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MSc Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice

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Entry requirements

See below for full details

This course is for you if you are looking to build upon the Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy to gain an MSc. This qualification provides the necessary critical, analytical and evaluation skills to understand the research process including ethical and risk assessment issues. This course is supported by the CMHP.

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Supported by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP)
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Top up for Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy graduands
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Gain critical, analytical and evaluation skills to understand the research process, including ethical and risk assessment issues
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Research in Allied Health Professions and Studies ranked 5th out of 97 UK higher education institutions (REF 2014)

Mode of delivery: Part time 

Duration: Approximately 12 months

Entry requirements:

  • We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications, experience, references and motivation.
  • Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy from Aston University or equivalent is essential, with a research methods module a desirable option.
  • Students will normally be employed by the NHS and will be on a career path as a mental health pharmacist specialising in the treatment of people with mental illness.
  • Please be aware that places are not guaranteed and will be limited by supervisor capacity, academic ability and treated on a first come, first served basis.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may be considered for applicants who express an interest in direct entry to the Diploma or MSc.
  • For further information about the eligibility requirements please contact the course director.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English speaking country. Find out more about our English language requirements. 

Start date: April & October 

How to apply: Apply here 

Application deadline: For courses starting in April, the deadline is 31 January. For courses starting in October, the deadline is 31 August.

For students starting in 2016/17:

  • UK/EU students: £3,000
  • International students: £3,000

For students starting in 2017/18:

  • UK/EU students: £3,300
  • International students: £3,300

This one year research MSc in Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice is available to you if you are a graduand of the Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy.

It is a single 60 credit module which will enable you to convert your Diploma (where you will have obtained 120 credits) to an MSc.(where you will then obtain 180 credits in total).

You will undertake supervised, but independently executed, practice research. You will be encouraged to integrate and apply the skills acquired during the Certificate and Diploma courses to investigate in depth an area of clinical psychiatric pharmacy practice of specific interest to you.

This module will equip you with the necessary critical, analytical and evaluation skills necessary to understand the research process thoroughly, including ethical and risk assessment issues. It provides experience of practice research and project management together with preparation for submission for publication.

Assessment is in three parts:

  • A research proposal: You will be required to submit a research proposal of approximately 2,000 words. This will be assessed for appropriateness of content; proposed research question and design of the study together with ethical issues; professional conduct and implications of the results.
  • The research project: This should demonstrate a detailed theoretical understanding and a critical appraisal of the relevant research literature. It should include an appropriate research question or hypothesis, plus suitable experimental design, execution, data handling, data analyses and interpretation in a systematic and accurate manner. The project should usually be between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length. Included in that word limit are an abstract (maximum 300 words) and an executive summary (maximum 1500 words). Independence of thought and action within the research process and effectiveness of time keeping will all be assessed.
  • Viva voce: An oral assessment of your project.
All our Psychiatric Pharmacy courses are supported by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP).

In addition to the knowledge gained on this course, you will develop the following skills:

  • The ability to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries in the field of psychiatric practice research
  • Learn to communicate effectively to academics as well as students
  • Learn good writing skills and the ability to complete an ethics proposal for submission to an ethics committee
  • Develop the ability to study independently and employ good time management

The certificate is the first stage for pharmacists in becoming a specialist mental health pharmacist. It is also under taken by mental health nurses to increase their knowledge base especially those practicing or aiming to practice as non-medical prescribers. General practitioners and psychiatrists as well as graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry have also been past students.

The diploma is frequently a requirement for specialist clinical mental health posts in the NHS. “Specialist status” as deemed by Membership of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy is also increasingly expected for higher level clinical posts in the NHS. The Diploma forms part of the pathway for this accreditation.

The MSc (research project) is designed to help students develop their career either within practice or academia. Consultant pharmacist posts, in the NHS, are all required to have a research component. 

The qualification can also help students looking to undertake a PhD.

Course director Dr Ian Maidment has a broad pharmacy background, having spent periods in the pharmaceutical industry, the acute sector and community pharmacy. However, the majority of his career (20 years) has been within the mental health sector mainly as a clinical pharmacist. He has also been chief pharmacist in two NHS Mental Health Trusts and led medication management education in an NHS Trust. 

He was awarded his PhD on medication error in dementia in 2013 and has a masters in research methods. He is a past chair of the UKPPG (UK Psychiatric Pharmacy Group) - predecessor organisation of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, has advised the Department of Health and lectured widely on aspects of Mental Health Pharmacy. He has published approximately 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

You may also be interested in the following Aston School of Life and Health Sciences courses:

Discover more in the following ways, or sign up to our mailing list using the panel below:

  • Write to us: Life & Health Sciences Admissions, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET
  • Call us: +44(0)121 204 3000


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