2024/25 entry applications also open for 2025/26

CPD Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

Level 7 (postgraduate), 40 credits

Start dates
September, March
Course length
6 months PartTime
City campus

Course cost

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Course aim

The overall aim of the programme is to develop the personal, professional, clinical and diagnostic skills required to deliver person-centred care as a pharmacist independent prescriber.

The course will provide the skills and knowledge required to ensure safe and effective practice as an independent prescriber. Successful completion of the course will demonstrate your competence to allow application for annotation on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) registers as an independent prescriber.

Course content

Course under review

The module comprising the programme cover a range of topics related to practice as an independent prescribing pharmacist and aligns with the GPhC Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers (January 2019).

The outline syllabus for the programme is as follows:

  • The role of the pharmacist prescriber
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities in prescribing
  • Equality and diversity in prescribing
  • Clinical history taking
  • Individual patient variation
  • The role of the patient and incorporating patient preferences in prescribing
  • Evidence based medicine in clinical decision-making
  • Evaluating risks and benefits in clinical decision-making
  • Recognising limits of competence
  • Patient activation
  • Public health in prescribing
  • Safeguarding vulnerable patients
  • Competence and capacity
  • Testing and investigations
  • Interpreting and adjusting treatment plans
  • Emerging technologies in prescribing
  • Record keeping
  • Managing influences on the prescribing
  • Clinical governance and health economics in prescribing
  • Dealing with concerns about own and others prescribing
  • Accountability, liability and competence in prescribing
  • Other relevant, emerging or pressing concerns relating to prescribing

Teaching and learning

Study days including assessment days (subject to change)

For September 2024, there will be two sets of study days running due to the maximum capacity permitted on the days. If offered a place on the programme, you will be offered a place on one of these sets of study days and should ensure that you are potentially able to attend either set of dates when you submit your application. Students will be required to attend their allocated dates and there will be no capacity to switch between these dates. There are a total of seven study days, four are face-to-face campus based study days and three are online.

Study days - set 1

  • Wednesday 4 September 2024
  • Monday 4 November - Thursday 7 November 2024
  • Monday 6 January 2025
  • Tuesday 7 January 2025

Study days - set 2

  • Thursday 5 September 2024
  • Monday 18 November - Thursday 21 November 2024
  • Wednesday 8 January 2025
  • Thursday 9 January 2025

The following are requirements of the programme

  • All study days must be attended
  • The programme should normally be completed within 12 months of registration
  • All assessment must be passed

Course structure

The programme comprises one 40 credit module (7208CPPHAR Independent prescribing for pharmacists). All assessments (see below) and a period of learning in practice (see below) have to be completed successfully in order to be awarded the Masters Certificate of Professional Development (MCPD).

The programme adopts a blended approach to learning with seven face-to-face campus-based study days and is structured so that students can implement and consolidate their learning in their day-to-day practice. The study days are supplemented by online content and self-directed study. In addition, 90 hours of supervised learning in practice with a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) must be completed.

This programme covers a large amount of learning in a very short space of time. Students need to engage fully with the programme. Over the six months you are required to attend study days (see attendance below) and have enough time to complete self-directed learning, 90 hours of supervised learning in practice as well as assessment preparation.

The programme has two intakes per year in Spring/March and Autumn/September and runs as a standalone course, as well as an embedded option in our Clinical Pharmacy programmes:

Students will be assigned a named tutor at the beginning of your programme who will help to guide you with any queries that you have during the course and can give you formative feedback on assignments and e-portfolio entries. In addition, all students will be supported by a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP), who must be identified before applying for the programme.

Area of practice intended for prescribing training

It is essential that you take time to define your area of practice before applying for the programme. As your clinical experience is assessed in relation to your chosen area of practice during the application and selection process. You may find it helpful to discuss your plans with your line manager, service lead or DPP to ensure that you have a plan in mind and that you can demonstrate your experience in that area in the supplementary application from.

Learning in practice

The programme you to demonstrate how their learning is applied in the prescribing practice through ninety hours of supervised practice. Further, your DPP will assesses your competence to prescribe in a real-world setting at the end of this practice period practice in line with the RPS Prescribing Competency Framework. This forms part of the portfolio assessment, please see below.


A significant portion of the learning in this programme is undertaken via self-study of online content and discussion with tutors and your DPP. However, students are required to attend the university for seven study days. ALL study days must be attended in order to complete the programme and if absent from any of the study days, an alternate day, which may be some months later, must be attended to complete the course.

Please note that where a student cannot attend a study day, the issue must be identified in advance (wherever possible) so that an alternative study day can be offered. However, alternative study days may be some months later, with the following cohort, and this may delay your completion of the course.

If you are unsure if you can attend the study days before joining the programme, you should look to join a later cohort.

Indemnity Insurance

Pharmacists are generally advised to have professional indemnity insurance in their professional role. Pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing training are advised to check with their insurer that they are fully covered in this role as well as their future role as a qualified prescriber.

Entry requirements

How to apply

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

Please complete the LJMU online application form and submit the supporting documents listed below. Please download and complete the documents before starting the online application. When completing the LJMU online application form, select:

  • Level of entry: ‘Postgraduate Taught’
  • Mode of study: ‘Continuing Professional Development’

You will find Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists via the ‘browse courses’ button or the search function at the top. Please ensure you select the correct course and entry date – March/Spring or September/Autumn.
For Current/Previous Qualifications, you only need to include details of your pharmacy qualification and other university qualifications. Details of GCSEs, A-levels or International Baccalaureate are not required.
A personal statement is required for both the online application and the supplementary application form; these can be identical. Your personal statements should reflect your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

For the application to be accepted by the online system, this section should be at least 3,000 characters long and include that you:

  • Are a registered pharmacist with the GPhC or PSNI
  • Have good standing with the GPhC and/or PSNI and any other healthcare regulator you are registered with
  • Demonstrate you have relevant UK-based pharmacy experience
  • Have identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop your prescribing skills
  • Demonstrate that you understand, recognise and can articulate the skills and attributes required of a prescriber
  • Demonstrate how you reflect on your own performance and take responsibility for own CPD
  • Have a DPP who conforms to specified criteria and has agreed to supervise your learning in practice component of the programme
  • Have appropriate indemnity insurance

Please take time to define your area of practice before applying. You may find it helpful to discuss your plans with your line manager, service lead or DPP to ensure you have a plan in mind and can demonstrate your experience in that area. Your area of clinical practice should be a clinical area narrow enough to make the workload manageable and where you have ready access to patients at a time that your DPP can provide supervision. Please upload the following documents to your online application within 24 hours of submission.

You can email copies to the Programme Administrator: PBS-Office@ljmu.ac.uk. This could result in you being offered a place on the next intake due to demand. There are two cohorts – in spring (March) and autumn (September). The deadline for applications to the autumn 2024 cohort is 8 July 2024.


A balance of approaches to summative assessment is taken to ensure that the full breadth and depth of the student 's knowledge and skills are assessed, whilst maintaining relevance to the workplace. There are four summative assessments within the programme (see table below), which are normally completed within six months of their expected completion date. The period of supervised learning in practice, totalling 90 hours, should be completed within a single 6 month period.

Assessments within 7208CPPHAR Independent prescribing for pharmacists:



Case series


Critical reflection




Portfolio (including learning in practice declaration)


As patient safety is always paramount throughout the programme, all summative assessments need to be passed and no compensation or condonation is allowed. Feedback and opportunities to identify and addresses errors throughout the programme to allow students to learn and train safely. However, students will not complete the programme if they are assessed as being a risk to patients and the public.

CPD award

The programme was accredited by the GPhC in October 2023. Successful completion of the programme will result in the student being issued with a Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing, which entitles them to apply for annotation as an independent prescriber on the GPhC or PSNI register of Pharmacists.

Please note that that successful completion of an accredited course is not a guarantee of annotation or of future employment as a pharmacist independent prescriber.

The GPhC accreditation reports and the timescales for future accreditations can be viewed here.

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.

Further guidance on programme changes.