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PgCert | Postgraduate Taught

Independent Prescribing

Entry year
Entry requirements
Minimum Bachelor degree in Pharmacy
1 year (Part Time)
Places available
  • Overview

    The Postgraduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing for pharmacists is designed for pharmacists in Northern Ireland who wish to train and qualify as non-medical independent prescribers.

The Postgraduate Certificate can be undertaken as a stand-alone course or can be combined into a larger programme of study (see Advanced Pharmacy Practice course).

    This programme starts in April annually.

    If you are employed as a pharmacist in Great Britain and wish to train as an Independent Prescriber, please visit our PG Cert in Prescribing for Pharmacists.

    Independent Prescribing highlights

    Professional Accreditations

    • This course is accredited by the both the Pharmacy Regulator in GB (GPhC) and the Pharmacy Regulator in NI (PSNI).

    World Class Facilities

    • The School of Pharmacy at Queen's is consistently ranked as one of the leading centres for pharmacy education and research in the UK.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • The School of Pharmacy at Queen's is acknowledged as a leading centre for Pharmacy teaching and research in the UK, consistently featuring at or near the top of league tables for the subject.

    Student Experience

    • There are live workshops to accompany this course which help students to build a network of support which they can utilise when they begin to prescribe.

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure


    Course detailsThere are four taught modules, each 10 CATS points:

    Person-centred care & collaboration
    Disease management
    Clinical skills

    There is an additional module of work-based learning called, Learning in practice, worth 20 CATS points.

    All modules are compulsory.

    People teaching you

    Dr Fran Lloyd
    Associate Postgraduate Pharmacy Dean


    Teaching Times

    Teaching is delivered via a combination of online learning, live workshops and work-based learning. A timetable of workshops related to this course is available on the NICPLD website.

    Career Prospects

    Professional Opportunities
    This PG Certificate in Independent Prescribing enhances the opportunities for pharmacists in Northern Ireland to progress their career through annotation on the pharmacy register as an independent prescriber.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:

    Course delivery

    At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential. 

    On the Postgraduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing we do this by providing a range of learning experiences that enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies that enhance their development as independent, lifelong learners.


    Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    Each module has one or more assessments associated with it. A general overview is provided below:

    Person-centred care & collaboration (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of three elements; consultation skills OSCE, SJTs, and a written assessment.


Disease management (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of two elements; submission of a treatment plan/ case study in each clinical/ therapeutic area of practice and a summary education table of recent CPD/clinical area.

Clinical skills (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of two elements: Clinical skills OSCE and the Direct Observation of Procedural Skills assessment carried out by DPP.

Professionalism (10 CATS) –assessment is the submission of a written professional decision making scenario.


Learning in practice (20 CATS) – assessment is the submission of a practice portfolio.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A primary degree in Pharmacy (minimum Bachelor degree) from an institution approved by the University.

    Additionally all students must:

    - be registered as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

    - be in good standing with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and/or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and any other healthcare regulator with which they are registered.

    - have at least two years' appropriate patient-orientated experience in a relevant UK practice setting post registration.

    - have an identified area of clinical or therapeutic practice in which to develop independent prescribing practice.  They must also have relevant clinical or therapeutic experience in that area*.

    - have a medically qualified designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) who has agreed to supervise their learning in practice*.

    * Further guidance on the type of experience and DPP requirements will be provided when applying for this programme.

    Further information is available in the ‘PIP Information for pharmacists’ at the link below.

    Note: this programme is only open to students who are resident in Northern Ireland.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    For non-native English Language speakers, evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years). Note: this programme is only open to students who are resident in Northern Ireland.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £250
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £2,190
    Other (non-UK) EU N/A
    International N/A

    Certificate (PC) Prescribing for Pharmacists 

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

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

    Independent Prescribing costs

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    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus