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Non-Medical Prescribing (PgCert)

  • Duration: 24 weeks
  • Mode: Part time

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This postgraduate certificate in non-medical prescribing will provide you with the knowledge and skills to qualify as an independent prescriber.


Accredited programme

Our course is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Health and Care Professions Council, the (HCPC).


Leading research

Our research is ranked 4th overall in the UK and 1st for Research Environment in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment.


Learning community

You will benefit from learning alongside a diverse group who are studying at various points in their career.


Student support

You will have academic support and be assigned a designated personal tutor throughout your studies with us.


High-quality teaching

You will be taught by experienced educational and clinical staff with considerable local, national and international reputations.

This part-time course is designed to prepare nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, podiatrists and therapeutic radiographers to practise as independent prescribers, meeting standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), and the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

You can take this course as a stand-alone postgraduate certificate or as part of the MSc Advanced Practice.


We're committed to delivering programmes that are innovative and relevant, providing the best learning outcomes and career prospects for our students. In light of this, we're currently reviewing some elements of this programme. As such, the details shown are subject to change and indicative only. You can still apply now. We'll update this page and contact all offer holders when the review is complete to confirm any changes.

Where you'll study

School of Healthcare Sciences

Our courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to embark on a professional healthcare career.

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  • Telephone+44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

The course is suitable for registered nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals who wish to be trained as independent/supplementary prescribers. Applicants should usually have a first degree and a minimum of 2-3 years clinical experience (dependent on profession), and evidence of further study.

Students wishing to enrol on the programme will need to:

  • be currently registered with the NMC or HCPC;
  • have at least three years appropriate patient orientated experience as a qualified allied health professional, OR have been registered with the NMC for a minimum of one year prior to application for entry onto the programme;
  • identify a potential Designated Prescribing Practitioners clinical area in which to develop your skills;
  • have practised in your proposed field of prescribing for at least 1 year (nurses/midwives/allied health professionals) immediately preceding your application;
  • demonstrate how you reflect on your own performance and take responsibility for your own CPD;
  • demonstrate how you will develop your own networks for support, including prescribers from other professions;
  • satisfy the English Language requirements for entry to the university by attainment of a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS no more than 3 years before the proposed date of entry (if English or Welsh is not your first language);

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Student (previously Tier 4) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

The personal statement on your application form will be considered when a judgement is made on your suitability for the programme for which you have applied. You must address the following points in your personal statement. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Why have you selected this programme?
  • What interests you about the programme?
  • Any relevant experience related to the programme or module content
  • How you plan to use the qualification in your career.
  • How you and your profession will benefit from your studies.
  • Why you feel you should be given a place on the programme.

It is an NMC/HCPC and University requirement that students undertaking the programme have a DBS of less than three months old. Once all application forms have been reviewed and a conditional offer made, potential students will be sent the appropriate form to apply for a DBS screen.


Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

To gain the Postgraduate Certificate you will take two compulsory modules, each worth 30 credits:

There is only one intake in September of each academic year.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

Module titleModule codeCredits
Non-Medical Prescribing 1NRT08230 credits
Non-Medical Prescribing 2NRT08330 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The course is taught in a way that is designed to enable you to build upon your previous experience, knowledge and skills, to apply your learning and skill development to the area in which you will prescribe.

You may be taught through lessons, lectures, guided study, e-learning, workshops, and discussion groups.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through written work, such as reflective narratives, evidence based literature reviews, essays and research critiques, as well as examinations, case study analysis, practical tests, oral presentations, seminars, video and playback, tape recordings, viva, dissertations, project work and completion of portfolios.

Wherever possible a proforma is produced to accompany a summative assessment. This may be in the form of marking criteria, competencies to be achieved, standards etc. with clear guidelines relating to what is being assessed.

You must pass each of the two modules at a minimum mark of 50%.

Your clinical competence will be confirmed by achieving the prescribing competencies in the Prescribing Portfolio. These will be signed as appropriate by your Designated Supervising medical practitioner (DSMP), line-manager and/or personal tutor.

You must pass all assessments, including the period of learning in practice, in order to pass the programme. All students must undertake all aspects of the assessment strategy and achieve a 50% or above within module 1 Critical Appraisal and module 2 Reflective Assignment.

Personal Formulary and Consultation work within the portfolio is marked according to pass/fail criteria. The Calculation and Therapeutics class tests must be passed at 100% and 80% respectfully. No compensation is applied to any assessment. The Designated Supervising Medical Practitioner (DSMP) is required to sign the appropriate paperwork within the portfolio (confirming that the student has satisfactorily completed at least 12 x 6.5h days supervised practice. The DSMP must also confirm that in their opinion, the skills and competencies demonstrated within practice confirm the student as being suitable for annotation as an Independent and or Supplementary Prescriber.

If a student at any time fails to identify a serious problem or provides an answer which could cause patient harm then they will fail the overall programme. A Viva Voce may be requested if there is failure to demonstrate fitness to practice. Before this would be actioned, the marker or DSMP would have to draw it to the attention of the programme manager who, along with another member of the prescribing team would make a judgment on whether the incident met such criteria. This would be taken to the exam board as fail criteria for final decision by the Chair of the exam board.

A student who passes module NRT082 and fails module NRT083 may be awarded 30 credits at level 7 but these credits cannot be aligned to prescribing. Failure of module 1 will require withdrawal from the programme. Students cannot retake a single prescribing module as an internal or external student. Students wishing to re retake any failed element of the programme must apply for and then take up the whole programme and the assessments for both modules.

Within the Masters in Advanced Practice pathway, a student who has failed one or more modules on two occasions shall be required to withdraw from the course.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support students. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, crèche and day facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

This programme gives you the opportunity to share ideas with health professionals. As well as developing your own intellectual abilities, this sharing of ideas enables them to learn and benefit from the experiences of others.  Opportunity is given for this sort of discussion and exchange of ideas through seminars and tutorials.

All students are given a named personal tutor following registration onto the programme, who is able to assist them with any pastoral care as well as advice on writing style, grammar and academic mentoring.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars. You will be allocated a personal tutor at the beginning of the programme who will provide educational and pastoral support and will aim to:

  • maintain regular contact throughout the programme;
  • advise on the academic standards;
  • provide support and guidance with respect to learning;
  • provide feedback of progress and constructive comment on any aspects of learning which will require further development;
  • be available for personal advice and support;
  • ensure the professional requirement has been met.

The personal tutor will aim to be available for support on all academic and practice matters. They will also be responsible for reviewing progress of the Prescribing Portfolio and provide guidance on its construction.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats.  These will include oral feedback during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark.  You can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of fully engaging in this course, you should be able to:

  • Critically explore current available clinical pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to your own area of practice in a review of non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches to modifying conditions and promoting health;
  • Evaluate personal limitations applied to patient safety in justifying prescribing decisions in analysis of your current knowledge of drug actions, indications, contraindications, interactions, cautions, dose and side-effects;
  • Appraise and apply professional, regulatory and organisational standards in analysis of prescribing decisions, based on the needs of patients, acknowledging competing pressures;
  • Explore information retrieval systems and apply information to practice within a critical review of evidence underpinning therapeutic strategies;
  • Critically explore therapeutic relationships based on trust and mutual respect;
  • Explore patients presenting problems, health and medication history through analysis of assessment, diagnostic tests and diagnostic decisions regarding treatment options for the patient and potential follow up treatment;
  • Critically interpret local and national policies that impact on prescribing practice;
  • Critically explore the potential for working in partnership with colleagues for the benefit of patients.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Students from the UK

Fees will be invoiced by module. Normally, invoices will be released shortly after enrolment for each individual module. For more information please refer to our tuition fees pages.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

This course does not currently accept students from outside the UK/EU.

Additional costs

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

We will provide any equipment required.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

The non-medical prescribing pathway will provide you with a qualification that enable you to build on your existing role; improving the patient experience and reducing waiting times.

This programme will help you develop your career by undertaking more advanced roles with greater responsibilities for managing patient care.

The PgCert is also available as a pathway through the MSc in Advanced Practice; a programme designed for health, social care and related professionals in primary, secondary and tertiary settings who wish to advance their knowledge base, clinical, leadership and management skills. Students, irrespective of their clinical specialty, will become actively involved in the advancement of practice.


UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2021 dates.

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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.