MPharm in Pharmacy (4 year)


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The MPharm is one of several world-renowned healthcare courses in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. The programme is designed specifically to equip you with the skills and knowledge pharmacists will need in the future, so at every stage, you’ll find yourself experiencing real-life or simulated clinical and patient situations. This practical element is supported by fundamental pharmaceutical and medical science studies, taught by our research-active academic and professional staff. It’s the ideal balance of hands-on learning and in-depth study. While at Birmingham, you will be taught the science underpinning the use of medicines, including physiology and anatomy of the human body, the effect of medicines on the human body, and how medicines are designed. Alongside this, you will be trained in clinical communications, problem-solving, and decision making to ensure you have the skills to enjoy a rewarding career in pharmacy contributing to patient care. You’ll have a supportive learning environment, with small group teaching sessions to re-enforce your learning. You’ll also have an opportunity to work with other healthcare students (such as doctors and nurses) as an undergraduate. You’ll also have significant clinical placements in all 4 years of the course in primary care, community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines. They are the third-largest healthcare profession and work in a wide variety of roles in the community and primary care pharmacy, hospitals and in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to completing an MPharm degree, to become a UK-registered pharmacist, you need to successfully complete a professional pre-registration year in a GPhC-approved practice setting and pass the GPhC's professional competency examination.

The University of Birmingham is working towards accreditation of this new MPharm degree by the General Pharmaceutical Council. The accreditation process is completed in Step 7, which will occur when our first cohort of students graduate in 2017. Accreditation reports for this School of Pharmacy and others are available at the General Pharmaceutical Council website. The degree programme is regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council. The MPharm degree combines the study of the science underpinning the pharmacology, synthesis, development, formulation and production of medicines, together with the study of related law, ethics and health science in order to optimize medicines usage for patients. The subjects are taught by global experts and are supported by responsive support services.

First year

To start with, you will concentrate on fundamentals in the pharmaceutical sciences, including cell biology, physiology, and pharmacology, along with the basic principles of pharmaceutical chemistry, which underpin the formulation and synthesis of drugs. You will discover more about the pharmacy profession itself, covering areas such as the supply of over-the-counter medicines, pharmacy law, dispensing, and the pharmacist’s role in society and healthcare systems. Key aspects of information mastery and evidence-based medicine are also explored in this year. Most of your learning takes place in a patient-orientated context supported by modelled scenarios. You will also have the exciting opportunity to experience the profession at first hand on placements in hospitals and primary care.

Second year

You will continue to build on a scientific basis, but now you’ll start moving towards practical applications, such as the drug development process. Body-system-themed physiology and therapeutics modules focus on bringing together your understanding of basic physiology, pharmacology and clinical pharmacy. You will also explore the key principles of immunology and the concepts associated with the safe use of medicines, as well as developing evidence-based medicine skills. Throughout the year, much of your studies will take place on clinical placements and as inter-professional learning with nursing, medical and other healthcare students.

Third year

You will now complete your comprehensive, patient-orientated study of body systems, and there will be a substantial focus on clinical pharmacokinetics, toxicology and diagnostic skills. You will be introduced to advanced topics, such as pharmacogenetics, and there will be a continued emphasis on the pharmaceutical sciences, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical technology. You will learn about health information systems, pharmacoeconomics and policy, which will enable you to learn effectively in a healthcare setting. As with previous years, there will be significant placement learning in a variety of multi-professional environments.

Fourth year

Your final year focuses on personalised patient care, advanced pharmacy services and the principles of prescribing. Therapeutics teaching draws on your previous studies of scientific and clinical concepts, with the aim of supporting you to deal confidently with complex patient cases involving composite medicines use. You will be able to practise your problem-solving skills through role-play and simulated scenarios. In this year, you’ll also be introduced to healthcare research methodology and undertake a substantial individual research project, which may have a laboratory-based scientific theme or a professional or clinical focus in a healthcare environment. Our course has provisional accreditation from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), allowing us to offer an MPharm degree.

Key Information Sets (KIS) - Please note that although KIS data is automatically displayed below, the data relates to other programmes with a pharmaceutical element rather than the MPharm itself. The University of Birmingham MPharm programme received its first cohort of students in September 2013 and therefore accurate KIS statistics will not be available until late 2017.

Why study this course

Inter-professional working: We are one of only three institutions in the UK that teaches pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, nursing and physiotherapy and we are proud of the fantastic opportunities for inter-professional interaction that this gives to our students.

Bespoke laboratories: You will learn in dedicated practical teaching facilities, specifically designed to meet the needs of our pharmacy curriculum, including formulation laboratories, dispensing and patient counselling suites. You also have access to specialist anatomy teaching and facilities.

Professional experience elective module: In your fourth year, you can fulfil your own personal learning objectives by identifying an area of specialist pharmacy activity you wish to focus on.

Practice placements: We believe exposure to the professional working environment is essential. You will spend seven days on practice placements in your first year, increasing to 10 days in subsequent years. These take place in community and hospital settings as well as manufacturing pharmacies and GP surgeries.

Clinical communications training: Teaching in clinical communications will prepare you for a career in which the ability to explain information clearly and accurately is crucial. Our specialist teaching methods include real actors to practice communication skills with you in role-play scenarios.

Virtual chemistry laboratories: Our online laboratory environments allow you to simulate practical experiments providing you with integrated chemistry teaching in a clinical context and a greater depth of knowledge.

Exclusive relationships for practice placements: With over 70 outlets in the Midlands, we have exclusive relationships with two community pharmacies – Knights and Jhoots – who provide practice placement opportunities for our undergraduates.

Strong league table rankings: The University of Birmingham is currently ranked 16th in the 2015 Times Good University Guide meaning you will be studying at one of the top institutions in the UK.

Taught by professionals: A high proportion of the staff who teach on the programme are registered pharmacists or have a first degree in the subject.

Entry requirements

  • Number of A levels required: 3
  • Typical offer: AAB
  • Required subjects and grades: Chemistry and at least one further science at A level from Biology, Mathematics or Physics. Grade B in Maths GCSE is also required.
  • A-Levels - Mathematics and Further Mathematics will not be considered as separate subjects at A2. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSEs - Maths grade C at AS level may be offered in lieu of the GCSE requirement where appropriate.


  • BTEC Extended Diploma will not be considered without A-level Chemistry
  • BTEC Diploma in a science-related subject will be considered in addition to 2 A levels including Chemistry
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in a science-related subject will be considered in addition to 2 A levels including Chemistry

Irish Leaving Certificate - Six subjects at Higher Level, including Chemistry and a second science from Biology, Maths or Physics is required with a typical offer being AAAABB.

Scottish qualifications - Chemistry and one further science from Biology, Maths or Physics at Advanced Higher Grade AA-plus Higher AABBB is required.

Combined qualifications - Applicants offering a combination of qualifications will be considered on an individual basis, however, the entry grades need to be equivalent to the standard A-level requirement.

Mature and graduate entry - Mature students will be required to meet the same requirements as other candidates. Graduates in an appropriate subject with substantial appropriate chemistry content will be considered providing an award of at least a 2.1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) is offered. Various grades at A-level together with an incomplete or partial degree would not be considered.

Non-Academic offer requirements

All accepted candidates will be required to complete a health declaration form and provide appropriate evidence of immunisation against rubella, measles, tuberculosis and varicella. Some candidates may be contacted by an Occupational Health Physician where appropriate. It is a condition of the entry to the MPharm programme that all pharmacy students must be screened to ensure that they are not carriers of the Hepatitis B virus. All applicants who accept an offer must:

  • undertake a screening blood test for Hepatitis B
  • if negative, start a course of immunisation
  • thereafter, provide certified evidence of these

Some NHS Trusts may refuse to allow non-immunised students access, and therefore such students will be unable to participate in placement activities in these Trusts. Hepatitis B immunisation takes several months; therefore, prospective students are strongly advised to take the blood test in good time. The College of Medical and Dental Sciences will reimburse students with financial hardship for up to £200 of the cost of their vaccinations. If you are eligible for an award under the National Scholarship Programme (i.e. qualify for at least one of the state benefits associated with Free School Meals entitlement, classed as a Care Leaver or with a household income of £16,190 or less), you are advised to obtain receipts for any health checks that you have had to pay for. Once you commence study at the University of Birmingham, you may then apply for reimbursement from the College, up to the cost of £200. Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme.

International students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: A minimum of 32 points overall including grades 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level, including Chemistry plus one from Biology, Physics or Maths plus three further subjects at Standard Level. Maths with Further Maths will count as one higher and one subsidiary. Where relevant, Language A must be English in grade 5. Bonus points will not be taken into account. Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities.


Pharmacists have a unique mix of scientific and professional knowledge which makes them the healthcare experts on medicines and their effective use. Though most qualified pharmacists go on to work in healthcare settings, mainly community pharmacies and hospitals, there’s a wide range of career opportunities you could consider in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, government and regulatory bodies, and healthcare informatics.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham is a major international centre for research and education in medicine, medical sciences, dentistry, nursing and physiotherap ... Read More

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham is a major international centre for research and education in medicine, medical sciences, dentistry, nursing and physiotherapy. Read less