The 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in the World

Young female pharmacist picking medicines off a shelf wavebreakmedia/

Becoming a pharmacist is a rewarding career choice; you play an important role in the healthcare sector, you earn a generous annual salary and your career opportunities are endless. Indeed, you’re helping people on a daily basis while receiving competitive compensation: what more could you want from a career?

Arguably, the toughest part about entering this profession is deciding which pharmacy school to enroll in. This can be difficult for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from affording tuition and having the resources to relocate to another city (or even country), to meeting your chosen school’s requirements.

There’s a lot that goes with attaining an education in this field but, with due diligence and an abundance of research, you can minimise the headache of finding the best institution. So, to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge to make an informed choice of which pharmacy school to choose, we’ve consulted the expert’s rankings: these are the 10 best pharmacy schools in the world.

10. Ohio State University (tie)

Ohio State UniversityOhio State University

Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Degree: PharmD

Regularly ranked as one of the top pharmacy schools in the US, Ohio State’s PharmD programme is taught out of the university’s world class, state-of-the-art medical facility.

The figures are impressive, too; there is a 95 per cent graduation rate, with students benefiting from the tutelage of the school’s impressive faculty, while Columbus is a thriving, up-and-coming metropolis that has a lot to offer the student population.

10. University of Sydney (tie)

University of SydneySC

Location: Sydney, Australia
Degree: BPharm

As one of the finest higher education institutions in Australia, it’s little surprise that Sydney makes the cut; under the guidance of the school’s esteemed faculty, students are privy to a research-driven curriculum that makes the most of the abundant facilities available.

As well as clinical rotations, Sydney offers an intern training programme, while the pharmacy association is one of the largest and most active on campus.

9. University of Milan

University of MilanGraduate Guide

Location: Milan, Italy
Degree: Single-cycle Bachelor’s and Master’s

Spread over 5 years, Milan’s combined Bachelor’s and Master’s study programme enables students to gain the necessary skills and qualifications to practice as a registered pharmacist.

While there are, of course, opportunities for clinical exposure, the curriculum is research-heavy, with students encouraged to develop their scientific abilities. Your language skills will need to be up to scratch, too, with the entirety of the course taught in Italian.

8. University of Helsinki

University of HelsinkiNeofelis Nebulosa

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Degree: Single-cycle Bachelor’s and Master’s

Similar to Milan, Helsinki’s pharmacy programme is a 5-year combination of Bachelor’s and Master’s level study. As with Milan, you’ll also need to be bilingual; the course is taught mainly in Finnish, although some courses are taught in English. According to the school’s official website, a working knowledge of Swedish may also be enough to see you through.

7. University of California, San Francisco

University of California, San FranciscoKarl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Degree: PharmD

Although UCSF is situated in one of the most expensive cities in the US today, it still comes highly recommended; the school’s PharmD programme is regularly ranked in the top 5 US schools in various pharmacy publications.

Students are also heavily encouraged to become involved in extra-curricular activities, including taking part in community service initiatives, joining professional pharmacy organisations and getting involved in healthcare and science events on campus.

6. University of Copenhagen

University of CopenhagenMarie Czuray / Uniavesen

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Degree: BPharm

As with other mainland European degree structures, Copenhagen’s Bachelor i farmaci is 3 years in duration, with the curriculum split more or less evenly between lectures, laboratory exercises and group work. There is also the chance to pursue electives in the final year, allowing you to customise your study experience.

Most of the course is taught in Danish, although a lot of the teaching materials are in English, while in order to obtain registered pharmacist status, students must enroll on an additional 2-year Master’s programme.

5. University of Manchester

A front shot of Manchester University

Location: Manchester, UK
Degree: MPharm

Despite direct competition from other top UK pharmacy schools, such as Nottingham, Cardiff and Queen’s, Manchester makes the list due to its global reputation for academic excellence and integrity.

It also boasts state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including aseptic laboratories and the SimMan patient simulator, while there is a strong emphasis on exposing students to real-life working pharmacies and hospitals throughout their studies.

4. University of Toronto

Exterior shot of the University of Toronto buildingDaily Hive Toronto

Location: Toronto, Canada
Degree: PharmD

Taught at the university’s Leslie Dan School of Pharmacy, Toronto is the gold standard for pharmacy education in Canada.

As well as lectures, laboratory work and clinical placements, students are also encouraged to develop key soft skills such as communication and problem-solving, too; what really sets Toronto apart, though, is its desire to develop industry leaders, a commitment that students are expected to take seriously.

3. Monash University

Exterior shot of the Menzies Building at the Monash University campusNils Versemann/

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Degree: Combined BPharm/MPharm

Located in one of Australia’s largest cities and, thus, situated close to all of the necessary amenities, Monash University maintains one of the most well-known pharmacy programmes on the planet. Considered one of the most prestigious institutions in the region, you will have access to some of the best and most advanced technology around to facilitate your education.

Tuition fees are affordable, too, which means you can temporarily move to Australia with the hefty savings. That in itself is a great opportunity.

2. University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)

Exterior shot of a building located on the UNC-Chapel Hill campusUniversity of North California at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill / Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Degree: PharmD

As one of the top public universities in the US, it’s no shock to see UNC’s pharmacy programme consistently ranking highly, and 2019 is no exception.

Taught within the Eshelman School of Pharmacy (so named after alumni and benefactor, Dr. Fred Eshelman), students are invited to spend time studying health systems around the world, while those with an entrepreneurial streak can even incorporate business modules into their course.

1. University College London

University College London exteriorUCL

Location: London, England
Degree: MPharm

Given its long tradition for excellence in teaching and research, it’s little surprise that UCL – one of the finest universities in the UK – tops this list as the best pharmacy school in the world. With an impressive graduate employment rate, the opportunity to study abroad and guaranteed patient contact straight from the start, it’s a definite no-brainer for aspiring pharmacists.

Given its prime location in the heart of London, it’s also a great student destination, with Covent Garden, Regent’s Park and King’s Cross all just a stone’s throw away. 

Being a pharmacist is a tough job, but it does proffer a plethora of opportunities – reports continually highlight that it is one of the fastest-growing jobs today. To get your hands on those possibilities, you first need to enroll in the right school, though.

Everyone’s situation is unique – personal finances, disadvantaged backgrounds and residential location – but if you have the drive, the will and the opportunity, then you should not sell yourself short. Remember: scholarships, grants and other options are out there, so take advantage of them – just be sure you know what pharmacy school is really like.

What do you think about this list? Are you surprised to see any of these universities on the list, or perhaps shocked others didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments section below.


This article was originally published on 18 September 2018.