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In Portugal the integrated degree of Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences allows pharmacists to work in diverse professional areas including community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, clinical biology, the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory affairs. Higher education in Portugal is organised into a dual system—university and polytechnic levels—in public or private institutions and cooperatives.1 The Master degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences is placed at the university level. There are six higher education institutions in the public sector and four in the private sector, two of which are cooperatives.
Applicants to higher education must have completed 12 years of basic and secondary schooling or have an equivalent legal qualification. They must have completed the examinations needed for access with a minimum score of 95 points and must meet all specific requirements for the course for which they are applying. All public institutions have fixed maximum numbers (‘numerus clausus’) and the number of candidates in the public system may be about six times more than the number of available vacancies.2 The annual fee for public institutions is about ?1000 and can range from ?5100 to more than ?5700 for private schools.2 ,3
Since 2006, by decree law Portugal has applied the principles of Bologna. The Integrated Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences of the various institutions is made up of two cycles. They are comprehensive courses in scientific and technical aspects of 5 years' duration organised by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). When students have completed 180 ECTS, corresponding to the first six semesters, they get a degree in Basic Studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences. During the first 2 years the curriculum consists of basic knowledge; after the third year more specialised subjects are added. The last semester of the fifth year consists of vocational training in a real working environment that can be carried out in a …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.