Pharmacy MPharm

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

If you are applying for this course from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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Play a vital role in improving the health of patients. Become an expert in the design, development and therapeutic use of medicines. Graduate and develop a fascinating and rewarding career, both holistically and financially.

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Our highly-regarded Pharmacy course begins with a broad overview of the fundamental pharmaceutical and biological sciences. You will develop more specialised knowledge and skills in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, therapeutics, clinical management and patient-focused clinical skills.

The course lasts four years and you will graduate as a Master of Pharmacy. The MPharm is the only undergraduate qualification in the UK which leads to professional registration as a pharmacist.

Why us?

  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) figures show that the University of Sunderland is consistently one of the top-ranking Schools of Pharmacy in the National Registration Assessment. The pass rate in 2019 was 89.82% which is significantly above the national average of 72.33%
  • 97.5% of our MPharm Pharmacy graduates are in graduate-level employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • Pharmacy has been taught at Sunderland for almost 100 years and we have a strong reputation as a Pharmacy School that produces successful graduates
  • This course has over 90% Overall Satisfaction according to the National Student Survey 2018
  • Patient contact is embedded throughout the course alongside placements and interprofessional learning opportunities
  • All our pharmacist academics are at the forefront of current practice as they continue to work with regional trusts and pharmacy employers. This means you have direct links to employers and the most up to date clinical teaching
  • Research in Pharmacy at Sunderland has been described as ‘world-leading’ by the latest Research Excellence Framework

Course structure

Lectures cover key principles and are delivered by experienced and research active academics in the field. You will also learn in small seminar groups, practical laboratory classes and dispensing classes.

Assessment methods include examinations, time constrained tests (some web-based), assignments, essays, reports and presentations.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Fundamental Principles of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Formulation (50 credits)

Study the fundamental principles of pharmaceutical chemistry and the formulation of medicinal products. Explore the various types of dosage forms and the commonly used routes of administration in clinical practice. Learn to identify sources of drugs and discuss the regulatory structure that ensures quality and patient safety in the preparation of pharmaceutical products.

  • The Healthy Patient: Fundamental Principles of Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology and Microbiology (50 credits)

Gain an understanding of the fundamental principles of biological sciences. Be introduced to the anatomy and the functions of body systems, which will integrate well with the clinical skills studied at this Stage. Study the fundamental principles of physiology, pharmacology and microbiology and consider how these are applied to the care of patients.

  • Introduction to the Professional Practice of Pharmacy (20 credits)

Be introduced to the professional practice of pharmacy and discuss the various roles of a pharmacist as part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team. The underlying concepts of professionalism and the regulation of pharmacy professionals by the General Pharmaceutical Council will also be explored. Undertake placements in community pharmacy and develop your clinical skills through sessions with patients. Integrate the material from all Stage 1 modules and apply the concepts covered to patient focused case studies.


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

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Pharmacy: the Legal, Professional and Ethical Basis of Practice (40 credits)

Build on the professional elements of Stage 1. Develop the knowledge and skills needed in order to practice legally as a pharmacist in the UK. Study several important components of practice in the UK, namely; pharmacy law, pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical calculations, professionalism and ethics. Undertake placements in both community and hospital pharmacy and work with students from other healthcare professions.

  • Integrated Therapeutics 1: Cardiovascular and Renal Systems (40 credits)

Focus on cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and renal disease. Cover the clinical management of diseases of these systems, supported by developing your knowledge of relevant underpinning scientific principles and the application of these to patient care. Cover major areas including hypertension, heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, acute and chronic renal failure. Continue to develop your clinical skills and work with patients throughout this module.

  • Integrated Therapeutics 2: Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Systems (40 credits)

Focus on respiratory and gastrointestinal disease. Cover the clinical management of diseases of these systems, supported by developing your knowledge of relevant underpinning scientific principles and the application of these to patient care. Cover asthma, COPD, allergies, cough, cystic fibrosis, ear, nose and throat pathology, peptic ulcer disease, GORD inflammatory bowel disease, emesis, constipation, diarrhoea and alcohol/drug-induced hepatic disorder. Continue to develop your clinical skills and work with patients throughout this module.

Year 3 (national level 6):

  • Research Option (40 credits)

Undertake your own research project in a specific area related to pharmacy; we currently offer research projects in pharmaceutical chemistry, analysis, drug discovery, formulation, clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice.

  • Integrated Therapeutics 3: Endocrine, Genito-Urinary and Musculoskeletal Systems (40 credits)

Focus on the endocrine, genito-urinary and musculoskeletal systems. Cover the clinical management of diseases of these systems, supported by developing your knowledge of relevant underpinning scientific principles and the application of these to patient care. Cover diabetes and disorders of the thyroid, adrenocortical, hypothalamic, pituitary, sex hormones and bone metabolism. Discuss the formulation of injectable products such as insulin and the medicinal chemistry of key drugs such as those used in the treatment of diabetes. Undertake community, hospital, general practice and specialist sector placements.

  • Integrated Therapeutics 4: Central Nervous System and Skin (40 credits)

Focus on the central nervous system and skin. Cover the clinical management of diseases of these systems, supported by developing your knowledge of relevant underpinning scientific principles and the application of these to patient care. Explore pain, mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and schizophrenia. Discuss other CNS conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and the role of the pharmacist in the management of substance misuse. Continue to work with patients and with students from other healthcare professions.

Final year (national level 7)

  • Applied Practice: Achieving Optimal Clinical Outcomes (60 credits)

Be prepared for clinical and professional practice and study the latest in pharmacy law, ethics and the evidence based therapeutic management of acute and chronic conditions. Spend a significant amount of time using our simulation suites, mock hospital ward and simulated pharmacy, and perform safe and effective consultations applicable to community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and primary care settings. Undertake a one week placement in a sector of your choosing.

  • Advanced Therapeutics (60 credits)

Gain an understanding of the principles of oncology and infectious disease. Put a greater focus on decision making and complex therapeutic interventions. Study various cancers seen commonly in clinical practice. Understand the use of chemotherapeutic and supportive interventions and the evidence base supporting their use in the treatment of cancer. Cover the management of common and serious infections and HIV.

More about (MPharm) Pharmacy at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • Our highly technical apparatus will help you gain a better understanding of the effects of drugs on specific receptors located throughout the human body and related physiological effects.

    In addition to equipment for standard pharmacopoeial tests, such as dissolution testing, friability and disintegration, we also have highly sophisticated test methods. These include rheometry, thermal analysis (differential scanning calorimetry and hot stage microscopy), tests for powder flow, laser diffraction, photon correlation spectroscopy, image analysis and laser confocal microscopy.

    We also have equipment for wet granulation, spray drying, capsule filling, tablet making, mixing inhalation, film coating and freeze drying.

    Facilities for pharmaceutics and pharmacology
  • The University boasts a collection of more than 430,000 books in total, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Each year the University invests around £1 million in new resources. As a student, you will have access to a huge range of online databases such as:

    British National Formulary:
    Compiled with the advice of clinical experts, the British National Formulary (BNF) provides up-to-date guidance on prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines.

    The British Pharmacopoeia:
    The British Pharmacopoeia (BP) is the authoritative collection of quality standards for UK medicines and is an essential reference for anyone involved in pharmaceutical R&D, manufacture, testing and regulation.

    CINAHL with Full Text is the world’s most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 600 journals indexed in CINAHL.

    The Cochrane Library:
    The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

    PubMed Central:
    PubMed Central is a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 25 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles and includes links to full text articles and other related resources.

    ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters covering physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.

    Library Services - pharmacy, health and wellbeing
  • 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
  • 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. Your Masters project may involve collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, including working at their sites.

    Sunderland Pharmacy School
  • Map and directions


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

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or higher with Grade 12 Chemistry and one other science (or Maths) at grade C or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS (or equivalent) score of at least 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each band.

Pharmacy is a registered health care profession for which the ability to practice safely and effectively is essential, so all pharmacy students will be subjected to Fitness to Practise procedures.

This means you are required to complete two self-declaration forms, one about your health and the other about your conduct. For UK students you will also be required to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and for overseas students, a Certificate of Good Conduct from your home police force is necessary. All overseas students will then be required to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check after six months after starting the programme.

A ’Fitness to Practise’ information pack containing the relevant documents will be sent to you by the University of Sunderland once you hold a conditional firm offer with us. These forms are then reviewed alongside your application, and you must meet both the academic and fitness to practice requirements before you will be given an unconditional offer. These checks enable us to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain activities including the pharmacy work experience placements.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £12,000 if you are an international student

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

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


97.5% of our MPharm Pharmacy graduates are in graduate-level employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers).

Many of our students go on to work in Community Pharmacy, Primary care, Secondary care, and Industrial pharmaceuticals, or progress on to research degrees.

Financial rewards compare favourably with most other professions. Typical starting salaries for pharmacists range from £25,000 - £40,000 depending on sector, location, conditions of employment and experience. Currently, there is virtually no unemployment of qualified pharmacists.

Qualifying as a Pharmacist

On graduation as a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm), you will need to undertake a further year of postgraduate training after the end of the course to become eligible for registration as a pharmacist in the UK. We have never had an MPharm graduate who has not obtained a pre-registration placement and the University will support you in finding a position, however we are unable to guarantee one.

This one-year placement is known as the ‘pre-registration training year’ and involves you working under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist. We offer a support programme during the pre-registration year at Sunderland: Pharmacy pre-registration training programme.

On successful completion of the pre-registration training year, you will be required to pass the national registration assessment set by the General Pharmaceutical Council before you are eligible to start your career as a Pharmacist.

Other career options

Although the MPharm is primarily a route to becoming a pharmacist, it can also open up many other career pathways where expertise in medicines is vital. Examples include pharmaceutical research and working in the Research and Development industry.

Guest speakers

We have well-established links with professionals working in all the main branches of pharmacy. Through these links we organise a programme of guest speakers who help you relate academic theory to current trends and issues.

Teacher practitioners

Many of the staff teaching on this course are practitioners from hospital, community and primary care backgrounds. This ensures that our course is employer-led, and means that you will have regular contact with the ‘real world’ of the pharmacy profession.

Meet the students

  • The lecturers help bridge the gap between the theoretical and practical aspects of the course.
    Jo Xuan Square

    Jo Xuan Tan

  • Studying for a degree is investing in the rest of your life.
    Kathryn Moffitt

    Kathryn Moffitt

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

    Mark Burdon

  • The University of Sunderland has an absolutely excellent reputation.

    Matthew Aiken

  • If you want to focus on developing your life skills and knowledge, then this is your destination.
    Mohammed Altaeeolder Square

    Mohammed Ahmad Tarik Altaee

  • Coming here to study will literally change your life.
    Natasha kam course

    Natasha Kam

  • 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

  • I don’t know how I would have coped without the support of my lecturers.
    Yasmine Haq Case Study Square Image

    Yasmine Haq

Meet the team

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