Frequently Asked Questions
Pharmacy CAO Code: TR072, CAO Points 590 (2020), 567 (2019), 555* (2018), Places 70
What makes Trinity the best choice for pharmacy?
The way pharmacy is taught in Trinity is unique. The teaching of pharmacy in Trinity is research-led and evidence-based. There is a good blend of pharmaceutical sciences with the teaching of pharmacy-dedicated subjects and we teach everything in an integrated manner. Also, the School of Pharmacy in Trinity is ranked number 1 in the country according to the QS university rankings. We are also ranked 45th in the world and we are in the top 20 best pharmacy schools in Europe.
Will the CAO points go down this year for the course?
The CAO points tend to change every year so don’t let that put you off from applying. When filling out your CAO put your courses in order of preference regardless of points.
However, you must ensure you meet the minimum entry requirements which are: O4 or H6 mathematics. H4 chemistry or physics/chemistry. H4 in one of physics, biology, mathematics, applied mathematics, geography, geology, computer science or agricultural science.
It is important to remember: the points will also be somewhat dependent on the type of Leaving Certificate that runs in 2021. The points jumped significantly in 2020 compared to previous years.
How many people are accepted onto the course each year?
We take 70 CAO entries, plus a max. of 5 graduate entry and 10 non-EU students. The ratio of women to men on the course is about 70% female and 30% male, but it changes year on year.
Are there alternative routes into the course?
There are two alternative entry routes to pharmacy at Trinity, one of which is a graduate entry route. For this, applicants need a NFQ level 8 degree, and either Leaving Cert higher level chemistry or to have completed a chemistry course in a third level institution. This is to ensure that you have the necessary standard of chemistry. Students must apply to the CAO (by 1st February) and must also complete the TCD online supplementary form (by 1st February) and provide supporting documentation (references, transcripts etc).
If you do a related course, it will help your application. A health-related course or a science-based course will be an advantage. But if you have a degree in Arts or Business, your application would need to show that you will be able to manage the science aspects too.
The other route is the mature student entry route. If you are an EU applicant and are over 23 years of age on 1 January in the year of application you may apply to be considered for a mature student place. Mature applicants are not required to meet either the minimum academic (matriculation) requirements or the competitive academic entry level (Leaving Certificate points). Applicants must apply to the CAO (by 1st February) and must also complete the TCD online supplementary form (by 1st February) and provide supporting documentation (references, transcripts etc).
If I apply through the graduate entry route, will I need to complete all 5 years of the course?
Yes. No matter what entry route you take, everyone starts in first year. This is due to the integrated nature of the course. Integration between academic and experiential learning is key to our course.
After four years (provided you meet the standards, pass the exams etc.) you will be awarded a B.Sc. in Pharmacy. You can exit the programme at this stage, however this does not qualify you to become a registered pharmacist, so you couldn't work as a pharmacist in community pharmacies or hospitals. Thus you need to complete the fifth year to obtain an M.Pharm. degree and become a fully registered pharmacist.
Are there places for PLCs?
There are no specific places held for PLCs.
What is the difference between pharmacy and pharmacology?
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the uses, effects, and modes of action of drugs. There are pharmacology modules in the pharmacy course, but pharmacy also covers discovery, production, disposal, safe and effective use, and control of medications and drugs.
Is the HPAT required for the pharmacy course?
No, the HPAT is not required for pharmacy.
Can students transfer from another degree into pharmacy?
No, it's not possible to transfer from another degree into pharmacy.
What are the health screening requirements for new students?
Health screening requirements must be completed by all new pharmacy students. As soon as you receive your offer you must make an appointment with either the College Health Centre or your registered GP to conduct the necessary screenings. As the process will take some time, it is important that you make this appointment immediately.
- All students must contact their local immunisation office, local GP or their parents to obtain their childhood immunisation records.
- Students must return satisfactory proof from their registered GP or Trinity College Health that they are not currently infected with Hepatitis B (core and surfaceantigen) or C.
- Students must show they have been vaccinated for Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) with evidence of a BCG scar which their registered GP or Trinity College Health must record.
- Students must ask their registered GP or Trinity College Health to certify their immunity to Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).
How many hours a week is involved in studying pharmacy?
Pharmacy is a full time course. In every year your timetable will be full and you would also be expected to also do some self-guided study. In first year, for example, you will be required to have lectures/labs from 9am to 5pm almost every day of the week.
There are a lot of interactive activities, such as lab-based practicals, but also communication skills, clinical skills, interprofessional learning etc. There are lectures, but also workshops, seminars and tutorials.
Is there continuous assessment throughout the course?
The assessment in pharmacy encompasses a combination of continuous assessment and final year exams. There are multiple forms of continuous assessment; these range from writing reports to practical classes for example.
Is the course load manageable?
It is a very busy course, and you have to be prepared to work hard from the beginning. However, most people are able to balance the workload with whatever other aspects of college life they become involved in. Trinity is an extremely active and dynamic college with so much going on. While a lot of your time is spent studying the course material, you should be able to experience that side of the college too.
Is there a lot of interaction with teachers and lecturers on the course?
In the pharmacy programme there is a wide range of different types teaching and learning settings. There are a good number of lectures, but also practical classes, seminars, tutorials, group and individual projects. Lectures take place with the whole year group of 70-80 students. These sessions are complemented with smaller 'tutorial' style lessons, which can be very useful to discuss doubts or questions. Even now with a significant proportion of lessons taking place online, lecturers are always ready to respond to emails or questions on live sessions.
When do the experiential learning placements take place?
You complete placements in Year 2, Year 4 and Year 5. Placement in Year 2 is a two-week placement. Placement in Year 4 is four months, and you have the opportunity to select your placement area in a patient-facing role (community or hospital pharmacy), in a pharmaceutical industry or in role-emerging practice, such as research or regulatory settings. Placement in Year 5 is eight months, and this is in a patient-facing role to prepare you for entry to the pharmacy register.
Is there an option to study abroad?
Students get the chance to do a research programme abroad in year 3 or 4, but this takes place in summer months.
What careers are available with an M.Pharm. degree?
There are many different career opportunities available with an M.Pharm. degree. The degree allows you to register as a pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and practice in patient-facing roles, such as community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. You can also work as a pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry, and there are many opportunities in Role Emerging Practice, where you can apply your degree to a regulatory, research or academic career. It is a very versatile degree.
Is it possible to change from community pharmacy to industry after completing the course?
A pharmacy degree opens up many doors and many different career opportunities in a number of different sectors, and you don't have to choose in which sector you'd like to work until after you qualify. As a qualified pharmacist you can also move between sectors.
What is the process of becoming a Qualified Person?
The pharmacy degree fulfils the educational requirements necessary to become a qualified person (QP). You also have to have some subsequent work experience in the industry before the HPRA (the regulatory agency) will recognise you as a QP. See further details here.
Is it possible to do a postgraduate course in pharmacy without having an undergraduate degree in it?
Yes it is. Our School offers many postgraduate options (see the list of PG courses here). For example, in our M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, we have graduates from chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, biotechnology, analytical chemistry, biochemistry etc.
Are pharmacy graduates competitive with science graduates for places in industry?
As a pharmacist you are a Qualified Person and would often have slightly different responsibilities in the pharmaceutical industry. You could be working in quality control or in developing formulation strategies. There are other, more administrative aspects too, regarding the labelling of a medicine. Stability studies can be overseen by Pharmacists, etc. Research & Development is another option.
Can I go straight into hospital pharmacy after getting my degree?
Once you are registered as a pharmacist you are eligible to work as a pharmacist in any sector -however positions in various sectors may have other requirements. For example, they may require previous relevant experience in the sector. With respect to hospital pharmacy, a hospital could recruit a newly qualified pharmacist. It could help if one of your placements included hospital experience, but that isn't always essential.