Masters Advanced Pharmacy Practice Degree PgDip/MSc

MSc Advanced Pharmacy Practice

1. Overview

This course is designed to meet the needs of the progressive practitioner enabling you to develop your expertise in areas related to advanced pharmacy practice, including pharmacist independent prescribing, education and training and expert professional practice.

It provides the opportunity for pharmacists to develop their professional practice as advanced practitioners involved in making decisions about patient care. Practitioners working in both primary and secondary care contexts will benefit from developing a range of skills and intellectual attributes which have the potential to enhance both the individuals' career prospects and benefit service delivery in their organisation.

Part of this course includes the Pharmacist Independent Prescribing qualification which is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). If you are currently annotated on the GPhC or PSNI pharmacist register as a pharmacist independent prescriber then you will be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and therefore exempt from undertaking PHM028: Pharmacist Independent Prescribing.

The course has also been designed to enable practitioners to benchmark their practice against competence standards within advanced practice paradigms such as the Advanced and Consultant Level Framework. The course is also mapped against the core dimensions within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework. 

Please Note
You must hold current registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) as a pharmacist to gain entry to this course. 

2. What you will study

The first two semesters of the course cover aspects of prescribing and incorporates all the elements of the General Pharmaceutical Council accredited course in Pharmacist Independent Prescribing. The modules that are studied in the first two semesters are:   

PHM028 Pharmacist Independent Prescribing

PHM029 Developing Non-medical Prescribing Practice

PgDip Stage

The PgDip stage enables you to develop in key areas of advanced pharmacy practice outlined in the Advanced and Consultant Level Framework ( The modules that complete the PgDip stage of the course are:

PHM034 The Expert Practitioner

PHM030 Education and Training in Advanced Practice

MSc Stage

Students progressing to the MSc stage have an opportunity to develop skills and expertise in relation to research and development of pharmacy services. The MSc stage allows you to carry out work in health services research methods and a research project. The project area is chosen by you and therefore relevant to your practice and should produce outcomes that allow you to evaluate and develop local services. The two modules that are studied during the MSc Stage are: 

PHM010 Health Services Research Methods

PHM011 Health Services Research Project

Modules at the PgDip and MSc stages are extremely flexible and are designed around a framework that allows students to demonstrate achievement of competencies in any area of pharmacy practice.

3. How you will learn

You will study via our online virtual learning environment CampusMoodle, allowing you the flexibility to combine studies with your current employment.

All your materials will be provided online and are designed to allow self-assessment of learning needs then subsequent acquisition and application of knowledge in practice-related problem-based scenarios. These scenarios may involve you carrying out a range of activities including: participation in online discussion forums, formative peer-assessed essays, short answer problem/case study questions and multiple-choice questions.

Each module is sub-divided into a number of topics and you are encouraged to use materials to identify and address your own learning needs supported by a designated mentor.

Residential Period

An element of the Pharmacist Independent Prescribing module (PHM028) is a five day residential period which is held on the University Campus. The residential period will focus on care planning in the context of prescribing and is delivered in collaboration with a range of healthcare professionals including nursing and medical colleagues. This is designed to help you acquire and develop new skills that cannot be taught at a distance. The residential period also provides the opportunity for you to meet fellow students and develop networks to support your practice. Attendance at the residential period is compulsory for progression to the PgDip stage of the course. If commencing the course in January 2014, attendance at the residential period in Aberdeen will be required Monday 5th May to Friday 9th May 2014 (inclusive).


You will be assessed by continuous assessment. This takes many different forms including: responding to case studies, developing care plans and essay responses to specific topics. During the residential period of PHM028 you will undertake a practical skills assessment which involves developing a clinical management plan for a patient and making prescribing decisions.

4. Entry requirements

Applicants should have undergraduate honours or integrated masters degree in pharmacy from a UK university or overseas equivalent, three years post-registration experience and currently working in an area that will allow development and demonstration of competencies in an area of advanced practice or in consultation with the Course Leader.

Applicants must also meet each of the criteria listed below unless they have already completed a GPhC accredited Pharmacist Independent Prescribing course and therefore intend applying for exemption for module PHM028:

  1. Pharmacist registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
  2. At least two years appropriate patient-orientated experience in a UK hospital, community or primary care setting following the preregistration year.
  3. Have identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop prescribing skills and have up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to the intended area of prescribing practice.
  4. Able to demonstrate reflection on own performance and take responsibility for own CPD.
  5. Have a Designated Medical Practitioner who has agreed to provide supervision, support and shadowing opportunities and is familiar with the General Pharmaceutical Council's requirements of the programme and the need to achieve the learning outcomes.

English Language Requirements

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, must provide evidence of linguistic ability by gaining either IELTS 7 or its equivalent in TOEFL prior to receiving an unconditional offer of a place on the course.

5. Placements and accreditations

Module PHM028: Pharmacist Independent Prescribing is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Successful completion of this module demonstrates achievement of the learning outcomes required by the GPhC in order to apply to be annotated as a pharmacist independent prescriber. 

6. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2014/2015

UK/EU Students

  • £2,550 Stages 1 and 2 (each) Scottish students
  • £1,700 MSc dissertation stage Scottish students
  • £2,815 Stages 1 and 2 (each) RUK and EU students
  • £1,870 MSc dissertation stage RUK and EU students

International Students

  • £3,450 Stages 1 and 2
  • £2,300 MSc dissertation stage

For Academic Year 2013/2014

UK/EU Students

  • £2,425 Stages 1 and 2 (each) Scottish students
  • £1,690 MSc dissertation stage Scottish students
  • £2,690 Stages 1 and 2 (each) RUK and EU students
  • £1,870 MSc dissertation stage RUK and EU students

International Students

  • £3,340 Stages 1 and 2
  • £2,220 MSc dissertation stage

For Academic Year 2012/2013

UK/EU Students

  • £2,323 Stage 1
  • £2,323 Stage 2
  • £1,614 MSc dissertation stage

International Students

  • £3,223 Stage 1
  • £3,223 Stage 2
  • £2,135 MSc dissertation stage

For Academic Year 2011/2012

UK/EU Students

  • £2,265 Stage 1
  • £2,265 Stage 2
  • £1,575 MSc Project Stage

International Students

  • £3,140 Stage 1
  • £3,140 Stage 2
  • £2,075 MSc Project Stage

All course fees are reviewed annually and subject to change. Published fees apply to the course's mode of delivery.

For further information see Student Finance pages


7. How to apply

For further information on this course please email

Applications for admission to postgraduate taught courses can be made via Apply Online. Closing date for applications for commencing the course in January 2014 is 12 January 2014. Apply at

8. Prospects

An MSc Advanced Pharmacy Practice will serve as a marker of a practitioner that has progressed beyond the parameters of normal practice. As such they will have benchmarked their practice and will be able to show that they can make a difference to patient care.

This qualification will set them apart from practitioners with ordinary MSc Clinical Pharmacy degrees and facilitate progression to peer recognition as an expert practitioner and Consultant status if desired.

Employers will benefit from their staff completing this course since it is designed to enable practitioners to develop in the key competency areas for advanced practice. This will mean staff are able to make valuable contributions to the development and quality assurance of pharmacy services through the application of aspects of advanced practice. 

9. Meet your course leader

Brian AddisonBrian Addison is a registered pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council and a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. He graduated from the Robert Gordon University in 1997 with a Master of Pharmacy (Hons) degree and with a MSc Prescribing Sciences in 2004.

Brian joined RGU in 2002 after working in both hospital and community pharmacy in the United Kingdom and in Australia. Brian's primary research interests are in the area of pharmacy education and developing new approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. 

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Start date
Course length
PgDip 60 weeks of study MSc 90 weeks of study
Mode of Attendance
Online Distance Learning, Part-time
Academic school
School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
Teaching locations
City centre
  1. David Ewen - Clinical Pharmacy student

    David Ewen, Clinical Pharmacy PgDip student

    David Ewen, a Clinical Pharmacy PgDip student tells why he has enjoyed his course at Robert Gordon University and why he has applied for Advanced Pharmacy Practice.

    David Ewen Masters Advanced Pharmacy Practice Degree PgDip/MSc

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781