The 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in the World

Young female pharmacist picking medicines off a shelf

Becoming a pharmacist is a rewarding career choice: you play an important role in the medical sector, you earn a generous annual salary, you maintain flexible hours and your career opportunities are endless. Ultimately, as a pharmacist, you’ve successfully balanced out helping people on a daily basis and receiving competitive compensation. What more could you want from a career?

The tough part about entering this profession is deciding which pharmacy school to enrol 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. Add to that the pressure of making the ‘correct’ career choice if you’re leaving school.

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 – your headache being getting your application accepted and the grades to get your degree.

So, to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge to make an informed choice of which pharmacy school to choose, we consulted QS’s rankings to bring you a list of the 10 best pharmacy schools in the world in 2018.



10. Karolinska Institute

Karolinska Institute in Sweden MariaSW/

Location: Solna, Sweden

Degree: Master’s courses in Pharmaceutical Medicine

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): Free for EU/EEA students / SEK 200,000 (£16,920/$22,110) for non-EU/EEA students, plus SEK 900 (£76/$100) application fee

Understanding the ever-growing changes and demands in global health – mainly in part to new regulations, medical advancements and population needs – is the mission of the Karolinska Institute. And pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies identify which schools decide to maintain the status quo and which ones will adapt to the latest societal trends.

Which one do you think the Karolinska Institute does? If you’re stumped, then here is the answer: adaptation.

Pharmacies and regulatory bodies are continually identifying, recruiting and hiring graduates from the Karolinska Institute. This is because it offers all potential employees with stupendous MS courses that have been constructed to give graduates scientific and leadership capabilities to flourish in the marketplace, mainly in part to global project teams and organisational development.


9. King’s College London

Exterior shot of the King's College London Library building Cedric Weber/

Location: London, England

Course: MSc in Pharmacology

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): £11,550 ($15,100) for UK students / £23,940 ($31,290) for international students

Before you get discouraged and make the conclusion that you will be spending your entire life paying back those student loans, you need to realise one thing: anyone who graduates from an institution like King’s College London will inevitably land an excellent high-paying job.

It is true that it is a costly institution, but that is because of a wide panoply of reasons, including:

  • most students will land a job of their choice
  • most students will earn a handsome salary
  • the campus offers state-of-the-art facilities
  • most students graduate on time
  • its reputation is enough to help you nab the job of your dreams.


8. National University of Singapore

Exterior shot of the National University of Singapore campus EQRoy/

Location: Singapore, Singapore

Course: PharmD

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): SGD 90,000 (£50,050/$65,380)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) routinely generates interest for its ranking at the top of most international lists of universities and colleges to help young people become pharmaceutical experts. This isn’t surprising, considering that its mission is to facilitate an atmosphere of educational growth, shared respect and communication.

In other words: it is a school that is more than just churning out graduates; it’s about making sure its graduates are ready for the real world, one that isn’t so structured as a textbook.

While the NUS is an expensive school and will require non-residents to speak the local language (Mandarin), most pharmacies will hire anyone with a CV that has its name on it.



7. University College London Medical School

Exterior shot of the University College London building Spiroview Inc/

Location: London, England

Course: BSc in Pharmacology

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): £9,250 ($12,090) for UK/EU students / £24,040 ($31,430) for international students

We’ll leave this right here: the University College London Medical School is ranked seventh internationally for its pharmacy courses.

That is a remarkable feat and one that bears repeating for anyone interested in enrolling in a school that has such an impeccable distinction. However, because of its reputation, the acceptance rate is quite low, so you need to ensure that you have the grades and the best application to receive the green light.

Situated in the heart of London, you are surrounded by the hustle and bustle that the Old Smoke has to offer residents, visitors and everyone in between.


6. University of Nottingham

The Jubilee campus at the University of Nottingham dietrich herlan erich/

Location: Nottingham, England

Course: MSc in Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): £9,740 ($12,730) for UK/EU students / £21,320 ($27,870) for international students

Many schools that offer pharmacy classes will excel at the basics. They will do quite well in teaching you the textbook, assist you in your research and ensure you’re leaving with a superb education. That said, a lot of them fail to dedicate their teaching material to patient care and health wellness.

This is an area that the University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy, particularly its Pharmacy MPharm, champions the most. You will exit the school with an envied education, but you have one better: a dedication to patient wellbeing and an objective of boosting health wellness awareness.


5. University of California, San Francisco

Exterior shot of the UCSF Medical Center University of California, San Francisco

Location: San Francisco, USA

Course: PharmD

Annual tuition fees (2019): $63,226 (£48,400)

Although the University of California, San Francisco is situated in one of the most expensive cities in the US today, it is still recommended by many just because it is often ranked as one of the most prestigious programmes around.

In every university ranking system, the University of California, San Francisco tops most American lists.


4. University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division

University of Oxford Skowronek/

Location: Oxford, England

Course: MSc in Pharmacology

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): £10,460 ($13,670) for UK/EU students / £22,600 ($29,530) for international students

Oxford and education go together like peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin. Oxford is home to one of the greatest educations on the entire planet, whether you are studying English literature or quantum physics. But what about pharmaceuticals? Yes, that too!

The university’s medical sciences department can be difficult to graduate from because they have such high standards, an incredible faculty and intricate studying material. It is on the expensive side, but if you are a bright student, then this investment will pay dividends in the coming years.



3. University of Cambridge

Exterior shot of University of Cambridge Premier Photo/

Location: Cambridge, England

Course: PhD in Pharmacology

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): £22,467 ($29,360) for UK students / £22,817 ($29,820) for EU students and refugees / £43,823 ($57,260) for international students /

If you want to sit in class and just regurgitate material, then the University of Cambridge is not the school for you. Every student is afforded the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive programme that guarantees every future pharmacist that they are ready for the 21st Century pharmacy.

What makes the University of Cambridge a special institution is that its Department of Pharmacology is considered to be one of the most reputable and well-known schools in the world today. Because the faculty understands that the science of pharmacy is constantly changing, you will not be relegated to antiquated practices and studies.

Simply put: your academic material is always being updated and adapted to modern times. And that’s something every student should demand out of their university.


2. Monash University

Exterior shot of the Menzies Building at the Monash University campus Nils Versemann/

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Course: Bachelor degree in Pharmacy

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): A$36,600 (£19,930/$26,050) for domestic students / A$42,800 (£23,210/$30,460) for international students

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.

Admission and grade requirements are maintained by the school. It can be difficult to pass, but with a large dose of studying and the will to flourish in this career, you can certainly succeed in this realm.

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


1. Harvard University, Harvard Medical School

 Exterior of Dunster House at Harvard University Jorge Salcedo/

Location: Cambridge, USA

Degree type: PhD in Pharmacological Sciences

Annual tuition fees (2018/2019): $46,384 (£35,500)

And now we get to the crème de la crème of any university on the world stage. When people think of an elite postsecondary institution, the very first thought will be of Harvard University. And why not?

That said, when people think of Harvard, they don’t often conjure up images of pharmacists – it’s typically lawyers who become politicians or businessmen who become billionaires.

Harvard can pave a road of possibilities. It is up to you if you wish to walk down that path. As long as you dedicate yourself to Harvard’s pharmacy programme, then you can graduate with a ticket to prosperity.



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 enrol in the right school.

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.

If you want to study in Europe, then do it. If you want to attend Harvard, then go for it. 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.

The world is your oyster.

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.


Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 11 September 2018.

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