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Clinical Pharmacy (3 years) (PgDip)

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Part time blended learning

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

A key qualification for hospital pharmacy clinical career advancement, the programme enjoys funding from the NHS and is supported by Associate Course Directors across Wales and experienced work-based tutors at accredited hospital sites.


Developed by experienced practitioners

A key qualification developed by experienced practitioners across 22 hospitals in four centres around Wales and England.


Combine an academic course with your professional role

Combines an academic course with your everyday role to develop the skills and knowledge to optimise patient care, and aid career advancement.


Learn at your own pace

Flexibility enables you to complete the course at your own pace, between three and eight years.


Convenient location

Course conducted mainly in your base hospital.


Sharing and learning from best practice

Provides the opportunity to compare practices across regions and learn from each other.


Progress to an MSc

Once you have completed this qualification you will have the option to complete the full MSc in Clinical Pharmacy.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy is a 120 credit level 7 qualification, which can be studied over two or three years, and that has been designed to support your development as a pharmacist in your early career or if you are planning to change healthcare sector.  Having completed the Postgraduate Clinical Pharmacy Diploma, by undertaking this masters programme, you will achieve a higher degree whilst you gain the knowledge, skills and professional values and behaviours a pharmacist needs to contribute effectively to the provision of healthcare.

Through completing this programme, you will learn how to address the complex health related challenges faced by patients and the population as a whole. You’ll develop a comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of your role as a pharmacist and that of the pharmacy profession in a changing healthcare environment. This will include an understanding of the structure, organisation and funding of the health service, how resources are managed and how services are deemed to be clinically and cost effective.

This programme will also support you to become a confident independent learner and critical thinker and will embed the principles of quality improvement and using research to develop an evidence base. You’ll be supported to enhance your consultation and communication skills and to make decisions in complex clinical situations that may be acute or chronic. This will include an understanding of risk and how it can be managed or mitigated through appropriate quality management and clinical governance frameworks. You will embed the principles of shared decision making and multidisciplinary team-working in your practice.

Where you'll study

School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

We are a leader in clinical skills development with an international reputation for teaching and research.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4080
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB

Admissions criteria

Applicants must be a registered pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council of Great Britain or a country where there is a reciprocal agreement AND be working in a patient-facing practice setting.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test, or an equivalent English language qualification, in line with the professional requirement of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) (IETLS 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.)

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

Selection or interview process:

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.

Please submit your application via the Cardiff University Online Application Service.

Applicants undergo an interview prior to acceptance on the programme.

Application deadline: End of July of each academic year.  Your application will be considered after this date but it may be for a later intake.

Please note that the optional independent prescribing module is only available to students within the MSc Clinical Pharmacy who meet the entry criteria to that module. Details on this can be found here:

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

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy is a part-time postgraduate programme and involves studying 120 credits for the Diploma, with the option to exit with 60 credits for the Certificate. 

The programme may be undertaken over two or three years and applicants should indicate which they intend to undertake in the application process.

The modules run from September to June each academic year and for the three-year programme, 40 credits will be studied in each academic year.

Please note that there are three Core (compulsory) modules in the programme, one of which you will undertake in the first year of the programme. For each of the other two Core 20 credit (compulsory) modules, you have the optionality to undertake the module in either year 1, year 2 or year 3 of the programme.

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

In this year you will study 40 credits.  You will study 20 core credits and then an additional 20 credits from the remaining core (compulsory) and optional modules.

Choices of the optional modules available may depend upon where you work and if it is relevant, for example critical care will only be available to those based in secondary care.

Year two

In this year you will study 40 credits, from the core (compulsory) and optional modules.  The choice will depend upon what modules you completed in year 1.

Choices of the optional modules available may depend upon where you work and if it is relevant, for example critical care will only be available to those based in secondary care.

Year three

In this year you will study 40 credits, from the core (compulsory) and optional modules.  The choice will depend upon what modules you completed in years 1 and 2.

Choices of the optional modules available may depend upon where you work and if it is relevant, for example critical care will only be available to those based in secondary care.

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 School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is committed to developing the knowledge and skills needed for a pharmacist to improve health outcomes and health care for patients. Top-quality teaching relies on academic and clinical expertise of pharmacy practitioners and clinicians.

You will be taught in a variety of ways.  A blended learning approach has been taken, which includes face-to-face study days, experiential learning, directed study, on-line activities and self-directed study.  The exact nature of your learning will be dependent upon the modules selected.

Attendance at study days will be dependent upon the modules chosen, but all students will attend the initial 3 day study block in September held in Birmingham, a 2 day study block at the beginning of October held in Cardiff either in year 1 or 2, and other study days either held in one of the four teaching centres (North Wales, South-East Wales, South-West Wales or Oxford) or in Cardiff, depending upon which modules are undertaken.

Throughout all modules there is a particular emphasis on identifying your own specific learning needs to direct your independent study and to ensure the module is relevant to your own practice.  Application of knowledge and skills in practice is the core of each module.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments measure professional, academic and/or clinical practice.  Many modules include formative assessments (assessments which do not count towards the module mark) which are intended to provide you with feedback and an indication of your progress. 

Methods of summative assessment (assessments which count towards the module mark) vary depending upon the module and their specific learning outcomes. Methods include portfolios, oral presentations, objective structured clinical examination, written assignments such as posters, patient management problems, reflective assignments and analytical reviews.  Where there is an experiential practice component of the module, an assessment of your practice will be completed by an accredited tutor.  These tutors are trained, supported and guided by the University academic staff.

Attendance at Cardiff University will be required for some compulsory assessments, for example the Objective Structured Clinical Examination and the poster presentation.

We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats.  These will include oral feedback and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework.  The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through meeting with your personal tutor. During your experiential practice you will be supported in 

How will I be supported?

Personal Tutor

Academic support for your studies will be by your Associate Course Director, who will act in the capacity as your University personal tutor.  The personal tutor system is a vital and central part of student support within the School. The role of the personal tutor is to monitor overall academic progress and to provide pastoral support, acting where appropriate as the first point of contact and a gateway to the student support services provided by the University (including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service). They will visit you in your place of work at least three times within the timeframe of the Diploma and will be available to provide support to you through e-mail, telephone and in person.  The Programme Director is also contactable and is available to answer your questions and address any difficulties you may be having with your studies.


At the beginning of your course there is a compulsory online induction module. This will help you find your way around the University’s virtual learning environment and it will also provide general information including about the personal tutor system, and how our administration and IT teams will support you. The virtual learning environment is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access relevant multimedia material, presentations, workshop handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises etc from anywhere.

The University library is available year-round. Staff are available to assist you and provide support and advice. The library holds many electronic journals and books that you will be able to access to help you with your studies.

Student-Staff Panel

At the beginning of each year a Student Academic Representative is appointed for the programme from amongst the students.

Student Academic Representatives bring feedback from students on their course to regular student-staff panels, where the representatives meet with School Staff to discuss the ways in which their courses can be improved. Student Academic Representatives are also a vital part of the feedback loop, communicating the changes brought about in Student-Staff panels back to the student body.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • systematic integration and application of pharmaceutical, biomedical, clinical therapeutic knowledge and patient assessment in patient care.
  • critical understanding of the communication and consultations skills frameworks and models and their appropriate application to patient and population health care.
  • comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting health inequalities and social determinants of health.
  • a conceptual understanding of the management and leadership of health care services and systems in the UK.
  • comprehensive understanding of quality improvement and research methods used in healthcare and the ethical and organisational issues relevant to their application in practice.
  • comprehensive knowledge of information, clinical and research governance in the healthcare environment.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to reflect on and evaluate learning in the clinical workplace.
  • application of critical evaluation and appraisal skills when making decisions, both within and beyond the scope of guidelines.
  • the critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning skills needed for the effective management of medicines related problems in practice and to operate in and across a range of healthcare settings.
  • development, planning, completing and communication of the results of an original quality improvement project.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • safe and effective professional practice.
  • systematic understanding and application of communication and consultation skills required to contribute to the effective management of medicines related problems in practice.
  • the appropriate professional behaviour and judgement in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical contexts.
  • the ability to work as an independent, reflective practitioner, who takes personal responsibility for their actions.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • effective participation in multidisciplinary and inter-professional teams.
  • effective communication of balanced and appropriate information to different audiences by oral and written means.
  • a comprehensive understanding of a range of leadership principles, approaches and techniques and the ability to apply them in practice.
  • digital capabilities relevant to the professional role. 
  • the ability to manage the personal challenges of coping with uncertainty.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £2,270 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees 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)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,210 £1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

You may incur costs related to attending study schools. If your programme is funded by your employer, you should check with your employer whether they will be providing financial support with this aspect too.

If you are a self-funder or part-funder, you may incur additional costs relating to accommodation and travel expenses to attend any study days.

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

It is expected that you will have access to a computer and that you can use Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint or equivalent and be able to access the Cardiff University intranet.

Good internet connection is required, as you may be required to attend live webinars or live streaming of study days for certain modules.

Living costs

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

Careers and placements

Upon successful completion of this programme, you will have an advanced standing both clinically and academically, taking you to the forefront of the profession, and enhancing your personal and professional development.

If you are eligible to undertake the Independent Prescribing module within the programme, you’ll be able to be annotated to the GPhC register on successful completion of the module.



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


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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.