Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) can cause serious health problems, as shown in studies about drug-related hospitalizations. To build knowledge of and raise awareness about ADRs among healthcare professionals, more education in the field of ADRs and pharmacovigilance (PV) is needed. No standard exists for teaching PV at universities for medical, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing students, so a core curriculum needs to be developed to teach important aspects of PV to students. In September 2016, a stakeholders’ meeting was initiated on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) and organized by the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. This meeting addressed and agreed on the PV competencies students need to develop and what key aspects of the subject should be taught. Five key aspects were identified: understanding the importance of PV in the context of pharmacotherapy, and preventing, recognizing, managing and reporting ADRs. Since time and resources for PV education are limited, elements of the WHO PV core curriculum for university teaching were designed to be integrated into existing courses but can be used as a stand-alone programme. The basis of and outline for the WHO PV core curriculum for university teaching are addressed in this paper. It is expected that PV competencies for students are vital for their contribution to safe use of medicines in the future. In addition, this article aims to stimulate discussion on this subject and promote collaboration between universities, national PV centres and other stakeholders to integrate key aspects of PV in their educational programmes.