What A Levels Do You Need To Be a Pharmacist: Top University Entry Requirements

What A Levels Do You Need To Be a Pharmacist: Top University Entry Requirements

May 27, 2024 | 2months | General

Pharmacists are integral to the healthcare system, with opportunities ranging from community pharmacies to hospitals, and research labs to pharmaceutical companies. Depending on your interests, you could focus on direct patient care, the development of new drugs, or even work in regulatory affairs to ensure the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals. With average salaries around £50,000, pharmacy is also an interesting career in terms of monetary remuneration.

This article will guide you through the essential A Levels needed to be a pharmacist, examining entry requirements from top universities, and discussing additional qualifications like the International Baccalaureate and BTEC.

Pharmacy entry requirements: What you must know

Entry requirements for different degrees vary between universities and your country of residence. Though the most typical path is taking GCSEs and A-levels, there are other qualifications you may want to take into account.

  • UCAS Points

To apply for a pharmacy degree, you must accumulate sufficient UCAS points. These points vary by university but expect to need anywhere from 110 to 150 points. These are earned based on the exams that you sit for and the grades you achieve (higher grades in your A Levels translate to more points, enhancing your application profile).

  • A Levels

Critical A Levels for pharmacy include Chemistry and Biology, with Mathematics or Physics often recommended. These subjects provide the foundational knowledge crucial for understanding the more complex aspects of pharmacy. For most universities, you need to achieve a minimum of BCC grades.

Interested in A Level Courses? At CloudLearn, we offer them 100% online, complete with 1:1 tutoring and fast-track options!

  • International Baccalaureate

For students taking the IB, a score between 32 to 36 points, including higher-level Chemistry, is typically required. This rigorous program is well-respected and can serve as an equivalent to A-levels in case you don't take them.

  • BTEC

While BTECs are accepted for some healthcare courses, pharmacy programs usually require A Levels due to the scientific depth needed in the coursework.

  • BMAT/UCAT

Some universities might require you to take the BMAT or UCAT exams as part of the application process, particularly those with competitive pharmacy programs. These prove your knowledge and skills that are particularly necessary for medicine-related degrees.

  • IELTS

For non-native English speakers, an IELTS score of at least 6.5 is generally necessary to prove proficiency in English, essential for managing patient care and understanding medical documentation.

  • T Levels

Despite the growing acceptance of T Levels in certain fields, they are still not widely recognised by most pharmacy schools. Check the specific requirements of your desired university to confirm whether T Levels are accepted or if you need to pursue A-Levels instead

Can you become a pharmacist without A Levels?

Though some universities may accept students holding T-level or BTEC qualifications, the most certain way to gain entry to pharmacy school is by taking A-levels.

What A Levels are best for Pharmacy?

Chemistry

Chemistry A Level is essential for any prospective pharmacist. It provides the critical foundation for understanding the biochemical mechanisms of drug action and interactions within the body. Studying Chemistry will introduce you to organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, each crucial for different aspects of pharmacy.

Can I be a pharmacist without a Chemistry A-Level?

It is nearly impossible to become a pharmacist without an A-level in Chemistry. Even if you could enter a pharmacy university without this A-level, you should be aware that its content is essential for this degree, which could hinder your enjoyment and success in pharmacy if you don't have an affinity for it.

Biology

Biology is a pivotal A Level for those aiming to enter the pharmacy field, providing a deep dive into the biological sciences relevant to human health. By studying Biology, you'll explore cell biology, genetics, physiology, and pathology, all of which are integral to understanding how medicines interact with the human body.

Can I do Pharmacy without Biology A-Level?

Entering pharmacy without a Biology A-Level is challenging, as it underpins crucial knowledge about human physiology and drug effects. This subject's content is also essential for Pharmacy, and even if you could avoid taking an A-level, learning about biology will be essential for your career. If you find this or other subjects difficult, changing the learning method can be the answer to ameliorate the process. Learn about the benefits and costs of taking A-levels privately with online academies.

Maths

Maths is a highly valuable A Level for aspiring pharmacists, even though it may not be explicitly required by all universities. It underpins many aspects of pharmaceutical science, from calculating dosages to analysing the statistical reliability of clinical trials. A strong grasp of mathematics helps pharmacists to accurately prepare and dispense medications, ensuring patient safety.

Physics

While not typically mandatory, Physics is a useful A Level for students interested in pharmacy. Topics such as thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and properties of materials are directly applicable to the design and operation of drug delivery systems. This subject also strengthens problem-solving skills and contributes to a well-rounded scientific education, supporting a comprehensive approach to pharmacy practice.

Non-accepted subjects

General Studies and Critical Thinking are often not accepted due to their broad focus which lacks the depth required for scientific understanding.

What is the best A Level combination for Pharmacy?

Chemistry + Biology + Maths

This trio stands as the cornerstone for pharmacy education. Chemistry and Biology provide a profound understanding of drug mechanisms and human biology, crucial for any pharmacist. Adding Maths to this combination equips students with the analytical skills necessary for dosage calculations and understanding pharmacokinetics, making it an indispensable set of A Levels for those looking to excel in both their studies and future pharmacy careers.

Chemistry + Biology + Physics

For students inclined towards the physical sciences, replacing Maths with Physics can also be advantageous. While Chemistry and Biology lay the groundwork for understanding drugs and their biological impacts, Physics introduces concepts such as fluid dynamics and material properties, relevant to drug formulation and delivery systems. This combination ensures a well-rounded scientific education, preparing students for the technical and practical challenges in pharmacy.

You can find these winning combinations on our website. Boost your journey to Pharmacy with CloudLearn's online A-level courses!

Looking to excel in your A-Level exams?
Get the A-Levels you need at CloudLearn!

Top universities' A Level requirements for pharmacy studies

University A-Level requirements Grades requirements Other requisites
University of Manchester Chemistry + Maths/Biology + another rigorous subject AAB
  • At least one passed practical element in a science
  • 5 GCSEs: 6/B in Maths + B/5 English
Queen's University Belfast Chemistry + Maths/Biology/Physics AAB GCSE Biology/Double Science + English + Maths grade 4/C
University of Strathclyde Chemistry + Biology + Maths/Physics AAB GCSE Maths 6/B (if not taken to A Level) + GCSE English Language 6/B.
Cardiff University Biology/Chemistry + Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Maths AAB-ABB GCSE Maths, Biology, Chemistry + English/Welsh GCSEs at 6/B grade
Ulster University Chemistry + Biology/ Mathematics/ Physics/Applied Science/ Life and Health Sciences. AAB
  • Chemistry + DA Applied Science or DA Life and Health Sciences is accepted.
  • English, Maths, + Chemistry or Double Science GCSEs at grade 4/C
University of Bath Chemistry + Maths/Another science AAB T levels allowed, check the website for details.

*None of these universities require admission tests, but they may be applicable in other institutions. Check with your university of preference.

Clearing for Pharmacy courses with lower entry requirements

Clearing can be an alternative pathway into pharmacy courses if initial applications don't go as planned, often with slightly lower entry requirements. If you don't match the requirements for standard or clearing admission, you can always retry A-levels. Learn more about how to retake A-levels.

Pharmacy Student

Many students struggle in deciding between Pharmacy and Medicine. To help with that decision, here are what are the best A-levels to take for Medicine.

Ready to start? Ensure a seamless journey with CloudLearn courses!

Embark on your path to becoming a pharmacist with CloudLearn's comprehensive online A Level courses, tailored specifically for aspiring pharmacists. Our flexible, self-paced platform allows you to study essential subjects like Chemistry, Biology, Maths, and Physics anytime, anywhere, supported by interactive resources and expert tutors.

CloudLearn not only enhances your academic foundation but also guides you through the UCAS application process, preparing you effectively for pharmacy school. Whether you're a recent school leaver or studying A-levels as a mature student, CloudLearn equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the pharmaceutical field. Start your journey today and step confidently towards your future career!

Bonus track: Aspiring pharmacists FAQs

Is Pharmacy a good career in the UK?

With 97,000 pharmacies open in Europe as of 2021, Pharmacy is an excellent career choice in the UK, offering job stability, a good salary, and the ability to make a significant impact on public health. Pharmacists are highly respected professionals within the healthcare community, with opportunities in various settings, including hospitals, community pharmacies, and research facilities.

What GCSEs do you need to work in a pharmacy?

To work in a pharmacy, you generally need at least five GCSEs with grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, Maths, and Science. These foundational subjects are crucial for the further study and understanding required in pharmacy training and practice.

How much do pharmacists get paid in the UK?

Based on the National Careers Service, pharmacists in the UK can expect a starting salary of approximately £35,000, which can rise to around £60,000 with experience. According to Indeed, the job offers forum, Specialised roles or management positions may offer higher salaries, potentially exceeding £80,000 per year, reflecting the responsibility and expertise required.

Is it hard to get into Pharmacy in the UK?

Yes, getting into Pharmacy in the UK is competitive. Applicants need strong A-Level grades, typically including Chemistry and another science, usually achieving a minimum of AAB. After graduating, former students say, there are plenty of different opportunities for pharmacists to work, be it dispensing medicines, researching new drugs, or managing pharma companies.

Can you become a pharmacist without going to university?

No, becoming a pharmacist in the UK requires a university degree—specifically, a Master's in Pharmacy (MPharm), which is a four-year course accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council. This educational path is essential to qualify and register as a pharmacist.

What A-level is best for Pharmacy?

Being a science-related profession, you will need to take Chemistry, Biology, and Maths or Physics. These will provide you with the necessary knowledge for this degree. These subjects might be difficult for some students, but the good news is that online A-levels are accepted to enter any university and offer much more flexibility to prepare for the exams.

Get started at CloudLearn today!

View our GCSE coursesView our A-Level courses

If you'd rather speak to one of our friendly student advisors,
call us on 0330 111 4006

Landing Soon..

We're bringing new finance options to our online enrolment process over the coming weeks. In the meantime we can still organise finance options directly. In fact, we have even more options available when arranging over the phone.

How to organise finance

You simply need to contact us on 0330 111 4006 or email us and we'll be happy to assist!

Added: {course.name}

Super! Your Study Plan was updated. You can add further courses, or you can view your plan now.