Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

Duration Part time 10 months
  • Healthcare and Medicine
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date September


This Independent Prescribing course for pharmacists is designed to help you achieve accreditation for annotation as an Independent Prescriber on the GPhC register. We aim to produce competent pharmacist prescribers who can provide safe, effective and evidence-based prescribing to address the needs of patients in their area of practice.

Successful completion of this module awards you the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing. This can be taken as a standalone module or the credit can be used towards gaining a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MSc in Clinical Pharmacy.

NB. Successful completion of an accredited Independent Prescribing course is not a guarantee of annotation on the GPhC register or of future employment as a pharmacist independent prescriber.

Features include:

• Online learning supported by minimal face-to-face contact days
• Patient case-based activities that reflect the challenges of current clinical practice
• Communication and clinical skills training within our Clinical Skills Resource Centre
• Supportive, enthusiastic and clinically active tutors
• Increase your professional expertise and status and enhance your career prospects
• Complete the course to obtain a Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing
• Gain postgraduate credits to use towards a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MSc in Clinical Pharmacy.

Fully funded tuition fees by HEE for eligible applicants

Are you a registered pharmacist with 2 years’ experience working in England on one of the following national pathways:

• Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice Phase 2
• Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes
• Clinical Pharmacists in Integrated Urgent Care

If so, you are eligible to apply for our Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing with your tuition fees fully-funded by NHS England and Health Education England through the Pharmacy Integration Fund.

NHS England and Health Education England are also providing funded IP training places across England for non-NHSE programme care home pharmacists or Health and Justice pharmacists who meet specific criteria. Learners wishing to apply must submit an expression of interest to HEE. HEE will then confirm eligibility by email.

General Pharmaceutical Council accreditation

Please note: This course was accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council in December 2018. Please see the GPhC accreditation reports for more information.

Application deadline: 19 August 2019 for September 2019 start

How employers can support

Ensure your staff are prepared for the future role of medicines optimisation in the pharmacy sector. Support your workforce in accessing our funded courses with minimal time away from their work.
To undertake this programme, pharmacists must have support from a line manager, employer or service commissioner.

Programme structure

Our Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing is a ten month part-time 45 Credit programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7.

It is taught using a blended approach to learning incorporating taught sessions, clinical skills practice and case-based discussion along with the support of online resources and moderated activities on the University of Exeter’s electronic learning platforms. Expert tutors and guest lecturers will be invited from a range of clinical and research backgrounds.

Credits gained on this programme can be used towards an MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy.

Workshop days

There will be 10 workshop days. Attendance is expected on all of these days.

• Day 1: 9th October 2019
• Day 2: 30th October 2019
• Day 3: 20th November 2019
• Day 4: 8th January 2020
• Day 5: 29th January 2020
• Day 6: 4th March 2020
• Day 7: 25th March 2020
• Day 8: 15th April 2020
• Day 9: 20th May 2020
• Day 10: 24th June 2020

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Supervised practice

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) requires that a pharmacist training as an Independent Prescriber be supported by a medical practitioner who meets a series of experiential requirements. He/She is known as the Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP).

A DMP directs and supervises the pharmacist’s period of learning in practice – a required element of independent prescribing qualifications. They will also be responsible for assessing whether the learning outcomes have been met and whether the trainee has acquired certain competencies.

A pharmacist training as an Independent Prescriber is required to complete 12 days or 90 hours in clinical practice. This time must be planned and aligned to the pharmacist’s learning needs and consist of activities relevant to the development of the pharmacist as an autonomous practitioner. The pharmacist will keep detailed logs of their activities and the DMP will need to provide supervision, feedback and oversight. The Designated Medical Practitioner has to assess the achievement of the learning outcomes and provide confirmation by signing the student’s practice based log.

At the end of the 90 hours in practice, the DMP is required to make a declaration that the pharmacist is suitable for annotation as an independent prescriber.

Choosing your DMP

Your DMP must meet the Department of Health (2001) criteria below.

He/she must:

• be a registered medical practitioner who has had at least 3 years medical, treatment and prescribing responsibility for a group of patients/clients in the field of practice in which the applicant will prescribe.
• work within a GP practice and either be vocationally trained or in possession of a certificate of equivalent experience from the Joint Committee for Post-Graduate Training in General Practice,
• be a specialist registrar, clinical assistant or a consultant within a NHS Trust or other NHS employer.
• have the support of the employing organisation or GP practice to act as the designated medical practitioner who will provide supervision, support and opportunities to develop competence in prescribing practice.
• have some experience or training in teaching and/or supervision in practice.

Finally, your DMP must be able to personally commit to the time required to provide supervised practice which will be no less than 45 hours or 50% of your time in practice.

You will need to have agreed who will be your DMP before applying for this course. Your DMP must complete and sign Section 3 of the Independent Prescribing course application form before you submit your application.


Learning and teaching

Workshop days:

  • Interactive patient-case discussions to develop your clinical reasoning
  • Small group discussions to develop your future prescribing role
  • Practical communication skills sessions
  • Clinical examination training in specialist facilities
  • Opportunities to reflect on your Supervised practice
  • Academic tutor sessions to support your progress

E-learning material:

This comprises 3 units:

  • Unit 1 - Prescribing Governance
  • Unit 2 - Clinical skills for Prescribing
  • Unit 3 - Prescribing Partnerships

Students also have access to extensive on-line resources used on our other clinical courses and University library facilities.

Learning is backed up with individual tutor support and peer group discussions.

Multi-modal Assessment

• Assessments are varied and reflect the responsibilities of the prescribing role
• Assessments include a clinical interest essay, MCQ test, observations of your clinical skills through OSCEs and submission of your Portfolio of Practice



You will already be a registered pharmacist in employment in a UK healthcare setting. Acquiring this qualification and Independent prescriber status will enable you to seek extended roles in clinical practice as an autonomous prescribing practitioner. In addition, the ability to tailor some of the assessments to an area of practice will enable you to further your clinical interests.

All University of Exeter students have access to Career Zone, which gives access to a wealth of business contacts, support and training as well as the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.


This programme is delivered at St Luke’s Campus, College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter.

Some sessions will be delivered in the fully-equipped Clinical Skills Resource Centre.

Entry requirements

You must:

  • have current registration with the UK General Pharmaceutical Council or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
  • have at least two years of patient-orientated experience in a UK hospital, community or primary care setting following your pre-registration year
  • have the agreement of a named designated medical practitioner (DMP) who is willing to supervise your training.
  • demonstrate experience and reflective professional practice
  • identify an area relating to your proposed scope of prescribing
  • have support from a line manager, employer or service commissioner

Please download the Independent Prescribing Application pack‌ and complete the form before applying online.

Applicants may be invited to undertake an informal interview as part of the application process. This will take the form of an individual meeting/telephone conversation with one of our academics.

Undertaking the Clinical Pharmacy programme?

If you want to do Independent Prescribing as part of the Clinical Pharmacy programme, you will need to complete the online application and applicant information pack for Clinical Pharmacy first and then complete the Independent Prescribing form. You will not need to apply to Independent Prescribing through the online application. See Clinical Pharmacy for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

  • All students: £1,950

Fees are subject to an annual increment each academic year.


Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Health Education England funding

Pharmacists may be eligible for HEE funding of this course if they are on one of these work streams:

  • Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice
  • Clinical Pharmacists in Integrated Urgent care
  • Medicines Optimisation in Care homes

If you are applying for this funding, please tick the appropriate box on the application form.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

Phone: +44 (0)1392 725500 

WebEnquire online

Apply for 2020 entry Fast Track
Current Exeter students
Ask a question Visit subject website Get a prospectus

The programme is supported by NHS England and Health Education England through the Pharmacy Integration Fund.

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