Published on 31/01/2023
Old pharmacy lab
  • Aston Pharmacy School to celebrate 100 year anniversary during 2023 
  • The history of teaching pharmacy at Aston University dates back to the 1890s 
  • In 2016 the Pharmacy School was awarded a Regius Professorship by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Aston University is gearing up to celebrate 100 years of pharmacy education and research this year. In 1923 the Birmingham Municipal Technical School started to offer full time pharmacy courses to applicants from the general public. 

The roots of pharmacy education at Aston University date back to the 1890s and more significantly to 1919 when it first started teaching the subject as part of the Chemistry department at the Birmingham Municipal Technical School - as part of a funded package of training and education for returning servicemen after the First World War.

In 1923 the pharmacy training provision expanded, taking on six specialist pharmacy staff within the pharmacy section of the Department of Chemistry. That year the Technical School began to offer full time pharmacy courses open to applications from the general public. 

In 1926 Harry Berry was appointed as head of a separate Department of Pharmacy - following an inspection by the University of London and a positive report. This distinct identity was further cemented a year later in 1927, when Neville Chamberlain, who was the then Minister for Health, opened the new teaching facilities in the School of Pharmacy in Birmingham Central Technical College.   

Since then, the University has graduated thousands of pharmacy students with more than 2700 graduates in the last 20 years.  

Aston University’s Pharmacy School is now recognised as one of the outstanding pharmacy schools in the UK and has been at the forefront of scientific advances over the last 100 years. Its researchers developed the $2 billion blockbuster drug Temozolomide, the leading treatment for brain tumours and it created the UK's first Masters programme for hospital pharmacists.

In 2016, Aston Pharmacy School was awarded a Regius Professorship by HM Queen Elizabeth II to mark her 90th birthday. It was the first time a pharmacy school had been given the award, a rare and prestigious honour bestowed by the Sovereign to recognise exceptionally high-quality research. The first holder of the title of Regius Professor of Pharmacy at Aston University was Keith Wilson, a pharmacy academic who helped to shape current and future pharmacy education both within the UK and internationally. 

Dr Joe Bush, head of Aston Pharmacy School, at Aston University said: "100 years of pharmacy education is a major milestone. We are immensely proud of all our achievements, from producing exceptional graduates who make a significant contribution to the professional workforce in a variety of near-patient settings, to our research discoveries and developments which have positively impacted patient healthcare and the high quality of this research having been recognised via the award of the first ever Regius Chair for Pharmacy. 

“It is an honour to be a part of Aston Pharmacy School, whose humble beginnings have grown to produce world class research and exceptional graduates. I look forward to celebrating with the rest of the school over the course of the year.”    

Celebrations of the centenary anniversary will include a celebratory lunch for staff, former staff, students and alumni to recognise the significant contributions that the school has made in research discoveries and teaching. 

The school will host an exhibition about the last 100 years of pharmacy at Aston University, with a range of historical artefacts on display in the entrance to the University’s main building and there will be a social media campaign to highlight key facts about the last 100 years of pharmacy at Aston University.    

Did you study pharmacy at Aston University? We would love to hear from you with any stories, memories from your student days. And we would love to hear about where your pharmacy career has taken you. Please get in touch with our alumni team here.

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.
For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159

Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
  •  07825 342091

Alternatively, email

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