Founded in 1936 as Nanjing College of Pharmacy, the China Pharmaveutical University underwent five changes of name before finally settling on its current title 50 years later. Operating under the motto of "Be brilliant and benefit others", it declares its objective as "!striving towards its goal as a world-famous, high-level research-oriented university".
It operates from two campuses with a combined area of 150 hectares – Xianwumen in the downtown area of a city which ranks second to Shanghai as a commercial centre in the Yangtze delta and the Jianging campus opened on the south-east outskirts in 2008. Part of the institution’s pitch to students is that living costs are lower than in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou.
Students, who numbered more than 15,000 in 2018, are divided into six schools – pharmacy, traditional Chinese pharmacy, life Sciences and technology, international pharmaceutical business, continuing education and higher vocational education. Recent Chinese government ratings rank it the national’s top institution, as it has been for the last 12 years, in pharmacy and third in traditional chinese pharmacy. Graduates are reported to have a 99 per cent employment rate, the highest for any of China’s state universities.
The university has a long history of research in traditional Chinese pharmacy, initiating its first programmes in 1955, admitting its first overseas postgraduate students as early as 1988 and starting post-doctoral research in 2007. The first Chinese institution to admit overseas pharmacy students, it has bilateral agreements with more than 30 international institutions and since 2008 has had joint postgraduate programmes with the University of Calabria, Italy.