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Undergraduate Programme (B. Pharmacy)

The School of Pharmacy at the University of the Western Cape introduced a new curriculum for this programme in 2013 to accommodate for the changing professional environment.


First Year:

The first year of the programme incorporates foundation modules introducing the subjects of human biology, chemistry, microbiology, pathology, physics and mathematics. Included is a module on the introduction to pharmacy focusing on medical and pharmaceutical technology and the basic principles of pharmacy practice. The basic concepts of pharmacology and drug-receptor theory forms part of the first year of study.


Second Year:

In this year of the programme the core pharmacy disciplines of pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology and pharmacy practice are presented.Pharmaceutics is about the basic physicochemical properties of drugs, dosage forms and the design, formulation and manufacture of pharmaceuticals.Pharmacology at this level revolves around the basic and clinical pharmacology and pharmacotherapy and pharmacology of drugs used in the treatment of various disease symptoms and conditions.  Students are exposed to problem-based learning in pharmacotherapy through the Service Learning in Pharmacy (SLIP) programme. Students visit pharmaceutical and clinical sites for experiential learning.

Pharmaceutical chemistry covers the theoretical and practical aspects of phytochemistry (medicinal plants) stereochemistry and pharmaceutical analysis and quality control.Modules in pharmacy practice will cover aspects of drug supply management as well as the philosophy of pharmacy practice and aspects of pharmaceutical care.Apart from the core modules biochemistry forms part of this year of study.  


Third Year:

Modules in pharmaceutics will cover the study of technology used in the manufacture of medicines as well as the principles of Good Manufacturing Practices or GMP.  Students will also develop in-depth knowledge of the impact of micro-organisms on the production of sterile and non-sterile dosage forms. In pharmaceutical chemistry the emphasis will be on drugs as organic molecules in terms of their properties, discovery, design, synthesis and biological activity. Modules in pharmacology will continue to cover the basic and clinical pharmacology of drugs used for various conditions. Students are again exposed to pharmacy and clinical practice through the SLIP programme. In pharmacy practice, students will be taught how to effectively and professionally communicate with patients, peers and other health care professionals to ensure a positive patient outcome while also gaining management skills relevant to the profession of pharmacy.


Fourth Year:

The final year modules in pharmaceutics covers the more specialised dosage forms and their manufacture, including novel drug delivery systems and biotechnology products while also consolidating all the dosage forms by analysing their drug release characteristics in biopharmaceutics. Modules in pharmacology become more problem-based where students are extensively exposed to various clinical settings where they will be expected to consolidate their learning to assess pharmacotherapy. In pharmacy practice, professional practice is dealt with in greater depth, with a focus on decision-making skills as well as focusing on the laws that govern the practice of pharmacy.

In the final year, students will also be allowed to select one of several elective modules that will allow them to further their knowledge within areas of their interest. At least four modules are presented annually in advances in pharmaceutical sciences, advanced drug design, preclinical and clinical trials and pharmacoeconomics.

Students also undertake a basic structured research project within an area of their interest. Various topics on research methods will be presented and students will be required to complete a research project and present their findings to their colleagues during the final semester.



Registration as a pharmacist:

After the successful completion of the four-year programme an internship of one year has to be completed under the auspicious of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC). The internship is a structured experiential learning programme conducted at a site approved for such purposes by the SAPC under the supervision of a pharmacist registered as a tutor. The internship includes completion of a portfolio to be submitted online for assessment and passing the pre-registration examination. Upon successful completion of the internship, candidates may register with the SAPC as community service pharmacists and complete one year of paid service in a state healthcare facility. Once these requirements are met, a qualified person is permitted to register as a pharmacist.

Foreign students completing the BPharm degree at a South African University must meet the requirements for registration as an intern or pharmacist as stipulated for such cases.

Detailed information on the modules is available in the UWC calendar. For further information and clarification on the undergraduate programme Ms Reneé Symonds may be contacted by email at or telephonically at the following landline number +27 21 959 2991.


Postgraduate Programmes

The following postgraduate degrees are offered in the School of Pharmacy:

M Sc Pharmaceutical Sciences (2 years)

M Sc Pharmacy Administration and Policy Regulation (2 years)

M.Clin.Pharm (Masters in Clinical Pharmacy) (3 years)

M Pharm (2 years)

Ph D (2 – 3 years)


Applying for postgraduate studies:

For further information on postgraduate studies contact Prof Denzil Beukes via email at or telephonically using the landline number +27 21 959 2352.

For enquiries regarding the MSc Pharmacy Administration and Policy Regulation programme contact Mr Rafik A Bapoo at or by telephone at +27 21 959 2495.

Mr Rudy Maart may also be contacted for assistance in both instances at email address: or by telephone at +27 21 959 2457 

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