An evaluation of motivations for studying pharmacy, career commitment and future career plans

  • Katie Maddock

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


It has been predicted that there will be a full time pharmacist workforce shortage of over 15,000 by 2013. It is therefore necessary to recruit more students of a suitable calibre to undergraduate pharmacy degree courses. This study was designed to investigate the motivations of pre-university and MPharm students for studying pharmacy. A series of focus groups was conducted with Year 12 students and a national survey of Year 13, 1st year MPharm and 4th year MPharm students was undertaken. The study found that amongst Year 12 students, pharmacy is perceived as a background profession and was also perceived as being of a lower status than medicine and dentistry. It was concluded that there was a need for greater promotion of pharmacy as a career amongst pre-university students, including the provision of structured work experience placements. Analysis of UCAS applicant data for pharmacy shows that the applicant pool is buoyant and that the majority of applicants are female. Female respondents to the surveys were significantly more likely than males to wish to work part time if they had a family. This could lead to further shortages in the full time workforce. The largest ethnic group of applicants to pharmacy degree courses were Asian. Business ownership and self-employment were motivations for entering the procession of pharmacy and career aims for significantly more Asian than White respondents. Ownership of independent pharmacies is declining and this could be a barrier to future recruitment to pharmacy degree courses. A high degree of interest in locum working may present a problem for continuity in commissioned services within community pharmacy practice. Further work is needed to examine the motivations for working as a locum pharmacist.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn F Marriott (Supervisor)


  • motivations
  • studying pharmacy
  • career commitment
  • career plans

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