn more!
This course is designed to teach you all the academic and practical complexities of pharmacy. The degree focuses on many areas of patient care, including physical and mental health conditions.
You will be working in modern laboratories and simulation rooms to understand exactly how pharmacists conduct their practice!
In this degree, you will also be taught how to give reasonable medical advice, as you may be the first person a patient sees. You’ll be encouraged to contribute in big-picture discussions, including ideas around global diseases and treatment.
This degree is automatically a four-year long Honours degree, meaning that all students complete a final year of Clinical practice, Evidence-Based Healthcare and specialised skills. This offers you a distinctive leg-up when finding employment.
Why should you study this degree?
The Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) is ideal for a person who has scientific or medical interests and wants to contribute to the world of pharmacology in practice or research.
It’s also great for people who know they want to go straight into work as a Pharmacist after studying.
There are several areas that Pharmacy graduates can work in, including:
- Community pharmacy
- Hospital pharmacy
- Pharmaceutical research
- Government advisory
- University teaching
This degree is a great option for students passionate about the medical field. It will provide you with the practical insights to pursue a career in pharmacy, or to move into research-based fields.
Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) students can also advance into specialised forms of medical study, including PhDs in medicine, or Masters of Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy or Research.
Core Units for this Degree
Across the four years of study, students will undertake core units and specialisations. Each student will also undertake at least 500 hours of industry placement, ensuring you understand the nuances of a workplace.
However, this degree doesn’t offer any electives or specific majors. You will follow a lineal study progression that takes you from theoretical fundamentals into practical applications.
In your first year, you’ll undertake Foundations of Clinical Practice where you’ll learn about the fundamentals of working in the healthcare system, including the need for professional skills. You’ll also study Chemistry for Medicines which teaches the effects of medicine, therapeutics and drugs — it’s the foundation for more advanced studies.
Another unit you’ll be taking is Introduction to Pharmacy Practice where you’ll focus on the legal responsibilities of a pharmacist, including dispensing prescriptions, selecting medications and basic business management. Additionally, in Molecules to Medicines, you’ll be taught the concepts of medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics, drug design, dosage form design and formulations — this subject explains the sources and properties of different drugs.
Other subjects you’ll be studying include:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Statistical Methods In Health
- Disease Processes
- Introduction to Clinical Therapeutics for Health
Your second year of study involves the subject, I Pharmacist, which builds on previously-learned skills — it will teach the practical skills needed to be a great pharmacist. It is also the first of six subjects with a placement experience.
Medical Microbiology and Infection Control is where you’ll develop knowledge on a range of microorganisms affecting human health — it teaches methods to limit growth and transmission of pathogens. Now, Biochemistry is where you’re taught about macromolecules, including their structure, functioning and roles within living cells — you’ll understand how cell function may contribute to health and disease.
Another unit you’ll get to study is Quality Use of Medicines, where you’ll learn the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists, especially when dealing with diverse groups of people. This subject involves a one-week prac.
You’ll also partake in the subject, Molecular Basis of Medicines, where you explore how biologically activated molecules affect the body, including drug design using molecular modelling.
These are some of the other subjects you’ll be taught:
- Evidence-Based Clinical Practice
- Patient centred care: Musculoskeletal Dermatological and Special Senses
- Patient centred care: Gastrointestinal
Third year is where you’ll be taking on a whole bunch of Patient Centred Care subjects. One in particular is Cardiovascular, which builds on prior skills, including the World Health Organisation’s concept of an 8-star pharmacist to learn about treatment in a cardiovascular concept — this is the case for all patient-centred care units.
The other patient centred-care units are Respiratory; Endocrine, Diabetes, Reproductive; Oncology and Immunology; Neurology; and Mental Health.
Your capstone unit is known as Pharmacist Prescribing, which builds on patient-centred units to ensure students have prescribing competencies and clinical skills. Food and Nutrition Across the Lifecycle fits within a suite of units designed to cover nutrition principles for all age groups. It looks at chronic disease management and general health.
Fourth Year (Honours)
|Advanced Clinical Practice 1||This unit develops students' technical, clinical and personal skills needed to work as a pharmacist.|
|Business of Healthcare||Students learn business management concepts in a real world learning environment.|
|Applying Research in Practice 1||This unit culminates the learning experience of an Honours student, fostering research skills that will be used during placement.|
|Evidence-based Healthcare: Practice Informing Research 1||In this unit, students will put to practice their lab skills to formulate a dosage design that addresses a clinical need for a patient.|
|Clinical Skills||This capstone unit focuses on each student's competency to practice, ensuring students can focus on the practical needs of patients and work in collaboration.|
These are the rest of the subjects you’ll be taking:
- Advanced Clinical Practice 2
- Applying Research in Practice 2
- Evidence-based Healthcare: Practice Informing Research 2
Honours is a given in this course, meaning students enrol in it before their first year of study commences.
Internships and Placements
Within this degree, you will complete over 500 hours of compulsory placement. These occur mostly in Clinical Practice subjects over third and fourth year. The university organises placements of all students in hospital settings.
Here, students work alongside pharmacy and allied health professionals to administer treatment, develop bedside manner and and understand more of how medicines aid and intersect with general health. If students wish to undertake a community placement in fourth year, these must be individually sourced.
After graduation, Pharmacy students are also required to partake in a year-long professional internship, where they are supervised before becoming registered as a Pharmacist.
How to Get into a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) at QUT
The current ATAR minimum for this degree is 80. You’ll also need to keep in mind that there are subjects that are considered assumed knowledge, such as Chemistry, English (or Literature, or English and Literature Extension, or English as an Additional Language) and Mathematical Methods (or Specialist Mathematics).
Students for this course must also undergo a criminal history check for working with children before commencing any type of clinical placement.
QUT provides adjustments to students whose circumstances have negatively impacted their studies. Those who have undergone financial hardship, disruptive home environments, language difficulties, disability or educational disruption should apply.
QUT has a number of general and specialised scholarships available, which can be found here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
QUT operates in a semester format. Semester 1 generally begins in February, and Semester 2 commences in July each year.
Each week will consist of roughly 15 to 25 contact hours, and many students are on campus 4 days a week on a full-time load. Your classes will mainly consist of lectures, tutorials, practicals and labs, as well as workshops.
These are available to all students in the degree and teach a theoretical overview to the whole cohort at once. As these are not compulsory, they vary in size but can have up to 60 students at any one time.
University tutorials generally consist of 15 to 20 students. Theoretical concepts are fleshed out and can be discussed with a tutor.
It is an opportunity for students to ask questions and learn about pharmacy concepts more in depth.
Practicals and Labs
In practicals of 15 to 20 students, classes explore the actions required of pharmacists. Students learn how to mix ointments, administer care and advise patients.
These classes will generally take place in laboratories.
Workshops of 15 to 20 students provide a long-form, interactive style class. They are like a lecture and a tutorial combined, so you’ll definitely be learning a lot from them.
What are assessments like?
This hands-on degree is very assignment heavy.
“We did probably two assignments per subject during the semesters. Generally, one of these would be individual and one would be group-based. At the end of each subject, you would sit an oral exam… which was either pass or fail weighted.” — Zahlia Pinder
Much of this degree is based on your understanding of fundamental medical skills, medicine dispensary and bedside manner.
You can find an in-depth break-down of subjects and assessments here!
What skills will you learn during this degree?
Like any medicine-related degree, Pharmacy at QUT works to develop your interpersonal skills as much as your academic knowledge. Communication is also a huge skill that is developed within this degree.
“You learn really good critical thinking as well. I can look at a bunch of medicines and know what disease a person has.” — Zahlia Pinder
QUT Pharmacy also aims to ensure students understand:
- Dispensary of pharmaceuticals
- How to work in a pharmacy environment
- How to address customers
- Musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and mental health conditions
- Interaction with other professionals
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The staff at QUT Pharmacy are industry professionals and educators.
“They all really want you to succeed and because it is a small cohort. All the staff know your name which is fantastic.” — Zahlia Pinder
This degree has roughly 60 to 70 people graduating per year, so it’s a small cohort that can stick together. Students are keen to learn and generally form great friendships!
The university aids students in finding placements throughout their degree, and there are services to help those struggling to find a professional internship once they graduate.
The Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) is also home to its own Society. QUT Student Pharmacy Association (QUTSPA) works to organise events, coaching, tutoring and social activities for students. It’s a great way to get involved with the university community.
In fact, almost the entire Pharmacy student community is part of QUTSPA!
Accessibility and Mentorships
This degree offers a reasonable amount of academic and accessibility support.
The Disability Services and Student Counselling infrastructure allows students to disclose any issues they may have without placing health information on academic records. Disability Advisors then work with students to find reasonable adjustments for their study progression. There is no cost associated with this service.
Student support is also available to assist students with overall wellbeing issues, or academic struggle. Professionals work with students in critical points of the semester to help students achieve their best. Learning forum workshops are also available, which are designed to assist students within a group study setting.
QUTSPA also offers peer tutoring to students, in which third and fourth years answer questions or help work through assessments. This runs for an hour or two every week.
Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.