Pharmacy is a popular course in Malaysia. You might wonder: What is so fancy about dispensing medicine?
The common perception about pharmacy is that a pharmacist has a prestigious social status like a doctor or a lawyer, without the difficulty of studying as hard as them.
This article will challenge the stereotypes you have towards pharmacy. Read on to find out!
What is Pharmacy all about?
A pharmacy degree will cover topics related to the human body and its reaction to various drugs.
The core of pharmacy is the type and dosage of medicine to cure disease so expect to deal with a lot of chemistry related subjects. Pharmacy often complements the consultation of a doctor.
What are the major fields in Pharmacy course?
Many people do not realize that in pharmacy, there are a few distinctive fields that separate the role of a pharmacist.
The pharmacist you see in common drugstores like Watson and Guardian is different from the one you see in the hospital.
Generally, the fields are:
1. Academic Pharmacy
In Academic Pharmacy, you will need at least a PhD in order to work in educational institutions to teach, research or evaluate the findings of clinical studies. You will get the opportunity to teach and nurture a new generation of pharmacists!
2. Community Pharmacy
Community Pharmacists are in charge of dispensing medication to customers in retail stores, such as Watsons and Guardian pharmacies. You will evaluate the dosage of prescription to the common public.
3. Hospital Pharmacy
In addition to dispensing medication, Hospital Pharmacists prepare intravenous medications, participate in ward rounds, and purchase and quality test medication used in the hospital.
Pharmacists must also be able to decide what medication is appropriate for each patient and identify any errors by physicians in prescribing medication to patients.
They must also review other medications patients are taking prior to filling new prescriptions to ensure there are no possible harmful drug interactions between medications.
4. Industrial Pharmacy
Industrial Pharmacists are involved in drug production for pharmaceutical companies, ensuring that the medication produced is of high quality and is safe
What are the entry requirements and qualifications?
The academic entry requirements vary based on your choice of institution and level of study. Outlined below are the general academic entry requirements in Malaysia for each level of study:
- SPM / O-Level (or equivalent) - 5Bs including Mathematics/Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology
- SPM / O-Level (or equivalent) - 5 credits including Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and a Science subject with a pass in English
3. Bachelor’s degree
- STPM / A-Level - BBB, ABC or AAC in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics
- UEC - B4 in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics
- Australian Matriculation - ATAR 80.0, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics
- Foundation in Science - CGPA 3.0 in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics
- Matriculation - CGPA 3.0 in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics
In addition, a minimum of 5Bs including Mathematics/Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology in SPM / O-Level (or equivalent) is typically required.
4. Master's degree
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in relevant field - CGPA 2.75 or 2.50 with min. 2 years working experience
A certain amount of working experience may be required.
- Master’s degree or equivalent in relevant field - CGPA 3.0
- Bachelor’s degree (for direct Bachelor to PhD students) - CGPA 3.67
A certain amount of working experience may also be required.
How long do you study to get a Pharmacy degree?
Pre-University / Foundation studies (1-2 years) → Pharmacy degree (4 years) → Pharmacist training (1 year) → Registered Pharmacist
A typical undergraduate degree in Pharmacy is 4 years long. Then, you will need to complete one year of training followed by one year of compulsory service at a training premise that is recognised by the Pharmacy Board Malaysia.
Check out the official site to find out recognised government and private premises. You will also need to sit and pass an examination (Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination) within the training period. After successful completion, you will then be a Fully Registered Pharmacist (FRP). Hooray!
In total, the duration taken to be a fully registered pharmacist will take around 6 years.
How much does it cost to study Pharmacy in Malaysia?
Studying Pharmacy can be relatively more expensive. Here are the estimated fees of studying Pharmacy in Malaysia according to each study level:
Estimated Fees (per year)
RM 50,000 - RM 200,000
RM 34,000 - RM 60,000
RM 50,000 - RM 120,000
What are the job opportunities?
Being a pharmacist is the most common career with a Pharmacy degree but there are a lot more that you can explore. Check out the list here:
- Academic Pharmacist
- Community Pharmacist
- Hospital Pharmacist
- Industrial Pharmacist
- Research Pharmacist
- Veterinary Pharmacist
- Pharmaceutical Consultant
Best universities to study Pharmacy in Malaysia
The toughest part about studying Pharmacy is deciding which pharmacy school to enrol in. This can be difficult for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from affording tuition and having the resources to relocate to another city or even country, to meeting your chosen school’s requirements. Here is a list of best universities in Malaysia to study Pharmacy course:
1. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is the first university in Malaysia to be selected by the Malaysian government to participate in the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX), a fast-track programme that helps tertiary institutions achieve world-class status.
USM offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that are conducted in their three campuses: main campus, engineering campus and health campus.
2. University Malaya (UM)
Known as the top university in Malaysia, Universiti Malaya has a good reputation in producing competitive and holistic graduates. As the oldest and most prestigious university in Malaysia, the university is located in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
UM offers a wide range of programmes to both undergraduate and postgraduate students with more than 12 faculties, four academies and centres. Extensive and holistic student service and support system is available to equip students with vital skills and exposure.
3. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia is the National University of Malaysia and is ranked in the Top 150 of the 2022 QS World University Rankings. It is a public university located in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, which is at the south of Kuala Lumpur.
Since its inception, UKM has grown from three faculties to its current 13 faculties and 12 research institutes with approximately 172,000 alumni worldwide. It also partners with universities across the world to offer Student Mobility Programmes.
4. International Medical University (IMU)
The International Medical University (IMU) is a private health sciences university in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia's leading private medical and healthcare university. It was established in 1992 and is active in research and teaching within medicine and healthcare with a strong international orientation.
5. Taylor’s University
Taylor’s University is an educational provider based in Malaysia. The university offers a range of study options covering subject areas such as Accounting, Finance, Arts, Computer Science, Business, Hospitality and Tourism, and much more. It enjoys more than 50 years in the education industry and has a global network of more than 3,000 career partners. 3,000 of Taylor’s students interns with top employers every year. The university's School of Pharmacy offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that received full accreditation by the Malaysian Pharmacy Board as well.
6. University of Cyberjaya (UoC)
University of Cyberjaya (UoC) is ranked as one of the pre-eminent private universities in Malaysia. Located in Cyberjaya, UoC is a renowned healthcare university with a wide variety of courses to offer. If you are considering to further your study in Pharmacy up to doctorate, then this is the place for you! UoC offers bachelor, master and doctorate of Pharmacy.
7. Monash University Malaysia
Monash University Malaysia gives students the opportunity to obtain a prestigious Australian degree, from the campus in Sunway City, Malaysia. Tuition fees and living expenses are significantly lower than in Australia, but students will be recognised internationally as a member of the Monash Alumni.
Monash University is ranked in the top 60 universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2022. Its Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offers the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. Students can complete two years of study in Malaysia and transfer to the Australian campus if they meet the given requirements.
8. UCSI University
UCSI University is a comprehensive university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the 2022 QS World University Rankings, UCSI is ranked 347th, consisting of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and offering the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) programme.