MPharm Pharmacy (4-year)

Start date
September
Duration
4 years
UCAS code
B230
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24:
£9,250 (UK) 
£24,600 (International) 
More details on fees and funding

Our Pharmacy programme allows you to make a true difference to patients lives. From learning in our dedicated specialist laboratories or on the frontline during your placement with one of our exclusive partners, we will support you to become an essential part of healthcare.

Explore Pharmacy at the University of Birmingham

Throughout this 4-year MPharm Pharmacy degree course, you will be taught the science underpinning the use of medicines, including the 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, and contribute to patient care.

You will experience significant clinical placements in all four years of your Pharmacy course in primary care, community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. These carefully designed applied activities and learning tasks will provide you with the confidence to move into your professional life upon graduating.

Find out more about our pharmacy placements 

 Why study this course?

  • Study in one of the largest healthcare regions in the UK: With over five and a half million people in the West Midlands area, and a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, your opportunities for contact with a wide range of patients and a variety of health conditions is exceptional
  • Interdisciplinary teaching: Studying alongside students from Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science will prepare you for working in today’s interdisciplinary healthcare teams.
  • Exclusive relationships for practice placements: With over 70 outlets principally in the Midlands, we have exclusive relationships with two community pharmacies who provide vital practice placement opportunities and provide essential work experience to help secure your pre-registration year.
  • Specialist facilities: Our dedicated practical teaching facilities, including formulation and clinical practice laboratories and patient counselling suites, have been specifically designed for you to get the most out of our modern MPharm curriculum.

I think the MPharm at Birmingham is up to date and modern. It makes me confident that I will have the best knowledge when I graduate

Celia Zaine, 3rd year, Pharmacy

New 2021 educational standards

New 2021 educational standards from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will be implemented by all University providers of Pharmacy education by the academic year 2024/25 and the University of Birmingham has made the decision to make this transition in the 2023/24 academic year. All University of Birmingham MPharm Pharmacy students will be moved to a new curriculum in 2023/24 including those who joined the course from the 2020/21 academic year onwards. Therefore the modules currently advertised from year 2 onwards are likely to change to align with the new curriculum, but the new modules will allow you to achieve the MPharm Pharmacy qualification in exactly the same way and graduate meeting the new educational standards. We anticipate that the revised modules will be available in September 2022 and will share those with you once they have been confirmed.

Find out more

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs

Modules

Modules in the first year

During first year, you will explore fundamentals in the pharmaceutical sciences, including cell biology, physiology, and pharmacology. You will also learn the basic principles of pharmaceutical chemistry, which underpins 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.

  • The Professional Pharmacist 1 - 30 credits 
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.2 - 30 credits
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 1.1 - 20 credits
  • Chemistry for Pharmacists 1 - 20 credits 
  • Science of Medicines 1 - 20 credits 
  • Professional Experience Placements 1 - Non-credit bearing
  • Basic Life Support - Non-credit bearing 
  • Year 1 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the second year

In your second year, you will continue to build on the scientific basics, exploring 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 discover the key principles of immunology and the concepts associated with the safe use of medicines, as well as developing evidence-based medicine skills. 

  • The Professional Pharmacist 2 - 30 credits
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.2 - 30 credits
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 2.1 - 20 credits
  • Chemistry for Pharmacists 2 - 20 credits
  • Science of Medicines 2 - 20 credits 
  • Professional Experience Placements 2 - Non-credit bearing 
  • Year 2 Portfolio -Non-credit bearing 

Modules in the third year

Through completing a comprehensive, patient-orientated study of body systems, 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.

  • The Professional Pharmacist 3 - 30 credits
  • Science of Medicines 3 - 30 credits
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.2 - 30 credits
  • Health, Disease and Therapeutics 3.1 - 20 credits 
  • Research Methods - 10 Credits
  • Professional Experience Placement 3 - Non-credit bearing
  • Year 3 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing 

Modules in the 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’ll be able to practise your problem-solving skills through role play and simulated scenarios.

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. You can fulfil your own personal learning objectives by identifying an area of specialist pharmacy activity you wish to focus on.

  • Integrated Pharmacy Practice - 60 credits 
  • Research Project - 40 credits
  • Professional Experience Elective -  10 credits 
  • Business and Pharmaceutical Enterprise - 10 credits
  • Professional Experience Placements 4 - Non-credit bearing 
  • Year 4 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2022. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees

Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2023/24 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £24,600

Visit our tutition fees page for more information 

Additional costs

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.

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University or other sources.

View our undergraduate funding database

How To Apply

  • The University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32. You must enter this clearly on your application to ensure that it reaches us for consideration.
  • Applications will close on Wednesday 25th January 2023. Further key dates regarding applying to undergraduate courses can be found on the UCAS website.
  • If you need any further help with your Birmingham application or personal statement please visit our applying to Birmingham webpage. 

Apply now via UCAS 

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
Chemistry and at least one further science at A level from Biology, Mathematics or Physics. Grade B/6 in Maths GCSE is also required.

 

A Levels - Mathematics and Further Mathematics will not be considered as separate subjects at A2. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted. 

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

BTEC:
BTEC Extended Diploma will not be considered without A level Chemistry
BTEC Diploma in science related subject will be considered in addition to 2 A levels including Chemistry
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in science related subject will be considered in addition to 2 A levels including Chemistry

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.

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 BB 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. 

Foundation Programmes - These will be considered on a case-by-case basis without necessarily the need for A-Level Chemistry.

Returning to education - Returning to education 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.

Pharmacy interviews

In line with new education standards, the School of Pharmacy will now be incorporating interviews as part of the admissions process to ensure your values and behaviours align with those of the profession and the NHS Constitution for England. These panel interviews will take place online between November and April and the whole interview session will be no longer than 45 minutes. Please note that meeting the minimum requirements for entry does not guarantee you an interview or an offer of a place on the programme.

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. Hepatitis 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.

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 "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. 

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check and the Excluded Students Database (ESD)

Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme. You will receive an email from our central admissions team regarding DBS checks approximately 2-3 weeks after you have firmly accepted your place on the course. This email will contain further instructions, next steps and advise of the deadline for submitting your DBS application. Please be sure to check your junk/spam folders for this email before contacting us. 

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.

International Students

We welcome applications from a students holding a wide range of overseas qualifications. Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards.

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 must be English at grade 4. Bonus points will not be taken into account.

Foundation Programmes - These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about international entry requirements

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.

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 counselling suites and specialist anatomy teaching. 

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.

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 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. In your final two years, you will also have access to SCRIPT, an innovative eLearning programme on prescribing and therapeutics. This will support your learning around these topics and enable you to understand decisions from a prescribers’ point of view.

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.

Teaching staff for this course

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

Student support

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.

Contact Hours

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

You will undertake a number of mandatory placements in each year of the course, and by the end of your first year you will have experienced patient facing primary care, hospital, and community pharmacy placements. You will undertake a minimum of six days of placements in years one and two, increasing to 11 days in your third year, with 18 days of placement in your fourth year, which includes the self-organised elective.

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 certain placement experiences depending on your own personal development objectives.

Assessment Methods

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines and their effective use. 

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

University Careers Network

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 our Careers Network

Professional Accreditation

Our 4-year MPharm degree is fully accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The GPhC is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. They are responsible for defining the education and training requirements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

 

 

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