The place for aspiring pharmacists to fulfill their dreams.
by Aswin D
Amrita School of Pharmacy is one of the top colleges in pharmaceutical education in Kerala. With its location in Ponekkara, Ernakulam district in Kerala, they work together with the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. Amrita School of Pharmacy is affiliated to the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University and is certified by the Pharmacy Council of India and All India Council for Technical Education. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has given an 'A' grade to the college, owing to its excellence and good facilities. Moreover, according to the latest National Institutional Ranking Framework, it holds 15th rank in India. Also, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University has been ranked 4th among the universities of India.
The college offers programs such as Pharm.D, B.Pharm, M.Pharm, and Ph.D. in related subjects. For Pharm.D and Ph.D., the admission procedure involves sending an application, attending a written exam, and further interview. Simultaneously, programs such as B.Pharm and M.Pharm do not require a written exam but include the other specified procedures. The college management is quite strict and helps students stand good both in the pharmacy field and as humans. They promote a research-oriented approach to education.
I joined the college opting for the Pharm.D (Doctor of Pharmacy) course. It is a six-year-long integrated program, which includes five years of study and one year of internship in the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. The eligibility criteria for the course require to fulfill any of the one below: The candidate should have passed 10 & +2 with physics and chemistry in the subjects studied. Also, they should hold a pass mark of 50%. The candidate should have passed D.Pharm from an institution approved by the UGC & PCI. He/she must have passed any other course recommended by the PCI, which is considered equal to the above. The applied candidates have to face an entrance exam covering questions from Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Maths.
I was interested in the medical field and was eager to study about drugs. It also explains about drugs and teaches about how to use the drugs clinically. So, it could cover both my interests, and thus, I opted for this course. The course subjects include topics related to chemistry, biology, statistics, clinical and pharmaceutical concepts. It could definitely meet my expectations and was something that I wished to study. The course provides opportunities for jobs in pharmaceutical industries, hospitals as clinical pharmacists, and research areas, with a good salary package.
There are about 24 teaching faculties for teaching Pharm.D students, who will take care of their assigned subjects in the specific years. In total, there are about 32 faculties in the college. All of them have experience of a minimum of 2 years in the case of lecturers. The assistant professors and associate professors hold extensive experience of more than 5-10 years, with excellent knowledge in each subject. All of them have completed their PG with M.Pharm as well as Ph.D. and thus hold a doctorate in their respective areas. Even then, they actively participate in ongoing research studies in their field. They also have in-depth knowledge about the subjects and keep themselves updated about the latest advancements. So, rather than holding textual knowledge, they can make students understand the concepts and relate them with the latest technology. They also help students to indulge in research and follow the same approach throughout.
Practical sessions are also added to the syllabus, where the faculties take care of each student during the experiments and help them apply their knowledge. They help clear the doubts of every student with their immense knowledge and years of expertise.
Amrita School of Pharmacy has an efficient placement cell with trained staff who has significant expertise and connections with most national companies. As a result, the college has been recognized by top pharma companies throughout India. As a result, pharma companies from different parts of India come here to provide students with job opportunities. The companies include IQVIA, AstraZeneca, Pharma Cognizance, etc. IQVIA often takes students from Amrita with an excellent salary package of almost Rs. 3.6 L per annum. All the students receive jobs with a decent salary package in most of the proficient companies.
The average salary package offered in recent years accounts for about Rs. 2-3 L per annum. The students work as therapy leads, Drug Safety Associates, Senior Research Fellows, Quality analysts, Pharma covigilance professionals, etc. Most of the students are also appointed as clinical pharmacists in the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. Amrita has a nanomedicine center where students can do research programs after the course. Consequently, about 70 - 75% of the students have received placement in the past few years. Thus, Amrita does provide a bright future for its students by carving out the best skills in them.
Pharm.D is a residential course, and of course, Amrita School of Pharmacy offers comfortable and pleasant accommodation for the students. The hostel is just 500 meters away from the college campus and contains students from all the departments. There are separate hostels for both boys and girls. The girls' hostel is situated inside the premises of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, while the Boys hostel is located 500m away from the college. The former has 16 floors, while the latter has four floors with two blocks. The rooms are quite spacious and are suitable for 2-3 persons to live together. A hygiene environment is maintained every day with regular cleaning by the cleaning team.
Speaking about the hostel fees, it totals to about Rs. 57,000 per annum and includes the mess fees along with it. The food is entirely vegetarian. Sometimes, you may feel that the food is not up to the mark. Breakfast and dinner are provided within the hostel, while lunch is provided inside the hospital mess. The hostel contains tight security from the professionals of the Amrita Security team. 24 x 7 security is present with the people changing shifts. The wardens are also present, day and night. Bathrooms with a washing area, 10-15 toilets, etc. are present on every floor.
The college building consists of 5 floors apart from the ground floor with classes and labs on each floor. The college is surrounded by a lush and green environment and therefore is entirely an eco-friendly campus. They always maintain a thoroughly clean and hygienic environment around them. There are UG and PG labs for all the subjects. There are about five classrooms for Pharm.D students of each batch. As a whole, the college contains 11 classrooms for all the students. The library contains a large collection of pharmacy related books with recently updated copies and copies of top pharma journals. Again, the computer room helps students access online journals and search information. A large and spacious auditorium is present where talks, seminars, and other programs are conducted. Moreover, there is an air-conditioned conference room, which is also used to conduct talks, seminars, and workshops.
Apart from the campus, there is a basketball court of international standards prepared with a soft mat, and a vast playground just opposite the college. Students often play cricket, football, etc. on this ground. A small canteen is present, which provides snacks, tea, and lunch to students at many reasonable prices. It works from 9 am till 5 pm. A store is available for students to buy lab equipment and other essential accessories. On admission, they provide you with medical insurance along with an MRD card from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. In case of illness, you can directly go to the hospital with the card, and checkup will be free until the medicine cost limit reaches Rs. 1000 per year. If any accident occurs while you are in college, you will be taken to the hospital in their vehicle from the carpool.
The campus life is quite pleasant and joyful. There are strict rules, as in every college. I believe they are for the betterment of the students. So, here, they give equal importance to studies and other activities.
Lots of clubs are available in the college like the science club, cultural committee, etc. People from each department like pharmacognosy, pharmacology, etc. conduct seminars, talks, conferences, and workshops to help students have good exposure to the pharmaceutical world. They also celebrate national pharmacist day, national pharmacist week, and the science week, where eminent people from the field of pharmacy and science come to share their knowledge. Debate and speech competitions are also held concerning the same.
The college also conducts value-based classes for all batches, every week. In this class, there will be discussions regarding Indian mythology, culture, and values. The sessions aim to infiltrate moral values into students and make them better humans. Arts and sports fest are conducted every year to promote the co-curricular skills of students. Almost all the competitions are included in these fests. Furthermore, festivals like Onam, Deepavali, Saraswati Puja are also celebrated.