Mental Health Therapeutics


Learn from leading experts in the field of Mental Health Therapeutics and develop the skills for specialist clinical mental health positions.

Applications will be open in August 2024

Location: Online learning

Course type
Part-time, Online / distance learning
Entry requirements

14 months

Start date

Course overview

The Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Therapeutics at Aston University is a distance learning course that is written, taught and assessed by specialist mental health pharmacists. The Programme aims to enable students to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills to validate, recommend and critically appraise the use of medicines in a mental health context in a person-centred manner.

This qualification is often a requirement for specialist clinical mental health positions in the NHS. Completing this qualification allows progression to the Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Pharmacy (formerly Psychiatric Pharmacy).

Why Mental Health Therapeutics at Aston University?

Internationally recognised research
100% of our health and life sciences research environment has been ranked as being at least internationally excellent, with 50% being world-leading
World class teaching
Benefit from our knowledgeable team of academics, scientists, leading researchers, and practising pharmacists
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Specialist facilities
Access to a wide range of state-of-the art specialist facilities
Regius chair
Only Pharmacy School in the UK to hold a prestigious Regius Chair in Pharmacy awarded by HM the Queen
Work and study
Distance Learning. No time needed away from employment

Course description

Mental Health Therapeutics

Our Mental Health Therapeutics PgCert at Aston University will equip you with the skills, insights, and confidence required to become a specialist mental health clinician.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching delivered by a diverse array of staff with years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. Our teaching aims to inspire and excite you and bring your course to life.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understanding that intelligence and success comes from applying yourself.  You must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
This course will enable you to learn the skills and knowledge to validate, recommend and critically appraise the use of medicines in a mental health context in a person-centred manner. To do this, you will develop the knowledge and skills to critically appraise and apply clinical information, including clinical trial data, treatment guidelines and tertiary reference sources. In addition, you will expand your current scientific knowledge (including pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and affinity data) and use this in tandem with national guidelines and trial data to make evidence-based and person-focused treatment recommendations for the management of a range of mental health conditions.

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Career prospects
This course is the first stage for pharmacy professionals (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) in becoming a specialist in mental health practice. It may be taken by mental health nurses to increase their knowledge base especially those practising or intending to practise as non-medical prescribers. General practitioners and psychiatrists, as well as graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry, may take this course to expand their knowledge of the pharmacological management of mental health conditions.

How you will learn

Our teaching style is modern and innovative, with a hands-on approach that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This enables you to apply your skills as you progress through your course, marrying your learning with practical examples, all designed to prepare you for the world of work.

This course is delivered via distance learning and is self-directed. You will access learning materials for general study, revision and assessment via our virtual learning environment, Blackboard. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials including authored text material, pre-recorded lectures, self-assessed exercises, essential and further reading, e-journals, databases and much more.

Occasional synchronous lectures or meetings will be held, but the intention is that all of these are recorded to allow access to all students at whatever time they study.

What you will learn

Unit 1 – Introduction to Mental Health Therapeutics
Unit 2 – Schizophrenia
Unit 3 – The Affective Disorders
Unit 4 – Anxiety and Depression
Unit 5 – Dementia and related conditions

*Units 2-5 may be delivered in a different order

Course Director: Dr Hannah Macfarlane 

Teaching staff: Dr Ian Maidment, Emma Smith, Dr Muhammad (Umair) Khan, Adaora Ndu, Emma Bryant.

Course objectives

  1. Be able to explain the meaning and relevance of the aetiology, presentation, diagnosis and prognosis to the care of people living with a range of mental health conditions, incorporating the use of rating scales and the major classification systems used in mental health
  2. Develop the knowledge and expertise to critically appraise and apply clinical information, including clinical trial data, treatment guidelines and tertiary reference sources, to be able to explain the place of different therapeutic strategies for the treatment of a range of mental health conditions
  3. Demonstrate ability to use scientific knowledge (including pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and affinity data) alongside national guidelines and trial data to make evidence-based and person-focused treatment recommendations for the management of a range of mental health conditions in novel situations as might be required in clinical practice
  4.  Critically reflect on treatment strategies used in the management of a range of mental health conditions, including nonpharmacological approaches where appropriate, to identify their relative risks and benefits and thus make rational treatment recommendations as might be required in clinical practice



Taught stage modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Mental Health Therapeutics60

We may update our courses to reflect best practices and academic developments. If we do, we’ll let you know of any changes at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. If you have already received an offer, we’ll write to you directly to let you know of the changes.

Entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

A good honours degree (minimum lower 2nd class) from a recognised university in a relevant subject. See below for more details

Alternative qualifications

An equivalent qualification as agreed with the Programme Director and Pharmacy Technicians without a degree but with extensive relevant experience will also be considered.

  • 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.
  • Applicants would usually possess a good honours degree (minimum lower 2nd class) from a recognised university in one of the following subjects (or an equivalent qualification as agreed with the Programme Director; Pharmacy Technicians without a degree but with extensive relevant experience will also be considered):
    • Pharmacy
    • Medicine
    • Nursing
  • The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Masters Foundation programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.



Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:


Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£3,900

International students

Annual tuition fees:£3,900

Bursaries are awarded to members of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP) according to the need and merit on application to the Treasurer of the CMHP.

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.


Assessment is by coursework assignments and a final exam. Coursework will take the form of individual assignments including case studies and an essay, each concentrating on a different therapeutic area.  There will also be an exam at the end of the course which is usually held online.

This course is worth 60 credits, with each credit equivalent to 10 learning hours. These learning hours include engagement with the learning materials which includes but is not limited to pre-recorded lectures, module meetings, online activity, reading, other independent study, reflecting on assignment feedback and application of learning in practice. Most students will need to spend 5-10 hours per week on their studies.


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

What is the timeline of applications?

I have submitted my application, what happens next?

1. Application is submitted

2.New applications are picked up by the Postgraduate Admissions Team

3. Postgraduate Admissions Team staff check if we have all the documents we need, if anything is missing, we send an email to the applicant to request the missing information. If we have all the information we need we make a decision. ‘Offer’, ‘Reject’ or ‘Send to tutor for review’ are the possible options at this stage.

4. If it is an offer, we will decide if it is conditional or unconditional

5. The offer is issued via email and the applicant is given 4 weeks to accept the offer. The date is entered into the offer email.

6. Acceptance of an offer has 2 steps:

a. the offer reply form, and
b. paying the deposit/sending a sponsor letter.
A place on the course is not secure until we have received the deposit payment or the sponsor letter and this must be by the deadline stated in the email. Failure to meet the deadline, or to apply for an extension by emailing the admissions team will result in the offer being made to someone else.

7. Once an offer has been accepted fully, the system is updated to reflect this. Approximately 6 weeks before the programme starts applicants who have fully accepted are sent their enrolment email from the email has their username and password. The applicant then completes the enrolment steps and student support before they can be given access to the modules that they will study.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

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