Trinity College Dublin

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Admission Requirements

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To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Pharmacy?

Pharmacy is the study of all aspects of drugs, both natural and synthetic in origin, including their chemistry, their uses in medicines, and how they work within the body. Pharmacists work in a variety of settings - community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and within the pharmaceutical industry to name just a few. In many respects, their role as a key healthcare professional is to help people achieve the best results from their medications.

Is this the right course for you?

While this degree is an essential requirement if you wish to practise as a community or hospital pharmacist, Pharmacy at Trinity opens a wide variety of professional opportunities in both industry and the healthcare sector.

As much of the course is scientifically led, a strong interest in this area will be important and will make your four years of study more enjoyable.

Did you know?

  • Trinity is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology (by the QS World University Rankings 2014).

Course content

The Pharmacy syllabus has been designed to provide you with an all-round education in both the basic and pharmaceutical sciences, and in the practice of pharmacy itself. There are approximately 16 hours of lectures, 6 laboratory sessions and 1 tutorial per week over the course of the Junior Freshman (first) year.

Some of the subjects covered during the four years of the course are:

  • Biology: A basic introduction to the molecular and cellular basis to life so that you can better appreciate how drugs and medicines work. It also includes introductory genetics, microbiology and developmental biology.
  • Physiology: The biology of the human body is an essential prerequisite to the study of pharmacology. Physiology covers the anatomy and physiology of all the major body systems, such as blood, the heart, digestive and nervous systems.
  • Biochemistry: A basic introduction to the ways in which drugs are metabolised and how they act or cause toxicity by interacting with basic systems within cells and tissues.
  • Microbiology: Studies bacteria, fungi and viruses. These are particularly important in pharmacy because these organisms cause so many diseases. Some medicines must be made free of microbes by either sterilisation or by being prepared aseptically.
  • Pharmaceutical calculations and data handling: Teaches both mathematics and data handling to assist you with the application of both in pharmaceutical calculations and statistics.
  • Medicinal chemistry: Covers the principles of drug design and isolation.
  • Pharmaceutical analysis: Deals with the theory and practice of pharmaceutical analysis.
  • Physical pharmacy: Covers the fundamental physiochemical principles of pharmacy of importance to formulation design, performance and stability.
  • Pharmaceutical chemistry: Deals with aspects of the sources, identification, analysis and stability of the materials used in medicines. Additional topics include advanced drug discovery and design, molecular mode of action of drugs and the chemistry of drug metabolism.
  • Pharmaceutical biotechnology: Develops an understanding of how genetics and biotechnological methods can be used to develop new drugs, especially proteins.
  • Pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology: This subject is concerned with the formulation, production and evaluation of all types of medicines such as tablets, creams and injections.
  • Pharmacognosy: The study of plants and animals, as well as substances extracted from them, which are used in pharmacy and are active in the treatment and prevention of diseases.
  • Pharmacology: Develops knowledge about how drugs work at the molecular, biochemical and cellular level that is essential if drugs are to be used effectively to treat disease in humans and in animals. The course also gives an appreciation of factors affecting the therapeutic benefits and adverse risks of medicines.
  • Practice of pharmacy: This subject examines what pharmacists do in each of the areas of professional practice and because this involves working with patients, their families and others in the health service it also includes sociological and psychological subjects as well as a study of the health service.

In the final year, you will undertake a research project and will also prepare a dissertation on an aspect of pharmacy practice linked to a community, hospital or industry option of your choice.

The following are some examples of research projects which students have undertaken in the past:

  • Assessing the neuroprotective role of noradrenaline in combating Parkinson’s disease
  • Does inhalable insulin cause or promote lung cancer?
  • Discovery of novel molecules to target Burkitt’s lymphoma.
  • Detection of resistance to the antibiotic levofloxacin in Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Chemical evaluation of sexual enhancer pills from Head Shops.
  • Isolation of cannabidiol from hemp
  • In vitro metabolism studies on a candidate cancer chemopreventative agent
  • Benzodiazepine prescribing and its regulation
  • Amorphous solid dispersions prepared by spray drying
  • Complementary and alternative medicine: Patterns of use in the Republic of Ireland.

Summer research placement programme

We encourage our students (2nd and 3rd year students) to undertake the summer research placement programme.

This programme, including Erasmus, allows pharmacy students to carry out their research projects abroad over the summer (12 weeks) as part of their undergraduate degree programme. The students are either funded by the Erasmus programme or the School.


A combination of continuous assessment and oral and written end-of-year examinations is used. Practical examinations are also an important means of assessment. Senior Sophisters (fourth-year students) submit a dissertation based on their projects.

Career opportunities

Your career prospects as a Pharmacy graduate are excellent. Employment opportunities exist in community, hospital and industrial pharmacy, as well as in state services such as medicines licensing. In addition, you can opt to undertake research, or apply for entry to one of the postgraduate courses in hospital, industrial or community pharmacy. See for further details.

Further information


Tel: +353 1 896 2809

The Pharmacy degree and professional qualification

The Pharmacy degree alone does not entitle you to practice as a patient-facing pharmacist.

After the four years in Trinity students are required to undertake a further one year training period, known as the 'pre-registration year' or 'pharmacy internship year'. The internship year is under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and, at present, is delivered by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The internship training year may be taken in a range of pharmaceutical settings including hospital, community and industrial environments, where you will work under the supervision of a tutor pharmacist. The year also comprises taught modules, continuous assessment and a final pre-registration Examination. Successful completion of the internship year results in the award of a Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm), required for registration with the PSI.

The model of pharmacist education and training is changing in Ireland (see The three Schools of Pharmacy in Ireland (Trinity, UCC and RCSI) are working with all major stakeholders to lead out on these changes and develop five-year integrated programmes for delivery in each of the institutions. These programmes will provide a greater level of practical learning in work place settings.

At the time of going to press it seems likely that the five-year integrated pharmacy programme will be introduced in Trinity for students entering in 2015. Those who carry on to successfully complete year four will be awarded the B.Sc.(Pharm.) and may progress into a postgraduate fifth year which leads to the award of a M.Pharm. There will be a postgraduate fee associated with the fifth year of the new programme, payable by the student.

Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateOC3 or HD3 Mathematics
HC3 Chemistry
HC3 In one of physics, biology, mathematics, applied mathematics, geography, geology or agricultural science
GCSEGrade B Mathematics
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C Chemistry
Grade C In one of physics, biology, mathematics, geology, geography or applied mathematics
Other EU examination systemsSee

Graduate profile

Dr Mairin Ryan, Lecturer in Pharmacoeconomics in the Dept of Pharmacology and Therapy

Following a pre-registration year in hospital pharmacy practice I took up a position as clinical pharmacist in St. James's Hospital and subsequently assumed responsibility for delivery of inpatient and outpatient clinical pharmacy services for HIV/AIDS patients. I then did a Ph.D. in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College focussing on pharmacoeconomics of HIV therapy. I subsequently moved from clinical practice to become the Chief Pharmacist at the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics. I am now a lecturer in pharmacoeconomics in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the lead investigator for a program of economic analyses of HIV clinical trials in Africa. I am also a member of the scientific advisory board for the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Uganda. I and two graduates from the Trinity College medical school co-founded the Ralta Global AIDS Foundation in 2004, a registered charity which focuses on improving outcomes for Africans with HIV/AIDS and other poverty related conditions. In 2007, I was appointed as Director of Health Technology Assessment at the Health Information and Quality Authority where the team will be responsible for conducting health technology assessments to inform national health policy and service decisions. I feel that my training as a pharmacist has been an invaluable basis for my work to date, obviously as the starting point for developing clinical pharmacy skills but also in my current role. Health technology assessment is a research-driven process which involves compiling all of the evidence around investment in new technologies including drugs and assessing that evidence to inform the best decisions for patient care; which is essentially what pharmacists are trained to do."

Student profile

Margaret Donnelly

Studying Pharmacy at Trinity College is a truly unique experience. At the end of your four years you achieve so much more than the B.Sc. Pharm. You are taught skills that can be applied to a wide variety of careers. While at times the academic side was challenging, the lecturing staff are always supportive and are only too happy to offer help and guidance to those who ask. There is a unique community spirit fostered in the School. This is reflected in the students who always support and encourage one another in achieving their goals. We are very lucky in having our own social society, DUPSA (Dublin University Pharmaceutical Student's Association) which has been crowned 'Best small-medium society' in College. DUPSA are well renowned for hosting some of the best social events during the term, not least the Pharmacy Ball which is always a night to remember. To study Pharmacy at Trinity College was definitely one of the best decisions I've made!"

Student Profile

David Corcoran (Senior Sophister 2011)

I had a keen interest in Science in school but was still unsure about what direction I would take at third level. I can honestly say that the B.Sc. Pharm. programme at Trinity is perfect for anyone who enjoys the scientific side of things, but would also like the certainty of a rewarding career upon graduation. The degree course is really well balanced between both the academic knowledge required for any science degree and the clinical skills essential for pharmacy practice. I feel that after four years, it is this balance that really makes pharmacy graduates uniquely attractive to prospective employers. I think the relatively small number of students on the course helps create a real sense of identity and community amongst the students, something which isn't always reflected in other larger courses. The small class sizes ensure that the lecturers really take time to get to know their students and are always available to help with any problems they may have. The pharmacy student society, DUPSA, organises several social events throughout the year which are not to be missed, culminating with the Pharmacy Ball. There is no doubt that this course can be challenging at times, but I feel that it was a privilege to have studied Pharmacy at Trinity. I have made some friends for life and unlike many graduates at the moment; I can look forward to the great employment prospects upon graduation."

Student Profile

Naomi Hodgins (Senior Sophister 2011)

On my first day as a Pharmacy student in Trinity College, I had no idea what to expect. Four years later, my time in the School of Pharmacy has been an amazing experience. Not only has a B.Sc. Pharm equipped me with the skills and qualification to work in a diverse range of careers, but it has also given me a close-knit group of friends and many happy memories of my time in College. The School of Pharmacy has a friendly atmosphere with approachable lecturers and a real sense of comradeship between the students. With many lectures and lab practicals in a wide range of subjects, the course can be challenging at times. However, help is at hand if there are any problems, and lecturers are always there to answer questions or deal with any issues that may arise. There is also a great social aspect to the course with our own society, DUPSA, giving students the chance to socialise with their class and other years of the course. Many events are held throughout the year with the annual Mystery Tour and Pharmacy Ball being highlights of the year. Studying Pharmacy in Trinity College is definitely an experience I would recommend!"