Advanced Pharmacy Practice


2022/23 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Science


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Start date:

September 2022

Applications for this course have closed.


Pharmacists developing skills and knowledge in advanced practice enabling them to lead, develop and support practitioners across the healthcare system

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible.

In addition it undertakes formal periodic review of courses in a process called 'revalidation’ to ensure that they continue to meet standards and are current and relevant.

This course will be revalidated in the near future and it is possible that there will be some changes to the course as described in this prospectus.


The closing date for applications is the 30 June 2022.

The MSc Advanced Pharmacy Practice aims to develop the student's competencies as defined in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF): Expert Professional Practice; Collaborative Working Relationships; Leadership; Management; Education, Training and Development; Research and Evaluation.

Students can be admitted onto the MSc programme through Accreditation of Prior/ Certified Learning having met the learning outcomes of the following modules from programmes successfully completed at NICPLD or equivalent institution.

• Foundation Pharmacist Programme

• Pharmacotherapeutics for Pharmacist Independent Prescribers

• Medicine Optimisation for Pharmacist Independent Prescribers

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About this course


This course is offered as a one-year, three-semester, MSc programme for students who can demonstrate, either through certified or experiential learning, the achievement of learning outcomes equivalent to PgDip level in the subject matter and are in possession of a GPhC-accredited Independent Prescribing qualification.

In semester one students will complete the 20-credit Advanced Practice Development Module. Semester two will begin with the 10-credit Research Methodologies for Advanced Pharmacy Practice module, which will result in a project proposal being submitted mid-semester, following which students will undertake their 30-credit Research Project in Advanced Pharmacy Practice in semester two and three.


The course is a part-time distance learning programme delivered as a combination of online lectures, webinars and self-directed learning.

Students are expected to engage with all on-line material associated with the programme and be punctual and regular in engagement with the programme

Start dates

  • September 2022

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The learning and teaching and assessment methods adopt a learner centred approach developing the intended learning outcomes through on line lectures, tutorials, self directed learning , case studies and directed reading.

Assessments will enable practising pharmacists undertaking the programme alongside part- or full-time employment to enhance the current evidence-base within their areas of pharmacy practice such as using a written paper for submission to a journal and poster for submission to a conference as a method of assessment.

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Foundation Pharmacist Programme

Year: 1

The NICPLD Foundation Programme incorporates competencies from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Foundation Pharmacy Framework (FPF), and builds on the NICPLD Hospital Vocational Training (VT) Programme which was implemented in Northern Ireland in 2008.

Year two

Pharmacotherapeutics for Pharmacist Independent Prescribers

Year: 2

This module provides the necessary pharmacological knowledge within the context of the underpinning pathophysiology that will enable the healthcare professional to prescribe safely, appropriately, and effectively within a collaborative health care team. It will be offered through a blended combination of e-learning, taught components and threaded discussion with supported group work. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and a synoptic examination.

Medicine Optimisation for Pharmacist Independent Prescribers

Year: 2

This module will prepare pharmacists to undertake an active role in non-medical prescribing within their specified area of practice. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society prescribing competency framework facilitates this module highlighting the importance of taking a holistic and patient centred approach to prescribing and the importance of working within a team, giving cognisance to the importance of wider systems within healthcare.

Year three

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Development

Year: 3

This module will help individuals to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding required to deliver 'Excellent' practice as an Advanced Pharmacist Practitioner, helping to drive forward strategic Health and Social Care (HSC) innovation and transformation initiatives as a strategic leader. The knowledge and skills covered in this module are based on the competencies defined in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF). Completion of the module will provide some of the evidence required for the Advanced Practice Framework portfolio as required by the RPS.

Research Methodologies for Advanced Pharmacy Practice

Year: 3

Well-planned research is essential for increasing knowledge and service development within Health and Social Care. Research design and evidence-based practice require the ability to critically assess published work and have the ability to select an appropriate research method to solve a complex "real life" issue. Students will understand the application and limitations of qualitative & quantitative analysis and have the competence to write a comprehensive research proposal. The knowledge and skills covered in this module are based on the competencies defined in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF) in the Research and Evaluation competency cluster.

Research Project in Advanced Pharmacy Practice

Year: 3

This module provides experience in research philosophy, planning and methodology by relevant literature survey and generation, interpretation and evaluation of original data through the completion of an individual research project. The knowledge and skills covered in this module are based on the competencies defined in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF) in the Research and Evaluation competency cluster.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must:

(a) have successfully completed an RPS-accredited foundation programme, and

(b) have successfully completed a GPhC-accredited independent prescribing programme; and

(c) must be employed as a pharmacist.

In exceptional circumstances, as an alternative to (a) and/or (b), where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

It may be possible for students to transfer with credit to other programmes at similar level within the University, but this would be at the sole discretion of the receiving course team.

Due to the specific nature of the modules on this programme, students transferring into the programme will be required to undertake all compulsory modules (unless previous qualifications are recognised as equivalent to the modules and are approved through the University’s Accreditation of Prior Learning scheme). Each case of exemption is determined by whether the certificated evidence is commensurate with the learning outcomes within the module(s) for which exemption is sought. All students are accepted in accordance with the Faculty APC/EL Policy.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Pharmacists are experts in medicines and play an integral role in the wider healthcare team. The MSc in Advanced Pharmacy practice will support pharmacists to develop their careers and step up as ideal canditates to the senior roles withint the NHS that are crucial to providing leadership and determine the quality of care delivered to patients in all healthcare settings.

There is now a wide, diverse range of roles within the NHS and prospects for professsional development for pharmacists have increased within the framework for progression set out by the NHS "agenda for change " which follows a clearly defined strcture where pharmacists can specialise in a particular area of practice or advance to become chief pharmaceutical officers or directors of services.

Experienced GP pharmacists have negotiated increased remuneration following developing evidence of competence and skill ans some of secured GP partnerships.

The MSC in Advanced pharmacy practice will enable career progression for pharmacists from all areas of the profession, broadening their horizons and ambitions.


Start dates

  • September 2022

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:

Credit PointsNI/ROI/GB CostInternational Cost
5 £178.50 £426.65
10 £356.10 £853.30
15 £534.15 £1,279.95
20 £712.20 £1,706.60
30 £1,068.30 £2,559.90
60 £2,136.60 £5,119.80
120 £4,273.20 £10,239.60
180 £6,409.80 £15,359.40

NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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