Master's Graduate Programs in the Pharmaceutical Sciences: An International Survey

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Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Information on master's programs in the pharmaceutical sciences is lacking; this manuscript addresses this gap in the literature, by reporting on the results of an international survey performed in 2021 of master's programs in the pharmaceutical sciences offered at Schools/Colleges of Pharmacy. Ninety-six responses were received from universities from 23 countries, with the greatest number of responses obtained from India, followed by the United States and Japan. Master's programs in the pharmaceutical sciences are generally full time and 2 years in duration. Only 3% of programs were reported to be examination-based, while the remaining 97% had a research component with 70% of programs having a thesis defense with external and/or internal examiners. Master's programs tended to be larger in Asia and Europe than in North America; as well, programs in North America tended to have more international students. Didactic coursework was included in 96% of master's programs in North America, but only in 38% of Asian and 58% of European programs. The predominant placement of graduates from master's programs in Asia was in the pharmaceutical industry (70%); this contrasted with programs in Europe, Africa and North America where 28–36% enter careers in the pharmaceutical industry and higher percentages enter Ph.D. programs. The major challenge identified by programs was funding of faculty and of graduate students, although decreasing career opportunities was identified as a challenge in Asia and Africa.

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