Pharmacy MPharm (4 year)

Undergraduate degree course/programme Pharmacy MPharm (4 year) B230

The MPharm is one of several world-renowned healthcare courses in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. The programme is designed specifically to equip you with the skills and knowledge pharmacists will need in the future, so at every stage you’ll find yourself experiencing real-life or simulated clinical and patient situations. This practical element is supported by fundamental pharmaceutical and medical science studies, taught by our research-active academic and professional staff. It’s the ideal balance of hands-on learning and in-depth study.                      

While at Birmingham, you will be taught the science underpinning the use of medicines, including physiology and anatomy of the human body, the effect of medicines on the human body, and how medicines are designed. Alongside this, you will be trained in clinical communications, problem solving, and decision making to ensure you have the skills to enjoy a rewarding career in pharmacy contributing to patient care.

You’ll have a supportive learning environment, with small group teaching sessions to re-enforce your learning. You’ll also have an opportunity to work with other healthcare students (such as doctors and nurses) as an undergraduate. You’ll also have significant clinical placements in all 4 years of the course in primary care, community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy.

Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines. They are the third largest healthcare profession and work in a wide variety of roles in community and primary care pharmacy, hospitals and in the pharmaceutical industry.

In addition to completing an MPharm degree, to become a UK-registered pharmacist, you need to successfully complete a professional pre-registration year in a GPhC-approved practice setting and pass the GPhC's professional competency examination.

The University of Birmingham is working towards accreditation of this new MPharm degree by the General Pharmaceutical Council. The accreditation process is completed at Step 7, which will occur when our first cohort of students graduate in 2017. Accreditation reports for this School of Pharmacy, and others, are available at the General Pharmaceutical Council website. The degree programme is regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

The MPharm degree combines the study of the science underpinning the pharmacology, synthesis, development, formulation and production of medicines, together with the study of related law, ethics and health science in order to optimize medicines usage for patients.The subjects are taught by global experts and are supported by responsive support services.

First year

To start with, you will concentrate on fundamentals in the pharmaceutical sciences, including cell biology, physiology, and pharmacology, along with the basic principles of pharmaceutical chemistry, which underpin the formulation and synthesis of drugs. You will discover more about the pharmacy profession itself, covering areas such as the supply of over-the-counter medicines, pharmacy law, dispensing, and the pharmacist’s role in society and healthcare systems. Key aspects of information mastery and evidence-based medicine are also explored in this year.

Most of your learning takes place in a patient-orientated context supported by modelled scenarios. You will also have the exciting opportunity to experience the profession at first hand on placements in hospitals and primary care.

Second year

You will continue to build on the scientific basics, but now you’ll start moving towards practical applications, such as the drug development process. Body-system-themed physiology and therapeutics modules focus on bringing together your understanding of basic physiology, pharmacology and clinical pharmacy. You will also explore the key principles of immunology and the concepts associated with the safe use of medicines, as well as developing evidence-based medicine skills.
Throughout the year, much of your studies will take place on clinical placements and as inter-professional learning with nursing, medical and other healthcare students.

Third year

You will now complete your comprehensive, patient-orientated study of body systems, and there will be a substantial focus on clinical pharmacokinetics, toxicology and diagnostic skills. You will be introduced to advanced topics, such as pharmacogenetics, and there will be a continued emphasis on the pharmaceutical sciences, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical technology. You will learn about health information systems, pharmacoeconomics and policy, which will enable you to learn effectively in a healthcare setting.

As with previous years, there will be significant placement learning in a variety of multi-professional environments.

Fourth year

Your final year focuses on personalised patient care, advanced pharmacy services and the principles of prescribing. Therapeutics teaching draws on your previous studies of scientific and clinical concepts, with the aim of supporting you to deal confidently with complex patient cases involving composite medicines use. You will be able to practise your problem-solving skills through role play and simulated scenarios.

In this year, you’ll also be introduced to healthcare research methodology and undertake a substantial individual research project, which may have a laboratory-based scientific theme, or a professional or clinical focus in a healthcare environment.

Our course has provisional accreditation from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), allowing us to offer an MPharm degree.

Key Information Sets (KIS) - Please note that although KIS data is automatically displayed below, the data relates to other programmes with a pharmaceutical element rather than the MPharm itself.  The University of Birmingham MPharm programme received its first cohort of students in September 2013 and therefore accurate KIS statistics will not be available until late 2017.

Why study this course

Inter-professional working: We are one of only three institutions in the UK that teaches pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, nursing and physiotherapy and we are proud of the fantastic opportunities for inter-professional interaction that this gives to our students.

Bespoke laboratories: You will learn in dedicated practical teaching facilities, specifically designed to meet the needs of our pharmacy curriculum, including formulation laboratories, dispensing and patient counselling suites. You also have access to specialist anatomy teaching and facilities.

Professional experience elective module: In your fourth year, you can fulfil your own personal learning objectives by identifying an area of specialist pharmacy activity you wish to focus on.

Practice placements: We believe exposure to the professional working environment is essential. You will spend seven days on practice placements in your first year, increasing to 10 days in subsequent years. These take place in community and hospital settings as well as manufacturing pharmacies and GP surgeries.

Clinical communications training: Teaching in clinical communications will prepare you for a career in which the ability to explain information clearly and accurately is crucial. Our specialist teaching methods include real actors to practice communication skills with you in role play scenarios.

Virtual chemistry laboratories: Our online laboratory environments allow you to simulate practical experiments providing you with integrated chemistry teaching in a clinical context and a greater depth of knowledge.

Exclusive relationships for practice placements: With over 70 outlets in the Midlands, we have exclusive relationships with two community pharmacies – Knights and Jhoots – who provide practice placement opportunities for our undergraduates.

Strong league table rankings: The University of Birmingham is currently ranked 16th in the 2015 Times Good University Guide meaning you will be studying a one of the top institutions in the UK.

Taught by professionals: A high proportion of the staff who teach on the programme are registered pharmacists or have a first degree in the subject.



Year 1 The Professional Pharmacist 1 
(30 credits)
Basic Life Support (non-credit bearing)
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.1 
(20 credits)
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.2
(30 credits) 
  Chemistry for Pharmacists 1
(20 credits) 
Professional Experience Placements 1 (non-credit bearing)

Science of Medicines 1
(20 credits)

 ePortfolio 1 (non-credit bearing)
Year 2   The Professional Pharmacist 2
(30 credits)
Professional Experience Placements 2 (non-credit bearing)
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.1
(20 credits)  
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.2
(30 credits) 
  Chemistry for Pharmacists 2
(20 credits) 
ePortfolio 2 (non-credit bearing)
  Science of Medicines 2
(20 credits) 
Year 3   The Professional Pharmacist 3
(30 credits)
Research Methods (10 Credits)
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.1
(20 credits)
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.2
(30 credits)
  Science of Medicines 3
(30 credits)  

Professional Experience Placement 3 (non-credit bearing)

ePortfolio 3 (non-credit bearing)

Year 4   Integrated Pharmacy Practice
(60 credits) 
Professional Experience Placements 4 (non-credit bearing)
  Research Project (40 credits) ePortfolio 4 (non-credit bearing)
  Professional Experience Elective (10 credits)                       

The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 

Learn more about fees and funding 

When you apply for the course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Please also note that during the last three years of the programme you will be required to be in attendance for most of each year and the costs of subsistence and travel will accordingly be much greater.  

Students have to pay for travel to placements but are reimbursed minus the price of a standard day saver on West Midlands bus transport. The cost to the students will vary as they go to different places in the region.


Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
Chemistry and at least one further science at A level from Biology, Mathematics or Physics. The third subject can be chosen from a wide range, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking. Grade B in Maths and Grade C in English at GCSE are also required.

BTEC Extended Diploma - D*D*D* is required in a Science based BTEC with at least a grade B in A level Chemistry.

Irish Leaving Certificate - Six subjects at Higher Level, including Chemistry and a second science from Biology, Maths or Physics is required with a typical offer being AAAABB. 

Scottish qualifications - Chemistry and one further science from Biology, Maths or Physics at Advanced Higher Grade AA plus Higher AABBB is required. 

Combined qualifications - Applicants offering a combination of qualifications will be considered on an individual basis, however the entry grades need to be equivalent to the standard A-level requirement. 

Mature and graduate entry - Mature students will be required to meet the same requirements as other candidates. Graduates in an appropriate subject with substantial appropriate chemistry content will be considered providing an award of at least a 2.1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) is offered. Various grades at A-level together with an incomplete or partial degree would not be considered.

International (including EU) students

International Baccalaureate Diploma -

A minimum of 32 points overall including grades 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level, including Chemistry plus one from Biology, Physics or Maths plus three further subjects at Standard Level. Maths with Further Maths will count as one higher and one subsidiary. Where relevant, Language A must be English at grade 5. Bonus points will not be taken into account.

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. 

Learn more about international entry requirements

Non Academic offer requirements

All accepted candidates will be required to complete a health declaration form and provide appropriate evidence of immunisation against rubella, measles, tuberculosis and varicella.  Some candidates may be contacted by an Occupational Health Physician where appropriate. 

It is a condition of the entry to the MPharm programme that all pharmacy students must be screened to ensure that they are not carriers of the Hepatitis B virus. All applicants who accept an offer must:

  • undertake a screening blood test for Hepatitis B
  • if negative, start a course of immunisation
  • thereafter, provide certified evidence of these

Some NHS Trusts may refuse to allow non-immunised students access, and therefore such students will be unable to participate in placement activities in these Trusts. Hepatitits B immunisation takes several months; therefore, prospective students are strongly advised to take the blood test in good time.

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences will reimburse students with financial hardship for up to £200 of the cost of their vaccinations. If you are eligible for an award under the National Scholarship Programme (i.e. qualify for at least one of the state benefits associated with Free School Meals entitlement, classed as a Care Leaver or with a household income of £16,190 or less), you are advised to obtain receipts for any health checks that you have had to pay for. Once you commence study at the University of Birmingham, you may then apply for reimbursement from the College, up to the cost of £200.

Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme.

All students are required to agree to the "College of Medical and Dental Sciences Code of Conduct for MPharm Students" prior to entry. Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the General Pharmaceutical Council's "Code of conduct for pharmacy students" and "Guidance on student fitness to practice procedures in schools of pharmacy". The British Pharmaceutical Students' Association has also produced a short video that may be of interest. 

General Pharmaceutical Council

The General Pharmaceutical Council is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. Applicants for entry to MPharm programmes should be aware of the following advice issued by the GPhC:

"Pharmacy is a healthcare profession requiring a high level of education and training.

To qualify as a pharmacist takes a minimum of five years and includes the following steps:

  • Successful completion of a GPhC accredited Master of Pharmacy Degree (MPharm), which is a full-time, four year course
  • Successful completion of one year's pre-registration training, a period of paid employment in a community or hospital pharmacy during which a trainee is required to build up a portfolio of evidence and demonstrate their competence whilst being observed at work
  • Successful completion of the GPhC's registration exam
  • Meeting the fitness to practise requirements for registration as a pharmacist.

Only after completing these steps can you apply for registration with the GPhC as a pharmacist. As part of the registration process, applicants have to make a health declaration and character checks are carried out."

Prospective students should note that the GPhC is unable to offer prospective registration advice. Applicants that have been refused registration with the GPhC are entitled to appeal against the decision via the GPhC Appeals Committee. Furthermore, all Fitness to Practise decisions made by the University relate to an individual student's ability to practise on the course as a student. Such decisions do not (and indeed cannot) bind the GPhC in its determination of an individual's Fitness to Practise upon any application for professional registration as a pharmacist.

The Application Process

All applications are received through UCAS. Those applicants whose interest is in Pharmacy and whose academic profile meets our requirements will be invited to an ‘Applicant Visit Day’. This will involve visiting the Medical School, meeting staff and students, viewing our facilities/Pharmacy Labs and attending interactive sessions showcasing the Pharmacy Degree programme.

Additional information:

A Levels - Mathematics and Further Mathematics will not be considered as seperate subjects at A2.

GCSEs - Maths grade C at AS level may be offered in lieu of the GCSE requirement where appropriate.

International students:

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at 
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre’s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Learning settings

As part of the launch of this new MPharm programme, the University of Birmingham has invested heavily in new facilities to support learning and teaching in Pharmacy. One of these exciting developments includes the refurbishment of our Robert Aitken Building where there are new laboratories and teaching space dedicated to Pharmacy students.

Learning and teaching takes place in a variety of different environments, helping you to understand the role of a pharmacist:

Laboratory-based practical work is an integral part of our MPharm programme, delivering important transferable skills and giving you the experience of practical work that is essential for your future career.

Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and to interact with ‘ask the audience’ style electronic voting systems.

Seminars and small-group tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate scientific and professional lecture material.

Group work carried out with other healthcare students focuses on experiencing pharmacy in the wider healthcare context and testing your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Self study is an essential part of the programme and demonstrate your commitment to, and enthusiasm for, your subject and for the learning that will continue throughout your professional career.

Clinical practice and bedside demonstrations, both modelled and real, help you to build practical experience of the pharmacist’s role in action, and to develop confidence and problem solving skills. There is also the opportunity to learn through role plays and video feedback on patient-healthcare professional interaction.

E-learning mechanisms include Canvas, Wiki podcasts and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); an excellent tool for supporting our academic courses, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, giving access to learning materials 24 hours a day and allowing you to submit your work electronically.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.

Meet our lecturers

Meet our lecturer - Dr Anthony Cox, Senior Lecturer on the MPharm Pharmacy programme.

Find out more about the staff in the School of Pharmacy.

MPharm Placements Overview

Year 1   1 day orientation: Primary Care visit
3 day orientation: Community pharmacy
3 day orientation: Hospital pharmacy
Year 2   5 day placement: Community pharmacy (including Saturday work)
3 days placement: Hospital pharmacy
1 day experience: Manufacturing unit
1 day experience: Specials medicines manufacturer
Year 3   5 days placement: Community pharmacy (including Saturday work)
5 days placement: Hospital Pharmacy
1 day experience: Quality Assurance /Quality Control chemistry lab
1 day experience: Wholesale pharmaceuticals
1 day inter-professional day: General Practice with 1st year medical students.
Half to 1 day placement: self-organised to meet own learning needs, related to working with other healthcare professional.
Year 4   10 day placements: mix from Primary Care, Hospital, and Community Pharmacist, dependent on specialist interests of student.

Our facilities

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses state-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity. 

Our facilities ensure that students receive the best possible learning experience by working in a modern environment. Among our most recent developments include a refurbishment of the Medical School foyer, Barnes library and Wolfson Centre for Medical Education.

Explore our facilities and take a tour by moving around our 360-degree panoramas:


Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines and their effective use. Though most qualified pharmacists go on to work in healthcare settings, mainly community pharmacies and hospitals, there’s a wide range of career opportunities you could consider in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, government and regulatory bodies, and healthcare informatics.

You can find more on pharmacy careers at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Website and the NHS careers website

In addition to completing an MPharm degree, to become a UK-registered pharmacist, you need to successfully complete a professional pre-registration year in a GPhC-approved practice setting and pass the GPhC's professional competency examination.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Find out more about Careers Network.

Professional accreditation

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulator for pharmacy in Great Britain and is responsible for approving qualifications for pharmacists and accrediting education providers. Any university offering a new MPharm degree course, where MPharm students have not yet graduated and the course is not yet fully accredited, is given provisional accreditation. The running of these courses is dependent upon accreditation by the GPhC.

The University of Birmingham is working towards accreditation of this new MPharm degree by the General Pharmaceutical Council. The accreditation process is completed at Step 7, which will occur when our first cohort of students graduate in 2017. Accreditation reports for this School of Pharmacy, and others, are available at the General Pharmaceutical Council website.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Medical School has societies specifically for students based here - MedSoc, an overarching society open to all Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science students, and PharmSoc, which is open to Pharmacy students. Both are student-run societies that offer a wide range of activities to get involved in from sports, amateur dramatics and music to charities, volunteering and academic support.

The City of Birmingham

You will be based on a leafy campus in the suburbs of a vibrant, modern city. With over a million residents, Birmingham is home ot the UK's largest financial and creative centres outside London and it has a thriving business community. After London, birmingham is the highest ranking city for quality of life in the UK (Mercer's Quality of Living Survey 2012). There is something for everyone in Birmingham and you are sure to receive a warm welcome in one of the most culturally diverse cities in Britain.


Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

University accommodation for undergraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.