Key Facts

Course Title: Clinical Pharmacy (Hospital Pharmacists only)
Course type: PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc in Clinical Pharmacy
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:01782 734207
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Subject Area: Pharmacy


In the fast changing world of pharmacy and healthcare provision, standing still is not an option, but you may, understandably, feel under-equipped to meet these new challenges. Let Keele help you meet the challenges set by the Government's initiatives for the profession. In addition, the requirements for pharmacists to demonstrate their commitment to continual professional development is as strong as ever and is reflected in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s announcements regarding the assurance of the continual fitness to practice of pharmacists.

Our Clinical Pharmacy Programme for hospital pharmacists was first established in 1981 and we are proud of our high completion rate. Our distance learning programme in Clinical Pharmacy for hospital pharmacists aims to provide you with a wider view of health care, and equip you with sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to develop and extend your clinical and professional role as part of a multidisciplinary health care team. The programme links to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Advanced Pharmacy Framework to enable you to meet the relevant competencies and provide evidence for your continued professional development.

The Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning (previously known as Department of Medicines Management), is part of the School of Pharmacy at Keele University and has a reputation for providing stimulating educational programmes for pharmacists.

We are closely in touch with current hospital practice, through our advisors and are continually updating the programme to meet the changing requirements of the health service and individual practitioners.  The programme is highly acclaimed by students, employers, purchasers and external course assessors for its structure, content and end value in relation to service, professional and career development. We are happy to put you in touch with some of our former students for their independent view.

To support health professionals in their own professional development the School of Pharmacy have developed a variety of CPD Plus+ and CPD Plus+ Open Learn modules which are available as 10, 15 and 30 credit modules. Course participants may choose to study one module only as a ‘stand alone’ course or choose different pathways to reach the awards of Certificate, Diploma and Masters. This gives health professionals choice and flexibility to meet their own specific professional development needs and to advance their professional practice. The distance learning format of the courses enables busy health professionals to study where and when it is most convenient to them.

Aims of the Course

Keele’s  Pg Clinical Pharmacy Programme aims to:

  • Build on your existing knowledge of disease states, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics to enable you to apply this in a clinical setting
  • Equip you to assess drug therapy for effectiveness, safety, compatibility, patient acceptability and cost, and use this information to make effective interventions and develop and document pharmaceutical care plans
  • Encourage you to develop an understanding of the principles of pharmaceutical care and problem-solving approach to clinical practice
  • Provide you with a wider view of health care and equip you with sufficient knowledge and skills to be able to develop and extend your professional role
  • Increase your confidence in your ability to contribute to patient care as part of the multidisciplinary health care team
  • Provide you with a structured learning programme that will help you apply your knowledge and skills in daily practice
  • Encourage you to develop a reflective approach to your clinical pharmacy practice
  • Encourage you to develop the self-discipline of private study and self-directed learning that will be continued beyond Keele’s Programme in your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as an independent learner

In addition, you will develop valuable practical skills including written and oral communication, and the ability to design a project, collect, analyse and interpret data

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), or equivalent for pharmacists working overseas, and be practising either full-time or part-time within the hospital sector. We recommend that applicants should, normally, have worked in a hospital pharmacy setting for 6-12 months prior to commencing the Course so that they have gained some experience of working in this sector. Applicants who wish to study on our fixed pathway programme must be working at a hospital that can provide a Clinical Co-ordinator to support you in the workplace. Further details of the requirements for the Clinical Co-ordinator can be found from this link. It is also essential that you have the support of your workplace to access patient data where necessary for course learning activities and assessment. 

Normally, only applicants with the minimum of a second class degree classification (or equivalent for applicants from outside the UK) in Pharmacy will be accepted onto the programme without interview. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The University reserves the right to interview prospective students and take up academic references. The final decision in any case rests with the University. Candidates are also admitted on the basis of perceived and potential competence to complete the programme.

Registration takes place in January each year. Applications must normally reach the University by mid-September.  Although principally a distance-learning programme, the requirements for attendance at study days, and the requirement of a Clinical Co-ordinator at the hospital, makes this course unsuitable for pharmacists who are not resident and working in the UK. However the CPD Plus+/Open Learn pathway to obtain a Clinical Pharmacy award is available to international students.

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. 

Course Content

The Clinical Pharmacy programme can be completed via the following flexible pathways to accumulate academic credits at Masters Level:

  • CPD Plus+ – register for individual short courses of 10 credits. You can register on a number of occasions in any academic year. Completing 6 CPD Plus+ courses will provide the postgraduate Certificate award and 12 courses the Diploma award.
  • CPD Plus+ Open Learn – provides opportunity to negotiate some or all of the content and learning outcomes to meet your specific needs (available as 10, 15 and 30-credit modules)
  • Certificate in Clinical Pharmacy – register for 9 months and you’ll complete your choice of 6 of the optional modules from our CPD Plus+ portfolio.
  • Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy – register for 21 months and in the first year you will complete the 6 modules as described for the Certificate and an additional 6 modules of your choice in Year 2.
  • Professional MSc – Building on the Diploma course students study a further three modules: Research Methods (15 credits), Advanced Practice Development (15 credits) and Independent Learning Project (30 credits)

The CPD Plus+ short courses that are currently available, and which also form the course content for Certificate and Diploma courses are:

  • Cardiovascular Disease 1
  • Cardiovascular Disease 2
  • Central Nervous System Diseases
  • Critical Care and Parenteral Nutrition
  • Education Theory and Practice for Health Professionals (includes two f2f study days)
  • Endocrine Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Hepatic Disease
  • HIV & AIDS
  • Infections
  • Joint Disease
  • Malignant Disease
  • Medicines Optimisation and Patient Centred Care
  • Mental Health
  • Monitoring Therapy
  • Neonatal and Child Health
  • Personal Effectiveness and Collaborative Working
  • Quality in Healthcare & Evidence-Based Practice (includes Critical Appraisal)
  • Renal Disease
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Surgical

Teaching and Assessment

The Clinical Pharmacy Programme is designed principally for distance-learning. We provide mainly online distance-learning materials so that you can study where and when it is most convenient for you. Our methods of delivery allow us to revise and update the course quickly to meet your changing needs as a pharmacist.

The Clinical Pharmacy Programme is fully supported by a team of experienced, friendly, and approachable academic, administrative and technical staff based at Keele. The Programme is also supported by our network of experienced, practising hospital pharmacists who fulfil the roles of clinical co-ordinators and tutors. You’re not on your own! And, don’t forget the network of other pharmacists on the course whom you can contact. You will require the equivalent of 1-2 days (approximately 10-15 hours) each week to complete your course. Remember that the online nature of our course materials, and the fact that a good proportion of the assessed work focuses on your daily practice, means that you can integrate study and work.

Assessment is entirely by coursework for the Certificate, Diploma and MSc courses. A variety of assessment methods are used.

All of the modules contain Practice-Based Assignments that will assess your knowledge, problem-solving skills, and data interpretation skills in relation to application of knowledge to practice, patient care and medicines management. Case Presentations assess your ability to critically appraise the literature and relate published theory to everyday practice.

An Audit Project, Practice-Based Assignments , Project Protocol Development and the Independent Study Project Report assess ‘thinking’ and practical skills, and your ability to plan, conduct and report on an investigation. They also assess your ability to critically appraise the literature and relate published theory to everyday practice. Your Reflective Portfolio also assesses your ability to relate theory to practice, and self evaluation of, and reflection on, your own performance and CPD needs.

The nature of the assessments develops your written and oral communication skills. Practical skills and key life/transferable skills are assessed within the methods described above. Each method of assessment is supported by clear criteria for marking; these are explained in the relevant Course Handbooks. The minimum pass mark is 50%. The summative assessment is supported by a variety of formative assessment activities that include online discussions, formative feedback on elements of the reflective portfolio, contributions to study days and feedback on draft proposals.

Additional Costs

For all programmes you will need regular access to a computer, email and the internet. However 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.