(bio-)pharmacy can be studied in four cities in the Netherlands: Groningen, Leiden, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

The lectures are Dutch, but most of the literature is in English. The tuition fees are €2143,-. It is possible to take out a loan from the government with almost no interest. Many students use this opportunity.

The associations per city are:

Pharmaciae Sacrum in Groninen, ,,Aesculapius” in Leiden, Unitas Pharmaceuticorum in Utrecht and Vereniging van Chemie Studenten aan de Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The overarching association is the Koninklijke Nederlandse Pharmaceutische Studenten Vereniging.

Information per city

Groningen counts 29.000 students and 650 of them study pharmacy. There is no lottery to get in to pharmacy Groningen and the focus is more on theory and research. There are a lot of lab classes and a few research departments. Every bachelor students does their bachelor pharmacy. After graduating, the students can choose the master pharmacy that is focused on the healthcare. Or other master programs as: Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences (MPS) or Medical pharmaceutical Drug Innovation (MPDI), that both prepare the students on a career in the pharmaceutical research. The master program Pharmacy takes three years and prepares students to become a pharmacist. In the fourth year students must do a master research. The other master programs take two years and prepare students for research and the industry.

The city of Leiden counts 23.000 students and 1000 of them study Bio-pharmaceutical sciences. About 100 freshmen join the program every year, what makes it a smaller scaled study. It leads to students being close to each other. The study prepares you to become a researcher. You can also get in to teaching and business, but the main focus is research. There are a lot of lab hours in the bachelors and master phase of the program.

Students select a minor in the third year, a study program of half a year and then goes on a 10 week internship. There are 3 masters that can be picked after the bachelors: The research track (65% of students pick this), Science Based Business towards the industry (about 25%) and communication/education track (about 5 to 10%). Every master has an internship of 9 months. Most of the students go the internship at the Leiden Amsterdam Centre for Drug Research (LACDR).

Utrecht has the most students in the country with the count of 30.000 students. Utrecht also has the most pharmacy students in the Netherlands with 1000 students. The program had to apply a numerus fixus with a maximum of 250 freshmen, because of the large number of students.

The program looks a bit different on education in Utrecht. Students are educated to become a pharmacist that is very oriented towards the patient. A lot of practical cases are applied and is a problem driven education. Utrecht does not have a lot of lab hours compared to the other cities.

After two years, students have the choice to finish the bachelor towards pharmacy or drug innovation. The master prepares students towards becoming a pharmacist or researcher in three and two years (depending on the chosen master). The master pharmacy has a research internship implemented besides the public and clinic pharmacy internship.

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Right of say for students

Every city has their right to say organization:

  • The studiecie, OC, OPLO and OCL have meetings with the faculty and represent the students to teachers. So they discuss topics like timetables, subjects etc. The studiecie also takes care of the book sales.
  • Evaluation committees evaluate the subjects given so that it can be optimized for the next year.
  • Groningen has the studentenoverleg, the STOF. Students can share their complaints and thoughts about education with this organisation.

Students also have a right of say on a national scale via the K.N.P.S.V. When setting up the healthcare plan of pharmacy, the K.N.P.S.V. is invited to have an input as representatives of the students.  The K.N.P.S.V. is also invited to the annual By Invitation Only-meeting from the K.N.P.S.V. to listen to the students’ input about the future of pharmacists.


Career opportunities are many for pharmacy and (bio-)pharmaceutical sciences students: 98% of graduated students find a job within 3 months.

Career possibilities:

  • Research at a university: 4 year project to get a PhD
  • Public pharmacy: 70% of students from Utrecht and Groningen
  • Clinical pharmacy: 4 years of labor and research with specialization, possibility to a PhD
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: possibilities to R&D, production, quality control and registration

Student Exchange Programme

The SEP is an initiative from the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation. It is an exchange program for students all over the world. A pharmacy student is given the opportunity to go on an internship in a (clinical) pharmacy or Industry abroad in a period of 1 to 3 months.

The SEP is a good combination of working abroad, getting to know a new language, exploring culture and learning things on a professional level while as a holiday in one.

On you can see participating countries. For more information, please contact Henrik Huizinga, commissioner of foreign affairs of the K.N.P.S.V.:

For more information per city about their association and education: