UCC Undergraduate courses


About This Course

Fact File

  • Title


  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    5 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 (Years 1-4). €7,500 (Year 5). See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H4, 4 x O6/H7; Maths, Other Language. H4 Chemistry, H4 Physics/Biology. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2021: 613*

  • CAO Points Range

    2021: 613*-625

Course Outline

A pharmacist is a healthcare team member specifically concerned with drugs and medicines. Pharmacy at UCC provides the confidence, skills and knowledge to make a difference in the pharmaceutical arena.

The four main areas of study on this five-year course are pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry; formulation design; drug action in the body and the practice of pharmacy. The course incorporates both basic sciences learning and the practice of pharmacy, as well as a number of unpaid/paid placements as outlined above.

The School of Pharmacy has state-of-the-art facilities designed to teach pharmacy to a world-class standard. These include laboratories, teaching and tutorial rooms, and a model pharmacy. Innovative technology is used in over-the-counter (OTC) "responding to symptoms" tutorials. This technology uses interactive patient scenarios across many types of diseases.

Exciting new changes to Pharmacy Education

Since September 2015 students who enter the UCC Pharmacy programme will graduate with a level 9 MPharm degree. Once you have successfully completed your first four years (BPharm) you will then progress to the fifth year (MPharm). This new and exciting change in Pharmacy education in Ireland has come about because the Irish professional Pharmacy body (the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, PSI) now requires graduates to have completed a Masters degree before entering the PSI Register and practising as a Pharmacist.

So what does this mean for you?

The pharmacy degree is designed to integrate both the subjects you will study and the placements you will undertake so that you can really understand and apply your knowledge of science and healthcare to drug treatments for patients. Placements will be an integral part of the programme over the five years. There will be a one day placement in first year, two weeks in second year, an optional two months at the end of third year (summer period), four months in fourth year and eight months in the final year. Placements can be carried out in community, hospital or industry as well as within regulatory organisations but the final eight month placement in your fifth year must be carried out in a patient-facing setting.

Year 1 modules

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

  • AN1075 Principles of Human Structure for Pharmacy Students 
  • BC1443 Biochemistry (10 credits)
  • PF1009 Introduction to Pharmaceutical Chemistry (10 credits)
  • PF1010 Physiochemical Basis of Pharmaceuticals 
  • PF1011 Pharmacy Practice I 
  • PF1012 Introduction to Pharmaceutics: Formulation Science (10 credits)
  • PL1400 Introduction to Physiology for Pharmacy I
  • PL1401 Introduction to Physiology for Pharmacy II 
  • PT1445 Foundation Pharmacology 

Year 2 modules

Molecular Biology;  Introduction to Pharmaceutical Microbiology;  Pharmaceutical Technology - Solid Oral and Sterile Dosage Forms;  Professional Pharmacy Core Skills;  Research Methods and Applied Data Analysis;  Pharmaceutical Analysis;  Pharmaceutical Chemistry;  Pharmacy Practice;  Cellular and Molecular Basis of Drug Action and Toxicity.

Year 3 modules

Gastrointestinal, Hepatic and Endocrine Systems;  Cardiovascular, Renal & Eye Systems;  Professional Practice;  Respiratory, Musculoskeletal & Dermatological Systems;  Clinical Immunology and Infection;  Regulatory Science;  Pharmacokinetics, from Basic principles to Clinical Applications;  Pharmacognosy and Phytopharmaceuticals.

Year 4 modules

Organisation and Management Skills;  Professional Skills Development;  Professional Practice;  Clinical Practice;  Central Nervous System;  Novel Drug Delivery; Pharmacy Project.

Year 5 modules


Clinical Practice;  Emerging Drugs, Drug Design and Mechanism of Action;  Supply of Medicines & Organisation and Management Skills;  Leading the safe and responsible use of Medicines;  Professional Practice and Public Health;  Pharmaceutics of Advanced Therapies; Research Dissertation in Pharmacy.


Personalised Medicine;  Medication Review and Pharmaceutical Care Planning;  Industrial Pharmacy;  From First Idea to First-In-Man: an Overview of the Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development Process;  Immunization Policy and Practices for Pharmacists.

Some Year 4 and Year 5 modules are completed while on placement.

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland on the Register of Pharmacists
  • Evaluate interventions to improve prescribing in practice and within the health care team
  • Practise Pharmacy competently in the primary care/secondary setting with due regard to the competencies set out in the Core Competency Framework for Pharmacists Document
  • Communicate effectively with patients and healthcare professionals for the purpose of counselling and advising on medicines and their safe usage and supply
  • Interpret and evaluate prescriptions and supply medicines in accordance with current legislation and professional codes of practice
  • Apply the physiochemical properties of drugs underpinning the design, development and manufacturing of emerging medicines
  • Outline the physiological, biochemical, molecular and genetic basis of disease, drug therapy and drug delivery
  • Recognise common disease states and respond appropriately to presented symptoms
  • Conduct a literature review, design a research protocol, collect and interpret data and write a dissertation.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture/lab/practical hours

This is a full-time degree course. A typical day might start with lectures in the morning followed by laboratory sessions in the afternoon. To help you to understand the contents of lectures, helpful tutorials also form part of the learning day.

Expected reading hours

In addition to face-to-face contact, you are responsible for reading around your subjects to build on the foundation of knowledge laid down by the lectures.

Field trips

One site visit per year to local pharmaceutical industries is usually organised, in addition to placements in hospital or community pharmacies.


First year - one day; second year - two weeks; third year - optional 2 months (summer period); fourth year - 4 months; fifth year - 8 months (fifth year placements may be unpaid / paid).

Other practicalities

This programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – full details may be found here.

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on this programme.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment including multiple-choice questions, practical reports, computer-aided exams, essays and research reports.

You will also be assessed on your ability to practice as a pharmacist, and this is examined through an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). You will have the opportunity to sit mock examinations in practicals, written examinations and OSCEs.

Who teaches this course

Staff members have connections with the pharmaceutical industry and in UCC, we are also lucky to have locally based but global pharmaceutical industries, with whom our staff are involved in research. These connections greatly influence the teaching of pharmacy to our students.

In addition, as some of our staff are practising pharmacists, they are able to bring their work experiences directly into the lecture theatres and laboratories, which makes learning more exciting and meaningful for students.

Why Choose This Course

I really wanted to find a way to incorporate my love of science with my love of people...

Emer Lynch


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I love the healthcare aspect of it, dealing with patients, prescriptions coming in...

Deirdre Cotter

Student, BSc Pharmacy

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The excellent lecturing combined with a friendly class atmosphere, made my time in UCC a truly rewarding and memorable experience.

Elaine Enright

Graduate, BSc Pharmacy (2014)

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Key facts

  • Purpose-built pharmacy building which houses a model pharmacy, spacious teaching laboratories and a processing suite and clean-room facility
  • Research-led teaching by all staff
  • Wide ranging opportunities for structured PhD programmes
  • Strong contacts with the pharmaceutical industry, local hospitals and community pharmacies which provides inter-professional learning opportunities and placements.

Pharmacists are the "scientists on the high street" – they can provide medical information and services to all of the community who come to visit them. Pharmacy is a unique degree that trains you to not only to design and make safe drugs and medicines, but also to ensure that a patient receives the right dose and medication for their illness. This degree gives QP status, which means a graduate can work as a qualified person in the pharmaceutical industry. Once qualified, pharmacy graduates can work anywhere in the EU.

Skills and Careers Information

This course is an excellent broad-based degree that can take you in a number of career directions, including:

  • community pharmacist
  • hospital pharmacist
  • industrial pharmacist
  • university lecturer
  • wholesaling
  • regulatory work.

There are also opportunities for research in areas such as drug delivery, drug design, drug action and the practice of pharmacy. Pharmacists can manage businesses for other people or set up their own business.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in Chemistry and minimum grade H4 in either Physics or Biology. Minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.
Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:




Other Language


Physics or Biology







Students presenting with a 2016 (or previous) Leaving Certificate must present with a HD1 in Chemistry and a HC2 in either Physics or Biology.

Mature entry applicants

Find out about the mature entry requirements here.

Student vetting

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted his/her place on the programme in question.  It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether there are any criminal proceedings pending. The Gardai provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of 6 months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of 6 months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence.  This Certificate should state that the student has no convictions recorded against him or her while residing there.

Fitness to Practise

This programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – full details may be found here.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

It should be noted that a postgraduate fee will have to be paid for the fifth year of this programme. This cost will be approximately €7,500.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry. 

Mature applicants

Application is made through the CAO (www.cao.ie.) and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact