Female pharmacist dealing with medicines at drug lab

What are the prospects for studying pharmacy in the UK? Learn about UK pharmacist course rankings and tuition fees

When we visit the doctor for a common cold or flu, we might wonder why painkillers like Panadol have two names: Acetaminophen and Paracetamol. Apart from studying medicine, delving into the field of pharmacy allows us to gain a deeper understanding of medicinal knowledge, and even become a practicing pharmacist. So, what are the prospects of studying pharmacy in the UK? Can UK pharmacy courses be recognized for professional qualifications in Hong Kong? Which universities rank the highest in pharmacy in the UK? How much does it generally cost to study pharmacy in the UK? Cyclopes answers all these questions for students below.

Pharmacist checking medicines at drugstore

Source: Freepik 

UK Pharmacy Courses and Professional Practice System

The UK is one of the top regions in the world for pharmacy education and research. Studying pharmacy in the UK offers numerous advantages, including access to high-quality education and greater job opportunities upon graduation. 

Before choosing a major or planning a career, students must first distinguish between Pharmacology and Pharmacy as two separate disciplines. The career path for Pharmacology typically involves new drug development in pharmaceutical companies or labs, while Pharmacy studies how to administer medications. Pharmacists also interact with patients and are responsible for dispensing medications. This article focuses on Pharmacy. 


To become a qualified practicing pharmacist in the UK, one needs to complete the following requirements in a minimum of five years: 


1. Students first need to complete at least a four-year Master's degree in Pharmacy (M.Pharm). 


2. After obtaining their M.Pharm degree, students must undergo a one-year pre-registration training. During this period, students must hold a paid position in a community or hospital pharmacy and be assessed based on their performance. 


3. Students must pass the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council) registration exam. 


4. Students must meet the competence requirements for a registered pharmacist. 

Can UK Pharmacy Graduates Practice in Hong Kong?

Graduates in pharmacy from the UK who wish to practice in Hong Kong must pass the conversion examination. This exam has a high threshold and a relatively low passing rate (about 20%). Students graduating from the UK must diligently prepare for this exam to succeed. Furthermore, in Hong Kong, the medical and pharmaceutical systems are integrated. Pharmacists operate under hospitals or clinics and primarily offer medication dispensing services. 


In contrast, in the UK, pharmacies and pharmacists play a more independent role (often referred to as the separation of medication and medical practice). Patients rely on pharmacists not just for dispensing medications but also for professional advice (such as interactions and adverse reactions between drugs). The status of pharmacists in the UK is more akin to that of doctors, especially suited for those with aspirations to assist patients. Currently, there's a shortage of pharmacists in the UK. For those aspiring to study pharmacy in the UK, the overall prospects of practicing in the UK are more promising than returning to Hong Kong. 

Asian woman consulting pharmacist’s advice on medicine at drugstore

Source: Freepik 

UK Pharmacy University Rankings

According to the latest Subject League Table 2024 by the authoritative UK university ranking body, Complete University Guide, the top ten pharmacy university rankings in the UK are as follows: Each university's pharmacy program has different admission score requirements. It is recommended that students choose their target universities based on their individual academic achievements.


  1. University of Cambridge 
  2. Queen's University Belfast 
  3. University of Strathclyde 
  4. Cardiff University 
  5. Ulster University 
  6. University of Bath 
  7. University of Nottingham 
  8. University of Leeds 
  9. University College London 
  10. University of Lincoln 


UK Pharmacy Tuition Fees
Tuition fees for studying pharmacy in the UK vary based on the student's nationality. For instance, the tuition fee for UK local students pursuing a Master's in Pharmacy at University College London is £9,250. However, international students are charged approximately three times that amount, around £29,000. Calculating based on the fees for international students, the tuition fees for studying pharmacy in the UK typically range from £16,000 to £30,000. Since tuition varies among universities and courses, students are advised to refer to individual university details to confirm tuition fees and other admission requirements.
Hand with different medicines from a brown bottle

Source: Freepik 

Tailored Advice for Students' Higher Education Queries
For students interested in pursuing a pharmacy course in the UK, if you haven't found a suitable institution on the UK pharmacy university rankings or still have questions about the tuition fees for studying pharmacy in the UK, you are welcome to consult with Cyclopes' professional UK higher education advisory team. We will provide students with the most appropriate educational advice, striving to help you smoothly enroll in your desired UK university.





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