UCC Undergraduate courses


Course Fact File
Duration5 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
FeesEU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 (Years 1-4); €7,500 (Year 5). See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 613*
CAO Points Range2023: 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 in 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.

The School of Pharmacy at UCC 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.

Pharmacy at UCC

Once you have successfully completed your first four years (BPharm) you will then progress to the fifth year (MPharm). This facilitates the Irish professional pharmacy regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), which requires graduates to hold a Master's degree before entering the PSI Register and practicing as a Pharmacist.

Our 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 are an integral part of the programme over the five years. Placements can be carried out in community, hospital, or industry settings, as well as within regulatory organisations, but the final eight-month placement in Year 5 must be carried out in a patient-facing setting.

Year 1 (60 credits)

  • AN1075 Principles of Human Structure for Pharmacy Students (5 credits)
  • BC1443 Biochemistry (10 credits)
  • PF1009 Introduction to Pharmaceutical Chemistry (10 credits)
  • PF1010 Physiochemical Basis of Pharmaceuticals (5 credits)
  • PF1011 Pharmacy Practice I (5 credits)
  • PF1012 Introduction to Pharmaceutics: Formulation Science (10 credits)
  • PL1400 Introduction to Physiology for Pharmacy I (5 credits)
  • PL1401 Introduction to Physiology for Pharmacy II (5 credits)
  • PT1445 Foundation Pharmacology (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the BPharm/MPharm programme, you will be able to:

  • Register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI);
  • 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.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of 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 & practice placements

One site visit per year to local pharmaceutical industries is usually organised, in addition to placements in hospital or community pharmacies. Practice placements, taken over the duration of the degree, involve experiential learning and are taken in blocks as detailed below.

  • Year 1 – one day
  • Year 2 – two weeks
  • Year 3 – optional 2-month placement (summer period)
  • Year 4 – four months
  • Year 5 – eight months (5th Year placements may be paid/unpaid)


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 practical work, written examinations, and OSCEs.

Who teaches this course

Our 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.

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff will support you in making meaningful connections within and between topics such as medicine, science, physiology and the practice of pharmacy.

Why Choose This Course

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

Deirdre Cotter, Pharmacy Student

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

Emer Lynch, Pharmacy Student

Find Out More

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 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 provides QP (qualified person) 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
  • regulatory work.
  • university lecturer
  • wholesaling

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 businesses.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in two subjects and 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:

EnglishIrishMathsOther LanguageChemistryPhysics or Biology
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 H4 H4
EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Applicants must have achieved a H4 in Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) Chemistry and a H4 in either Physics or Biology in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent). (HC2 in Chemistry and HC2 in either Physics or Biology if presenting a pre-2017 Leaving Certificate).

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 

Fitness to Practise

This programme is subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy

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 under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Acts) once a student has accepted their place on the programme. This involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence). 

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

Further information can be found on our Student Vetting page. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants 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 visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • 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.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

It should be noted that a postgraduate fee will have to be paid for the fifth year of this programme. 

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact