Independent Prescribing

The Postgraduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing for pharmacists is designed for pharmacists in Northern Ireland who wish to train and qualify as non-medical independent prescribers.

The Postgraduate Certificate can be undertaken as a stand-alone course or can be combined into a larger programme of study (see Advanced Pharmacy Practice course).

This programme starts in April annually.

If you are employed as a pharmacist in Great Britain and wish to train as an Independent Prescriber, please visit our PG Cert in Prescribing for Pharmacists.

Independent Prescribing highlights

Professional Accreditations

•This course is accredited by the both the Pharmacy Regulator in GB (GPhC) and the Pharmacy Regulator in NI (PSNI).

World Class Facilities

•The School of Pharmacy at Queen's is consistently ranked as one of the leading centres for pharmacy education and research in the UK.

Internationally Renowned Experts

•The School of Pharmacy at Queen's is acknowledged as a leading centre for Pharmacy teaching and research in the UK, consistently featuring at or near the top of league tables for the subject.

Student Experience

•There are live workshops to accompany this course which help students to build a network of support which they can utilise when they begin to prescribe.

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements


A primary degree in Pharmacy (minimum Bachelor degree) from an institution approved by the University.

Additionally all students must:

- be registered as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

- be in good standing with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and/or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and any other healthcare regulator with which they are registered.

- have at least two years' appropriate patient-orientated experience in a relevant UK practice setting post registration.

- have an identified area of clinical or therapeutic practice in which to develop independent prescribing practice. They must also have relevant clinical or therapeutic experience in that area*.

- have a medically qualified designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) who has agreed to supervise their learning in practice*.

* Further guidance on the type of experience and DPP requirements will be provided when applying for this programme.

Further information is available in the 'PIP Information for pharmacists' at the link below.

Note: this programme is only open to students who are resident in Northern Ireland.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

For non-native English Language speakers, evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years). Note: this programme is only open to students who are resident in Northern Ireland.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


1 year part-time

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects

Professional Opportunities

This PG Certificate in Independent Prescribing enhances the opportunities for pharmacists in Northern Ireland to progress their career through annotation on the pharmacy register as an independent prescriber.

Subjects taught

Course details

There are four taught modules, each 10 CATS points:

Person-centred care & collaboration

Disease management

Clinical skills


There is an additional module of work-based learning called, Learning in practice, worth 20 CATS points.

All modules are compulsory.

Teaching Times

Teaching is delivered via a combination of online learning, live workshops and work-based learning. A timetable of workshops related to this course is available on the NICPLD website.

Assessment method


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

Each module has one or more assessments associated with it. A general overview is provided below:

Person-centred care & collaboration (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of three elements; consultation skills OSCE, SJTs, and a written assessment.

Disease management (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of two elements; submission of a treatment plan/ case study in each clinical/ therapeutic area of practice and a summary education table of recent CPD/clinical area.

Clinical skills (10 CATS) - assessment is comprised of two elements: Clinical skills OSCE and the Direct Observation of Procedural Skills assessment carried out by DPP.

Professionalism (10 CATS) –assessment is the submission of a written professional decision making scenario.

Learning in practice (20 CATS) – assessment is the submission of a practice portfolio.

Application date

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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