Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Clinical Pharmacy Education in China

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Clinical Pharmacy Education in China

Article excerpt


Modern higher education in pharmacy in China began in the Qing Dynasty in 1906. Before the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, there were 8 schools and universities offering pharmacy programs and degrees. (1) In 1955, the first university to recruit postgraduate pharmacy students in the People's Republic of China was Beijing Medical College (currently known as Peking University Health Science Center). (2) Today, there are more than 257 pharmacy schools and universities that offer the B S degree and higher degrees throughout China. In 2005, more than 6,000 graduates received BS degrees, 800 received MS degrees, and 290 received PhD degrees in pharmacy. (3)

Traditionally, students receive a BS degree as an entry-level pharmacy degree. Students holding a BS degree can earn an MS degree in 3 years or a PhD in 5 years. Students with an MS degree can work toward a PhD with an additional 3 years of study. In China, there is a system by which disciplines are catalogued into first or second levels. First levels are similar to majors in the US, while second levels are the equivalent of minors or areas of concentration within a major. Another route to pharmacy education is through bachelor or master degrees in medical sciences (BM or MM, respectively). These students declare their first level as medical sciences and their second level as clinical pharmacy. They are eligible for licensure as a pharmacist; however, they cannot practice medicine.

Clinical pharmacy education in China has developed only recently. Perhaps, because there is no standardization of curricula, there are a variety of degrees offered from various programs (Table 1). BS degrees in pharmacy or medicine, MS degrees in pharmacy or medicine, and PhD degrees in pharmacy can all have components of clinical pharmacy. From 1989 to 1999, the West China School of Pharmacy at Sichuan University offered the first 5-year clinical pharmacy BS degree. Since 2000, the Ministry of Education has allowed only pharmaceutical sciences as a first-level discipline for BS degrees. Students wishing to study clinical pharmacy at the bachelor's level may select clinical pharmacy as a second-level area of concentration under pharmaceutical sciences. As an exception, in 2008 China Pharmaceutical University was allowed to offer a first-level, 5-year BS degree in clinical pharmacy.

Peking University developed a 6-year continuous or dual degree BS/MS program in clinical pharmacy in 2001 and is the only university in China to offer such a degree. In 2007, the first 15 MS students graduated from this program at Peking University, the largest number of clinical pharmacy graduates in 1 year in China. In 2003, Peking University was permitted by the Ministry of Education to offer a 3-year post-baccalaureate MS in clinical pharmacy. (4) Shortly thereafter, programs were approved at 3 other universities (Sichuan University, China Pharmaceutical University, and Shenyang Pharmaceutical University). (3) Shandong University has another interesting degree option, the master of medicine in clinical pharmacy degree. In this program students complete a 7-year program in medicine after graduation from high school with a concentration in clinical pharmacy.

From 2005 to 2007,4 universities (Peking University, Sichuan University, China Pharmaceutical University, and Shenyang Pharmaceutical University) began to recruit candidates for a PhD degree in clinical pharmacy. The first graduates from these programs are expected in late 2008. There are 2 possible routes for attaining/obtaining the PhD in clinical pharmacy: after graduating from a BS program, the student completes a 5-year PhD program; or after graduation from an MS program in clinical pharmacy or a related pharmacy area, the student completes a 3-year PhD program.

Applicants and Admission Criteria

In China, students are admitted directly to pharmacy programs from high school. …

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