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Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing (NMC and ACP Route)

Start date
September, January
6 months
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

September 2023: £2,260
More details on fees and funding

A multi-professional course to enable you to develop the consultation and prescribing skills required to qualify as an independent prescriber within your area of practice.

This programme if for NMC registered professionals only. If you are GPhC or HCPC registered, please review this course page.

The structure of the NHS, healthcare and service delivery is changing at a fast pace. New roles across healthcare services are developing and supporting a multi-disciplinary team approach to improving patient outcomes. This includes supporting patients to access a range of healthcare professionals with the ability to prescribe appropriately and safely within their scope of practice.  

This 40 credit Masters course (level 7) is delivered part-time over six months and comprises two compulsory 20 credit modules, which are taken consecutively, and an overarching non-credit bearing module that includes the period of supervised learning in practice and portfolio. All modules must be passed to be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing. 40 credits is approximately 400 hours of student endeavour.

This course is currently open to nurses and midwives and (trainee ACP students).

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

At Masters level you are expected to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks. You will need to demonstrate that you are able to systematically deal with complex issues and make sound judgements, sometimes in the absence of incomplete data.

The course adopts a blended learning approach including interactive face-to-face study days, case studies, discussions and online learning. Teaching also includes working with simulated patients to develop communication and clinical skills.  Your development is supported by learning in practice under the supervision of your Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP). You should be spending at least 50% of your supervised learning in practice time with your DPP. Time with any other practitioners can support your learning and should be agreed in advance with your DPP.

There is a strong emphasis on self-directed learning to ensure that the content is contextualised to your area of practice. The blending learning approach allows flexibility in managing your learning to support professional and personal commitments.

There are a variety of assessment methods to ensure safe and effective practice. These include a case presentation, pharmacology-based assessment, calculations assessment, Significant Event Analysis, OSCE (objective structured clinical examinations), 24 mandatory SCRIPT modules and completion of a structured learning and reflective portfolio.

Please note as you are qualified, registered and practicing professionals, you are subject to the fitness to practice procedure for your professional regulator.

Why study this course?

  • There is an emphasis on linking theoretical knowledge to practical skills. The course is designed around the core principles of safe and effective prescribing practice for application across therapeutic areas and clinical specialities in a variety of settings.
  • Interactive face to face teaching activities include the use of real-life and simulated scenarios with case studies to develop competence in prescribing practice. You will develop clinical management plans and consider holistic care of the patient as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Role-play scenarios with the use of expert patient actors facilitates development of strong communication and clinical skills, vital for positive interaction with patients and fellow healthcare professionals. Further learning and development of prescribing competencies is supported through lectures and distance learning via a virtual learning environment.
  • On successful completion of the course, you will be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing.


This multi-professional blended learning course takes place over 6 months including 10 face-to-face study days. Attendance at the University for these dates is mandatory. There is an optional study day in module 3. 

There are an additional 2 days for completion of face-to-face assessment days.

Module 1 - Prescribing: Scientific Principles and Practice 

Module 2 - Prescribing: Safe Effective Practice 

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio


September 2023: £2,260

How To Apply

Application deadlines

  • For January 2024 entry, the deadline for applications is Thursday 30th November 2023

Please note

  • All applicants are required to complete the online application. In addition, you will need to complete a supplementary application form.
  • You will also need to complete the Educational Audit.
  • Once completed, please send your form and requested documents to Please note that this is an essential part of the process and your application cannot be considered without this supplementary form and required documents.
  • The course is only available to applicants who are registered with: Nursing and Midwifery Council and (General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Health and Care Professionals Council trainee ACP’s)
  • The running of the course is subject to minimum numbers.
  • We are proud to announce that the University of Birmingham are listed as an institution providing course provision for Health Education England (HEE) funded pharmacist applicants. Please ensure that you send the appropriate funding documentation alongside your application form for the course following the process highlighted above.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Admissions to the course are undertaken through a process of a university application followed by a supplementary course application form. You will be required to submit confirmation of your prior experience in relation to your intended prescribing role. Your application will need to be supported by your line manager/employer(s) and where relevant agreement of your organisation's non-medical prescribing lead.

Due to the nature of teaching and learning on this course the number of places in each cohort is controlled. Admissions to the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing may therefore be competitive.

If your application meets the criteria (subject to conditions placed on the application) but the immediate cohort is full, a conditional offer will be recommended for the next available entry.

All candidates will be subject to an interview. Offers to the course will be conditional on satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement and up to date immunisation record submission.

Please note as you are qualified, registered and practicing professionals, you are subject to the fitness to practice procedure for your professional regulator.

NMC Applicants

Nurse / Midwife applicants for Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing must have:

  •  Current registration (level 1) for Nurses and Midwives with the NMC
  •  Have at least one years’ experience as a practising level 1 registered nurse, midwife or specialist community public health nurse
  •  Be deemed as holding safe and effective practice to undertake the independent prescribing programme by your employer or an agreed responsible person for self-employed candidates. This will include confirmation of:
    • clinical/health assessment
    • diagnostics/care management/planning
    • evaluation of care
  •  Hold an Honours degree or have evidence of the ability to study the prescribing qualification at Level M (BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent professional qualification).
  •  Confirmation that governance structures are in place for clinical support, access to protected learning time and employer support (where appropriate) during the programme.
  •  Have an identified Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who meets the eligibility criteria for the Practice Assessor role (PS) (NMC 2018) and who has agreed to provide assessment required during the term of supervised practice as a trainee independent prescriber
  •  Have an identified prescribing practitioner who meets the eligibility criteria for the Practice Supervisor (PS) role (NMC 2018) and who has agreed to provide supervision required during the term of supervised practice as a trainee independent prescriber
  •  Declaration of good character by employer or agreed responsible person.

GPhC and HCPC students requirements will have been met as part of the ACP application.

During attendance at the University you will undertake key lectures, small group work, workshops and problem based learning. Core clinical assessment skills will be developed as part of the course study days including consultation and examination skills. Role-play scenarios including the use of expert patient actors will facilitate the development of effective communication and clinical skills.

The virtual learning environment CANVAS will support directed and independent learning. You will use the web-based SCRIPT e-learning programme. This comprises of 51 modules designed to improve prescribing competency and is developed in partnership with Health Education England – West Midlands and OCB media. 24 of these modules are mandatory. SCRIPT offers a range of modules including Fundamentals of Pharmacology, Dosing and Calculations and modules related to specific therapeutic areas.

You will develop the knowledge required to support your clinical decision making and prescribing practice. You will prepare for and reflect upon the key learning within the University and undertake the full range of portfolio activity to evidence your achievement of learning outcomes and prescribing competencies.

During the period of supervised learning in practice you will develop your prescribing competencies and evidence achievement of learning outcomes.

You will require an identified Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) to supervise the minimum 12 days (90 hours) learning in practice.

Nominated DPPs must be a registered medical or non-medical practitioner who must fulfil the following eligibility criteria, which underpin the competencies within the 'A Competency Framework for Designated Prescribing Practitioner' (RPS 2019) , and should be met by all DPPs: 

1. Regulatory requirements: 

  • Any prescriber taking on the DPP role must be registered with their professional regulator.
  • All Non-Medical Practitioners undertaking the DPP role should have the necessary annotation for a prescriber as required by their regulator. 

2. Prescribing competency framework requirements:

Suitability of the role will be determined at the application stage.  DPPs must be fit to undertake the role and must have experience of teaching and supporting students within the clinical area.

Assessment Methods

Module 1:

  • Case presentation
  • Written pharmacology-based assessment 
  • Calculations Examination (must pass at 100%)

Module 2:

  • Three station OSCE
  • Significant event analysis with clinical management plan

Module 3:

  • Structured reflective portfolio
  • Satisfactory completion of 90 hours supervised learning in practice, validated and signed off by DPP
  • Completion of 24 mandatory SCRIPT modules

Graduate destinations include: GP surgeries, mental health services, addiction services, pain management, and specialist secondary care services e.g. paediatrics, oncology, HIV.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market.

Here are just a few ways in which we can help postgraduates to get ahead:

  • Careers Networking opportunities
  • Effective careers strategy toolkit
  • Year planner for all postgraduate students
  • Masters Career Coaching Workshops
  • One to one careers guidance

The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. They also have a dedicated careers website for international students where you can find useful resources and information.

For more information visit the Careers Network website.