Key Facts

Course name: Professional Doctorate in Pharmacy (DPharm)
Research Institute: Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine
Type of Programme: Doctorate in Pharmacy
Duration: 4-7 years (part-time)
Starting Date:


The move to senior career grades and Consultant Pharmacist posts indicates the need for doctoral level qualifications to be the norm for those seeking promotion in this respect. A professional doctorate provides a rigorous programme of advanced study and research, equally rigorous to the purely research oriented PhD. It is designed to meet the needs of a practising pharmacist wishing to attain the highest level of professional and academic achievement, that is clearly relevant to their professional practice, will support them in producing a contribution to professional knowledge, and will enable their career development.


The DPharm is a natural extension to the existing postgraduate taught portfolio provided by the School of Pharmacy at Keele, building on our expertise in delivering the Advanced Professional Practice programme and supporting postgraduate research, scholarship and evaluation. The DPharm will provide the opportunity for pharmacists to achieve the highest academic qualification in a progressive way related to their professional and career development.


The Programme will be taught over 4 years in two Parts.

Part 1 (years 1 and 2) is the ‘taught’ element of the programme where you will achieve the key learning outcomes/competencies required for the DPharm programme in relation to advanced professional practice in your chosen area of expert professional practice, leadership, management and professional relationships, and research and evaluation. The Initial study undertaken in Year 2 will inform your doctoral research for Part 2 (Years 3 and 4) of the programme and Part 2 concludes with a written Thesis proposal for the Part 2 research and an oral presentation of this proposal.

During Part 1, you will study specific modules using a variety of learning media and tools, at a distance from the University in your home and workplace. You will also attend some workshops at the University where you will share progress with other students and staff through group work and presentations.

The content of the DPharm course is currently being reviewed, and details will be available here shortly.


Part 2 (year 3 onwards)

Once you have successfully completed Part 1 you will undertake research in Part 2 to produce your doctoral thesis for the DPharm. You will be supported by a supervisory team, members of which will have completed the University’s training requirements for supervisors of research projects, and further training specific to professional doctorates. You will be assigned to a member of academic staff, according to the general thematic area of your research, who will be your principal supervisor. As well as receiving personal support from your supervisor, you will be able to share and discuss your work with other students and tutors during occasional face-to-face seminars and tutorials at Keele.


Intermediate Award

Students who, for any reason, do not to proceed to year 3 may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice or given the opportunity to submit a dissertation for the MSc in Advanced Professional Practice award.


Candidates for the DPharm programme must be pharmacists or pharmacy technicians who are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and working full or part-time in an appropriate organisation where they are permitted to conduct work-based research and evaluation. In addition, candidates must have a:

  • Postgraduate Master’s degree in a relevant subject, or
  • MPharm, minimum 2:1, and a postgraduate pharmacy diploma, or
  • Postgraduate pharmacy diploma and evidence of experience of professional practice research or evaluation (e.g. postgraduate Certificate in Research and Evaluation, published papers), at the discretion of the programme manager* or
  • Senior practitioner with evidence of an advanced practice role and/or evidence of experience of pharmacy practice research or evaluation (e.g. postgraduate Certificate in Research and Evaluation, published papers), at the discretion of the programme manager*.

*Candidates unable to provide evidence will normally be able to complete relevant research and advanced practice development modules to be eligible for entry if necessary. In any case, please contact the Programme Manager or Programme Co-ordinator/Administrator for a chat to discuss your options.

International applications may be accepted at the discretion of the programme manager. Please contact us to discuss the suitability of the course for your professional development. Potential overseas candidates should bear in mind that there are compulsory study days requiring attendance at the Keele campus in all years of the programme.

English language proficiency requirement
If English is not your first language, you must either:
Hold a degree from a school where English was the language of instruction
Take the IELTS (average of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in all categories)
Please note that IETLS exams must be no more than two years old at the start of the course for which you have applied.



A variety of formative and summative assessment methods are used in Part 1 including reflective essays, project proposal and project report. A Reflective Portfolio that spans Years 1 and 2 of the programme is key to assessing your ability to relate theory to practice, and self-evaluation of, and reflection on, your own performance and CPD needs. Each of the modes of assessment in Part 1 contributes to the overall development of the cognitive, intellectual and practical skills that you will require to pursue a doctoral thesis in Part 2. In accordance with University Regulations, you will attend a viva voce as part of the formal examination of your final thesis.

Each method of assessment is supported by clear criteria for marking; these are explained in the relevant Course Handbooks. 

The overall outcome of the DPharm is for candidates to produce an account of their research in the form of a thesis in the range of 50 000 to 60 000 words The final thesis should form a contribution to knowledge and/or professional practice in a subject of relevance to the profession of Pharmacy and show evidence of originality, either by including the discovery of new evidence and/or by the exercise of independent critical analysis applied to the practice of pharmacy in the candidate’s area of research.


Keele's Professional Doctorate in Pharmacy (DPharm) Programme aims to:

  • Enable you to acquire and apply the clinical and professional knowledge base and skills that you have identified as necessary to develop your role as an advanced/consultant level practitioner.
  • Enable you to develop and use research skills to become an independent, reflective and competent researcher capable of undertaking doctoral research relevant to your area of professional practice.
  • Enable you to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding.
  • Develop your ability to make informed judgments on complex issues in your specialist field and adopt an innovative approach to tackling and solving problems.
  • Provide you with a structured learning programme that will enable you to understand and evaluate critically advanced academic work, and that meets your personal professional development needs for career enhancement. 
  • Enable you to further develop the self-discipline of private study, self-directed learning and reflective practice that will be continued beyond Keele's Programme in your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).



For all programmes you will need regular access to a computer, email and the internet. For courses that required attendance at Keele you will be required to cover the cost of your travel, accommodation and subsistence. Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for our postgraduate programmes.

Contact Details

Administrator Bev Oakden
Tel : 01782 734207
E-Mail :