MPharm in Pharmacy

Aston University is one of Europe's leading Pharmacy Schools with over 100 years of history and reputation. Ranked in the UK's top 10 in The Times, Complete University Guide and Sunday Times rankings 2012, The Aston School of Pharmacy has excellent links with the profession.

Why choose this course?

  • 100% of 2012 leavers found employment or further study within 6 months of leaving Aston University
  • A modern pharmacy programme in Birmingham designed to meet the developing role of pharmacists in all branches of the profession (pharmacy, community, industry).
  • Fully accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Student work-based placements in all years of the programme
  • Strong emphasis on professional studies and patient-oriented care
  • 24/24 for Teaching Quality Assessment
  • Research in the School ranked 3rd out of 63 universities in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
  • The Overall Satisfaction level in the 2013 National Student Survey among leavers from this programme was 95%
  • This subject at Aston is ranked 1st in the UK regarding employability in the latest Complete University Guide and Sunday Times University Guide.

4 years Full-time

UCAS Code: B230

Typical offers:
A Levels: AAB in three A level subjects, including Chemistry and at least one other science subject (Biology, Maths or Physics). General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted as part of the offer. Additional AS/A2 subjects welcomed.

IB: 34 points overall, including 6 points in Higher Level Chemistry and Higher Level Biology or Physics, 5 points in Higher Level Maths or 6 points in Standard Level Maths and 5 points in Standard Level English.

We do not accept Access courses for entry to this degree.

BTEC & other: 
Three Distinctions in BTEC National Diploma / BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (Forensic Science, Laboratory & Industrial Science or Medical Science) together with grade B in A level Chemistry. AS Chemistry is not sufficient.

Two Distinctions in BTEC National Certificate / BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science (Forensic Science, Laboratory & Industrial Science or Medical Science) or Pharmacy Services & NVQ level 3. With these qualifications we also require grades A and B in A level Chemistry and one other A level science subject.

AAABB in Scottish Highers, including Chemistry, Biology and Maths.

AAABB in Irish Leaving Certificate including Chemistry, Biology and Maths and excluding Irish. Physics can be considered in lieu of Biology.

GCSE: English grade C, Maths grade B.

Tuition fees: £9,000 £1000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. (2013).  More on fees

DBS & Fitness to Practice Information

Aston University is one of Europe's leading Pharmacy Schools with over 100 years of history and reputation. Ranked in the UK's top 10 in The Times, Complete University Guide and Sunday Times rankings 2012, The Aston School of Pharmacy has excellent links with the profession. Graduate Level employment success is consistently at 100% according to the annual DLHE survey. The School's internationally significant research profile ensures relevant, expertise led teaching for around 150 students each year who enrol onto the Aston University MPharm programme. 

The first year develops your knowledge of the basic scientific principles underpinning pharmacy. You will apply this knowledge to the dispensary and patient-based case studies to develop your patient-centred skills.
The second year extends your understanding of the pharmaceutical sciences - the chemistry of different drug groups, their formulation into medicines, the pathology of major diseases and the pharmacological basis of therapeutics.

The third year completes your study of applied pharmacology and medicinal chemistry. You will learn how drugs can be delivered to the body, and how medicines are prepared and reach the market.

The theme of the final year is pharmaceutical practice. It focuses upon the clinical use of medicines and the use of medicines for individual patients. You will also complete an extended research project.

Download the course flyer PDF >

Year 1

In the first year, you will develop the scientific knowledge which provides a basis for the pharmaceutical industry. You also start applying your knowledge to clinical situations that you might encounter in a community pharmacy.  You will study:

  • Physiology (how the body works)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations
  • Formulation of Liquid-based Medicines: How medicines are made
  • Drug Molecules, Mechanisms and Analysis (pharmaceutical chemistry)
  • Dispensing
  • Responding to Symptoms
  • Personal Development and Key Skills: effective learning, IT skills and career management.

Year 2

The second year builds upon your understanding of the pharmaceutical sciences and your clinical pharmacy skills. You will study:

  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics of the Life Support Systems: how drugs work and therefore why they are used to treat disease
  • Pharmaceutical Microbiology
  • Pharmacogenetics 
  • Structural Identification of Molecules
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Medicines Optimisation through formulation 
  • Medicine supply - law and practice 
  • Introduction to Clinical Pharmacy: understanding clinical data, drug safety, clinical consultation skills
  • Personal Development and Key Skills: written and oral communication skills.

Year 3

In the third stage you will complete your study of pharmacology and therapeutics, of medicinal chemistry and of dispensing law and ethics.  The research methods and statistics course will prepare you for your research project. You will study:

  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics of drugs used to treat Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases 
  • Chemotherapy and Selective Toxicity
  • Design of Modified Release Formulations: biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmaceutical Technology and Asepsis
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Applied Clinical Skills: applying scientific knowledge to real patient cases
  • Pharmacy Health Policy - Policy and practice 
  • Personal Development and Key skills: research methods and statistics

Final Year

In your final year you will use and extend all the knowledge and skills you have developed in the previous years. You will develop confidence in applying your pharmaceutical knowledge to maximise individual patient benefit from treatment.  You will also consider wider aspects of pharmacy such as evidence-based medicine and pharmaceutical public health. 
You will study:

  • Clinical pharmaceutics and drug delivery 
  • The Professional Pharmacist - medical law and the public's health 
  • Practical Therapeutics 
  • Interprofessional learning 
  • Research Project  

The course recognises different learning styles and provides a variety of learning opportunities, including

  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Interactive workshops and tutorials
  • Hospital and other clinical/practice placements
  • Group work and problem-based learning
  • Self-study courses
  • Computer-Aided Learning (CAL) e.g. clinical patient simulations.

A wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes are also employed, including

  • Examinations
  • Portofolio
  • Essays
  • Practical reports
  • Project work
  • Computer based assessment.
  • Interactive clinical examinations (OSCEs)

You will be continuously assessed throughout the four-year course – contributing to 40% of your final grade.

For further information, see the programme specification (PDF).

Professional accreditation   

Our programme is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for entry to their pre-registration programme leading to registration as a pharmacist. The Aston University Pharmacy School was founded in Birmingham in 1918 and our roots in Chemistry and other medical areas are even older. Aston is also one of the original Schools of Pharmacy and is held in high regard by the Industry and the NHS confirmed by high league table rankings  -top 10 in The Times, Complete University Guide and Sunday Times rankings 2012.

Personal development

Our course helps you develop the knowledge and skills needed to maximise your career prospects.  Communicating with patients and fellow professionals is a crucial professional skill - you experience patient contact and engage in role-playing activities. IT skills are essential and we help you develop these in our up-to-the-minute IT teaching and learning suites and in our dispensary using specialist software packages.

You will develop a portfolio throughout your four years which helps you identify, plan for and record your personal and professional development.

Teaching staff

Aston Pharmacy School 
See a list of MPharm teaching staff >

Pharmacy at Aston University, Birmingham, is part of the School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS), which also includes Optometry, Biomedical Science, Biololgy and Psychology undergraduate programmes and a thriving research culture. There are over 50 teaching and research staff in Pharmacy with other LHS staff also undertaking Pharmacy/Life/Health Sciences related teaching and research.

Each year of the course includes structured practise-based placements in local hospitals, clinics or pharmacies. These will provide you with invaluable professional experience.

Please note that students who enter placements in the NHS may be required to pay for DBS checks and occupational health checks.

Find out more about placement and pre-registration years in the Life & Health Sciences.

Our degree programme has been specifically designed for employability in all areas of pharmacy – community, Primary Care Trusts, hospitals and industry. Aston’s long-established reputation and professional accreditation ensure that career prospects are first-class. For example, in 2008/9, 2009-10 and 2010-11, 100% of our graduates gained graduate-level employment and pre-registration pharmacist places across the UK within six months of graduation. Major employers were Boots, Lloyds, Sainsbury’s and hospital-based pharmacies.

The MPharm utilises specialist teaching and research laboratories, recently refitted to very high standards in a £3m upgrade project. In 2008 we opened a new fully computerised medicines management suite to support learning of modern pharmacy areas such as clinical care and prescribing. The Pharmacy School is located in the Main Building at Aston University with all laboratories, lecture theatres and support offices located in the same place. 

In some other Universities, Pharmacy programmes are spread across different campuses and buildings   -meaning more travel time/inconvenience and less integration. At Aston University we are proud of our green, compact campus with all facilities on one site.

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Excellent Career Prospects

Excellent Career Prospects



Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research