Pharmacy

BSc (Hons) MPharm
School of Pharmacy

What you will study?

The Pharmacy programme is delivered over a number of modules, which are based on the systems of the human body. Each module integrates the life sciences, clinical sciences, and practice and is defined by a series of learning outcomes (outcomes-focused).

Structured professional placements occur in all five years of the programme. A four-month structured placement in Year 4 and an eight-month structured placement in the final year (Year 5) ensure that when you graduate, you are ready for practice.

The programme uses a variety of teaching methods including traditional lectures, case-based learning, small-group learning, computer-assisted learning, shadowing, observation, skills workshops, out-of-hours pharmacy attendance, ward attendance, simulation-based clinical teaching, laboratory work and dispensing practicals.

The programme spans five years in total, ultimately leading to the award of Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). If you complete Years 1-4 of the programme, you will be eligible for the award of a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Once you complete Year 4 you will have the option to progress to the final year of the programme.

Curriculum

Length and structure

Year 1 consists of two semesters:

  • Semester 1 - September to December
  • Semester 2 - January to May

Each semester comprises 12 direct-contact teaching weeks, one week of revision and two weeks of examinations.

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the foundation material which will provide you with the fundamental knowledge and skills in the areas of basic science and practice. These four foundation modules are integrated using case studies and examples of drugs and formulation. In the second semester, you will have your first experience of the systems-based modules. These modules focus on the systems of the body (e.g. cardiovascular, gastrointestinal) and are delivered by multidisciplinary teams from four thematic disciplines: life sciences, pharmaceutics (the science of preparing and using drugs), pharmaceutical chemistry, and pharmacy practice.

Year 1 consists of seven modules and is structured as follows:

First semester

  • Pharmacist: Beginning the Professional Journey (10 credits)
  • Health, Body and Function (10 credits)
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Drugs and their Dosage Forms 1(10 credits)

Second semester

  • Gastrointestinal Health: Medicines and Patient Care (10 credits)
  • Cardiovascular Health: Medicines and Patient Care (10 credits)
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Drugs and their Dosage Forms 2 (10 credits)

Both semesters

  • Professional Development 1 (0 credits)

Teaching styles

The programme adopts a variety of teaching methods to suit the distinct ways in which students learn, including:

  • Online activities
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small-group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Patient contact sessions
  • Research and group projects
  • Simulated learning activities
  • E-learning packages
  • Structured visits to community, hospital and industry sites

Learning through experience

The first placement occurs in the first semester of Year 1, when you get an opportunity to visit a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and an industrial practice environment. The site-visit to a community pharmacy takes the form of a structured out-of-hours visit and has recently been facilitated by a team of RCSI graduates.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. group presentations, laboratory practicals) and summative end-of-semester multiple choice question (MCQ) and short note question (SNQ) papers. The year-long Professional Development module is assessed via the submission of learning reflections on an e-portfolio.

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for a Year 1 student:

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lab Lecture Tutorial Workshop Lecture
Lab Lecture Lecture Workshop Lecture
Lab Lecture Lecture Workshop Lecture
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Site visit Lab Lecture  
Lecture Site visit Lab Lecture  
Tutorial Site visit Lab Lecture  

Year 2 consists of two semesters:

  • Semester 1 - September to December
  • Semester 2 - January to May

Each semester comprises 12 direct-contact teaching weeks, one week of revision and two weeks of examinations.

In Year 2 the curriculum is wholly integrated around the organ systems model introduced in Year 1. These systems-based modules have input from four thematic disciplines: life sciences, pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacy practice. The actions, interactions, and use of medicines and pharmaceutical care are all delivered through this integrated, systems-based approach, and there is an emphasis on the pharmacist as a caregiver.

In the second semester of Year 2 you will have their first opportunity to engage in a patient-facing placement in a community pharmacy.

Year 2 consists of seven modules and is structured as follows:

First semester

  • Respiratory Health: Medicines and Patient Care (10 credits)
  • Musculoskeletal and Haematological Health: Medicines and Patient Care (10 credits)
  • Central Nervous System: Medicines and Patient Care (10 credits)

Second semester

  • Immunology: Defence and Management Response (10 credits)
  • Infection: Optimising Prevention and Treatment Strategies (10 credits)
  • Sensory and Protective Structures: Health and Potential for External Delivery (10 credits)

Both semesters

  • Professional Development 2 (0 credits)

Teaching styles

The programme adopts a variety of teaching methods to suit the distinct ways in which you learn. These include:

  • Online activities
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small-group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals 
  • Patient contact sessions
  • Research and group projects
  • Simulated learning activities
  • E-learning packages
  • Site visits

Learning through experience

The experiential learning in Year 2 is provided as a placement in a community pharmacy within a commutable distance from the RCSI campus. You will have an opportunity to meet and interact with patients. Placements are scheduled every Tuesday afternoon in the second semester from 2-5pm.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. poster presentations, practical examinations) and summative end-of-semester written papers. At the end of the academic year students will participate in a clinical examination which will assess the students' skills and professional behaviours. The year-long Professional Development module is assessed via the submission of learning reflections on an e-portfolio.

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for a Year 2 student.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Online
activity
Lecture
Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lecture Lecture
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Lecture Lab Lecture Workshop
Lecture Lecture Lab Lecture Lecture
Lecture Lecture Lab Lecture Lecture

Year 3 consists of two semesters:

  • Semester 1 - September to December
  • Semester 2 - January to May

Each semester comprises 12 direct-contact teaching weeks, one week of revision and two weeks of examinations.

Year 3 continues with the systems-based model of teaching in Year 1 and most of Year 2. The system-based modules conclude at the end of the second semester in Year 3, when you will extend your knowledge and experience of the actions, interactions, and use of medicines and pharmaceutical care as part of The Drug Life Cycle: Discovery and Beyond module. This module will give you an understanding of the key regulatory and scientific aspects of drug discovery and the manufacture, preparation, quality control of medicines.

In Year 3 you will participate in a series of placements across a range of hospital sites. On these placements, you will be enabled to integrate the academic content of the Year 3 modules with real-life cases and will have an opportunity to interact with patients and health professionals.

At the end of Year 3, you will have the opportunity to participate in elective placements which take place in Ireland and countries such as China, Japan and the US.

Year 3 consists of seven modules and is structured as follows:

First semester

  • The Liver and Kidney: Health, Function and Medicines Handling (10 credits)
  • The Endocrine System: Hormones as Signals and Regulators (10 credits)
  • Men's and Women's Health: Tailored Care (10 credits)

Second semester

  • Stages of Life: The Changing Body and Medicines Handling (10 credits)
  • Cancer: Prevention and Control (10 credits)
  • The Drug Life Cycle: Discovery and Beyond (10 credits)

Both semesters

  • Professional Development 3 (0 credits)

Teaching styles

The programme adopts a variety of teaching methods to suit the distinct ways in which students learn, including:

  • Online activities
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small-group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Patient contact sessions
  • Research and group projects
  • Simulated learning activities
  • E-learning packages
  • Site visits

Learning through experience

In Year 3 students take part in Rotational Hospital Pharmacy Placements (RHPP). The RHPPs provide students with a further opportunity for learning through practical experience in the secondary care environment. Students will have the chance to visit and engage with five hospital sites including maternity, paediatric, psychiatric and cancer care where they will be able to interact with patients, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. practical examination) and summative end-of-semester MCQ and SNQ papers. At the end of the academic year, students will participate in a clinical examination which will assess skills and professional behaviours. The year-long Professional Development module is assessed via the submission of learning reflections on an e-portfolio.

Timetable

Below is an example of a typical week for a Year 3 student.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lab
practical
Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Workshop   Placement Workshop Workshop
Lecture   Placement Lecture Workshop
Workshop   Placement Lecture Workshop

Year 4 consists of two semesters:

  • Semester 1 - September to December
  • Semester 2 - January to May

The pharmacy practice placement runs throughout the first semester, and you will be based entirely off-campus during this time. The second semester comprises 12 direct-contact teaching weeks, one week of revision and two weeks of examinations.

Year 4 starts with a four-month placement running from September to December. You will not attend learning activities in RCSI during that period but engage with academic staff via an online learning platform. While on placement, you will complete three online modules, in addition to the module.

During Semester 2, you will have an opportunity to select an optional module from a suite of modules designed to reflect your special interests. You will also complete a research project as part of the ‘Scientific Research Skills’ module designed to give you a critical understanding of the research process, including research philosophy and governance.

Non-EU students who complete Year 4 will be eligible for the award of a BSc Pharmacy and will have the option to progress to Year 5 (MPharm).

Year 4 consists of seven modules and is structured as follows:

First semester

  • Online module: Organisation and Management Skills (10 credits)
  • Online module: Professional Skills Development (10 credits)
  • Online module: Professional Practice (10 credits)

Second semester

  • Global and Population Health (10 credits)
  • Elective Module - Students choose one elective from six available (5 credits)
  • Scientific Research Skills (15 credits)

Both semesters

  • Professional Development 4 (0 credits)

Teaching styles

The programme adopts a variety of teaching methods to suit the distinct ways in which you learn. In Year 4 there is an emphasis on teaching through online activities as you will be off-site for the first semester. Methods of teaching throughout Year 4 include:

  • Online activities
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small-group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Patient contact sessions
  • Research and group projects
  • Simulated learning activities
  • E-learning packages
  • Site visits

Learning through experience

During Year 4, you will be placed in a pharmacy practice placement settings, including the pharmaceutical industry, regulation, education and other non-traditional settings where the role of the pharmacist is valued (e.g. GP practices and primary care centres). The placement starts in September but you will have the option to extend the placement by starting two months earlier, during the summer vacation. Placements finish in December. You will attend placements for approximately 30 hours per week and will also have dedicated time for both directed and self-directed learning.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (poster presentations, practicals) and summative end-of-semester MCQ and SNQ papers with the year-long Professional Development module evaluated via the submissions of learning reflections on an e-portfolio.

Timetable

During Year 4, you will spend the first semester entirely on placement and the course work is delivered online.

The timetable below is a sample of a semester 2 week.

Morning
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture     Lab
practical
Workshop
  Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
Workshop
Lecture Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
Workshop
Afternoon
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Lecture  Lecture Lecture Lab
practical
 
Lecture  Lecture   Lab
practical
 
      Lab
practical

Year 5 is structured differently to the other years.

  • You will be based on campus during the first semester with the final three weeks dedicated to revision (one week) and examinations (two weeks).
  • The second semester starts in January when you will start an eight-month patient-facing placement, concluding in August of that year.

The MPharm year of the programme concentrates on preparing you for practice. The placements in both Years 4 and 5 give you an opportunity to engage with a range of employers across a spectrum of practice settings. You will participate in three taught modules during the first semester while also completing Professional Development 5.

From January to August you will be on patient-facing placements, your final opportunity to cement the knowledge, skills and competence they have been acquiring since Year 1.

Year 5 concludes with the Professional Registration Examination (PRE).

Year 5 consists of eight modules and is structured as follows:

First semester

  • Patient Care and Society (10 credits)
  • Decision Making in Complex Care (10 credits)
  • Leadership in Pharmacy: Building the Future (10 credits)

Second semester

  • Online module: Supply of Medicines and Organisation and Management Skills (10 credits)
  • Online module: Leading the Safe and Rational Use of Medicines (10 credits)
  • Online module: Professional Practice and Public Health (10 credits)
  • Online module: Clinical Research Skills (10 credits)

Both semesters

  • Professional Development 5 (0 credits)

Teaching styles

The programme adopts a variety of teaching methods to suit the distinct ways in which you learn. Similar to Year 4, there is an emphasis on teaching through online activities as you will be off-site for the second part of the year. Methods of teaching styles throughout Year 5 include:

  • Online activities
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Small-group teaching
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Patient contact sessions
  • Research and group projects
  • Simulated learning activities
  • E-learning packages
  • Site visits

Learning through experience

Year 5 placements take place from January to August. You will attend placements for approximately 30 hours per week and will also have dedicated time for both directed and self-directed learning. Practice placements during Year 5 in community and hospital pharmacy support you to develop the clinical skills and behaviours required to provide optimal patient care in accordance with evolving pharmacy practice.

Assessment

Each module is assessed independently by a combination of continuous assessment (e.g. poster presentations, practicals) and summative end-of-semester MCQ and SNQ papers with the year-long Professional Development module assessed via the submission of learning reflections on an e-portfolio.

A Professional Registration Examination (PRE) will take place at the end of Year 5. This examination will be common to all Schools of Pharmacy.