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A Guide to Studying Pharmacy in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in Pharmacy at a top-ranked European university? Best of all, it's taught entirely in English and costs less than 1 year of tuition at a US college.

What are my options?

European Bachelor's programs taught entirely in English.
European Master's programs taught entirely in English.

About this area of study.

Even without being licensed, students with only a bachelor's degree in pharmacy can find work at pharmacies (as technicians and assistants), drug companies, research organizations, food and cosmetic producers, and government bodies like the Food and Drug Administration. Salaries vary widely depending on experience and responsibilities, with most falling between $45,000 and $85,000 per year.

Getting a Pharm.D and passing the required exams greatly expand the opportunities available in the retail sector, hospitals, and organizations like the armed forces. Pharmacists make an average of $128,500 per annum.

Careers options in this area of study.

Pharmacists are arguably the most overqualified workers in the world today. Still, an estimated 400,000 medication errors occur in the U.S. every year (100,000 of which are severe enough to merit a report to the FDA). You really do want your drugs dispensed by a smart, responsible, educated guy.

A pharmacy degree that qualifies you for licensing covers a whole lot more than counting pills and making sure they're the right color. Biology, chemistry, mathematics, and other sciences are studied in detail in terms of how they apply to medicine. This is rounded out by courses in pharmacology, toxicology, pharmacy management, and other aspects of the trade. Many go on to work as researchers and never fill a prescription during their careers.

In the United States, students generally go through two to three years of undergraduate studies before being accepted into a four-year doctorate of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program. Upon graduation, they're expected to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam, another test on their knowledge of laws and regulations, as well as a state exam. Once this is done, they're allowed to dispense medications and advise patients.

Studying in Europe makes things slightly more complicated but (usually) a whole lot cheaper. While pharmacy schools based in America are monitored by a body called ACPE, foreign graduates are evaluated by the FPGEC (Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee). They are the people to talk to if you're considering getting a European pharmacy degree.

The basic requirement is that you've completed an approved program in another country. Most pharmacy courses at large European universities qualify as long as they include an internship phase - otherwise, you'll have to complete this in the U.S. In Europe, degrees are often called a master's in pharmacy rather than a doctorate, don't require any more prior study than high school to enter, and run for five years (i.e. a year less than the total study time in America). 

You also need a license to practice in your country of study. Finally, there's a short English test - if you've read this far without moving your lips, you'll have no trouble with the latter.

First, they will verify your European educational history, which they take their time doing. If everything is in order, you're allowed to sit for a test similar to that which newly minted pharmacists who studied in the U.S. take, plus any required state exams.

Admissions information.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport. Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

How to study in Europe.

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to find English-taught degrees.

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs and get started on your journey to Europe today.

Travel the world while you get your degree.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn't be! We're here to help in any way we can... and if it means running extensive searches and using our best judgement to lead the way, we're all for that too.

We get that choosing a program feels like committing to a major early on, but in reality it is more of a general direction. A Best Fit List gives you a unique list of 3 to 5 programs tailored to your needs, helping you take the headache – and heartache – out of choosing a program.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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