Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Pharmacy

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland was founded in 1784 by Royal Charter from King George III of Great Britain and Ireland. The College was established to educate surgeons as surgeons were trained separately from physicians. In 1886, the training of physicians and surgeons merged, and the College established a Medical School.

Since then, the college has grown to become a world-renowned College and in addition to its School of Medicine, the College also houses Schools of Pharmacy, Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy), Post Graduate Studies and Faculties of Radiology, Dentistry, Nursing & Midwifery, Sports & Exercise Medicine. The college also encompasses the RCSI Research Institute and the National Surgical Training Centre. Today, RCSI has an international network of more than 20,000 Alumni working in 70 countries worldwide.

The School of Pharmacy, established in 2002, is part of the historic and globally recognized Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The School offers one of the most progressive and modern pharmacy programs and is known for its innovation in teaching and research. The School of Pharmacy is based in the main college campus on St Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin city center.

RCSI Pharmacy Degree

Master of Pharmacy (MPharm)

Students who complete the full 5 years of the undergraduate Pharmacy program graduate with an NUI/RCSI accredited Master of Pharmacy and are thereby eligible to apply to be registered as a pharmacist in Ireland and throughout the European Union (EU) (BSc graduates do not have this entitlement) or can return home to North America and fulfill licensure requirements as per State Board regulations.

Note: In most states, the licensure requirements for those presenting with a Master’s degree (as opposed to a Bachelor’s degree) are significantly less than with a Bachelor’s degree. The MPharm is more internationally portable and the preferred professional qualification to have when returning to North America.

Length of Program  

The Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) program is delivered over 5 years.

Entry Requirements

Applicants can apply directly from high school, on the basis of one or two years of an undergraduate degree or on completion of an undergraduate degree.

Applicants who pass RCSI’s initial evaluation will be invited to participate in an online interview.

Curriculum Overview

In 2015 RCSI replaced their traditional pharmacy curriculum with a modern integrated program designed to create a new generation of pharmacists who are equipped to begin a successful career in hospital clinical pharmacy, community pharmacy or in the pharmaceutical industry. These graduates will lead the expansion of the profession into new diverse emerging roles within the healthcare sector.

The integrated pharmacy program substitutes a discipline based approach with the simultaneous delivery of the underpinning life/pharmaceutical sciences with the practice of pharmacy so that students can contextualize scientific theory in relevant clinical situations. This is achieved by replacing traditional discipline-based modules with principally organ systems modules which combine basic and applied scientific theory with professional practice and clinical care associated with that organ system. Embedded within these modules are six competency strands that together create the graduate profile (caregiver and medication expert). There is a strong emphasis on clinical practice and clinical competence which is built around integrated experiential learning in practice placements. Here, early professional practice visits and patient interaction progress into weekly practice placements and subsequently into longer term blocks of industry, hospital and/or community placements. This is complemented by optional world class academic research placements nationally and/or optional international mobility both within the European Union and outside of the European Union (e.g. USA).

These graduate pharmacists will be medication experts of the highest international standards, internationally mobile and equipped to contribute to advancement of health and patient care.


Year 1 Modules

  • Pharmacists: Beginning the professional journey
  • Health, body and function
  • Physical and chemical properties of drugs and their dosage forms 1
  • Professional development 1
  • Gastrointestinal health: Medicines and patient care
  • Physical and chemical properties of drugs and their dosage forms 2
  • Cardiovascular health: Medicines and patient care

Year 2 Modules

  • Respiratory Health: Medicines and patient care
  • Professional development 2
  • Musculoskeletal health: Medicines and patient care
  • Central nervous system health: Medicines and patient care
  • Immunology: Self-protection and management of response
  • Infection: Optimizing prevention and treatment strategies
  • Sensory and protective structures: Health and potential for eternal delivery

Year 3 Modules

  • The liver and kidney: Health, function and medicines handling
  • Professional development 3
  • The endocrine system: Hormones as signals and regulators
  • Men’s and women’s Health: Tailored care
  • Stages of life: The changing body and medicines handling
  • Malignant disease: Optimizing prevention and treatment
  • The drug life cycle: Discovery and beyond

Year 4 Modules

  • Organization and management skills
  • Professional skills development
  • Professional practice
  • Professional development 4
  • Global and population health
  • Scientific research skills
  • Options: Advanced medicinal chemistry
  • Options: Education and training
  • Options: Philosophy
  • Options: Communication through creative media
  • Options: Social justice
  • Options: Team based product design

Year 5 Modules

  • Patient care and society
  • Professional development 5
  • Decision making in complex care
  • Leadership in pharmacy: Building the future
  • Supply of medicines and organization and management skills
  • Leading the safe and rational use of medicines
  • Professional practice and public health
  • Clinical research skills

Professional Recognition

Graduates of the 5 year Pharmacy program receive the award of Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) from the National University of Ireland and professional recognition by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

1-students-with-laptopResearch and Elective Opportunities

Students are provided with the opportunity to participate in an 8-week undergraduate summer research project through the RCSI Research Summer School.

Students are also offered the opportunity to undertake electives in partnered North American, French and Chinese faculties of Pharmacy. Further postgraduate research positions aligning with the school’s research strategy are also available within the school following graduation.



US & Canadian Applicant RCSI Prospectus 2021

Non-EU RCSI Prospectus (All Non-EU Countries) 2021