Specialisation studies

Specialisation studies in community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy as well as in industrial pharmacy for holders of a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) or a Master of Science (Pharmacy) degree provide an excellent channel for developing your expertise, career and work community.

The language of instruction in community and hospital pharmacy specialisation programme is Finnish, but it is possible to complete assignments in Swedish and English, and many students write their research articles in English for the international audience. The language of instruction in industrial pharmacy is English.

Special expertise in pharmacy supports the provision of rational drug therapies, in addition to which it enables pharmacies, social welfare and healthcare services, the pharmaceutical industry, wholesale businesses and authorities to conduct their operations competently. 

Specialisation studies constitute a long-term form of training providing skills that promote professional development and specialisation to practising professionals in the pharmaceutical field.

The next application period to specialisation studies is 14.2.-30.4.2024. For more information, please visit HY+ page

What is teaching like in the specialisation studies?

In the specialisation studies, teaching is based on research, which has several concrete effects on teaching. Teaching is provided by researchers well versed in their discipline, teaching the topics of their research.

In addition to relevant research-based knowledge, teaching utilises diverse teaching and assessment methods as well as digital tools known, on the basis of pedagogical research, to promote students’ learning, the development of scholarly thinking and the establishment of expertise.

Specialisation studies are career oriented

Specialisation studies are completed in your work community, which supports both the growth of students’ professional expertise and the development of their work community.

The content of the specialisation studies is designed in collaboration with employer representatives. The studies are coordinated by a national collaboration network, which has representatives from employer and employee organisations as well as the universities organising the studies. Both specialisation programmes also have a steering group, which includes employer and student representatives. The courses are taught by top-level experts of the field.

Professional experts also serve as students’ research project supervisors, since their knowhow is important in terms of advancing research in the field. This also ensures that the research conducted is relevant and topical, as well as applied without delay.

Specialisation studies are developed with the help of student feedback

Feedback is collected from students completing specialisation studies in pharmacy on course implementation as well as the development of students’ and work communities’ competence. The feedback collected is utilised in the development of courses and training. Students are also informed of how their feedback is used.

“I gained a transformed job description, better professional self-esteem, means for solving challenges related to drug therapies and looking for information, a solid start for more advanced multiprofessional cooperation at work, increased appreciation of pharmacists among doctors and a great deal of knowledge! I also felt good about learning new things and succeeding.”

Networking is part of studies

The specialisation studies in pharmacy utilise networked learning. Over the course of the studies, students network with other students (those completing either of the specialisation programmes, students of different years as well as students from the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland) and with experts of the field. Through networking, students get to familiarise themselves with the practices of different operating environments in the field, learn new things and, potentially, establish new cooperation opportunities and career paths.

A tailored learning and development plan

Each student develops their competence and expertise with the support of a personal learning and development plan. The plan outlines studies that match the student’s future goals and job description as well as the needs of their employer. Most of the studies are completed alongside work, on topics relevant to it. The specialisation studies in community and hospital pharmacy also promote increasingly close collaboration between BSc (Pharmacy) and MSc (Pharmacy) degree holders and other healthcare professionals.

The specialist study track in the specialisation studies in community and hospital pharmacy provides an opportunity to focus on a specific field. Such fields can include drug therapies for oncological, neurological, psychogeriatric or developmentally disabled patients, or the development, coordination and management of rational antibiotic use or rational drug use. This way, students can develop their job description and expertise to become increasingly patient oriented together with their professional organisation and as part of a multiprofessional team. 

The compulsory studies in the specialisation studies in community and hospital pharmacy provide all students with a medication review qualification (LHA) and the opportunity to complete studies required for a comprehensive medication review qualification (LHKA). 

Pharmacists working in the pharmaceutical industry can supplement their studies by completing the specialisation studies in industrial pharmacy, after which their employer on their behalf can apply for a Qualified Person qualification in accordance with the relevant EU directive, which gives them the authority, for example, to release batches of medicinal products for sale. Consequently, applied studies in physics, among other content, have been added to the courses in industrial pharmacy in accordance with the requirements set by the directive.


Online learning environments

Specialisation studies in pharmacy break new ground in a range of web-based teaching methods at the Faculty, and the online solutions used make studying flexible. Participation in learning events, such as study days or seminars, is often possible over a remote connection, and group work can be carried out online just as well. The diverse digital learning materials provided by the online learning environments utilised on the courses make it easy to concentrate on the teaching subjects whenever students have the time.

Students completing specialisation studies also have access to extensive online materials offered by the Helsinki University Library, including scholarly publications and e-books relevant to the field. Many of the specialisation courses culminate in online seminars where students are able to both give presentations and gain the latest knowledge in the field from presentations by other students completing the studies or visiting experts. Such online sessions where expertise is shared and which enable expert discussion have been very popular, with employer representatives participating as well.

Research is a part of studying

Research is an important part of studying in the specialisation studies in pharmacy. Research projects can be tailored to the interests of students or stakeholders. Students also have the opportunity to conduct research in cooperation with research groups. 

By completing specialisation studies, students learn and gain the ability to focus on a topic relevant to their work by means of research, such as conducting literature reviews, drafting research questions, choosing research methods, analysing and discussing results as well as engaging in academic writing. Research projects generate new knowledge, and they are often the first scientific study on a given topic.

Students’ employers gain reliable data from the research and the opportunity to develop their products, services or operations, simultaneously establishing links to academic research. Often, research in community and hospital pharmacy promotes the development of medication safety and the impact of rational drug therapies nationally and internationally. 

In addition to textbooks, teaching materials are based on knowledge not yet published in books. The teachers providing instruction in the specialisation programmes are active in several research groups that produce projects which support practical work, as well as research projects in pharmacy and hospital environments.