Pharmacy MPharm (4 year)

Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines and how to use them effectively. The MPharm is relatively new to Birmingham and joins our world-renowned healthcare courses in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. The programme is designed specifically to meet the needs of the future pharmacist, so at every stage you’ll find yourself experiencing real-life or simulated clinical and patient situations. This practical element is supported by your 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.                      

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.

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 has been successful in achieving Step 3 of the accreditation process with the General Pharmaceutical Council. We are excited to be delivering this high quality, innovative and professionally aligned course from October 2013 within our newly built teaching laboratories. In line with the accreditation process for all new Schools of Pharmacy, we will be visited by the GPhC annually until we reach step 7 of the GPhC accreditation process, when our first cohort of students graduate.

News

New Pharmacy labs officially opened!  See news release

Course fact file

UCAS code: B230

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 70

Typical Offer: AAA/AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Contact

If you would like further information about the course, please contact: 

Admissions Tutor: Dr Vivek Dhir
Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 2661
Email:  PharmacyEnquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Details

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.

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 does not receive its first cohort of students until September 2013 and therefore accurate KIS statistics will not be available until August 2014.

Why study this course

When you study at Birmingham, you will be joining the privileged few who have the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most highly respected experts in their field. Throughout your degree, you’ll also receive all the support you need to explore and fulfill your potential.

As an MPharm undergraduate you will have the chance to work closely with other professional student colleagues, clinicians and practitioners from medicine, dentistry and other healthcare disciplines, both in the classroom and in healthcare workplaces. Throughout your degree, you’ll build your scientific, professional and clinical knowledge and experience. This will help you to become a confident healthcare practitioner, with the skills you need to work as a medicines expert in a multi-professional healthcare team.

Studying at Birmingham will prepare you for a career in the community, hospital, primary care or industrial sectors of the pharmacy profession. You will be able to pursue your own interests in the profession and when you graduate you will have the skills to promote the safe and effective use of medicines for the treatment and prevention of disease.

Benefits of studying this course:

• Meets the needs of the future pharmacist
• Significant clinical and patient-facing teaching
• Supported by fundamental pharmaceutical & medical science – taught by global experts
• Close working with other healthcare students in the classroom and often in the workplace
• We have a number of large NHS hospital partner trusts in very close proximity including the on-site University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT)
• The College has a large number of GP Partners - 163 Practices, 300+ GPs, ≈ 30% have in-practice pharmacists 

Facilities

• Teaching based in a world class teaching and research environment within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences with modern lecture theatres, dedicated student common areas, newly refurbished student support areas and a large library within the same building
• Inter-professional learning – dedicated rooms for clinical skills teaching via role play in a ward area
• Hollier simulation centre - this teaching facility based at the Good Hope Hospital offers leading edge healthcare simulation training for doctors, medical students and allied health professionals and is one of the simulation facilities providing opportunities for inter professional education.
• The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses aseptic compounding facilities which are MHRA licensed for pharmacy compounding and cell / gene manipulation
• Substantial investment is being made to augment the vast existing laboratory and teaching facilities in the College with environments specific to the teaching of pharmacy, including pharmaceutics, microbiology and electronic modelling suites.

Modules

Modules

Modules
Year 1 The Professional Pharmacist 2 
(30 credits)
Basic Life Support 
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.1 
(20 credits)
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.2
(30 credits) 
  Chemistry for Pharmacists 1
(20 credits) 
 
  Science of Medicines 1
(20 credits)
 
Year 2   The Professional Pharmacist 2
(30 credits)
 
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.1
(30 credits)  
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.2
(30 credits) 
  Chemistry for Pharmacists 2
(20 credits) 
 
  Science of Medicines 2
(20 credits) 
 
Year 3   The Professional Pharmacist 2
(40 credits)
 
  Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.1
(20 credits)
Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.2
(30 credits)
  Science of Medicines 3
(30 credits)  
 
Year 4   Integrated Pharmacy Practice
(60 credits) 
 
  Research Methods
(10 credits)
Research Project
(40 credits)
  Professional Experience Elective (10 credits)                       

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.  

Scholarships

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAA/AAB

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 A in Maths and Grade B in English at GCSE are also required.

BTEC National Diploma - A BTEC in an appropriate science-based subject with Distintion, Distinction, Distinction will be considered. A-level Chemistry (minimum Grade B) will also be required.

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 35 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 technicicans 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 interview process

All students who are offered a place will be subject to an interview. Interviews will take place between October and March and successful applicants will be called for interview during that period. Selection for interview will be based on achieved and predicted grades, information provided in the personal statement and the reference. A candidate must provide good evidence of interest and commitment to pharmacy, which should include relevant work experience. This work experience does not specifically need to be in a Pharmacy environment as we appreciate that this can be difficult to secure, but should be in an environment that enables relevant and appropriate interaction and communication with the public.

We are also looking for individuals who have the appropriate qualities for the profession. Candidates must be well-rounded individuals, evidence for which may be provided through involvement in extracurricular activities and/or paid work in society. 

All candidates (including overseas applicants) will be required to attend a panel interview, held within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The interview will be approximately 20 minutes in duration; the first half will involve general questions relating to the candidate’s application and the second half will include scenario and ethical based questions.  Mathematical ability will also be assessed during the interview process.

We will aim to communicate decisions within two to three weeks following an interview, although please note that the earliest date you will receive an offer will be December 2013. However, some candidates will be placed on a reserve list based on their interview score and final decisions will not be taken until after all interviews have been completed in late March.

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 the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com 
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.

Contact

If you would like further information about the course, please contact: 

Admissions Tutor: Dr Vivek Dhir
Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 2661
Email:  PharmacyEnquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. 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.

Teaching takes place in a variety of styles according to the subject speciality and includes a small amount of problem based learning in multi-professional groups with other healthcare students. Scientific and professional practice topics are integrated through lectures, seminars and small group tutorials, laboratory work, modelled and real clinical practice and bedside demonstrations.

You will be expected to complete personal directed study in order to ensure that you are committed to learning which should be continued throughout your professional life. Significant elements of multi-professional learning alongside other healthcare students are included in the programme. There is also the opportunity to learn through role-plays and video feedback on patient-healthcare professional interactions.

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.

Meet our lecturers

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

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.

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.

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.

Employability

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.

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 has been successful in achieving Step 3 of the accreditation process with the General Pharmaceutical Council. We are excited to be delivering this high quality, innovative and professionally aligned course from October 2013 within our newly built teaching laboratories. In line with the accreditation process for all new Schools of Pharmacy, we will be visited by the GPhC annually until we reach step 7 of the GPhC accreditation process, when our first cohort of students graduate.

Contact

If you would like further information about the course, please contact: 

Admissions Tutor: Dr Vivek Dhir
Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 2661
Email:  PharmacyEnquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk