Pharmacy Students’ English Language Skill Development: are we heading in the right direction?


  • Ieva Stupans Division Of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, SA, 5000, Australia
  • Geoffrey J. March Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, SA, 5000, Australia
  • Elizabeth E. Elliot Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, SA, 5000, Australia


International, transnational, non-English speaking, language skill development, grammar and expression


Pharmacists need to be able to communicate, both verbally and in a written format, with people in the community, colleagues and other health professionals using educated, „elaborated‟ English. The focus of the study reported in this paper is the international and transnational student group enrolled in the Pharmacy program at the University of South Australia. A multistage project was undertaken which sought to assist and assess English language skill development for all students. A compulsory English language comprehension task was introduced into the assessment requirements of one of the third year courses in the pharmacy program. Subsequently, students had the opportunity to receive in context English language assistance from specialist learning staff from the University‟s Learning Centre. The written work from the third year assessment task was compared to a piece of reflective writing undertaken in a fourth year course. For the whole student group reported in this study there was a significant reduction in the mean of the sum of all errors for fourth year compared to third year (t=3.199, df=62, p=0.002). This study confirms staff perceptions that the international and transnational students‟ written English language skills improve between third and fourth year.


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Research Article