Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

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

January 2024 and March 2024: £2,260
More details on fees and funding

Fully accredited course. Innovations in educational excellence. Effective learning underpinned by expertise.

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 is for GPhC and HCPC registered professionals only. If you are a nurse or midwife, 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 pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, paramedics and therapeutic radiographers.

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, critical reflection, 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.

UK students only, you must be registered to practice with your professional and regulatory body.

Apart from developing my practical clinical skills and knowledge, this course has enabled my confidence to grow and my abilities as a clinical pharmacist to shine through. Everybody, including both lecturers and fellow course mates are very friendly and welcoming which helps ease any possible nerves when starting a new course at a new university. The atmosphere is very warm and open, allowing students to voice their opinions and ask questions when they feel the need to. The lecturers are very interesting, knowledgeable and informative when it comes to providing the lectures and teaching materials. The best part is that they are genuinely happy and proud to see their students succeed.

Stephanie Tung, Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing student (Clinical Pharmacist)

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.
  • You will have access to our Clinical Skills Suite with state of the art equipment and facilities. 
  • 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 6 face-to-face study days. Attendance at the University for these dates is mandatory. 

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

You will be required to arrange a minimum of 90 hours (12 days) placement, in practice under the clinical supervision of an approved Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP). This is necessary in order to complete the programme. Should your working circumstances or placement arrangements change and you are therefore not able to successfully complete the required clinical supervision you will not be able to complete the programme.

Study Days
   September 2023 Cohort January 2024 Cohort   March 2024 Cohort
 Study day 1: Induction   15/09/23   16/01/24   05/03/24 
 Study day 2: Mod 1   09/10/23   26/02/24   08/04/24 
 Study day 3: Mod 1   13/11/23   11/03/24   23/04/24 
 Study day 4: Mod 2   08/01/24   20/05/24   17/06/24 
 Study day 5: Mod 2   09/01/24   21/05/24   18/06/24 
 Study day 6: Mod 2   05/02/24   04/06/24   01/07/24 


Assessment Days
   September 2023 Cohort  January 2024 Cohort   March 2024 Cohort
 Module 1   04/12/23   22/04/24   13/05/24 
 Module 2   04/03/24 (Resit 15/04/24)   24/06/24 (Resit 15/07/24)   15/07/24 (Resit 02/09/24) 


September 2023, January 2024 and March 2024: £2,260

Fees for September 2024 will be confirmed in the offer letter.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

  • For March 2024 entry, the deadline for applications is Tuesday 2nd January 2024

We no longer have any NHSE funding for pharmacists working within Groups 1 (community, locums, primary care) or 2 (PCPEP) available for our March 2024 intake, however we do have some Group 3 (NHS Hospital Trust, ICB) funding remaining.

Please note

  • All applicants are required to complete the online application. In addition, you will need to complete a supplementary application form. Once completed this form needs to be uploaded as supporting documentation within the online application portal.
  • You will also need to complete the admissions checklist
  • Your application will not be reviewed until all the required supporting documentation has been uploaded into the online application portal as per the admissions checklist.
  • The course is only available to applicants who are registered with: the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Health and Care Professionals Council.
  • The running of the course is subject to minimum numbers.
  • We are proud to announce that the University of Birmingham is listed as an institution providing course provision for NHS England funded pharmacist applicants. If you are applying for group 2 (PCPEP) funding, please ensure that you upload your IP approval certificate as supporting documentation within your online application form.

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.

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. 

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


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) sets learning outcomes for independent prescribing courses.  Courses are underpinned by A Competency Framework for all Prescribers.   By the end of the course you must provide evidence that you meet the learning outcomes and prescribing competencies. Please also refer to GPhC Standards for pharmacy professionals and the eligibility criteria for becoming a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) Designated Prescribing Practitioner Competency Framework.

  • Current registration for Pharmacists with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI). 
  • Honours degree or evidence of ability to study the prescribing qualification at Level M (MPharm or equivalent professional qualification).
  • Relevant experience in a UK pharmacy setting and be able to recognise, understand and articulate the skills and attributes required by a prescriber.
  • Identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice on which to base your learning.
  • Written confirmation from your employer/sponsor of their support for you to undertake the course and to provide appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area where you are expected to prescribe.
  • Have an identified Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who meets the eligibility criteria for supervision of trainee prescribers and who has agreed to provide the required term of a minimum of 90 hours supervised practice.

Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Paramedic, Therapeutic Radiographers

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) sets standards for prescribing and has adopted the Competency Framework for all Prescribers.  

Further information:

Eligibility criteria for becoming a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) Designated Prescribing Practitioner Competency Framework.

  • Current registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and professional group e.g. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (includes professional indemnity).
  • A BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent. The degree should normally be a first or upper second class Honours degree.
  • Be professionally practicing in an environment where there is an identified need to regularly use independent prescribing.
  • Have normally at least 3 years relevant post-qualification experience in the clinical area in which you will be prescribing.
  • Be working at an advanced practitioner or equivalent level.
  • Identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice on which to base your learning.
  • Written confirmation from your employer/sponsor of their support for you to undertake the course and to provide appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area where you are expected to prescribe.
  • Be able to demonstrate how you reflect on your own performance, take responsibility for your own Continuing Professional Development (CPD) including development of networks for support, reflection and learning.
  • Have an identified Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who meets the eligibility criteria for supervision of trainee prescribers and who has agreed to provide the required term of a minimum of 90 hours supervised practice.
  • A satisfactory current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement (DBS within the last three years/confirmation from employer that current DBS is acceptable).

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.

Student testimonial

"The course was not only limited to the curriculum but offered other practical sessions that would be beneficial in practice. This gave insight and confidence to evaluate and improve oneself. The teaching environment and lecturers were professional but friendly at the same time. The environment was safe, calm and happy and was focused on learning and growing together as students." - Vinisha Nicholas, Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing student (Physiotherapist)

Assessment Methods

Module 1:

  • Case presentation

Module 2:

  • Three station OSCE
  • Critical reflection

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.

Student Testimonial

"Completing this course has enabled me to register as a Paramedic Independent Prescriber which has afforded me significant professional development and ensured I am equipped and trained to increase medicines access to my patients." - Jack Lewis, Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing student (Paramedic Independent Prescriber)

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.