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Overview of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Hokkaido University strives to foster scientific researchers and pharmacists who are capable of contributing to the advancement of medical treatment, public health care, and the development of new drugs. Our teaching and research cover the core areas of organic, biological, and physical chemistry with an emphasis on understanding fundamental biological phenomena, the physico-chemical properties of medicines, and the interaction of medicines with living organisms. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of areas including pharmaceutical research in industry and universities, pharmacy practice in hospitals, and public medical and health related careers in international organizations.

In accordance with the pharmaceutical educational reform, we have run both the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (4-year program, maximum of 50 students) and the School of Pharmacy (6-year program, maximum of 30 students) since 2006. In the first two years of their undergraduate degree, our students in both schools are educated in the same general subjects. In the second semester of the third year our curriculum is split, and our students go on to receive specialized training in line with the specific aims of each school, as outlined below.

The 4-year pharmaceutical program and the 6-year pharmacy program

The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences aims to foster internationally renowned scientific researchers in the fields of life sciences and drug discovery. We teach the core subjects of biochemistry, the chemistry of natural products, organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and physical chemistry. These subjects introduce students to the basics of pharmaceutical science, including the fundamental principles of biological organisms, methods for synthesizing and characterizing structurally complex bioactive compounds, discovering and designing potential therapeutic drugs, and understanding molecular properties and intermolecular interactions. Ultimately we aim for students to develop an understanding of the interaction of medicines with living organisms, the principle mechanisms of pharmacological activity, and the methodology and logic required for designing safe and effective pharmaceutical products. In addition we teach the related fields of industrial hygiene and public health so that students can adapt to interdisciplinary fields of study. Starting in the second term of the third year students undertake an individual research project during which they acquire the skills necessary for conducting creative and advanced level research. This is supplemented by lecture courses on organic synthesis, drug design, life sciences, and a review of scientific literature. Upon graduating, students are recommended to continue with postgraduate study during which they can further develop their skills in scientific research.

The School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy aims to train leading pharmacists and clinical scientists capable of using their knowledge to tackle various problems that arise in public health and medical welfare systems. Students study the core subjects of biological, organic and physical chemistry supplemented by specialized subjects in physiology and pharmacology. In addition, students study subjects required for clinical work such as pharmaceutics, the mechanisms of drug delivery, pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapeutics, chemotherapeutics, clinical biochemistry, and medical informatics. Students further develop their pharmaceutical knowledge by taking optional courses on cellular pathobiology, therapeutics, and the safety of pharmaceutical products. In their fifth year, students undertake a six-month placement in a hospital or pharmacy to gain clinical experience. Through working as part of a medical team, our students learn the responsibility and ethics associated with performing pharmaceutical treatment. In addition, students undertake an experimental research project in which they apply theoretical principles of medical pharmacy to clinical research, and write a thesis on their findings. We are currently developing a PhD program in which our graduates can enroll to further develop the clinical pharmacy research skills required for performing on an international level.