In addition to the compulsory service by professors (i. e. teaching according to the German curriculum for pharmacy students) several additional services are offered by Prof. Müller and his research team:
The German curriculum for pharmacy students (Approbationsordnung) describes in very detail the content of teaching. In addition to this special seminars are offered, details can be found under “teaching/supplement”. In general these supplementing seminars are organised for special target groups, e. g. for female pharmacy students (seminar in cooperation with Schering AG) or for pharmacy students with potential interest in an industrial career (e. g. seminar “Industrial Pharmacy”). There is limited access to these seminars, selection is being performed on the basis of the performance in the studies, additionally in part by lot.
2. Practicals for undergraduate students (Studenten) in research laboratories
During the studies the pharmacy students need to make their decision whether to go for a chemist shop or alternatively to work in pharmaceutical industry. A beneficial (but not compulsory) prerequisite is a PhD in pharmacy, therefore students with the aim going to industry should consider undertaking a PhD. There is a distinct difference between “consuming knowledge” as a student and actually doing research in own responsibility and planning. Unfortunately the German pharmacy studies are organised this way that students have to “consume” a lot of information, but have little opportunity to be creative on their own. This is just the opposite during a PhD project. In the studies the students have to be “re-productive”, within a PhD project they have to be “productive”.
Prof. Müller offers to undergraduate students to do a 2 months practical in his research labs to experience how research looks like. Within this practical the student will be involved in a research project run by one of the PhD students.
Applications need to be made by mail, they should include a brief CV, information about the first state exam (1. Staatsexamen) and the accompanying letter should contain some information about the future ambitions in career.
3. “Seminar for practical pharmacy” by the company GEHE (GEHE-Wirtschaftsseminar)
The German curriculum of pharmacy is criticised that it focuses too much on the theory and scientific education, but not sufficiently on areas with relevance for the practical work in a chemist shop.
Areas missing in the study of pharmacy – but highly important for the work in a chemist shop – are e. g. business management (Betriebswirtschaft), communication skills (Kommunikationstraining) and rhetoric. After having just finished his studies no pharmacy student is really able to assess the commercial perspectives of a location for opening a chemist shop. An aim of the GEHE seminar is to compensate for this deficit by offering an excellent one-week program of lectures and interactive seminars to train our pharmacy students for their future career in a chemist shop, preferentially their own chemist shop. There are additional special events in the evenings, lectures given by experts in certain fields followed by an intensive discussion and the option for a personal conversation during the social events afterwards.
Access to this seminar is limited, normally it takes place in September each year. Applications can be made to the local departmental student organisation (Fachschaft).
4. Career consulting
Until about 10 years ago the study of pharmacy opened excellent perspectives for a career as self-employed pharmacist owning a chemist (pharmacy) shop. However, the economical frame conditions have changed dramatically during the last 10 years. Major impacts had:
Within the European Union one has to expect that there will be chemist shop chains in Germany like the chains in the UK, e. g. Boots. It is highly likely that we have in the very near future small chemist shops in department stores like Karstadt, Kaufhof and Hertie. Multiple ownerships of chemist shops will be allowed. This will lead to a highly competitive situation and finally to bankruptcy of a decent number of chemist shops. At least this situation will reduce dramatically the win margin before tax. Therefore it has to be critically reviewed if the number of hours spent per week in the own pharmacy shop is still sufficiently financially compensated.
There are basically two options for a pharmacist, that means primarily going to a chemist shop, preferentially owning a chemist shop or alternatively working in pharmaceutical industry. Prof. Müller is chairman of the “Business Seminar for Pharmacists” organised by the company GEHE (Wirtschaftsseminar für Pharmazeuten) which provides detailed information about the perspectives opening a chemist shop nowadays. It provides solid information for a potential decision to open your own chemist shop. In addition the seminar “Industrial pharmacy” gives inside in industrial perspectives for pharmacists. Both options are provided as neutral information to allow pharmacy students to meet their own personal, optimised decision.
In addition Prof. Müller offers a personal career consulting working out the most promising career based on the personal strength, preferences and economical frame conditions. Appointments for a teaching part in the seminar consulting can be made via the secretary’s office, Frau Gabriela Karsubke, by phone 030-838 506 96.
5. Pre-registration year (Praktisches Jahr) in Prof. Müller’s research group
According to German law a part of the pre-registration year (maximum 6 months) can be spent outside the public chemist shop, e. g. in research laboratories of a university.
Prof. Müller offers the opportunity to spend 6 months in his research laboratories. This period gives the undergraduate students the possibility to experience research in detail being the basis for the decision if a PhD meets their needs and wishes. Basically such a research stay in a research group gives you also the chance to find out if you like the philosophy and atmosphere in this group, an important prerequisite for a nice PhD time. In general, Prof. Müller is organising these 6 months of the pre-registration year in this way that acquired methods can be used in a potential PhD project in his group. In some cases it is possible to start first investigations and use these results for the PhD thesis.
During the last years it was also possible to pay the salary rate according to the pharmacy tariff agreed with the trade unions (Tarifgehalt). However, at present this cannot be guaranteed anymore due to the difficult economical situation and needs to be decided from a case-to-case basis.
If you want to apply for a 6-months practical, please send your application details by e-mail to Prof. Müller: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Exchange abroad during pre-registration year
A part of the pre-registration year for pharmacists (Praktisches Jahr) can be spent outside the chemist shop, the maximum being 6 months. These 6 months can also be spent abroad, e. g. in a university lab, pharmaceutical company or a hospital pharmacy.
Prof. Müller can assist in arranging 6 months research stays at schools of pharmacy abroad. For more information please click: “student exchange”.
7. Reference letters
Reference letters are required in case you apply as an undergraduate student e. g. for a 6-months research stay during your pre-registration year or as a postgraduate student for a PhD position at a university abroad.
Prof. Müller provides a reference letter for you in case you are a student well above average. To apply for a reference letter, please send a mail (email@example.com) including a short curriculum vitae, information about the success in your pharmacy studies and some information in an accompanying letter about the envisaged host institute, special intention for you to go abroad and why you are selecting especially this university.
8. Arrangements for PhD abroad
Prof. Müller provides contacts to undertake a PhD in a university abroad. The existing general research cooperations and scientific contacts can be viewed by clicking “research contacts”.
In general, PhD students have to pay a bench fee per year at universities abroad. These bench fees can be avoided by using the preferential exchange partners of Prof. Müller, more info can be found by clicking “student exchange”.
9. Social events/parties
Basic philosophy: The school of pharmacy at the Free University of Berlin is a relatively large department, we have about 180 students per year, that means approximately 90 per semester. As a consequence of this large number of students per term, there is a danger of having a very anonymous relationship between students and teaching staff. There is a much more personal relationship at small universities. To overcome this problem typically associated with large universities, it is considered as highly essential to have additional social events to allow non-work communication between students and teaching personnel.
When Prof. Müller moved to the Free University in Berlin in April 1991, he introduced two major social events for the improvement of communication between students and practical-supervising teaching staff (lecturers, PhD students) and professors, organised with the third year students (7th semester):
• Barbecue during the summer term
These social events/parties are organised in the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics at the Kelchstrasse 31 in the city area Steglitz. There is a cafeteria in the pharmacy building, behind the cafeteria there is a nice garden for barbecue in summer.
The Department of Pharmaceutical Technology/Biopharmaceutics is perfectly equipped for such events ranging from the barbecue to temperature-controlled pots for the Glühwein (glogg) including the recipe for a special Scandinavian glogg. Temperature-controlled and provision of recipe are part of the quality management (QM) in the pharmacy department. They ensure constant high quality of the “pharmaceutical” product considering glogg as a pharmaceutical plant extract. The temperature-controlled pots avoid the boiling of the glogg typically occurring when the students in charge of preparing new glogg are reaching a certain alcohol blood level (or to say it in a frank way, they are outside of “QM”). The provision of the recipe ensures that the prepared glogg is very tasty avoiding misconceptions by the students.
The Glühwein (glogg) recipe is very famous, it is called “cloegg-Glühwein” and originates from Scandinavia, countries known to be inhabited by heavy drinkers (at least some people say this). Therefore this recipe has a special character. It is so famous that it is referenced in the literature:
Rainer H. Müller, in “Pharmazeutische Technologie: Moderne Arzneiformen“ (Rainer H. Müller and Gesine E. Hildebrand, eds.), chapter 11, Alkoholische Pflanzenextrakte, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Stuttgart, p. 119-120 (1998).
This chapter in Prof. Müllers textbook proved to be the most popular chapter, students who did not buy the book, they definitely copied this chapter. The basic recipe for “cloegg-Glühwein” is based on 2 l read wine, 100-200 g sugar and a special mixture of spices, heated for 10 minutes. There is a special variation of this recipe in Scandinavia, that means adding a bottle of Vodka to this mixture. This additive increases tremendously the “therapeutic efficiency” resulting in a high bioavailability (high blood levels) after extremely short time after administration. Due to the low elimination constant, blood levels are typically steadily increasing, in some cases there is a danger of leaving the therapeutic range and reaching the toxic range.
Since 1994 there are two professors in the department sharing the responsibility for these social events. Prof. Bodmeier is the supervisor (Praktikumsleiter) of the 7th semester in the summer term and the barbecue, Prof. Müller is in charge of supervising the 7th semester during the winter term and involved in the Santa Claus glogg event.