Clinical Pharmacy MSc/PgDip

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Course starts: 12 October 2020Apply now

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Build upon current knowledge and experience and extend your professional development. Develop your personal and professional practice in an innovative and flexible teaching style. Gain the core skills and knowledge required to become a highly competent pharmacist.

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The Clinical Pharmacy course has been developed by healthcare professionals and academics to reflect the most relevant areas to a pharmacist’s practice. 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.

It is recommended that you undertake 60 credits per year of study, with 120 credits required for a diploma and 180 credits for an MSc. Study a number of elective modules throughout all stages in order to tailor your development path, and receive support from a personal tutor and information on what modules are available at each stage.

Why us?

  • Only part-time MSc Clinical Pharmacy course in the North East of England
  • Sunderland Pharmacy School is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Research in Pharmacy at Sunderland has been described as ‘world-leading’ by the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • Pharmacy has been taught at Sunderland for over 90 years
  • 95.3% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on UK postgraduate students)

Course structure

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) and case-based coursework tasks.

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

*The mentor must have an equivalent or higher qualification to a diploma in Clinical Pharmacy and held this qualification for a minimum of one year before being a mentor.

Clinical Decision Making and Stages of Care (20 credits)

- Learn how to make decisions 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

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

Population Healthcare (10 credits)

- Public health and health informatics

Primary Care and Social Pharmacy (10 credits)

- Medicines management in care homes

- Multi-disciplinary teams in primary care



Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Clinical Skills 2 (10 credits) (Can only be taken once you have completed Clinical Skills 1)

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)

Students will be expected to develop their knowledge and understanding of the audit cycle, standard-setting, metrics and comparisons to enable them to develop a major audit in their own practice.

Not available in year 2 of the programme. If you choose to do Independent Prescribing in Year 2 of this course, you should combine this with a clinically-orientated module, eg: Chronic Patient.

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)

  • 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: 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
    • PsycARTICLES: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 2,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Covers a broad range of science areas
    Library Services - sciences
  • 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.

    Pharmacy Practice
  • This course is based in the Sciences Complex in our City Campus, which has benefited from multi-million pound investment in modern facilities.

    IT facilities are excellent with hundreds of workstations available as well as wireless internet access. If you have any computer problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    The Sciences Complex
  • Map and directions


Sunderland's exceptional facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. 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.

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.

Fees and finance

The tuition fee for this course is £361 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. Fees for non-Tier 4 international students will be agreed at application stage, and may differ from the above.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

A student with graduation scroll


Postgraduate qualifications in clinical pharmacy will help you take on additional responsibility. 95.8% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK postgraduate students).

Career options

We encourage you to plan your future contributions with 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).

Meet the students

  • I wouldn’t be where I am now without this qualification.
    James Slack Case Study Square Image

    James Slack

  • I am proud to continue my association with the University of Sunderland.
    Mark Burdon

    Mark Burdon

  • I found it easy to meet people and I'm still in touch with friends I made there.
    Paul Tasker

    Paul Tasker

  • The course really lived up to its international reputation and set me up for a lifelong career.
    Sinead McHugh, Pharmacy graduate

    Sinead McHugh

Meet the team

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