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Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

Level 7, 40 credits

Course aims

The overall aim of the programme is to support students in developing skills relevant to independent prescribing practice in a defined area of practice. 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 the student's competence to allow application for annotation on the General Pharmaceutical Council or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland's registers as an independent prescriber. 

Course length

6 months

Course structure

The programme has two intakes per year in April and October and runs as a standalone course, as well as an embedded option in our Clinical Pharmacy programmes:

The programme comprises 3 modules, which are studied concurrently (see table). You must complete ALL assessments and pass all of the modules in order to be awarded the MCPD.

Module code 

Module title 




Therapeutics in Specialist Clinical Practice 


Case series and Portfolio 


Clinical skills 


OSCE and Written MCQ examination 


Prescribing Effectively in Practice 


Essay and Portfolio (including DMP signoff) 

You 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, you will also be allocated Specialist Therapeutics Tutor (TST) to help you with the content of 7111CPPHAR and you will be supported by your Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP), who you must identify before you apply for the programme.

Students must normally complete all assessments within 6 months of their expected completion date.


A significant portion of the learning in this programme is undertaken via self-study of online content and discussion with tutors and your Designated Medical Practitioner. However, you are also required to attend the university for seven study days. You must attend ALL study days in order to complete the programme and if you are absent from any of the days, you will need to attend an alternate day, which may be some months later, to enable you 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 – 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. 

Course content

The modules comprising the programme cover a range of topics related to practice as an independent prescribing pharmacist and align with the GPhC indicative syllabus and Learning Outcomes, described here.

The module breakdown for teaching and learning in the programme is as follows:


Specific content will be based on individuals’ chosen area of advanced clinical practice and students will undertake self-directed study supported by a named tutor. Areas of advanced clinical practice could include: HIV; Viral hepatitis; STDs; Transplant and immunosuppression; Substance use; Respiratory; Cardiology; Diabetes; Pain management. In addition, RPS Faculty Expert Professional Practice curricula would be covered where relevant. 


  • Accurate assessment, history taking, and effective communication and consultation with patients and their parents/carers
  • A knowledge of the range of models of consultation and appropriate selection for the patient
  • Formulating a working diagnosis
  • Confirmation of diagnosis/differential diagnosis – further examination, investigation,
  • referral for diagnosis
  • Principles and methods of patient monitoring
  • Chemical and biochemical methods for monitoring the treatment of the condition(s) for which the pharmacist intends to prescribe on qualification and responses to results.
  • Clinical examination skills relevant to the condition(s) for which the pharmacist intends to prescribe or provide advice.
  • Recognition and responding to common signs and symptoms that are indicative of clinical problems. Use of common diagnostic aids for assessment of the patient's general health status; e.g. stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, tendon hammer, examination of the cranial nerves.
  • Assessing responses to treatment against the objectives of the treatment plan/clinical management plan
  • Working knowledge of any monitoring equipment used within the context of the treatment/clinical management plan
  • Identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions


  • Consultation, decision-making, assessment and review Influences on and psychology of prescribing 
  • Prescribing in a team context
  • Applied therapeutics
  • Evidence-based practice and clinical governance 
  • Legal, policy, professional and ethical aspects 
  • Prescribing in a public health context
Course fees

Spring 2020 intake: £1,825

Entry requirements

Entrants must:

  • be a registered pharmacist with the GPhC or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) 
  • have at least two years appropriate UK-based patient-orientated experience in a hospital, community or primary care setting following their preregistration year. Please note that 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
  • have identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop their prescribing skills and have 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 identified a Designated Medical Practitioner with training and experience appropriate to their role. This may be demonstrated by adherence to the Department of Health Guidance (2001). The DMP must have agreed to provide supervision, support and shadowing opportunities for the student, and be familiar with the GPhC’s requirements of the programme and the need to achieve the learning outcomes

Students will be required to provide acceptable evidence of each of the above and will be interviewed and letters of support obtained from employers as appropriate.

How to apply

You need to complete our online application form and submit the supporting documents listed in this section.  When completing this 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 CPD via the browse courses button.  Please ensure that you select the correct course and entry date
  • 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
  • Your personal statement needs to reflect your suitability and aptitude for the programme.  For the application to be accepted by the system, this section needs to be at least 3,000 characters long

You need to upload the following supporting documents to you online application:

If English is not your first language and you have not recently completed a university level qualification in English, you will also need to upload a copy of your IELTS certificate to your completed online application form.

NOTE: all documents must be attached to your online application within 24 hours of submission – if you wish to attach documents after this date, you will need to email them to the Programme Administrator (contact details below). Due to the current demand for places and number agreed with the GPhC (as part of the terms of our accreditation), if you submit the required forms after the deadline, you risk not being offered a place in the intake you applied for (however, a place on the next intake could be offered).

Application deadline

There are two cohorts each year - in spring and autumn.

Intake: Spring 2020

Deadline for submission of applications: Monday 13 January 2020

Start of teaching 

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Study days (subject to change) 

  • Wednesday 4 March 2020
  • Monday 20 April 2020
  • Tuesday 21 April 2020
  • Wednesday 22 April 2020
  • Thursday 23 April 2020
  • Wednesday 17 June 2020
  • Thursday 18 June 2020

The following are requirements of the programme:

  • All study days must be attended
  • The programme must be completed within 12 months of registration
Programme accreditation

The programme was provisionally accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council in March 2017. 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’s accreditation report(s) and the timescales for future accreditations can be viewed here

General Pharmaceutical Council Logo

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