The Complete Guide to Studying Pharmacy in Malaysia

Is pharmacy degree for you? Check out what the course is all about. Compare universities and fees, view entry requirements and study pathway here.


Have you ever walked into a pharmacy and wondered if you were buying the right medication? Well, that’s what a pharmacist is there for! Pharmacists give advice on which is the best and most suitable medication for you, and can only do so if they have a degree in Pharmacy.

If you are interested in how medication interacts with your body and want to pursue a career in healthcare, a degree in Pharmacy might just be for you!

This guide will explore why you might want to study a Pharmacy course in Malaysia, what you can learn from studying Pharmacy, as well as your career options as a Pharmacy graduate.

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Pharmacy BPharm (Hons)

Ranked 8th in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)

#1. The Basics of Pharmacy

a) What is Pharmacy

Pharmacy - What is Pharmacy

Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing and dispensing medication. People who specialise in the study of Pharmacy usually go on to become pharmacists.

The field of Pharmacy combines the study of biology and chemistry to ensure that the medication and drugs that we consume are safe and effective.

Pharmacists aren’t just there to count pills and dispense medicine. Whenever you pop a pill to ease your headache, know that the manufacturing and drug composition of that pill was carefully monitored by a qualified pharmacist.

b) What Are the Various Fields of Pharmacy?

Pharmacy - Various Fields of Pharmacy

There are various types of Pharmacy practice areas. Here are some of the major ones in Malaysia.

Field What It Is All About
Academic Pharmacy Academic pharmacists often teach, in addition to conducting research, such as evaluating the findings of clinical studies
Community Pharmacy Community pharmacists are in charge of dispensing medication to customers in retail stores, such as Watsons and Guardian pharmacies
Hospital Pharmacy In addition to dispensing medication, hospital pharmacists also prepare intravenous medications, participate in ward rounds, and purchase and quality test medication used in the hospital
Industrial Pharmacy Industrial pharmacists are involved in drug production for pharmaceutical companies, ensuring that the medication produced is of high quality and is safe

#2. Studying a Pharmacy Degree

a) What Qualifications Do You Need?

Here are the general requirements in order for you to pursue a degree in Pharmacy.

Level of Study Minimum Requirements
SPM or O-Level Minimum of 5Bs in: Biology + Chemistry + Physics + Mathematics or Additional Mathematics + one other subject
A-Level Minimum of BBB / ABC / AAC in: Biology + Chemistry (minimum B) + Physics or Mathematics
STPM Minimum of BBB / ABC / AAC in: Biology + Chemistry (minimum B) + Physics or MathematicsOverall CGPA must be at least 3.0 (out of 4.0)
Australian Matriculation (SAM or AUSMAT) You will need EITHER:(1) Average of 75% in: Biology + Chemistry (minimum B) + Physics or Mathematics, OR(2) ATAR 80.0, including: Biology + Chemistry (minimum B) + Physics or Mathematics
Matriculation or Foundation in Science You will need BOTH:(1) CGPA 3.0 (out of 4.0) in: Biology + Chemistry (minimum B) + Physics or Mathematics, AND (2) Minimum of 5Bs at SPM or O-Level in:Biology + Chemistry + Physics + Mathematics or Additional Mathematics + one other subject

Entry requirements for some universities may be higher or lower, so do make sure you check with the universities individually.

Important Note: Chemistry is absolutely critical in Pharmacy, so make sure this is a subject that you like AND do well in!

b) How Long Is a Pharmacy Degree?

A typical undergraduate degree in Pharmacy is 4 years long.

But wait, you’re not a pharmacist yet!

You will need to complete one year of training followed by one year of compulsory service at a training premise that is recognised by the Pharmacy Board Malaysia. There are both government and private premises that are recognised. You will also need to sit and pass an examination (Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination) within the training period.

After successful completion, you will then be a Fully Registered Pharmacist (FRP).

In total, the duration taken to be a fully registered pharmacist will take around 6 years.

Here is a summary of your education pathway.

Pharmacy - Education Pathway

c) What Will You Study in a Pharmacy Degree?

A Pharmacy degree will cover topics related to the human body and its reaction to various drugs. Some of the subjects that you may learn include:

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Mechanism of Drug Actions
  • Human Anatomy & Nervous System
  • Pharmacy Practice

Remember that a Pharmacy course deals with lots of chemicals, so chemistry is one of the subjects that you must enjoy!

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Foundation in Science

Established programme with quality teaching to provide a seamless transition into your preferred degree programme (Pharmacy, Biosciences, Environmental Science, Computer Science and Psychology)

#3. Why Should You Study Pharmacy?

Pharmacy - Why Study Pharmacy

Pharmacy can be a rewarding choice if you want to pursue a career in healthcare. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider a degree in Pharmacy.

(a) You want to help people get well

There are many types of medication in the market that can treat an illness or a disease. As a pharmacist, you will be playing a crucial role in helping patients get better by choosing the right medication in order for them to get better, while avoiding drug allergies and side effects. This is especially important for people who have long-term conditions and take multiple types of drugs. If you are passionate about helping people get well, Pharmacy could be a good choice for you!

(b) You have a keen interest in chemistry and the human body

A Pharmacy degree will allow you to learn how a drug interacts with the human body and other drugs, as well as how medicine is made. Pharmacy can be tremendously fascinating if you are curious about drugs and medication and the chemistry and inner workings behind it.

(c) You want to be a part of big milestones in drug innovations

Pharmacists are usually one of the first to know when there are exciting developments in the pharmaceutical industry. New drugs often require extensive clinical trials, and pharmacists are often heavily involved in clinical trial research. Who knows, you could be a part of a revolutionary drug that cures cancer!

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Pharmacy BPharm (Hons)

Ranked 8th in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)

#4. What Skills Do You Need to Study Pharmacy?

Pharmacy - Key Skills

Here are some of the key qualities and skills that you will need to develop in order to do well in a Pharmacy degree.

(a) Strong science foundation

Pharmacy is one of the more competitive degrees in Malaysia, and you must have a good background in science, particularly chemistry and biology. As part of your Pharmacy degree, you will be studying many science-related topics, from medicinal chemistry and biochemistry to pharmacology and immunology, all of which can be academically challenging.

(b) Ability to learn and memorise large volumes of information

With thousands of drugs in the market, pharmacists are expected to know various types of drugs and their brand names like the back of their hand, AND keep up with new ones too. A degree in Pharmacy ensures that you are able to cope with these demands, and you will find yourself learning and memorising lots of drugs and drug interactions.

(c) Attention to the finest of detail

One of your key roles as a pharmacist will be to prepare drugs for patients and clients. The smallest error in dosage could have a significant change in the result of the treatment. In a field where there is little room for error, you need to have serious attention to even the smallest of things, as people’s lives are in your hands.

(d) Strong communication and people skills

As a pharmacist, you will be dealing with customers, patients and doctors all the time. As such, being able to interact with people is extremely important in this industry. At times, you may be required to explain complex medical information in simple terms to patients, or advise doctors about a prescription if you notice drug interaction problems.

Don’t worry if you haven't mastered all these skills yet. A degree in Pharmacy will help you hone and develop these skills! Just make sure you're mentally prepared for the demands and challenges of a Pharmacy degree.

#5. Career Options with a Pharmacy Degree

Here are some career options for qualified, registered pharmacists in Malaysia:

  • Academic Pharmacist
  • Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Industrial Pharmacist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research Pharmacist
  • Toxicologist
  • Veterinary Pharmacist

#6. Where Can You Study Pharmacy in Malaysia?

The most important thing when studying a Pharmacy degree is to ensure that your institution is recognised by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia. If it isn't recognised, you risk not being able to become a fully registered pharmacist.

Here are some of the popular universities for Pharmacy in Malaysia.

Where else can you study Pharmacy in Malaysia? Check out our comprehensive comparison table for Pharmacy degrees! You can also compare institutions for Foundation in Science.