MPharm Pharmacy 5-year (integrated pre-registration format)

Start date
5 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

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

Through a combination of exclusive placements and our specialist scientific teaching, our unique Pharmacy course has been designed to propel you into a career as a UK-qualified pharmacist. Become a critical member of the modern healthcare team and make a real difference to patients lives.

Explore Pharmacy at the University of Birmingham

Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines. By choosing a degree in Pharmacy, you will learn the science underpinning the use of medicines, including 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 contributing to patient care.

Benefit from guaranteed pre-registration placements that are secured by the University and based in the West Midlands region. Throughout the course, you will have a significant series of clinical and patient-facing opportunities which will take place in community, hospital and primary care settings, including GP surgeries, together with medicines manufacturing and quality assurance environments.

Find out more about our pharmacy placements 

Why study this course?

  • Distinct course: As only one of very few UK based institutions to offer the 5-year MPharm (integrated pre-registration format) programme, this study option allows you to complete your pre-registration training in the UK under a student visa. 
  • Study in one of the largest healthcare regions: 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 are exceptional.
  • Interdisciplinary teaching: Studying alongside students from Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science as we 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.

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 in the first year

During your first year, you will concentrate on fundamentals in the pharmaceutical sciences, including cell biology, physiology, and pharmacology. You will also study 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.

  • 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 
  • Year 1 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing
  • Basic Life Support - Non-credit bearing 

Modules in the second year

During 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, your studies will include clinical placements and inter-professional learning with nursing, medical and other healthcare students.

  • 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 credit
  • Year 2 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing
  • Professional Experience Placements 2 - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the third year

During third year, you will complete your comprehensive, patient-orientated study of body systems. There will also be a substantial focus on clinical pharmacokinetics, toxicology and diagnostic skills. You will be introduced to advanced topics, such as pharmacogenetics, with 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.

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

Modules in the fourth year

Your studies will focus 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 business skills and pharmaceutical enterprise enabling you to understand the place of pharmacy in the business world. 

  • Integrated Pharmacy Practice - 60 credits
  • Advanced Pharmacy Practice - 40 credits
  • Business and Pharmaceutical Enterprise - 20 credits
  • Professional Experience Elective - 10 credits
  • Professional Experience Placements 4 - Non-credit bearing
  • Year 4 Portfolio - Non-credit bearing

Modules in the fifth year

Your final year is based around a year-long placement which is designed to develop your ability to apply knowledge and skills into practice, facilitating your transition from student to practitioner. You will engage with the roles of a pharmacist in a safe, closely supervised system. You will also have further teaching one day per week at the university to underpin your practical experiences. The assessments in this year are designed to evaluate your performance regularly in real world situations rather than in an examination room, in order to ensure that you develop into a competent pharmacist. You will also sit your GPhC examination which you must pass in order to become a fully qualified UK pharmacist. 

The MPharm can only be awarded after successful completion of all five years of study to a satisfactory standard. Exit at year 4 will lead to a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, if appropriate credits have been earned. No transfers are possible between the 5-year MPharm (integrated pre-registration format) and 4-year MPharm.

  • MPharm Pre-registration Module - 120 credits

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.


Tuition fees

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

  • 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.


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

  • Please note, we only accept applications from those with an overseas fee status. 
  • 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:
Typical offer:
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.

This programme is designed for international students wishing to undertake their pre-registration training in the UK while retaining their student visa status.

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

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.

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards. Applicants to this course require an IELTS of 7.0 with no individual component below 6.5 or equivalent.

Learn more about international entry requirements

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.

International students will be required to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct and Character from a formal authority in their country such as the police or Foreign Affairs Department before admission to the programme. They will need to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the course.

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.

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. For the 5-year programme this includes the following steps:

  • A GPhC accredited Master of Pharmacy Degree (MPharm) full-time, five year course which includes a pre-registration year 
  • 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.

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.

Contact hours

Throughout the first year of your MPharm degree you can expect approximately 15 hours of scheduled teaching and 22.5 hours of independent study per week.

Throughout the second year of your MPharm degree you can expect approximately 15 hours of scheduled teaching and 22.5 hours of independent study per week.

Throughout the third year of your MPharm degree you can expect approximately 15 hours of scheduled teaching and 22 hours of independent study per week.

Throughout the fourth year of your MPharm degree you can expect approximately 11 hours of scheduled teaching and 22 hours of independent study per week.

Throughout the fifth year of your MPharm degree you can expect approximately 6 hours of scheduled teaching and 3 hours of independent study per week.


You will undertake a number of mandatory placements in each year of the programme, 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. During your final year you will undertake a year long 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 certain placement experiences depending on your own personal development objectives.

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 25% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 65% on independent study and 10% on placement.

Year 5: On average you can expect approximately 5% of your time to be spent in scheduled teaching (lectures, small group tutorials and lab practice), 25% on independent study and 70% on placement.

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.

Pre-registration placements are guaranteed for all students on the course and are secured by the University. These will all be based in the West Midlands region. This study option allows international students to complete their pre-registration training in the UK under a student visa.

In order to become a UK-registered pharmacist, as well as successfully completing this 5-year MPharm degree including pre-registration training you need to pass the GPhC's professional competency examination.

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

The University is working towards accreditation of this new MPharm degree by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Full accreditation will be determined when the first cohort complete the programme in the summer of 2023.

Our 4-year MPharm programme has full GPhC accreditation. 

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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