Clinical Pharmacy MSc - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This part-time Clinical Pharmacy course allows patient-facing pharmacists in all sectors to build upon current knowledge and experience and extend their professional development.

Gain core skills and knowledge required to become a highly competent pharmacist, and benefit from research-based teaching and learning strategies.

This is the only part-time MSc Clinical Pharmacy course in the North East of England. It runs on a distance learning basis and allows you to combine study with work and family commitments. Access all learning materials through the University VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and attend two weekend conference-style events in December and June of the course. Learn from key and expert speakers within their respective fields and participate in workshop-based sessions.

The University of Sunderland has an excellent reputation in pharmacy. The Sunderland Pharmacy School is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council, and our research in pharmacy has been classed as ‘world leading’ in the latest Research Excellence Framework.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Download the MSc Clinical Pharmacy study days (.pdf)  timetable for year 1.

Course content

In each year of the course, you must successfully attain 60 credits in order to progress into the next stage.

Study a number of elective modules throughout all stages of the course in order to tailor your development path and receive support from a personal tutor and information what modules are available at each stage.

Study different therapeutic strands throughout the course and address issues related to antimicrobial stewardship and patient care. Benefit from an integrated teaching style, where topics are not taught in isolation, but in a multi-faced, case-based modality incorporating multiple pathologies, to reflect real-life patient presentation.

The module content is offered in sequential blocks of study with various modules being available at predetermined times within the year. Please note that elective modules will be subject to availability and students will be made aware of the options available. Download the MSc Clinical Pharmacy course content .

Modules on this course include:

Year 1

  • Clinical Decision Making and Stages of Care (20 Credits)
    • Learn how to make decision in the best interest of the patient
    • Incorporate exciting academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to assess difficult situations and determine the relative benefit and risk to the patient’s individual situation

This module allows content alterations based on the current position of pharmacists and healthcare professionals during the time of delivery.

  • Patient Safety (20 Credits)
    • Clinical governance and risk assessment/management in healthcare
    • Safer prescribing
    • High-risk medicines
    • National patient safety initiatives

Year 1 or 2

  • The Acute Patient (20 Credits)
    • A case-orientated approach to management of the most common conditions presenting in acute clinical settings
  • The Chronic Patient (20 Credits)
    • Following the patient journey from initial diagnosis to longer-term management of the most common chronic diseases
    • Addresses the specific needs of patients in a variety of settings including nursing homes, in the community, in hospital and across care interfaces
    • Works in tandem with the Acute Patient Module to build knowledge across different care stages
  • Clinical Skills 1 (10 Credits)
    • Clinical assessment and examination skills
  • Evidence-based Medicine (10 Credits)
    • Principles of EBM
  • Clinical Investigation and Diagnostics (10 Credits)
    • Advanced biochemistry and other investigations for specialist therapeutic areas, including simple ECG interpretation, basics of x-ray findings, spirometry, biomarkers, arterial blood gases
  • Healthcare Systems and Service Provisions (10 Credits)
    • Organisation of the NHS (structure, function, links to government and other organisations)
    • Interprofessional working and seamless transfer of care
    • Service commissioning for pharmacists
    • Budget management
  • Personalised Healthcare (10 Credits)
    • Pharmacogenomics, biotechnology and gene therapy
  • Population Healthcare (10 Credits)
    • Public health and health informatics
  • Social Pharmacy and Primary Care (10 Credits)
    • Medicines management in care homes
    • Multi-disciplinary teams in primary care

Year 2

  • Clinical Skills 2 (10 Credits)
    • Building upon the basic clinical examination and assessment skills in level one, but becoming increasingly specialised into specific therapeutic areas
  • Independent Prescribing and Clinical Audit
      • Independent Prescribing (45 credits)

    This module is accredited by The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPHc) and allows you to gain an award of Postgraduate Certificate of Achievement: Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists. To be eligible, pharmacists must be registered in the UK and have at least two years’ experience in a patient-facing capacity and have the agreement of Designated Medical Practitioner to mentor them and assess their competence in a range of prescribing skills, as detailed by NICE Single Competency Framework for Prescribers.

    • Clinical Audit (15 credits)

Year 3

  • Independent Prescribing and Clinical Audit
    • Independent Prescribing (45 credits)
    • MSc Research Module (15 credits)
  • Research Methods and Project
    • Research Methods (30 Credits)
    • Research Project (30 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning methods include online lectures, expert interviews, directed reading, case-based scenarios, research, tutorials and online tutor support. The conferences will involve master classes delivered by experts in their field, supported by workshop based sessions.

Assessment on the course includes:

  • Examinations (written and OSCE-style)
  • Work-based portfolio mapped to competencies outlined in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Foundation Pharmacy Framework (you will require a mentor* in practice to facilitate this)
  • Case-based coursework tasks

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working.

*Mentors can include experienced, qualified pharmacists, nurses or doctors.

Facilities & location

This course is based primarily in the Sciences Complex at our City Campus, which boasts multi-disciplinary laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to multi-million pound investments.

Simulation technology

Each of our £57,000 SimMan mannequins has blood pressure, a pulse and other realistic physiological behaviour. The models can be pre-programmed with various medical scenarios, so you can demonstrate your pharmacological expertise in a realistic yet safe setting. Our academic team is also actively working with the SimMan manufacturers to develop new pharmacy simulations.

Pharmacy Practice

One of the most important skills of pharmacists is to communicate their expertise in a manner that the public can understand and accept.

The University has invested in a purpose-built model pharmacy complete with consultation suite. This allows you to develop skills in helping patients take the correct medicine in the right way, with optional video recording of your interaction with patients for the purposes of analysis and improvement.

In addition, we can accurately simulate hospital-based scenarios in a fully equipped ward environment where medical, nursing and pharmacy students can share learning.

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

  • Embase, which is a complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
  • PsycINF, which includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
  • PubMed, which contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
  • Science Direct, which offers more than 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
  • Web of Science, which covers a broad range of science areas

Learning Environment

Sunderland Pharmacy School has a rich heritage in scientific studies and our degree courses are extremely well respected in the industry. We are fully plugged into relevant medical and pharmaceutical industry bodies, with strong links and an exchange of ideas and people. Our vibrant learning environment helps ensure a steady stream of well-trained pharmacists whose most important concern is patient-centred pharmaceutical care.


Fleming Building

Sciences Complex, City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

We usually require:

  • Registration and employment as a Pharmacist in the UK for study at Sunderland
  • At least a second class honours degree in pharmacy
  • Your degree should be recognised by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Tuition fees for part-time postgraduate students are £300 per 10 Credits. Each year of the course requires 60 Credits to complete.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, please see the International section of this website.

Employment & careers

Postgraduate qualifications in clinical pharmacy will help you take on additional responsibility. We encourage you to plan your future contributions to your employer and how your career will progress.

On completing this course you will be equipped with the advanced skills and knowledge specifically needed for promotion in roles such as:

  • Specialist clinical pharmacist
  • Pharmacist with a special interest
  • Senior clinical pharmacist

A promotion to a higher band of pay can quickly ensure a good return on your investment in the course. Within the NHS, salaries for specialist clinical pharmacist are rated as Band 7 (up to around £40,000).

A Masters in Clinical Pharmacy can also lead to teaching opportunities, research roles or further study.


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will meet with you at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

The University has a large number of part-time students at postgraduate level and we offer a lot of support and flexibility. Many part-time students are also supported by their employers, who see postgraduate studies at the University of Sunderland as a good investment in a better qualified workforce.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

"Studying at Sunderland has set me up for a lifelong career."

Sinead McHugh Pharmacy

Sinead McHugh - Graduate

Working at South Tyneside District Hospital

"Studying at Sunderland has set me up for a lifelong career. The programme was geared towards life in the workplace, with the right balance of expert tuition, knowledge and experience.

"The staff and lecturers were all really friendly and approachable which helped me settle in immediately and get the most out of my studies.

"The facilities at Sunderland are first class. The University even has its own mock pharmacy where we could train for life in the real world and build our confidence, learning skills that could be seamlessly transferred to the workplace.

"It is clear that the programmes at Sunderland are designed with career prospects in mind and my time at the University of Sunderland also led to me making contact with my current employer, South Tyneside District Hospital.

"The great thing I found about life at Sunderland is there are so many different people from all sorts of cultures studying here, which certainly broadened my horizons.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Sunderland and it really did exceed my expectations. I have made many lifelong friends and also my programme led me to get a job that I love doing, with a career path stretching ahead of me."

"University life teaches you independence and you definitely mature as a person being away from home."

Paul Tasker Pharmacy graduate

Paul Tasker - Graduate

Pharmacist, Sunderland Royal Hospital

"After looking around at the courses on offer I chose Sunderland as the pharmacy qualification has an excellent reputation among employers.

"I visited the university during one of their open days and was impressed by what I saw. The campus looked so modern and the new facilities were really impressive.

"After graduating I did a placement at a hospital in Airedale before doing my pre-registration training at Hull Royal Infirmary. I quickly got the chance to return to Sunderland when a job came up at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

"My career has come full circle as we take visiting students at the hospital from the university. It reminds me of how much of my studies I actually put into practice every day at work.

"I think university life teaches you independence and you definitely mature as a person when you study away from home."

"My training at Sunderland provided me with a wide range of skills."

Mark Burdon - Graduate

Mark Burdon


"Since graduating from the University of Sunderland in 1999 with a degree in Pharmacy, my career as a pharmacist has developed in a number of ways.

"My training at Sunderland provided me with a wide range of skills and I am proud to continue my association with the University."

Apply for this course

You can apply online using the link below. Please note the deadline for applications is Monday 11th October 2016.

    Next Open Day

  • For further information on future postgraduate events, please contact the Student Helpline on +44 (0)191 515 3000.

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Student Helpline for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

Programme Starts  
Monday 16th October 2017 - MSc route Apply now
Monday 16th October 2017 - Postgraduate diploma route: Apply now

The details

Course Name Clinical Pharmacy
Classification MSc
Course Mode Part-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 3 years for the full MSc, 2 years for the postgraduate diploma, 1 year for the postgraduate certificate
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 16 October 2017
UK/EU Fee £300 per 10 Credits
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

See entry requirements page

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