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Monash to launch Australia’s first combined Bachelor/Master of Pharmacy

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06 April 2016

The Monash University Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is to continue its tradition of educational innovation with the launch of Australia’s first combined Bachelor of Pharmacy(Hons)/Master of Pharmacy in 2017.

Traditionally, pharmacy degrees in Australia have offered students a five-year pathway to apply to register as a pharmacist (generally a four-year bachelor degree plus a one-year internship). Monash’s new course will enable students to apply to register within the same five-year timeframe, but  offers them the additional advantage of doing so with a master’s degree as well as a bachelor’s.

According to Professor Carl Kirkpatrick, Director of Pharmacy Education, the new degree is designed to prepare students for the inevitable expansion of the role that pharmacists will play in primary and other areas of healthcare.

“The BPharm(Hons)/MPharm has been specifically designed to meet the current and future health and workforce needs of Australia,” said Professor Kirkpatrick.

“Australia not only has a rapidly growing population, it also has an aging one. This represents a major challenge for our healthcare system. There is a growing need for pharmacists to become more deeply engaged to help patients - especially those who are the heaviest users of health services,  such as the elderly and those with chronic illnesses,” he said.

In a time when students are increasingly conscious of the return on the investment they make in their education, the degree requires them to undertake a year-long internship. This not only ensures that they get valuable real-world experience, they also get paid by their employer for the duration of  the internship.

The new degree is the latest in a succession of educational innovations that the faculty has made in recent years.

“As part of their degrees, our students solve real-life problems brought to them by industry. We’ve improved pedagogy by developing online learning and simulation platforms such as MyDispense and Pharmatopia. We have now coupled this with a fully integrated curriculum, new approaches to  teaching, and active learning methodologies that engage students’ cognitive and non-cognitive thinking to produce pharmacists better able to meet our societies evolving health care needs,” said Professor Charman, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Monash is widely regarded as being in the top 100 universities in the world, and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was recently ranked first in Australia, first in the AsiaPacific and number four in the world in Pharmacy and Pharmacology by the 2016 QS World University rankings.