Postgraduate Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists (OSPAP) PgDip/MSc

Our Postgraduate Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists (OSPAP) PgDip/MSc is an intensive course that lasts for 9 months (PgDip) or 1 year (MSc). It has been designed for students who have qualified in a non-EU country to receive the appropriate education and training to prepare them for entry into pre-registration training and UK practice.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time

Course format

No placements

Duration

PgDip: 9 months / MSc: 12 months

UCAS code(s)

N/A

Start date

Overview
Explore Postgraduate Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists (OSPAP) PgDip/MSc at Aston University
ospap student

“Nothing compares to the pride that we feel when our graduates go on to become great pharmacists and use their skills for the benefit of patients and the public.”

Mark L Brennan

Deputy Head of Pharmacy

emma price

“In my current role as a teaching fellow, it is fantastic to see the development of students –I love those ‘lightbulb moments’ in teaching sessions and when students realise their own potential. I also like that the learning is two-way and I learn and develop so much because of the students. My role here at the university is a real privilege.”

Emma Price

Teaching Fellow Pharmacy

natalia hulme

“Aston had everything I needed to get through this intensive course: modern and sophisticated facilities, convenient student accommodation and importantly, highly professional and dedicated teaching staff.”

 

Natalia Hulme

Pre-registration Pharmacist, Boots

natalia hulme

“Aston had everything I needed to get through this intensive course: modern and sophisticated facilities, convenient student accommodation and importantly, highly professional and dedicated teaching staff.”

 

Natalia Hulme

Pre-registration Pharmacist, Boots

Course outline

Our Postgraduate Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists (OSPAP) PgDip/MSc is an intensive course that lasts for 9 months (PgDip) or 1 year (MSc). It has been designed for students who have qualified in a non-EU country to receive the appropriate education and training to prepare them for entry into pre-registration training and UK practice.

During the course, you’ll receive the key theoretical and practical training in topics essential for a career in pharmacy in the UK. You’ll learn the newest developments in key pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy, and pharmacy practice, together with the study of health service delivery, and UK pharmacy law and ethics.

With our roots stretching back to the establishment of the Birmingham Pharmaceutical Institution in 1847, being the only Pharmacy School in the UK to hold a prestigious Regius Chair in Pharmacy awarded by HM the Queen, and our strong links with the NHS and industry, Aston Pharmacy School is the ideal place to further your career in the UK.

Professional accreditation

The Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists has been accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), fulfilling their requirements as an OSPAP. This accreditation is one of the key requirements to practice as a pharmacist in the UK. The most recent accreditation at Aston University took place in May 2019 and the MPharm programme was re-accredited for six years, the maximum period possible.

Our community

As an Aston University student, you’ll be joining a diverse, close community, with students from over 120 different countries choosing to study with us every year.

We are also home to an expansive and highly regarded research community, with several pharmacy research groups including:

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacy Research
  • Pharmacology and Translational Neuroscience Research

Course outline

The Aston OSPAP is delivered as a single, fully integrated module. This open and inclusive curriculum structure allows you to see how the material you learn throughout the course is connected.

The learning on this programme is structured with two main themes which are taught in parallel: 

Integrated Person-Centred Care

In its substantial theme you will develop the knowledge and skills for contemporary pharmacy practice, including advanced therapeutic skills that integrate clinical knowledge and the latest developments in drug delivery and formulation.

Specialisation and Transition

During this theme you will learn about the delivery of pharmacy and healthcare services in the UK, for example the law and ethics relating to pharmacy practice. You will also be supported in the transition from your home qualification to the UK context, and in the transition from the OSPAP programme to your further studies and pre-registration year. 

MSc research project

In addition to the integrated module worth 120 credits, those choosing to complete the MSc qualification will also complete a research project module worth an additional 60 credits.

You will attend a compulsory two week induction / training session on research skills before you start your project. Please note, students on the MSc cannot commence their pre-registration training until they have completed the course in full.

Entry requirements

Requirements for all applicants

All applicants require:

  • A pharmacy degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council for entry onto an OSPAP course. You will require documented approval from the GPhC regarding eligibility to undertake OSPAP prior to applying to Aston University. Please note that it may take up to two months to gain approval from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Candidates wishing to apply for a pre-registration position via the national Oriel scheme, are advised that applications should be made early to ensure acceptance onto the course before June in the year of entry.
  • An appropriate English language qualification: the GPhC have recently revised the evidence that they are willing to accept for English Language knowledge. Their requirements are listed below. You are required to provide one of these three types of evidence to the GPhC, however Aston University will only accept types 1 and 2:
  1. A recent pass of the academic version of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with an overall score of at least 7 and with no score less than 7 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking at one sitting of the test.
  2. A recent pharmacy qualification (i.e., a pharmacy qualification that would have enabled you to practise as a pharmacist in such countries) that has been taught and examined in English in a majority English speaking country (other than the UK) (e.g. Ireland, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand).
  3. Recent practise for at least two years as a pharmacy professional (pharmacy technician or pharmacist) in a majority English speaking country (please note that Aston University does not accept work experience as proof of meeting our English Language requirements, you must have one of the above).
Additional requirements

Due to the nature of this course and in line with national requirements, students who receive an offer to study with us will be required to complete a series of checks and screenings, in addition to adhering to a number of regulations and policies. 

  • Prior to starting the programme, you will be required to complete a declaration of health and vaccination status, full details must be provided before you start.
  • Students enrolling onto this course will be required to undertake an Enhanced Level Criminal Records Bureau check (known as a DBS check) and/or an overseas equivalent if newly resident in the UK. In line with national requirements for courses leading to a health professional qualification, this course is also subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations. Discover more about DBS Checks & Fitness to Practise.

Aston Pharmacy School policies: there are also further policies that all Pharmacy students must comply with and you should be aware of these before you apply (2020 policies will be available soon):

  • Student Policy for Raising Concerns
  • Professional Appearance Standards 
  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment
  • Infection Control Policy

 

Visa requirements

The type of visa you need to study with us and complete your pre-registration year will vary depending on your own individual circumstances. Please refer to the UK government visas and immigration website for the most up to date information on study and work visas.

Additionally you can find out more on the GPhC website and obtain advice from our own in house visa compliance team in The HUB.

 

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. More advice on applying to Aston can be found here.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

Taught in our modern Birmingham city centre campus, attendance on the course is normally* Monday through Thursday (with the occasional Friday). Satisfactory attendance and performance in the assessments are required for successful completion of the OSPAP.

We utilise a range of study methods throughout the course from lectures and web-based learning to clinical teaching sessions.

This course is worth 120 credits (PgDip) or 180 credits (MSc), with each credit equivalent to 10 learning hours. The learning hours may include but are not limited to lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practicals, online activity, reading, other independent study, reflecting on assignment feedback and work placements.

*Subject to change

Assessment

Assessment methods include:

  • examinations
  • web based clinical assignments
  • clinical case studies
  • clinical case presentation
  • portfolio development
  • practical dispensing examination.
     

For the MSc only, research project assessment will also include critical appraisal, dissertation and a poster presentation.

Assessments take place at multiple points throughout the year and main exams are split between January and May with exam boards held in June.

Key staff

Course Director: Dr Kay Wood

Meet the Pharmacy team.

Facilities

As a Pharmacy student, you will have access to a range of specialist facilities in our recently redeveloped Wilson Pharmacy Suite. This includes our clinical skills room with a mock hospital bay set up, dispensing and patient counselling suites with discrete video recording capabilities. You will also use a range of laboratories and teaching rooms. 

Fees and scholarships

Diploma (2020 entry): £11,700

MSc (2020 entry): £17,550


Please note, a deposit of £2000 will be required in advance to secure a place on this programme.

Career prospects

On successful completion of this programme, you’ll be eligible to undertake your pre-registration placement and GPhC registration assessment, before applying to register as a qualified pharmacist with GPhC.

While we are not responsible for the provision of a pre-registration post, or the preparation for professional qualifying examinations, during your time at Aston you will have access to a wide range of services and support as you embark upon your first career steps. Our dedicated Careers and Placements team offer interview support, CV surgeries and specialist on campus careers fairs. You will also have the Aston Pharmacy School team on hand to assist with any questions you have about securing your pre-registration post.

There is an excellent track record of Aston OSPAP students obtaining and successfully completing pre-registration training, with graduates going on to roles in community pharmacies, GP surgeries, NHS Primary Care Trusts and hospitals.

Frequently asked questions

Why study OSPAP PgDip/MSc at Aston University?

This General Pharmaceutical Council accredited qualification is ideal for students who have qualified overseas to receive the appropriate education and training to prepare them for entry into pre-registration training and UK practice.

Studying in specialist dedicated facilities based in our modern Birmingham city centre campus, you’ll receive the key theoretical and practical training in topics essential for a career in pharmacy in the UK. You’ll learn the newest developments in key pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice together with the study of health service delivery and UK pharmacy law and ethics.

As an Aston Pharmacy School student you’ll be taught by qualified academics from a wide range of pharmacy backgrounds who are passionate about passing on their knowledge. You’ll also have access to a range of facilities and central services, like The HUB for visa advice and our award winning Careers and Placements team.

How long does the course take?

The course takes either 9 months for the PgDip, or 1 year for the MSc. Both are intensive options that have been designed to support you with the transition from your home qualification to the UK context, and in the transition from the OSPAP programme to your further studies and pre-registration year. 

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community that welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

 

Chat with current students

 
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