Teaching is by lectures, seminars, workshops and practical laboratory classes, which take up approximately two thirds of the programme. Placements form a key part of the teaching programme.
A variety of assessment methods are used including practical dispensing examinations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), presentations (individual and group), written reports, interim assessments and end-of-year written examinations.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding in the following three areas.
Substances used in medicines including:
- sources and purification of substances, including radio-labelled pharmaceuticals
- physico-chemical aspects of medicines and biological systems, including thermodynamics, chemical kinetics and an assessment of chemical and physical stability
- analytical methods including principles, design, development, validation, application and good laboratory practice
- the properties of medicinal substances and their relationship to molecular structure
- the design of medicinal agents and approaches to their discovery
- biotechnology products and excipients; pharmaceutical application of the technologies of genomics and proteomics.
Design and manufacture of medicines:
- the properties of materials used for the delivery of biologically-active molecules
- the principles of medicine formulation and systems for medicine delivery in the body
- quality assurance and good pharmaceutical manufacturing practice
- packaging and labelling requirements: purpose, design and evaluation
- pharmacopoeial and regulatory requirements
- stability of medicines; evaluation and control of biological, chemical and physical degradation
- microbial contamination and its control
- sterilisation processes and aseptic procedures
- dressings, diagnostic systems, medical appliances and devices.
The actions and uses of medicines and other agents:
- normal and abnormal bodily function: physiology; biochemistry; genetics; microbiology; nutrition; immunology; infective processes; pathology and pathophysiology
- the actions of medicines within living systems: molecular; cellular; biological and physical aspects
- absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) of medicines, including routes of administration, concepts and mathematical modelling
- aetiology and epidemiology of major diseases
- the therapeutic uses of medicines in man, including adverse reactions to and interactions of medicines, and their significance in treatment
- the recognition of disease states and the management of symptoms
- the clinical evaluation of new medicines
- drug and substance misuse
- medicine delivery devices, wound management products and other medical devices (including diagnostic agents and devices)
- complementary therapies.
Legal framework, ethics and health care provision:
- the pharmacist's role in health care
- managing medicines: dispensing; clinical pharmacy (including good clinical practice); responding to symptoms; prescribing; provision of medicine and patient information; reporting of adverse reactions to medicines; medicine utilisation review
- measuring outcomes in support of evidence-based practice and achieving maximum clinical effectiveness
- health screening and promotion, including diagnostic testing
- the social and behavioural sciences relevant to pharmacy
- health policy and economics, including particularly pharmacoeconomics and pharmacoepidemiology
- the law relating to pharmacy and medicines
- ethics of health care and its impact on relationships with patients and other healthcare professionals
- the pharmacists' contribution to public health, which can be termed pharmaceutical public health
- health services research methodology
- the political, legislative and economic frameworks relevant to pharmacy
- the analysis and management of risk.
You gain intellectual skills in the following areas:
- the demonstration of knowledge and critical understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories
- the ability to apply the knowledge and understanding required to meet the needs of patients and other healthcare professionals
- the ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution
- the critical evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of pharmaceutical information and data
- the production of pharmacy-specific scientific documentation
- the presentation of pharmaceutical science material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to both specialist and lay audiences
- calculation of medicine doses and dosage regimens
- the interpretation of patient and clinical data, including patient records held within practice settings
- the ability to contribute to the development of health care through reflective practice, enquiry and innovation
- the interpretation of prescriptions and other orders for medicines.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following areas:
- the safe handling of chemical and pharmaceutical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use
- the ability to undertake risk assessments concerning pharmaceutical procedures and practices
- the skills required for the conduct of standard pharmaceutical laboratory procedures
- the planning, design and execution of self-directed and original research investigations, from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation of results and findings; the ability to select appropriate techniques and procedures
- the operation of standard pharmaceutical instrumentation
- the ability to evaluate and interpret data from laboratory and clinical observations, in terms of their significance and the underlying theory
- preparation and presentation of medicines, by manufacture and extemporaneous dispensing, including sterile products
- skills in the analysis of medicines
- the ability to advise patients and others on the safe and effective use of medicines.
You gain transferable skills in the following areas:
- interpersonal skills including written and oral communication skills, teamworking, and the ability to interact effectively with patients, the public and healthcare professionals
- problem-solving, relating to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information
- numeracy and computation, including such aspects as error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation
- acquisition, transformation, interpretation and critical evaluation of data
- information retrieval in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including online searches
- information technology skills, including word processing, spreadsheet use, database use, archiving data and information, and internet communication
- time-management and organisation; the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working
- independent study skills as preparation for continuing professional development
- an ethical attitude and approach
- analysis and critical appraisal of published literature
- application of general, biological and medical statistics
- the ability to operate within a quality management framework
- recognition of the need to work within personal limitations.
The programme aims to:
- encourage personal and professional responsibility
- educate students in aspects of the chemical and biological sciences that relate to medicines and health, providing both subject-specific knowledge and laboratory/clinical-based skills
- provide students with an understanding of the design, development and use of safe and effective medicines
- train students in the application of pharmaceutical knowledge for the benefit of patients by integrating information and critical evaluation
- provide students with evidence-based, decision-making skills
- allow students to develop independent learning skills that can form the basis for lifelong learning and continuing professional development
- provide a thorough understanding of the law and ethics relating to pharmacy
- allow students to develop a high level of interpersonal skills which are analytical, critically aware, evaluative, interpretive, empathic and reflective
- produce graduates who can provide the optimal clinical use of medicines and promote public health.