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Pharmaceutical Sciences for the Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme - MSc/PgDip

Join the only University in the North of England to offer an Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) that is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council. Register and apply for roles as a practising pharmacist in the UK.


The course is designed for qualified pharmacists outside the European Economic Area who are looking to become registered pharmacists in the UK, and is one of a small number that are accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Completing the OSPAP postgraduate diploma allows for entry to the next stages of registering as a pharmacist in the UK, and in addition you can also apply to undertake a Masters research project. The content of this course reflects the accreditation requirements of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

You can choose to study this course as a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or a Masters (MSc). If you choose to study the Masters level, you will also undertake a research project. This will be an original piece of work in which you will demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge.

Sunderland Pharmacy School is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Pharmacy has been taught at Sunderland for over 90 years.

Research in Pharmacy at Sunderland has been described as ‘world-leading’ by the latest Research Excellence Framework.

Course Structure

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, debate sessions, online learning packages, tutorials and seminars. Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working.

Assessment methods include end-of-year examinations, practical assessments as well as assignments throughout the year.

Modules on this course include:

Pharmacy, Law, Ethics and Practice (60 credits)

- This module will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to practise legally and safely as a pharmacist in the UK. Areas covered in this module include legal and regulatory aspects of pharmacy practice; the dispensing process; the public health role of the pharmacist; and pharmaceutical calculations.

Clinical Therapeutics (60 credits)

- This module will extend your ability to respond appropriately to clinical situations. You will cover core therapeutic areas including epidemiology, aetiology, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, clinical presentation and evidence-based treatment strategies. You will also gain experience of clinical case scenarios, ‘expert’ patients, patient simulators and practical sessions where you will be taught physical examination techniques.

Masters stage:

Research Methods for Pharmaceutical Practice and Masters Research Project (60 credits)

- This module covers a wide range of topics for conducting scientific research from conceptualising research to statistical analysis. You will gain both a theoretical and practical framework for conducting pharmaceutical practice research. You are expected to apply this knowledge in the project report where you will focus on a particular area of a hospital, community or general practice.

There are two routes for this programme - a Postgraduate Diploma route in which you must achieve 120 credits from 'Pharmacy, Law, Ethics and Practice' and 'Clinical Therapeutics', and a Masters route in which you must achieve 180 credits.


Sunderland's exceptional facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. This course is based in the Sciences Complex at our City Campus, which boasts multi-disciplinary laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to multi-million pound investments.

Employment & careers

This is one of the few courses in the UK that allow pharmacists from other countries to qualify for practising in the UK. Currently there is virtually no unemployment of qualified pharmacists.

On completing the OSPAP postgraduate diploma you can enter pre-registration training, this is the next stage of your training process. You must successfully complete a 52 week pre-registration position and pass the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) registration assessment before being allowed to apply to join the register and practise as a pharmacist in the UK.

An entry-level pharmacist usually starts within Band 5 of the NHS pay rates (up to around £28,000). Advanced pharmacists, consultants, team managers and managers of pharmaceutical services are rated as Bands 8-9 and can earn up to £99,000.

Typical starting salaries for community pharmacists range from £21,000 to £35,000 depending on location, conditions of employment and experience.

Most pharmacists work in the following areas:

Community pharmacy: this involves working in pharmacies on high streets or in large stores. You will dispense prescriptions, deal with minor ailments, advise on the use of medicines and liaise with other health professionals.

Hospital pharmacy: this involves the purchasing, dispensing, quality testing and supply of medicines used in hospitals.

Primary care: this involves working in General Practice surgeries, either as an employee of the Practice or the Primary Care Trust. Roles include Medicines Management Pharmacists, who are responsible for prescribing budgets and the development of prescribing directives.

Secondary care: this involves working in hospitals to supply medicines, manage clinics, provide drug information and prescribe medicines.

Industrial pharmacists: this involves areas such as research and development, quality assurance and product registration.

Visit the Pharmaceutical Sciences for the Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme - MSc/PgDip page on the University of Sunderland website for more details!





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