CPD Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

Level 7 (postgraduate), 40 credits

Start dates

Spring 2023

Autumn 2023

Course length

6 months

Course cost

Total cost: £2,100


City campus

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

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)

  • Wednesday 15th March 2023
  • Monday 15th May 2023
  • Tuesday 16th May 2023
  • Wednesday 17th May 2023
  • Thursday 18th May 2023
  • Tuesday 18th July 2023
  • Wednesday 19th July 2023

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

Who can apply

Entrants must:

  • Be a registered pharmacist with the GPhC or PSNI
  • Have good standing with the GPhC and/or PSNI and any other healthcare regulator they are registered with
  • Demonstrate that have at least two years appropriate UK-based patient-orientated experience in a hospital, community or primary care setting following their preregistration year
  • Identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop their prescribing skills
  • Demonstrate that the relevant and up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to their intended area of prescribing practice
  • Demonstrate how they reflect on their own performance and take responsibility for own CPD,
  • Have a DPP who conforms to specified criteria and has agreed to supervise your learning in practice component of the programme. The DPP must have agreed to provide supervision, support and shadowing opportunities and be familiar with the GPhC requirements of the programme and the need to achieve the specified learning outcomes. Further details of the requirements for selecting a DPP are provided in our DPP admissions guide
  • Have sufficient and appropriate indemnity insurance cover in place to cover the activities being undertaken during the period of learning in practice

Students will be required to provide acceptable evidence of each of the above and may be interviewed and letters of support may be required from employers and/or line-managers and/or other healthcare professionals as necessary and appropriate.

How to apply

You need to complete the LJMU online application form and submit the supporting documents listed in this section. It is more straightforward if the supporting documents are downloaded and completed before starting to complete the online application.

When completing the LJMU online application form, please note:

  • The level of entry is ‘Postgraduate Taught’
  • Mode of study is ‘Continuing Professional Development’

You should then be able to find Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists via the ‘browse courses’ button or using the search function at the top of the box containing the list of programmes.

Please ensure that you select the correct course and entry date, which is either March/Spring or September/Autumn.

For Current/Previous Qualifications, you only need to include details of your pharmacy qualification and any other university qualifications that you have; details of GCSEs, A-levels or International Baccalaureate are not required.

A personal statement is required for both the online application and the supplementary application form; these can be identical. Your personal statements need to reflect your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

For the application to be accepted by the online system, this section needs to be at least 3,000 characters long and you should include that you:

  • Are a UK-registered pharmacist (either GPhC or PSNI) and specify your registration number
  • Have good standing with the GPhC and/or PSNI and any other healthcare regulator
  • Demonstrate that you at least two years of patient-facing clinical experience within the UK
  • Provide a summary of your employment/roles with dates since registration with the GPhC and/or PSNI
  • Define your area of practice that you are focusing your prescribing training
  • Demonstrate that your clinical and therapeutic practice/experience is relevant to your area of practice that you have chosen to develop your prescribing practice while in 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.

Your area of clinical practice should be a clinical area where you have extensive clinical experience and the opportunity to start prescribing on completion of the programme. It should be narrow enough to make the workload manageable and where you have ready access to patients at a time that your DPP can provide supervision.

Where your patient-facing clinical experience is not closely related to your intended area of practice, you would be likely to need to gain additional experience, relevant to your selected clinical area. In such circumstances, you may be asked to re-apply for the programme, to start with a later cohort.

You need to upload the following supporting documents to you online application within 24 hours of submission:

Students whose first language is not English maybe be required to submit a current IELTS certificate indicating they have achieved a score of 7.0 overall, with 7.0 in both reading and writing. The IELTS certificate is only valid for two years and must be valid on the start date of the programme.

All documents must be attached to your online application within 24 hours of submission. If you wish to attach documents after this time period, you need to email copies to the Programme Administrator at PBS-Office@ljmu.ac.uk

Due to the current demand for places and number agreed with the GPhC (as part of the terms of our accreditation), if required forms are submitted after the deadline, you risk not being offered a place in the intake you applied for (however, a place on the next intake may be offered).

Application deadline

There are two cohorts each year – in spring (March) and autumn (September).

The deadline for submission of applications for the Spring 2023 cohort is Monday 9th January 2023.


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 July 2020. 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.

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Further information

For further information please contact the School office:

School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University
Byrom Street Liverpool L3 3AF
Tel: 0151 231 2248
Fax: 0151 231 2170
Email: PBS-Office@ljmu.ac.uk

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.