MSc Clinical Pharmacy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our MSc/PGDip Clinical Pharmacy course and offers a mix of clinical, applied practice, public health and research units, giving you the knowledge and skills to be an excellent clinical pharmacist.

You will also cover applied practice topics including health economics, public health, pharmacy practice research, training others and organisational influences on healthcare.

If you want to undertake research, you will be supported by one of our leading academic researchers to undertake a small-scale clinical research project to complete the MSc award.

Following four compulsory units in Year 1, you can choose from 11 units in Year 2 to tailor the course to your own interests. There are two learning routes described below to suit pharmacists in all patient-facing roles and with differing work demands.

Online distance learning

This is a completely online route and allows you to study from home at times convenient to you, which is ideal for international students, shift workers and those based outside the Manchester area. Interactive online learning supplemented by webinars will enhance your skills in optimising drug therapy and clinical problem-solving. This route is open to pharmacists in any patient-facing role.

Blended learning

This route consists of six campus-based study days per year and interactive online learning that will enhance your clinical knowledge, teaching you to optimise drug therapy and develop your problem-solving skills.

You need to be in a patient-facing role and will need both a suitable work environment and work-based tutor. Study days in Manchester are mandatory.

This route is generally aimed at Band 6 and 7 pharmacists who are seeking to develop within the NHS.

Both routes are open to qualified pharmacists who would like to develop their clinical skills and enhance their practice.


This course aims to help you develop:

  • advanced knowledge and understanding of the management of a range of acute and chronic conditions;
  • skills in medicines optimisation and the ability to communicate with a range of healthcare professionals to promote the appropriate use of medicines;
  • skills in the critical evaluation of a range of health services literature.

Special features

Apply your knowledge to work

The content of this course has been written by clinical experts with a focus on workplace application.

Varied unit options

This course can be tailored to meet the needs of your own career goals through a range of optional course units in the second year and your choice of research topic for the dissertation in the final year. We offer a selection of 11 learning units, including unique options such as paediatrics, mental health, surgery, medicines management and public health.

Develop research skills

You will have the opportunity to conduct master's-level research within a top three university for research power in pharmacy within the UK in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

Teaching and learning

The course uses a range of teaching and learning approaches, including:

  • the Blackboard learning management system
  • e-lectures, podcasts and webinars
  • online discussion forums and wikis
  • e-journals.

Blended or online learning?

We offer both blended and online distance learning study options to suit your own location and circumstances.

All students will benefit from:

  • shared learning content online, including evening webinars;
  • content mapped against the RPS post-registration Foundation Pharmacist curriculum;
  • access to materials to pursue RPS recognition;
  • access to academic staff and clinical teachers.

Blended learning students will benefit from:

  • study days on campus in Manchester;
  • a workplace tutor and workplace-based learning.

Distance learning students will benefit from:

  • study webinars and e-workshops;
  • an academic advisor.

Coursework and assessment

We use a range of assessments that allow you to demonstrate your clinical knowledge and skills in medicines optimisation and critical analysis.

We use a variety of formative and summative assessments including online quizzes and exams, participation in online discussion boards, patient case studies and care plans, oral case presentations, professional development and clinical portfolios and research protocol.

For an award in Clinical Pharmacy, you will need to achieve an overall mark of 50% in each course unit to progress.

Course content for year 1

You will study four core units to build your clinical, problem-solving and critical appraisal skills.

  • Foundations of Clinical Pharmacy
  • Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics 1
  • Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics 2
  • Evidence Based Practice

Course content for year 2

You will choose four optional units from the following:

  • Education and Training
  • Economic Evaluation in Healthcare
  • Leadership and Management
  • Medicines Management
  • Mental Health
  • Paediatrics
  • Pharmacy Public Health
  • Practical Statistics for Population Health
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Specialist Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics
  • Surgery

Course content for year 3

A choice of research dissertation is offered, based on your research aspirations and opportunities in your workplace.

Course unit details

This course can be tailored to meet the needs of your own career goals through a range of optional course units in the second year and choice of research dissertation in the final year.

The course consists of four compulsory course units in Year 1, four optional course units from a choice of 11 in Year 2, and a research project in Year 3.

You can mix and match units in year 2 to graduate with a degree that suits your career ambitions:

  • PGCert/PGDip Clinical Pharmacy: Four compulsory Year 1 course units plus any four optional year 2 course units.
  • PGDip Clinical Pharmacy with Independent Prescribing: Four compulsory Year 1 course units plus any two optional year 2 course units and the 30-credit level 7 Independent Prescribing course.

To progress into research through the MSc year (Year 3), take any of the above pathways but you must choose Research Methods as an optional unit.

You can choose to undertake the Independent Prescribing course in either Semester 1 or Semester 2 of Year 2. If you wish to study for your Independent Prescribing qualification as part of this course, you must meet the entrance requirements and be successful in your application for a place before you can undertake these units. See the Independent Prescribing page for more information.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Medicines Optimisation & Therapeutics 1 PHAR60411 15 Mandatory
Research Methods PHAR60512 15 Mandatory
Pharmacy Research Dissertation PHAR62230 60 Mandatory
Foundations of Clinical Pharmacy PHAR63001 15 Mandatory
Evidence Based Practice PHAR63002 15 Mandatory
Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics 2 PHAR63012 15 Mandatory
Education and Training PHAR60432 15 Optional
Surgery PHAR62252 15 Optional
Leadership and Management PHAR62261 15 Optional
Specialist Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics PHAR63021 15 Optional
Paediatrics PHAR63041 15 Optional
Pharmacy Public Health PHAR63052 15 Optional
Medicines Management PHAR65001 15 Optional
Economic Evaluation in Healthcare POPH60092 15 Optional
Practical Statistics for Population Health POPH60982 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Epidemiology POPH60991 15 Optional
Qualitative Research Methods POPH63121 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units


The course is delivered online, which means you do not need to study in Manchester. However, our staff make full use of a range of facilities to deliver high-quality learning experiences to online learners.

If you choose the blended learning route, you will attend study days in a dedicated training room at the University and have access to the varied resources and facilities on campus.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

You may take any Clinical Pharmacy unit (except the research dissertation unit) as a stand-alone CPD unit. 

These are delivered in the same method used on the full course. After completing two CPD units you will be invited to apply for a postgraduate qualification (Certificate, Diploma or Masters). If you apply for a postgraduate qualification after completion of CPD units you must complete the relevant core units. 

If you take a stand-alone CPD unit you must re-apply if you want to undertake a postgraduate qualification within three years of starting your first CPD unit. You then have up to five years to complete the qualification.