Pharmacy continues to evolve worldwide, with pharmacists extending and changing their roles to meet the challenges and changing needs of healthcare, populations and consumers. The value of pharmacy and pharmacists to healthcare systems is increasingly recognised and exploited, even as healthcare itself changes with advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, new drugs and health technologies. Evolving and expanding roles for pharmacy signify strong employment growth for pharmacists, and opening opportunities for individuals with relevant skills and entrepreneurial spirit.
The Master of Pharmacy Practice (MPP) degree Programme at IMU enables pharmacy graduates to address their aspirational education and training needs, and remain relevant to healthcare and healthcare management. The Programme uniquely offers major streams in clinical pharmacy, social and administrative pharmacy, or in the management of healthcare organisations, combined with research training. The Programme is offered in blended mode, enabling pharmacists to work towards a Master degree, whilst continuing to practise and to immediately apply what they learn in their context.
Blended mode means that students can undertake much of their study online, with some weekend on-campus face to face sessions. The Programme is thus able to personalise education and offers the accessibility of online learning together with social and professional interaction. The University’s e-learning environment (Moodle) enables students to access all study content and offers technology enhanced learning facilitated by moderators. Face-to-face sessions include lectures, workshops, seminars and case presentations. Most of these sessions are scheduled on Saturdays at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus. This enables students to continue in practise whilst undertaking postgraduate study with the potential to significantly build their careers.
Students in the Master Programme come from diverse backgrounds, bring varied talents and experience in the course, and show that the programme appeals to both hospital and community pharmacists and to fresh graduates. There are also students from an academic pharmacy background. The small intakes foster an excellent learning culture and the programme provides many opportunities for cooperative learning with a high level of peer support.
Every student undertakes a research study, under the supervision of faculty members with established research credentials. Students benefit from the University’s research collaborations with various local and foreign institutions, and the expertise of faculty members of the School of Pharmacy and other Schools and Departments.
Whilst the formal output of the research semester is a dissertation, students’ professional interpersonal skills are also enhanced from one-to-one interaction with their research supervisors, academic and other professional staff. At the time of writing, students of the first cohort are finalising their research dissertations, marking the last stage of their journey through the Master programme. Though not its primary purpose, the Master qualification also opens up opportunities for more advanced research training, for example via doctoral programmes.
As befits a University with a 6 star SETARA rating, IMU degree courses are periodically reviewed and re-imagined. The Master in Pharmacy Practice is no exception, and is currently undergoing a review of content and delivery, aimed at enhancing the learning experience and learning outcomes.