University of Helsinki: A new international Master’s Programme in Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki

In 2022, the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy is taking an expected step, as the international Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety will be launched. In the first application round, 20 student places are available in the two-year programme, whose scope is 120 credits.

The degree completed in the international master’s programme is the Master of Science. Up to now, only a Finnish-language bachelor’s degree in pharmacy has provided eligibility for master’s degree studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

“The University of Helsinki’s Admission Services has received a great deal of enquiries from outside Finland about the opportunity to study pharmacy at the University. Thanks to the new international master’s programme, we will be expanding the opportunity to complete a degree to students of other fields. Specialists in drugs and drug therapies are needed in academic research and other fields of society. Graduates of the Faculty of Pharmacy can choose from a number of career options, in both the public and private sectors,” says Dean
Jouni Hirvonen
of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

A multidisciplinary and international approach
Multidisciplinarity is a key strength of the programme, as demonstrated by the wide range of backgrounds among the staff of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy. A little under half of the staff comes from outside Finland, while dozens of international exchange students visit the Faculty every year.

“We have been offering English-language instruction before this, but the new master’s programme further extends those offerings and turns them into more concise entities. English-language courses and international contacts are also available to students of Finnish- and Swedish-language degree programmes. Indeed, we hope to promote the internationalisation of these student groups in the process,” says
Leena Hanski
, director of the international master’s programme.

With the new programme, the Faculty wants to provide an inspiring and multidisciplinary learning environment already during undergraduate studies. This will make it possible to establish a new, creative and open-minded generation of researchers and experts specialised in pharmacy.

“The programme gives the chance to gain a comprehensive overview of the life cycle and use of pharmaceuticals. The teaching programme combines courses on the discovery and pharmacology of drugs, drug development, as well as medication safety and effectiveness. Participation in research from the early stages of studies is an integral part of the programme.”

Towards green pharmacy
Driving the field of pharmacy to respond to the global sustainability challenge increasingly effectively, also on the international level, is one of the goals of the new master’s programme.

“Green pharmacy and sustainable development in pharmacy will be a key part of the international master’s programme. This element is also supported by a professorship in sustainable development in pharmacy, whose establishment is currently in the works at our Faculty. Graduates of the programme can utilise their expertise broadly in positions associated with research, development and administration, as well as in the industry, academia and the public sector,” Hanski notes.

Effective studying with contemporary methods
For a long time, advanced pedagogical methods have been utilised in teaching at the Faculty of Pharmacy. In laboratory work, augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) environments are employed to boost the support provided for learning. In addition, the Faculty pays particular attention to student wellbeing.

Another element that is given particular consideration at the Faculty is the development of the students’ expert skills and professional identity. Over the course of their studies, all students compile a personal learning portfolio, which helps them monitor their progress toward the predetermined learning outcomes.

“The portfolio elements are designed together with the University’s Career Services, and the potential employers of our students are actively consulted to match the skills provided by the degree with their needs.”

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