藥劑師的另類選擇 – 攻讀藥劑博士 (Ph.D)

PhD Pharmacy

在香港,藥劑師主要有三個投身工作的地方,包括在社區 (則Community pharmacist),醫院 (則Hospital pharmacist) 和藥廠 (則Industrial pharmacist),這些資料基本上都能在本網站找到。今天我想和大家分享一下另一個潛在選擇 – 當一個藥劑博士。

一般而言,藥劑博士可以指Pharm. D 或 Ph.D in Pharmacy。前者是修讀學位而後者是透過履行學術研究獲得。由於香港現時沒有大學開辦Pharm.D 課程,我們不妨了解一下Ph.D的生活吧 (其實不單藥劑Ph.D,其他專業的Ph.D 的生活亦大同小異)。

坦白說,與其說「讀」一個Ph.D,我比較喜歡說「做」一個Ph.D。如果你們有想過攻讀 Ph.D,有幾點我希望和大家分享一下:

  1. 有關攻讀時間:在香港,如果你沒有碩士學位時,一般大學不會直接給你 Ph.D Admission Letter,而是給你MPhil Admission Letter。但請不要灰心,一些大學(如中文大學) 是可以在你 MPhil Qualifying Examination後(一般在入學一年後)以鉸接方式讀取 Ph.D 的。利用這種方式,最快四年就可以獲取 Ph.D 學位。
  2. 有關學費和資助:絕大部分在香港 Research Master / Ph.D 的學生都是受政府資助,學費為 42,100 HKD 一年,而不同大學亦會給予學生在財政上的資助,一般為每月 13,500 – 14,500 HKD 之間。值得一提,這些資助是不用報稅的。近來,香港政府為了吸引人才來港,更設有Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme,成功申請可有每月 20,000 HKD 資助 (但一般此計劃較適合已有 Mphil 的申請者) 詳情可參閱 (https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/news.html)
  3. 有關研究生活:現時有關藥劑的研究已經非常多元化,以中文大學為例,可以選擇的包括 formulation development, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamics, pharmacogenomics, cell biology, cancer research, advanced drug delivery systems, pharmacoeconomics 和clinical pharmacy researches 等等。有一點必須必須必須注意的就是選擇一個合適自己的導師 (Thesis Advisor),大家一定要想好自己有興趣的研究範疇,好好和有相關背景的教授溝通,了解他們的潛在研究項目和對學生的要求。我想再強調的是大家的 Ph.D 導師是一個充以影響你一生的一個重要人物,所以請在選擇作出充分考慮和準備。至於具體研究生活,其實主要都是環繞實驗設計,數據收集,數據分析和投交論文到科學期刊這幾項。而我們亦可能要為教授們 hold tutorials / laboratory classes。
  4. 有關出路: 宏觀上,一個 Pharmacy Ph.D 主要有二個出路,一個在 industry,另一個在 academia。前者一般去做比較 technical 的 R&D 工作而後者則會找 Post-doctoral 繼續加強自己的研究能力,為將來當上 Assistant Professor 的道路上作準備。至於具體會在什麼項目上工作就要看你 Ph.D 的研究範疇和你的 Ph.D 導師了。不過有一點希望大家明白,無論走那一條路單靠你的 Ph.D degree 是不足夠,大家亦必須在其他 soft skills (e.g. communication skill, social skill, time management 等等)上成長。

希望這個分享可以增加大家對 Ph.D in Pharmacy 的認知。

Author: Dr. Aviva Chow, PhD in Pharmacy, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2014)

8 thoughts on “藥劑師的另類選擇 – 攻讀藥劑博士 (Ph.D)

  1. But it seems pharmacist with a PhD degree may not have any advantage over those who don’t? (Unlike medical doctors who has an attractive and well-paved career path in academic upon completing their PhD training…)

    1. Hi Fate,
      I would say the knowledge that I acquired in my Ph.D is really not directly linked to my current job. However, a Ph.D degree is not only provide you knowledge, but also some soft skills (e.g. critical thinking, time management, network expanding….). Frankly speaking, if you start your career in Hong Kong , a Ph.D degree is somehow “overqualified” initially, but it really helps you to resolve a problem in both “knowledge (academic)” and “practical (industry)” perspectives. This could be very beneifcal to pharmaceutical companies. Also, a employer with academic background also is helpful as a middle man for handling collaboration between company and research institution.

      My advice is ” Don’t think Ph.D is a “tool” but an “asset” to yourself. In this dymanic world, a Ph.D could mean nothing if you are completely lack of skills.

      1. Hi Aviva,

        I cannot agree more that PhD is more than a tool. I am a PhD holder myself and I am in academia now. I guess it depends on what one wants to achieve with a PhD really…I was mainly comparing the career paths of a medical doctor with a PhD degree and a non-medical doctor with a PhD degree.

        Anyway, I am not trying to put off any pharmacist who is keen to pursue a higher degree, just that you need to think carefully on what you would like to do AFTER you obtained your PhD title. If you are interested in clinical , you might as well go for a PharmD, which you would earn a “Dr” title in the end but in a much shorter time frame. Or if you simply want to get a “Dr” title, then there are also Doctor of Health Sciences or equivalence that you can opt for.

        🙂

  2. Hi Faye,
    Thanks for your kind sharing. I particularly like one of your comments, viz., “what you would like to do AFTER you obtained your PhD title”. I think undergraduate students (not only for pharm student) really need to consider this question prior to applying a Ph.D degree.

  3. Hi Aviva,

    Thanks for your post. I know it is quite common for physician in HK to pursue research/academia (PhD/MD) while continuing clinical practice. It seems quite common for many physicians to achieve both clinical specialist training and academic research training. Is this pathway possible in Hong Kong.

    Best wishes
    Hugo

    1. Sorry to my belated reply, Hugo. Simply, the answer is Yes. Many professors in faculty of medicine virtually is also a physician who works in a hospital (but in this case you need to have a Ph.D/MD in addition to MBChB/MBBS). If you are a physican without a Ph.D/MD but also want to gain teaching experiences, I think HKU/CUHK will also recruit some adjunct (assistant) professors/clinical (assistant) professors to assist part of teaching works or for knowledge sharing. However, such post usually is on honorary and non-remunerative basis.

      1. Thanks for your reply. It is good to know there is such a way for physician. However, my apology for they careless mistake, indeed I missed ONE word in my final sentence: Is this pathway possible for PHARMACIST in Hong Kong.

        I was actually wondering if it is possible for pharmacist now in Hong Kong follow a similar pathway: earning academic experience at the same time not having to completely satisfy clinical practice?

        Best wishes and merry christmas

        Hugo

  4. Thanks Aviva,

    Thanks for your reply. It is good to know this option is open for physician. However, indeed I missed ONE WORD in my final sentene of my question:
    Is this pathway possible for PHARMACIST in Hong Kong.

    Apologise for the mistake as this word changes the whole question.

    Yes, I was actually wondering if pharmacist can do the same as well.

    Merry Christmas

    Hugo

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