2025/26 entry applications also open for 2024/25

CPD Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

Level 7 (postgraduate), 40 credits

Start dates
September, March
Course length
6 months PartTime
City campus

Course cost

Home PT per year:
International PT per year:
General enquiries:
0151 231 5090
International admissions

Send a message >

Course aim

The overall aim of the programme is to develop the personal, professional, clinical and diagnostic skills required to deliver person-centred care as a pharmacist independent prescriber.

The course will provide the skills and knowledge required to ensure safe and effective practice as an independent prescriber. Successful completion of the course will demonstrate your competence to allow application for annotation on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) registers as an independent prescriber.

Course content

Course under review

The module comprising the programme cover a range of topics related to practice as an independent prescribing pharmacist and aligns with the GPhC Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers (January 2019).

The outline syllabus for the programme is as follows:

  • The role of the pharmacist prescriber
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities in prescribing
  • Equality and diversity in prescribing
  • Clinical history taking
  • Individual patient variation
  • The role of the patient and incorporating patient preferences in prescribing
  • Evidence based medicine in clinical decision-making
  • Evaluating risks and benefits in clinical decision-making
  • Recognising limits of competence
  • Patient activation
  • Public health in prescribing
  • Safeguarding vulnerable patients
  • Competence and capacity
  • Testing and investigations
  • Interpreting and adjusting treatment plans
  • Emerging technologies in prescribing
  • Record keeping
  • Managing influences on the prescribing
  • Clinical governance and health economics in prescribing
  • Dealing with concerns about own and others prescribing
  • Accountability, liability and competence in prescribing
  • Other relevant, emerging or pressing concerns relating to prescribing

Teaching and learning

Study days including assessment days (subject to change)

For September 2024, there will be two sets of study days running due to the maximum capacity permitted on the days. If offered a place on the programme, you will be offered a place on one of these sets of study days and should ensure that you are potentially able to attend either set of dates when you submit your application. Students will be required to attend their allocated dates and there will be no capacity to switch between these dates. There are a total of seven study days, four are face-to-face campus based study days and three are online.

Study days - set 1

  • Wednesday 4 September 2024
  • Monday 4 November - Thursday 7 November 2024
  • Monday 6 January 2025
  • Tuesday 7 January 2025

Study days - set 2

  • Thursday 5 September 2024
  • Monday 18 November - Thursday 21 November 2024
  • Wednesday 8 January 2025
  • Thursday 9 January 2025

The following are requirements of the programme

  • All study days must be attended
  • The programme should normally be completed within 12 months of registration
  • All assessment must be passed

Course structure

The programme comprises one 40 credit module (7208CPPHAR Independent prescribing for pharmacists). All assessments (see below) and a period of learning in practice (see below) have to be completed successfully in order to be awarded the Masters Certificate of Professional Development (MCPD).

The programme adopts a blended approach to learning with seven face-to-face campus-based study days and is structured so that students can implement and consolidate their learning in their day-to-day practice. The study days are supplemented by online content and self-directed study. In addition, 90 hours of supervised learning in practice with a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) must be completed.

This programme covers a large amount of learning in a very short space of time. Students need to engage fully with the programme. Over the six months you are required to attend study days (see attendance below) and have enough time to complete self-directed learning, 90 hours of supervised learning in practice as well as assessment preparation.

The programme has two intakes per year in Spring/March and Autumn/September and runs as a standalone course, as well as an embedded option in our Clinical Pharmacy programmes:

Students will be assigned a named tutor at the beginning of your programme who will help to guide you with any queries that you have during the course and can give you formative feedback on assignments and e-portfolio entries. In addition, all students will be supported by a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP), who must be identified before applying for the programme.

Area of practice intended for prescribing training

It is essential that you take time to define your area of practice before applying for the programme. As your clinical experience is assessed in relation to your chosen area of practice during the application and selection process. You may find it helpful to discuss your plans with your line manager, service lead or DPP to ensure that you have a plan in mind and that you can demonstrate your experience in that area in the supplementary application from.

Learning in practice

The programme you to demonstrate how their learning is applied in the prescribing practice through ninety hours of supervised practice. Further, your DPP will assesses your competence to prescribe in a real-world setting at the end of this practice period practice in line with the RPS Prescribing Competency Framework. This forms part of the portfolio assessment, please see below.


A significant portion of the learning in this programme is undertaken via self-study of online content and discussion with tutors and your DPP. However, students are required to attend the university for seven study days. ALL study days must be attended in order to complete the programme and if absent from any of the study days, an alternate day, which may be some months later, must be attended to complete the course.

Please note that where a student cannot attend a study day, the issue must be identified in advance (wherever possible) so that an alternative study day can be offered. However, alternative study days may be some months later, with the following cohort, and this may delay your completion of the course.

If you are unsure if you can attend the study days before joining the programme, you should look to join a later cohort.

Indemnity Insurance

Pharmacists are generally advised to have professional indemnity insurance in their professional role. Pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing training are advised to check with their insurer that they are fully covered in this role as well as their future role as a qualified prescriber.

Entry requirements

How to apply

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.


A balance of approaches to summative assessment is taken to ensure that the full breadth and depth of the student 's knowledge and skills are assessed, whilst maintaining relevance to the workplace. There are four summative assessments within the programme (see table below), which are normally completed within six months of their expected completion date. The period of supervised learning in practice, totalling 90 hours, should be completed within a single 6 month period.

Assessments within 7208CPPHAR Independent prescribing for pharmacists:



Case series


Critical reflection




Portfolio (including learning in practice declaration)


As patient safety is always paramount throughout the programme, all summative assessments need to be passed and no compensation or condonation is allowed. Feedback and opportunities to identify and addresses errors throughout the programme to allow students to learn and train safely. However, students will not complete the programme if they are assessed as being a risk to patients and the public.

CPD award

The programme was accredited by the GPhC in October 2023. Successful completion of the programme will result in the student being issued with a Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing, which entitles them to apply for annotation as an independent prescriber on the GPhC or PSNI register of Pharmacists.

Please note that that successful completion of an accredited course is not a guarantee of annotation or of future employment as a pharmacist independent prescriber.

The GPhC accreditation reports and the timescales for future accreditations can be viewed here.

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.

Further guidance on programme changes.