Pharmacy MPharm

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Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply 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 drugs. Graduate and develop a fascinating and well-paid career.

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Our highly-regarded Pharmacy course begins with a broad overview of the fundamental pharmaceutical 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 qualification in the UK which leads to professional registration as a pharmacist.

Why us?

  • The MPharm is the only qualification in the UK which leads to professional registration as a pharmacist
  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) figures show that the University of Sunderland had the highest pass rate in the 2017 pre-registration assessment, at 93.1%
  • 100% of our pharmacy graduates are in a professional or managerial position six months after graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK students)
  • 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

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):

  • Healthy Systems: From Patient to Gene (60 credits)

Take an introductory look at the profession and programme of Pharmacy. Gain an understanding of plant, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure, function and physiology. Learn about the role of the pharmacist within public health, as well as the sources and physical properties of pharmaceutical substances, including reactivity and interactivity.

Understand the processes involved in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination, as well as the various routes of administration of pharmaceutical products based upon their physical and chemical properties and patient specific requirements.

  • Healthy Systems: From Atom to Gene (60 credits)

Gain an understanding of the importance of biochemical molecules and relate their characteristics to different biological functions within a range of cell types. Perform a range of laboratory techniques, analyse the data and communicate the outcomes in oral and written form.

Learn fundamental clinical skills and how those skills may be applied in the pharmacist-patient consultation, as well as the role of pharmacists in the safe and effective use and distribution of medicinal products.



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

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Fundamental Therapeutics: From Molecule to Medicine (60 credits)

Focus on the epidemiology, natural history, aetiology, pathogenesis, pathophysiology and clinical presentation of diseases of the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and renovascular systems. Understand the legal supply of medicines and related products, as well as due recognition and appreciation of the legal, statutory and ethical requirements for prescribing.

Learn physical examination skills in order to conduct a cardiovascular examination of a patient, including communication and consultation skills.

  • Clinical Therapeutics: From Medicine to Patient (60 credits)

Examine the epidemiology, aetiology, pathogenesis and pathophysiology of diseases of the gastro-intestinal system and respiratory system. Understand the safe and effective supply of medicines and appropriate related products in primary and secondary care, covering concepts around clinical governance including audit, risk, patient safety, error reporting and the context of CPD within a professional governance framework.

Apply the acquired integrated knowledge and skills to patient-focused pharmaceutical care, with due regard to critical awareness of clinical literature, current evidence-based management guidelines and standard operating procedures.

Year 3 (national level 6):

  • Diseased Systems: Central Nervous and Musculo-skeletal Systems (60 credits)

Gain an understanding of the epidemiology, aetiology, pathophysiology, diagnostics and treatment aspects of a variety of central nervous system and musculoskeletal disorders.

Acquire knowledge of modern drug discovery techniques used to design CNS drugs, and understand the theoretical and practical aspects of topical drug delivery systems and their manufacture. Calculate parameters associated with pharmaceutical care including drug dosages, and critically evaluate appropriate therapy for CNS and musculo-skeletal disorders.

  • Diseased Systems: Endocrine and Genito-urinary Systems (40 credits)

Acquire comprehensive knowledge of the epidemiology, aetiology, pathophysiology and treatment aspects of endocrine and genito-urinary conditions. Further develop essential skills in communication, medication history taking, personalised patient counselling and critical appraisal of prescribing. Examine public health issues and the role of the pharmacist in public health intervention.

Final year (national level 7)

  • Diseased Systems: Principles of Oncology, Infection Control and Immunology (60 credits)

Gain a critical understanding of the clinical therapeutics strategies in relation to the treatment of cancer, immunological disease and infectious disease in the context of the practice of pharmacy.

Equip yourself with knowledge of the application of biological nanoparticles in drug delivery and theranostics for the treatment of infectious disease, immunological disorders and cancer. Use appropriate communication and physical examination skills to assess patients in context of cancer, infectious disease and immunology.

  • Applied Practice (60 credits)

Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to enter the clinical workforce as a pharmacy graduate able to contribute fully to the delivery of safe, effective, evidence-based patient care. Understand the principles and wider implications underpinning evidence-based therapeutics in the key clinical specialities, as well as the legal and ethical responsibilities of pharmacists working in all sectors.

Objectively analyse the rationale underlying the treatment of disease, including pharmacological therapy and non-pharmacological therapy, with consideration of the evidence-base, underpinning scientific principles, cost and political agenda around healthcare.

Dale Building,
Sciences Complex,
City Campus,


  • 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.

  • 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.
    • PsycINF: 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 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Which covers a broad range of science areas.
  • Our state-of-the-art spectroscopic facility allows us to confirm the structures of new molecules that could be potential pharmaceutical products and to investigate the structures of potential medicinal substances that have been isolated from plants.

    We are equipped with Liquid Chromatography-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectroscopy (LCNMR/MS) platforms; this is an exceptional facility for a university. We also have low and high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and elemental analysis equipment.

    Our facilities allow you to gain hands-on experience of a wide range of analytical techniques such as atomic absorption spectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy, which are of great importance in determining both ionic/metal content of pharmaceuticals and simple chemical structures.

    You will also gain experience of revolutionary protein and DNA separation techniques, as well as Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography for separating unknown chemical mixtures.

  • We have pharmaceutical-related equipment for wet granulation, spray drying, capsule filling, tablet making, mixing inhalation, film coating and freeze drying. As well as standard pharmacopoeial test methods, such as dissolution testing, friability and disintegration, we also offer 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.

  • Our highly technical apparatus will give you first-hand experience of the principles of drug action and the effects of drugs on pharmacological and cellular models. As a result, you gain a better understanding of the effects of drugs on specific receptors located throughout the human body and related physiological effects.

  • You'll have the opportunity to apply your training in a realistic setting with our two advanced simulation technology ‘SimMan’ models. Each of our 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 medical expertise in a realistic yet safe setting.

    Our academic team is actively involved in the innovative programming that allows you to explore consequences of different medical scenarios within a safe, simulated environment and SimMan provides medical students with the closest experience possible to a real-life scenario where they can practise outside of the real-world.


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

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points from three A Level passes or equivalent, which must include Chemistry and one other science subject at Grade B or above excluding General Studies.

We also require at least three passes at GCSE grade C or above which must include Mathematics and English Language. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. Our typical offer is three distinctions which must include Chemistry and one other science subject. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent.

If English is not your first language, you need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each band.

Some applicants may be invited for interview.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 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


100% of our Pharmacy graduates are in a professional or managerial position six months after graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK students).

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 community pharmacists range from £21,000 - £35,000 depending on 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.

This one-year course is known as the ‘pre-registration training year’. We offer this course at Sunderland: Pharmacy pre-registration training programme.

Once this pre-registration training year is complete, you will be qualified to sit the registration exam set by the General Pharmaceutical Council and 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 chemical research and working in Research & 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.


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

    Kathryn Moffitt

  • 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 our academics