Monday, December 16, 2013

Studying Pharmacy in Monash University Malaysia

*This article was last updated on 1st March 2016

Good afternoon everybody! 

As I was having breakfast yesterday, somebody asked me about the pathway to enter a Pharmacy course in Malaysia. As you all may or may not know, I'm a pharmacy student and I have just graduated from the 4 year Pharmacy degree course. Thank God for His guidance and blessings, couldn't have done this without the strength and faith that He has given me throughout this 4 years. I'm now waiting for the notification from the government to decide when and where I'll start my training program in a local public hospital for a year. Finger-crossed I'll be placed in a hospital near to my house *haha*

I'm writing this as I'm often being asked about how do you enter a medical/dentistry/pharmacy course in Malaysia, which university that are offering a pharmacy course, what is the fee structures, how about the career prospect etc. every year without fail, especially from my relatives and friends. So, I thought I should just write a summary here based on my experience, if any of you are wondering the same questions too.

First, medical (MBBS), Dentistry and Pharmacy are 3 different courses and they have different requirements to be fulfilled, they specialize in different aspect of healthcare and there are different registration pathway to be taken after you completed the course in order for you to practice in Malaysia. Here, I'll go into details on the Pharmacy course and focus more on my personal experience.

After I've completed my SPM in 2007, I've got my results with 8A's 4B's (A1 in Chemistry/Additional Maths/Math, A2 in Physics and B4 in Biology). I went on and did the Cambridge GCE A-level in Sunway University College and I chose only 3 subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics) as I already decided that I wanted to do Pharmacy as my degree and the entry requirement to enter Monash University was 14 points (which means I should get a minimum of 2A and 1B). Thank God I've completed my A level with 14 points (A for Chemistry and Biology and B for Mathematics) and subsequently I've enrolled to Monash University Malaysia. At that point of time, my first choice of Pharmacy School was however, the National University of Singapore (NUS) as it is near to my house here in JB and majority of my friends are all studying in Singapore =/ Anyway, I'm glad that I made this decision to join Monash and it was indeed a fruitful and memorable experience! ^_^

1. I've just completed SPM, what shoud I do now?

Before you can enter a degree course, you should first complete a pre-university course as your foundation. Depending on the country and university you want to go, you may choose a pre-U course that is recognize by them. Different courses also differ slightly in their exam and coursework weightage, hence choose wisely so that you are comfortable with it. Some of the pre-university courses include:

Local Malaysia pre-university foundation and gain access to local public universities based on your results and government placement.

- Cambridge GCE A-Level 
Most widely recognized pre-university qualification in the world. 100% exam-based. Duration of course is 1.5 years.

- Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) 
Foundation year offers by the Monash University, available in Sunway University College. Coursework and exam based. Recognized by Australian University and some of the local Private universities. Duration of course is 9-10 months.

- Australian Matriculation Programme (Ausmat) 
Widely accepted by universities in Australia, New Zealand, UK, US, Canada, Russia, Germany, Singapore and some private universities in Malaysia. 50% school-based 50% examination.

- Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) 

Click here to learn more : Sunway University College

2. Which universities in Malaysia are offering Pharmacy degree course?

There is a difference between courses that are provisionally recognized by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) and courses which has been recognized by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia. Below is the link to the Pharmaceutical Services Divisions, Malaysia. More information is available there. 

Click here to learn more 

3. Which Pharmacy degrees are recognized by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia?

If you wish to study abroad after completed your pre-U, these are the universities that have been recognized by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia which means you can register as a Provisionally Registered Pharmacist (PRP) to undergo training for one year at local/private institutions in Malaysia upon completion of your degree course. 

Click here to learn more

4. What do you study in Pharmacy degree course? 

I'll share what I've studied in Monash Malaysia here. Basically there are four areas of study which are:-

- Enabling knowledge baseIncludes physical, organic and medicinal chemistry, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and immunology.

- Drug deliveryDeals with the formulation of medicines, pharmacokinetics (what happens to medicine in the body) and the different dose-forms used in therapeutics.

- Integrated therapeuticsCovers the major disease states and their epidemiology, pathophysiology and diagnosis, the chemistry and pharmacology of medicines used to treat these conditions, and the clinical and practice aspects of treating patients.

- Pharmacy practiceExplores the role of the pharmacist, professionalism, dispensing, health and the individual, as well as health care in society. Students also study pharmacoepidemiology, the psychosocial aspects of medicine treatment, communicative skills, patient counselling, and legal aspects of practice.

The syllabus here in Malaysia followed closely to what is being offered in the Australia campus. Occasionally, we also do get lecturers from Australia to come over to the Malaysia campus. Our coursework, assignments, in-semester test, final examinations are the same as what is being given in the Australia campus. My favorite will go to Integrated Therapeutics and Pharmacy Practice. It gives you an overview on how to manage a disease and more importantly how to manage a patient as a whole. It is very much related to real life practice and it helps to build up critical thinking skill, presentation skill, communication skill in addition to the fundamental knowledge in medicines. 

5. What units do you study in Pharmacy degree course?

First year

Semester one

  • PAC1111 Introduction to physiology
  • PAC1121 Bioorganic and medicinal chemistry I
  • PAC1211 Physicochemical basis of pharmacy
  • PAC1311 Pharmacy, health and society I

Semester two

  • PAC1132 Systems physiology
  • PAC1142 Bioorganic and medicinal chemistry II
  • PAC1222 Drug delivery I
  • PAC1322 Pharmacy, health and society II

Second year

Semester one

  • PAC2151 Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • PAC2161 Cell function, communication and pathology
  • PAC2171 Basis of drug action I
  • PAC2331 Pharmacists as communicators

Semester two

  • PAC2182 Basis of drug action II
  • PAC2232 Drug delivery and disposition
  • PAC2342 Pharmacy in a public health context
  • PAC2412 Integrated therapeutics: Introduction and cardiovascular

Third year

Semester one

  • PAC3191 Microbiology and immunology
  • PAC3241 Drug delivery, disposition and dynamics
  • PAC3351 Context for practice I
  • PAC3421 Integrated therapeutics respiratory and gastrointestinal disease

Semester two

  • PAC3252 Drug delivery II
  • PAC3362 Context for practice II
  • PAC3432 Integrated therapeutics: Infectious diseases
plus one elective from:
  • PAC3512 Current aspects of pharmaceutical research
  • PAC3522 Applied research project
  • PAC3532 International experience in pharmacy
  • PAC3542 Leadership*
  • PAC3552 Community engagement**
* Parkville campus only. ** Malaysia only.

Fourth year

Semester one

  • PAC4261 Drug delivery and development
  • PAC4371 Professional experience placement program
  • PAC4441 Integrated therapeutics: Endocrinology and renal
  • PAC4451 Integrated therapeutics: Dermatology and pain

Semester two

  • PAC4382 Context for practice III
  • PAC4462 Integrated therapeutics: Neurology and oncology
  • PAC4472 Integrated therapeutics: Psychiatry
  • PAC4482 Preparation for practice
I chose PAC3512 as my elective and it was definitely a pleasant experience ^_^ despite the long hour of writing and editing OTL.

6. Do you do internship during the pharmacy course?

In my university, we do the Professional Experience Placement Program which we are required to go for placement in 3 different settings : hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy and rural pharmacy (Klinik Kesihatan) throughout our last 2 years of study. Each placement will last for 3 weeks and there is a total of 4 placements to 2 hospitals, 1 retail pharmacy and 1 Klinik Kesihatan. This is where you observe a real life pharmacy practice and get to know how a pharmacy operates. It gives you an overview of the career prospects of a pharmacist and prepares you to choose your career pathway upon graduation. I did my placements in Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru, Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Vitacare The Gardens and Klinik Kesihatan Kelana Jaya. 

7. Upon graduation, where can I go for training and be registered as a Provisionally Registered Pharmacist in Malaysia?

Here is the list of training premises for Provisionally Registered Pharmacists (PRP).
Click here to learn more

8. What are the requirements, fee structure, intakes for the Bachelor of Pharmacy in Monash Malaysia?
Click here to learn more - Monash University Malaysia Bachelor of Pharmacy

9. What is the English requirements to enter the Pharmacy course in Monash Malaysia?
I did my IELTS during Pre-university year in Sunway University College. Hence, you might want to check out if you have fulfilled the English Language Requirement, otherwise you may arrange to sit for the IELTS earlier before your application (IELTS results valid for two years).
English Language Requirement

9. Links that may help:
Singapore Pharmacy Council
Pharmacy Board of Australia

10. Kamal Medical Bookstore
Just if you are wondering where to find medical books/reference for your study, there is a medical bookstore in KL with a massive amount of different kind of medical books. 

If you need any medical books or equipment or even labcoat, perhaps you may take a visit there to see whether they have what you need.

Address: No. 134, Jalan Pahang (Opposite Hospital Kuala Lumpur), 53000 Kuala Lumpur.If you are using Waze, just search "Kamal Medical Bookstore" and you will find the place.

Coordinates: 3°10'21"N   101°41'55"E

If you are taking public transport, you may take monorail and alight at Chow Kit Station then walk about 5 minutes passing by the Grand Seasons Hotel, then you will see the bookstore. It is near to 7-11 shop.

That's all for now! Hope it helps!

*Ps: Thank you for all your emails and inquiries related to studying in Monash University Malaysia. I wish you all the best on this exciting journey!


  1. Hi . May l know is graduate from Monash uni Malaysia campus accepted by Singapore pharmacy council? Thank you

    1. No, Malaysia only recognised USM. Monash main campus in parkville is in the list too.

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