Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy (by Distance Learning and Practice)

The programme is supported by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP).
  • A work based practical programme of study which builds on and allows application of knowledge gleaned during the Certificate in Psychiatric Therapeutics
  • The qualification is often a requirement for specialist mental health pharmacist posts in the NHS
  • Written, taught and assessed by specialist mental health pharmacist

  • Pharmacists who wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy must successfully complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychiatric therapeutics by distance learning from Aston University and have normally achieved a minimum mark of 55% in each module. Offers are also normally made only to suitably qualified students based in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Additionally, students will only be admitted who have suitable access to a multidisciplinary team and patients with psychiatric illnesses, for example by demonstrating employment in a hospital possessing psychiatric beds in a clinical setting deemed appropriate. 
  • International students must possess an English IELTS score of 7 across all bands.

Duration of programme: 12 months (distance learning)
Start date: April
Distance learning available: Yes
Intake: N/A


Fees 2014 entry:

UK/EU students - £3000
International students - £3000

Practice-based clinical modules:
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Interventions
  • Formulary Development, Clinical Audit and Communication.
Compulsory knowledge based components:
  • Psychological Therapies
  • Substance Misuse
  • Evidence Based Medicine and Information Technology
  • Pharmacoeconomics.
Plus a choice of two from the following four:
  • Research Methods
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Epilepsy

Please click here for Programme Specification

The range of learning methods will be used, including distance learning materials, directed reading, self assessed exercises, additional reading and participation in a multi disciplinary forum (MDT).

Assessment is by assignments, clinical proformas, oral case presentations and a final examination.

This qualification is often 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 following skills will be developed:
  • Independent study
  • Good time management
  • Effective written communication
  • Effective oral communication
  • Effective information retrieval, organisation and presentation.

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.

Teaching staff

Hannah Macfarlane has worked in general hospital, community pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry and prison pharmacy posts but has been a specialist mental health role since 2006.  Hannah achieved distinction in the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy and was awarded the Helen Tennant award for best overall student performance.  She is an accredited member of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy and teaches regularly on behalf of the College.  Hannah is a member of the College Council and has been a clinical tutor on the Psychiatric Pharmacy courses since 2011.


The programme is supported by both The United Kingdom Psychiatric Pharmacy Group (UKPPG) and the College of Mental Health Pharmacists (CMHP).
Penny Delaney
Programmes Administrator
Psychiatric Pharmacy Course Office
Phone: 0121 204 3928
Email: p.j.delaney@aston.ac.uk
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