Pharmacy vs. Pharmaceutical Science: Which One to Choose?

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Have a passion for helping people? Are you fascinated with chemistry and the human body? Want to pursue your career in the world of specialized drugs? Then, you’ve come to the right place. 

BUT, WAIT – confused on the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science? Read more here to know everything there is to know about both courses before picking the right one for you! 

What is Pharmacy?

Pharmacy is the study of specialized drugs as medicine and the right way to use, store, preserve and prescribe it. Pharmacy is known to be a combination of medical science and chemistry – focusing on the discovering, manufacturing, disposal and control of these drugs. The study of pharmacy equips students with the knowledge of drug composition, their adverse effects, interactions with other drugs and toxicity within the human body. Understanding the form of treatment and it’s pathological process is extremely important in this field as you are responsible for the chemicals being digested by humans. 

What does a Pharmacist do?

As a Pharmacist, your main roles and responsibilities would include providing advice and  guiding customers in the safest way of consuming these medications whilst informing them of the accurate dosage, potential adverse effects the medication could cause after consumption. Besides, other pathways of pharmacy practice would include the “behind the scenes” of how drugs and medications are discovered and manufactured before they hit the shelves of your neighbourhood pharmacies such as Guardian, Watsons and Caring. Pharmacists are essentials to our community as they ensure the safety and efficacy of drug information being consumed by patients. 

What do you study for a Pharmacy degree?

As a Pharmacy undergraduate student, areas of study you will undertake include: 

  • Human Anatomy – structure and functions of organs, how the body works, including studies of physiology and biochemistry 
  • Drug Disposition – how medicines are discover, manufactured and produced along with how they react in the human body 
  • Comprehensive care  – analytical thinking of how to best manage diseases and disorders of patients, able to create the best method of treatment 
  • Professional Practice – experience daily life of a pharmacist, learn customer service operations, ethical and legal do’s and don’ts within the context of a pharmacy

Career Opportunities with a Pharmacy Degree

A Pharmacy degree opens up multiple career pathways for you to choose from as you will be able to work  in pharmacies, medical clinics, hospitals, universities, and government institutions! 

Keep in mind that upon the completion of your Pharmacy Degree (4 years) – it is compulsory for you to undergo one year of compulsory service training at any location that is recognized by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia! Between the training period, you are required to sit for an exam – “Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination” before successfully being able to practice pharmacology as a Fully Registered Pharmacist (FRP) which takes around 6 years. 

Examples of career opportunities for you once you’ve qualified as a Fully Registered Pharmacist (FRP) includes: 

  • Clinical Pharmacist 
  • Regulatory Pharmacist
  • Clinical Research Assistant 
  • Drug Information Service 
  • Pharmacologist
  • Pharmaceutical sales executive

What is Pharmaceutical Science?

Constratingly, Pharmaceutical Science is known to be a subfield of Pharmacy. Pharmaceutical Science in comparison to Pharmacy are like Aviation Engineers in comparison to Pilots. Pharmaceutical Science focuses on the foundation of drug discovery and development. Pharmaceutical science focuses on how medicines work- it’s safety and efficacy, their impact on the body and their effect on the prevention and treatment of disease. Pharmaceutical Science is a very hands-on field for those who are deeply fascinated by the designing, synthesizing, testing and profiling of potential drugs to be used in the world of medicine. The optimization of various properties of existing or potential drugs are of importance to ensure effectiveness and safety upon consumption. 

What does a Pharmaceutical Scientist do?

As a Pharmaceutical Scientist, you will be required to apply biological and chemical principles into your work to tweak molecules into becoming whole compounds that will be able to address present or future medical needs. To become an expert in this field, you should have a strong knowledge and passion in all things science especially chemistry and biology.

What do you study for a Pharmaceutical Science degree?

As a Pharmaceutical Science student, areas of study you will undertake include: 

  • Medicinal Chemistry–  intersection of chemistry, especially synthetic organic chemistry, and pharmacology and various other biological specialties
  • Pharmaceutical Biotechnology – technology that utilizes biological systems, living organisms or parts of this for the development of drugs 
  • Pharmacoeconomics –  the comparison of different pharmaceutical drugs based on value 
  • Pharmacogenetics – the study of the presence of genes in the effectiveness of different drugs to the human body 

If you’re someone who enjoys working in the lab, this course would be perfect for you as you’d be spending most of your time gaining lab skills. 

Career Opportunities with a Pharmaceutical Science Degree

A Pharmaceutical Science degree opens up multiple career pathways for you to choose from as you will be able to work in research facilities. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and government institutions! 

Examples of career opportunities for you once you’ve graduated includes: 

  • Research Scientist 
  • Drug Discovery & Design Manager 
  • Regulatory Affair (for those that want to work outside the lab)
  • Medicinal Chemist 
  • Product Developer 
  • Quality Control Chemist 

General Entry Requirements to Study Pharmacy in Malaysia

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS 

Pre-Requisites: 

For SPM/O-Level;  5Bs each in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Additional Mathematics with a minimum Pass for Bahasa Melayu and English!

Qualification

Scores

A-Levels 

Min. ABC / BBB / AAC in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics / Physics with min. B in Chemistry

STPM

Min, CGPA 3.0 (B in Chemistry)

Foundation in Science 

Min. CGPA 3.0 (B in Chemistry)

Malaysian Matriculation

Min, CGPA 3.0 (B in Chemistry)

SACE

Min. ATAR 75 (B in Science Subjects)

UEC 

Pass with min. 5 B’s 

*NOTE : Different universities have different entry requirements. Contact us for more information.

ENGLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

Qualification

Scores

IELTS

Min. 6.0

TOEFL (IBT)

Min. 79

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

Min. 65

*NOTE : Different universities have different entry requirements. Contact us for more information.

Top Universities to Study Pharmacy in Malaysia

All Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) programs listed below are accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and recognized by the Pharmacy Board Malaysia and Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

1. Monash University

Image Credits: Monash University

Program Offered 

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)

Program Duration 

4 years (Full time)

Intake 

February

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM212, 140 for (Local students)

RM239, 984 for (International students)

2. Taylor’s University

Image Credits: Taylor's University

Program Offered 

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) 

Program Duration 

4 years (Full time) 

Intake 

August 

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 168,510 (Local students)

RM 194,061 (International students) 

3. MAHSA University

Image Credits: MAHSA University

Program Offered 

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)

Program Duration 

4 years (Full time)

Intake 

September 

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 152,00 (Local students)

General Entry Requirements to Study Pharmaceutical Science in Malaysia

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS 

Qualification

Scores

A-Levels 

Min. 2C 1D (including 1 Science/Mathematics and min.C in Chemistry)

STPM

Min. 2C (including Chemistry and 1 Science/Mathematics)

Foundation in Science 

Min. CGPA 2.0 

Malaysian Matriculation

Min. CGPA 2.50 (2 subjects including Chemistry and 1 Science/Mathematics)

Australian Matriculation

Min. ATAR 75

UEC 

Min. 5 B’s (including 1 Science/Mathematics and min. B4 in Chemistry)

*NOTE : Different universities have different entry requirements. Contact us for more information.

ENGLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

Qualification

Scores

IELTS

Min. 5.5

TOEFL (IBT)

Min. 65 

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

Min. 42

*NOTE : Different universities have different entry requirements. Contact us for more information.

Top Universities to Study Pharmaceutical Science in Malaysia

1. International Medical University (IMU)

Image Credits: IMU

Program Offered 

Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Hons)

Program Duration 

3 years (Full time)

Intake 

February, July and September

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM111,00o (Local students)

RM117,300 (International students)

2. University of Nottingham Malaysia

Image Credits: University of Nottingham

Program Offered 

Bachelor of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences (Hons)

Program Duration 

3 years (Full time)

Intake 

September 

Indicative Fee (2021)

RM 135,000 (Local students)

RM 161,400 (International students)

Recommended Articles to Read

What to Study After SPM? After-SPM Guide

Top Universities to Study Pharmacy in Malaysia 2021

Health Courses in Malaysia 2020

Contact us to find out more!

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About the Author

Raveena Rakni Suresh Raj

Leo baby & psych major

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