Graduate entry to Pharmacy

This page is for domestic and international graduate entry applicants to the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). School leavers who have not commenced tertiary studies should refer to the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Admissions page for information regarding Assured Pathway entry.

Bachelor degree holders or students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree may be eligible to apply for graduate entry into the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). Students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree may apply during their final year, with any course offer being conditional on completion of all bachelor’s degree requirements by 31 December of the year prior to commencement in the MPharm.

Graduate entry into the MPharm is a competitive process based on GPA and an interview process. Places are limited and are awarded to the highest-ranking applicants.

The MPharm is fully accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council. After completion of an internship in a community or hospital pharmacy, graduates are eligible to register to practise as a pharmacist in Australia and New Zealand: refer to MPharm course details for further information. 

Entry requirements

To be considered for admission into the MPharm, an applicant must:

  • have a bachelor's degree, or an equivalent qualification, as recognised by UWA. Recognised bachelor’s degrees are those conferred by Australian universities or higher education institutions recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework or the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR). While academic results from postgraduate study will be taken into account, postgraduate studies undertaken without a bachelor’s degree cannot be accepted as an equivalent qualification
  • have the equivalent of a Faculty Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5.0, and
  • meet the prerequisites in chemistry, mathematics, microbiology and pharmacology (refer to details below).

Applicants who can meet the prerequisites are initially ranked according to GPA, with the highest-ranking applicants being offered an interview. 

After the interviews, candidates will be ranked by GPA, and interview score (equally weighted), with the highest-ranking applicants being offered a place. Rural applicants will be ranked based on GPA, interview and rurality rating (equally weighted).

Read through all sections for a detailed understanding of the requirements.  The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Admissions team is happy to assist with any further queries.

Application timelines and due dates

Interview periods

  • The School of Allied Health will carry out interviews for shortlisted domestic and international applicants during October.
  • Applicants who are eligible for Indigenous entry should contact the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH) regarding interview timelines for the current admissions period.

Course offers

  • Offers are planned to commence during November. Timing of subsequent round offers will depend on the outcome of previous rounds.
Eligibility criteria

Domestic
Australian citizens (including dual citizenship holders), permanent residents and New Zealand citizens must apply for a domestic place.

Rural (Domestic)
The Rural program is part of a Federal Government initiative to address rural and remote areas of workforce shortage in allied healthcare. To be eligible, an applicant’s principal home address must have been in an Australian Statistical Geographic Standard Remoteness Area (ASGS-RA) 2-5 (2016) for any five years consecutively or at least 10 years cumulatively. A search engine for towns in areas can be found on the DoctorConnect website - click on ASGS Remoteness Areas 2016. 

Graduate applicants who believe they fit the rural definition must submit the Graduate Rural Eligibility form (PDF 240KB) in order to be considered for a rural place. Contact the Faculty Admissions team for further information. 

Indigenous (Domestic)
Applicants who identify as an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as such by the community in which they live, or have lived are eligible for consideration as an Indigenous applicant. Applicants must provide a person or organisation who can verify their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status. Applicants should contact the Faculty Admissions team or the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH) for information regarding this pathway.

International
Applicants who are not Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens must apply for an international place. International students who have applied or are intending to apply for Australian permanent residency or citizenship need to be aware of the following:

  • An offer for an international place will lapse if the applicant’s residency status changes before commencement. Applicants in this situation will need to re-apply during the next admissions period for a domestic place.
  • A student whose residency status changes after commencement cannot be guaranteed a domestic place in a course subject to quotas.
English language competency requirement

To fulfil the English Language Competency requirement applicants must have:

  • Completed 2+ years or full time equivalent tertiary study in English only at an institution in Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA, Ireland, Canada (except Quebec), and New Zealand; OR
  • IELTS Academic with overall score of 7.0 and no band less than 7.0 (IELTS Indicator will be accepted during the 2020-2021 admissions period):
    • from one test sitting; or
    • a maximum of two test sittings within a six month period only if:
      • a minimum overall score of 7.0 is achieved in each sitting; and
      • a minimum score of 7.0 in each band across the two sittings; and
      • no score below 6.5 in any band.

Applicants who have completed English A-Levels in Singapore are required to submit a IELTS result.  International applicants who require IELTS must provide a valid result by 30 June of the application year. Domestic applicants who require IELTS must provide a valid result by 31 August of the application year.

 
Prerequisites

Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree before commencing the MPharm and must meet the following prerequisites to be considered for a place:

  • Chemistry – Year 12 ATAR Chemistry is accepted, or a tertiary chemistry unit, for example Introductory Chemistry (CHEM1003).
  • Mathematics OR Statistics – Year 12 ATAR Mathematics Applications or higher is accepted, or a tertiary mathematics or statistics unit, for example Mathematics Fundamentals (MATH1720) or Statistics for Science (STAT1400).
  • Microbiology – for example, Introductory Microbiology (MICR2208).
  • Pharmacology – for example, Foundations of Pharmacology (PHAR2210); note, Drugs that Changed the World (PHAR1101) does not qualify as a prerequisite unit for Pharmacology.

The linked units are examples only and units with similar content may be undertaken either at UWA or other universities. Units may form part of the bachelor’s degree major or be added as complementary, broadening or elective units, or as postgraduate study.

The MPharm prerequisite checklist document or PDF should be downloaded and submitted with the application. Applicants who are in progress of prerequisite units at the time of application will be considered for a place in the MPharm, and any offer will be conditional on completion by 31 December of the year prior to course commencement.

Degree completion – conditional offers

Applicants who are eligible for a course offer during the final year of their initial bachelor’s degree will be made a conditional offer requiring them to:

  • attain a minimum GPA of 5.0 for semester two of the final year of their degree; and
  • complete their bachelor’s degree requirements by the end of the year prior to commencement.

Applicants who are in progress of their initial bachelor’s degree and undertake a course of action that will result in receiving late results may not meet offer conditions. Therefore applicants must take care when undertaking any course of action which could delay the receipt of results or degree completion. This may include undertaking deferred/supplementary exams, undertaking units that fall outside normal semesters (e.g. summer units or trimester units) or going on exchange during the final year of study. Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their initial bachelor’s degree by the 31 December deadline will have their offer withdrawn.

Final ranking for course offers
  • Final ranking for non-rural domestic and international candidates will be based equally on GPA and interview score.
  • Final ranking for rural candidates will be based equally on GPA, interview score and rurality rating.
  • Final ranking for candidates who are eligible for Indigenous entry will be based on GPA and interview by the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH).
Curriculum

The UWA MPharm is a two-year course. Full details of the course structure are available in the UWA Handbook.

Grade point average (GPA)

Details regarding the GPA calculation method are available on the GEMSAS website and should be considered alongside information below regarding UWA’s HMS GPA calculation method.

HMS GPA calculation method

  • Applicants must show they have achieved the course-specific minimum GPA to be considered.
  • Each year is weighted equally: ("GPA final year" + "GPA final year-1" + "GPA final year-2")/3.
  • No preference or scaling is given to particular universities or fields of study.
  • Special consideration cannot be granted as part of the admissions process. GPA will be calculated from an applicant's results as they appear on their transcript.
  • The GPA as calculated by UWA may differ to that calculated according to the GEMSAS instructions.

Levels of study included in the GPA calculation

UWA calculates the GPA from university study undertaken in the most recent three years. A full time equivalent (FTE) will be calculated for students who have studied part time. As an example, three years of full-time or equivalent study at UWA is 144 credit points, at Curtin it is 600 credit points, at ECU it is 360 credit points, at Murdoch it is 72 credit points. The calculation is from units taken in chronological order, regardless of exemptions, credit or advanced standing which may have been applied to the most recent degree.

The Faculty includes recognised bachelor’s, honours (completed), graduate certificate, graduate diploma and master’s by coursework level of study in the GPA calculation. Note that in order for honours or other research degree studies to be included in the GPA calculation, it must be completed by the end of semester one of the application year.

Recognised degrees are those conferred by Australian or overseas universities or higher education institutions recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework, or the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR).

Domestic MD applicants who have undertaken additional study (whether postgraduate or additional bachelor level study) should indicate this on the GEMSAS application (when prompted to by the application questions). All other applicants should indicate this on their UWA application form and provide transcripts for studies not undertaken at UWA.

Accelerated degrees and conversion courses

UWA will accept recognised two-year accelerated bachelor’s degrees and one-year conversion degrees for the purpose of graduate admission into Medicine, Dentistry, Podiatric Medicine and Pharmacy. Applicants who are in progress of a one-year conversion degree must complete that course before applying, unless they hold a previously completed bachelor’s degree.

Postgraduate degrees by research

Applicants with a completed PhD at time of application will be awarded a GPA of 7.0.

Applicants with a completed master’s by research at time of application will be awarded a bonus of 0.2 to be added to their overall GPA.

Incomplete honours, master’s by research and PhDs are not considered in the GPA calculation. In order to be included, all research degree requirements must be met by semester one of the application year.

Applicants who only hold higher degrees

All applicants require a recognised bachelor’s degree for graduate entry into UWA’s MD, DMD, DPM and MPharm. Applicants who have completed a higher degree but have not completed a recognised bachelor’s degree will not be eligible for consideration.

Ungraded passes

The credit value/unit weighting of ungraded passes will count towards the three years of the FTE; however, the result itself is left out of the calculation. For example, if a student has 0.125 EFT of ungraded pass in a particular year, that year's GPA will be based on 0.875 EFT of results.

The exception is where an applicant has more than one year or FTE of ungraded passes in their most recent three years FTE. In this instance, the Faculty will include results from older study.

Ungraded fails

Both the result and credit value/weighting of ungraded fails are included in the GPA calculation. An ungraded fail will confer a GPA grade of 0 for that unit.

Minimal results in the current year of study

Where an applicant has 0.25 FTE (or less) of results for their final GPA year, the Faculty will include older study. Where no older study is available, the Faculty will calculate the GPA on only the GPA Final-1 and GPA Final-2 years. In this instance, if an applicant is made an offer, it will be conditional upon their performance in all enrolled units which had been incomplete during the application year (see information below about conditional offers).

Exchange studies

The Faculty will use the results that appear on the home university’s transcript. In most cases, such studies are shown as an ungraded pass or an ungraded fail. If an applicant has ungraded pass/fail units amounting to more than one year FTE of their most recent three FTE years of study, the Faculty may require actual graded results provided by the host university.

Credit/Exemptions/Advanced standing

A GPA is calculated from units that an applicant has undertaken in the most recent three years EFT, regardless of credit/exemptions/advanced standing units which have been applied to the most recent degree.

For example, if an applicant has transferred from one degree to another with credit/exemption/advanced standing applied for 1.5 years EFT, and has then undertaken a further 1.5 years EFT in the new degree, the most chronologically recent 1.5 years EFT from the previous recognised degree studies will be included in the calculation.

Repeated units/subjects

Applicants who successfully complete a unit and subsequently repeat the same unit (or an equivalent unit) will not have the repeated unit included in their GPA calculation, whether or not the unit was taken as part of degree studies.

If the applicant has repeated a unit due to failing the first time, then the standard GPA rules apply. That is, all units completed within the most recent three years of valid full time or equivalent (FTE) study will be included in the calculation, including the fail result if it falls within the most recent three years FTE.

Not for degree studies

Results from individual units which are not taken as part of a degree are not included in the GPA calculation, unless the not-for-degree study constitutes more than 0.5 EFT study.

Interviews
  • Applicants who can meet the eligibility requirements and prerequisites will be ranked and shortlisted for an interview based on their GPA.
  • The interview is a structured process allowing applicants to display some of the personal qualities considered desirable in allied health practitioners, and increase their competitiveness for a place.
  • The Faculty interviews approximately two to three candidates for each available place.
  • Shortlisted applicants are notified one to two weeks prior to the interview by email.
  • Applicants who accept their interview will be provided with detailed information and preparation material prior to the interview.

Timing

  • Interviews for domestic graduate applicants are held in Perth late September or early October. 
  • Where applicable, interviews for international graduate applicants are held in Singapore, Canada and Perth during July (venues subject to availability).
  • Applicants must attend their interview in person within their given interview period and are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

The interview process

The usual process on the day is as follows:

  • 1. Registration including statement of confidentiality.
  • 2. Interview pre-reading.
  • 3. Preparation for the Explaining Skills Exercise*. This is a short verbal presentation on a topic provided on the day.
  • 4. Undertake the interview. Domestic applicants will commence with the written component where applicable, followed by the Explaining Skills Exercise* and interview. International applicants will undertake the panel interview.

Allied Health applicants who also qualify for an interview for graduate entry into Medicine and/or Dentistry will be interviewed based on their highest preference. As an example, MPharm candidates who are being interviewed in the same admissions year for either medicine or dentistry are not required to attend an additional interview in order to be considered for pharmacy.

*The Explaining Skills Exercise is not included in the international interview process.

What to bring and wear

  • Photographic ID – passport/driver’s licence/school card
  • Mobile phones and other personal effects cannot be carried throughout the interview and will be placed in a secure location. Interviewees may prefer to leave such items at home.
  • Interviewees may carry bottled water and a jacket or cardigan throughout the interview.
  • Dress as if attending a job interview – clothes that feel comfortable and look smart. Layers are advisable in case the venue is cool or warm.
  • Interviewees should not wear any uniform, accessories or badge that identifies membership of a particular organisation. This is to avoid the perception that bias has entered the selection process.

Confidentiality

Interviewees will be asked to sign a statement of confidentiality as part of the registration process, indicating their agreement not to disclose information about the interview.

UWA staff, student helpers and interviewers will not disclose information regarding an applicant’s interview, responses or performance, including to other UWA staff or the applicant’s family. Information from the interview is not placed on an applicant’s student file whether or not they accept an offer to study at UWA.

The interviewers

Interviewers may be representatives from the community or from the University. Interviewers receive regular training to ensure consistency in the way questions are asked and responses assessed.

The assessment is evidence based. The interviewers can only rate interviewees on their responses to interview questions, whether written or verbal. The interviewers will take notes throughout the interview; however, this is to note what the interviewee has said.

Interviewers have a comprehensive set of evidence-based measures with which to rate an interviewee’s responses and formulate a score. For domestic applicants, the final score is aggregated from results across the written component (where applicable), the Explaining Skills Exercise and the interview. For international applicants, the final score is aggregated from panel interview results.

Domestic applicants: One interviewer will assess applicants, who may be a representative from the community or from the University. A second interviewer may be present in a station room to observe or for training purposes. They do not have a formal role in the assessment of the applicant. The written component where applicable will be assessed and marked by relevant University staff.

International applicants: A panel comprising two University representatives will interview each applicant. A third interviewer may be present in a station room to observe or for training purposes. They do not have a formal role in the assessment of the applicant.

Interview criteria

Each year interview criteria will include communication skills and motivation/commitment. A number of other criteria will be selected each year.  In past years criteria have included topics such as awareness of social diversity, provision of assistance, self-awareness, trust and trustworthiness, values and ethics and working with others.

The criteria chosen may not be the same for domestic and international applicants. For domestic applicants, some of the questions may be addressed via a written response, with the remainder during the face-to-face interview. International applicants will be asked questions and provide verbal responses during the panel interview.

Interview questions will not be based on clinical or scientific scenarios which would require specific industry or scientific knowledge. The questions are designed to encourage interviewees to think and to explain their reasoning. The questions may be scenario based, awareness based, or experientially based, but the assessment is evidence based. The interviewer can only rate interviewees on what they say. It is therefore important to give more than one-sentence answers; interviewees should draw on their own experiences and knowledge to address a topic, and to provide appropriate examples.

Applicants will need to respond to the specific questions asked. There are no generic questions or opportunities for applicants to list their achievements and skills outside the scope of the questions.

Interview preparation courses

  • There are many ways to address a question; interviewers are not looking for one specific ‘correct’ answer. Be prepared to articulate your motivation and commitment to working as a health professional in your higher preferenced field. Have some background information about your preferred career and the course.
  • Familiarise yourself with the interview topics. Consider how your own life experiences may reflect aspects of these topics. Find opportunities to discuss the topics with your family, peers and different people in your community.
  • The University of Western Australia does not recommend or endorse third party interview preparation courses, including those held on University premises. The Faculty does not release any information relating to UWA interview questions to any third party, and interview questions within the topics will be different each year. Furthermore, interviewers and interviewees are required to sign confidentiality agreements regarding the interview process. Therefore, third party preparation course providers do not have access to any information which is not already freely available to all applicants.
  • Applicants may benefit more from generic interview preparation rather than interview preparation which purports to aim specifically at UWA courses.
  • Applicants who rehearse detailed answers to specific questions risk not addressing the question they are actually asked on the day.
Registration upon completion

On completion of the MPharm, graduates will have both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree, ensuring they have a well-rounded skill set as well as the specialist skills needed in their professional career.

Internship and registration for pharmacists

Graduates will be eligible to apply for provisional registration as a pharmacist in Australia or New Zealand, and are required to complete an internship in order to apply for general registration. The internship is a period of supervised practice required by the Pharmacy Board of Australia to be eligible to apply for general registration as a pharmacist.

Graduates who did not complete the majority of their education in English in a recognised country may be subject to additional English language requirements for registration.

For further details regarding registration requirements, refer to the Pharmacy Board.