At Birmingham, you’ll learn from leading experts in world-class settings, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.
You’ll have a supportive learning environment, with small group teaching sessions to re-enforce your learning and collaborative learning tasks to support your development in communication and team working. Teaching is split between Birmingham Medical School, where you will work alongside other healthcare students, and the Robert Aitken Building which boasts dedicated practical teaching facilities designed specifically to meet the needs of our pharmacy curriculum. You will have access to formulation laboratories, dispensing, patient consultation suites, clinical skills and simulation spaces, and specialist anatomy teaching. We place an emphasis on the development of knowledge and skills required for independent prescribing, to ensure that you are ready to embark on your Foundation year to complete supervised prescribing.
Teaching in clinical communications will prepare you for a career in which the ability to gather and provide information information clearly and accurately is crucial. Our specialist teaching methods include real actors to practice communication skills with you in role play scenarios.
Learning and teaching settings
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 and decision-making skills. There is also the opportunity to learn through role plays and video feedback on patient-healthcare professional interaction.
E-learning mechanisms include Canvas 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. You will also have access to SCRIPT eLearning, an eLearning programme on prescribing and therapeutics. This will support your learning around these topics and enable you to understand decisions as a prescriber.
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.
Clinical skills teaching is conducted is multiple areas across the Robert Aitkin Building and Medical School with access to high fidelity patient simulation manikins to observe and practice systems examinations, and access to diagnostic equipment to assess patient health.
Teaching staff for this course
A high proportion of the staff who teach on the programme are registered pharmacists, many of whom are registered independent prescribers, or are expert scientists in the field of drug development and formulation. Many staff also have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.
For more information about staff in the school, their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest, visit the School of Pharmacy staff profile page.
You will have access to a comprehensive support network that will assist and help you to deal with any problems that arise throughout your studies.
The Student Services Centre, which based in the Medical School on main campus, offers many services from drop in sessions for advice and guidance, referral to internal and external services and support regarding extenuating circumstances.
You’ll also be assigned a personal tutor for the duration of your time with us. Your personal tutor will be an academic staff member that teaches on the Pharmacy course. If there are particular areas where you need support, you will be able to address this with your tutors.
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. As part of the Personal Academic Tutoring, you will also have small group tutorials to develop your academic and transferable skills.
Year 1: On average you can expect approximately 30% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 65% on independent study and 5% on placement.
Year 2: On average you can expect approximately 30% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 65% on independent study and 5% on placement.
Year 3: On average you can expect approximately 30% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 60% on independent study and 10% on placement.
Year 4: On average you can expect approximately 30% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 60% on independent study and 10% on placement.
Placements are provided as half and/or full-days throughout each year of study. As you progress through the programme you will also have the opportunity to self-organise placement experiences depending on your own personal development objectives.
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 (in-course assessment), which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, and laboratory-based work and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination. You will also sit formal on-campus examinations.
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 in-course assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. Cohort feedback is provided 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.
Throughout the course there will be opportunities to meet with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. Your personal tutor is based in the School of Pharmacy and can help with any academic issues that you may encounter.