A Global Comparison of Initial Pharmacy Education Curricula: An Exploratory Study

Naoko Arakawa, Andreia Bruno-Tome, Ian Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Time-tabled curricular contents and syllabi reflect the actual delivery of the academic programme and one of key quality components in healthcare professional education. There is a need of global evidence base of Initial Pharmacy Education and Training (IPET) curricula for assisting the advancement of IPET globally. Objectives: To seek the differences and similarities among IPET curricula and to explore relative trends and weighting of IPET curricula globally. Methods: Sample curricular documents were collected purposively either through a parallel survey study investigating the structures and processes of IPET globally in collaboration with the International Pharmaceutical Federation Education (FIPEd), or through research team network. Collected textual documents containing IPET curricular contents were analysed by a mixed approach of the comparative content and framework analyses, using curriculum clusters in a guideline from the PHARMINE project. Results: IPET curricular documents were collected from 16 countries and territories. The study showed study years spent in the IPET years range from four to six years, and a sample mean of average syllabus time spent per year is 728 hours/year (excluding outlier). There was a biggest variance in the pharmacy practice cluster (PRAC) among samples, ranging from 49.3 to 12.8%, showing a significant negative correlation with the chemical science cluster (CHEM)  = -0.77 (p<.0001). Categorised further into three curricular content groups, the study identified that there was variances in a tendency of the curricular orientation of science or practice-focus between countries. Conclusion: The study allowed a first global comparison of IPET curricula from all WHO regions, which provided a better understanding of current IPET practice and delivery across nations and established evidence base to address challenges and gaps for further improvement of IPET curriculum in any country.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages13
JournalInnovations in Pharmacy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Content analysis
  • Curriculum
  • Global comparison
  • Pharmacy education
  • Initial education and training

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