Pharmacy Practice (Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme) PgDip/MSc top-up

Why choose this course?


This Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) is a conversion programme designed to enable non-EU-qualified pharmacists to receive theoretical and practical training in key topics relevant to practice in the UK. It aims to familiarise overseas-trained pharmacists (non-EU and not covered by Directive 2005/36/EC) with the practice of pharmacy in the UK. The course was fully accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in 2018.

Kingston is long established as a top teaching university with excellent facilities. We have excellent links with a number of hospitals, including St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kingston Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham, as well as a number of major community pharmacies, enabling you to experience the role of the pharmacist first-hand through visits or placements.


Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 3 days a week (a mixture of lectures, workshops and practicals) September 2021

You must successfully pass the PgDip before you can register for the MSc top-up.

Location Penrhyn Road

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.


Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is designed for overseas-trained pharmacists who wish to work in the UK. It offers theoretical and practical training in key topics relevant to UK practice.
  • Kingston is a top teaching university with excellent facilities and links to hospitals and community pharmacies.
  • Your learning will be supported through community hospital and GP placements, simulations and inter-professional education.

What you will study

We will equip you with knowledge pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy, pharmacy practice, and UK pharmacy law and practice. Your learning will integrate science with practice, with case studies demonstrating how chemistry, pharmacology and pharmaceutics affect clinical practice. Your learning is further supported with community and hospital placements, simulations and inter-professional education.

Successful graduates will be eligible to apply for a one-year pre-registration period in an approved pharmaceutical establishment, prior to taking membership examinations from the pharmacy regulator (the General Pharmaceutical Council) and gaining entry onto the UK register of pharmacists. Obtaining a pre-registration placement is the responsibility of the student, and different visa requirements may apply for non-EU/EEA citizens. You are advised to visit the UK Borders Agency and Home Office websites for the latest information on visas and employment.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments.


Core modules

Professional Pharmacy Practice in UK

30 credits

This module is a core module for the OSPAP diploma.

It starts by introducing the students (who are overseas pharmacists) to UK law and ethics as relevant to the use of medicines and the practice of pharmacy in the United Kingdom. Sessions on communication skills and basic IT skills should ensure that all students have the same level in these important core skills.

Being a core module of the OSPAP programme, it has been designed to prepare students for the practice as a preregistration trainee and a future pharmacist, in all areas of practice. Knowledge on legal, ethical, clinical and recent practices related to pharmacy e.g. Medicine Use Reviews, New Medicines Services, supplementary and independent prescribing has been embedded in the module. Students are able to acquire the skills necessary for their professional practice e.g. decision making, minimising dispensing errors, continual professional development, the role of pharmacist as part of the health-care team and pharmacoeconomics. Nearly 30% of the teaching time is spent in practicals and workshops to emphasise these concepts.

The module also provides support for the students' ongoing study by introducing an Academic and Professional Portfolio comprising activities to support their learning needs such as engagement with the Personal Tutor Scheme (PTS), the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the Inter Professional Education (IPE). As part of the Academic and Professional Portfolio, students are also required to attend a one day placement in a pharmacy.

It is a professional body requirement that students demonstrate a required level of professional competence before they are awarded the OSPAP and progress to the final stage of training as a UK pharmacist. Students must be able to apply the knowledge they have gained throughout the OSPAP course and in particular that from the Professional Practice and Clinical Pharmacy elements, in a safe and effective manner for patient care.

Application of Science to Patient Care

30 credits

This module is a core module of the OSPAP diploma course. It introduces the principles and skills required to practice evidence-based medicine and problem solving as a clinical pharmacist. It covers the presentation, clinical features and management of cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, reproduction, dermal, respiratory, neurological, inflammatory, and infective disease in patients. This module will provide you with an insight into the management of these conditions in primary and secondary care as well as dealing with aspects of responding to symptoms and public health associated with these conditions. The module is designed to integrate clinical and scientific knowledge as they relate to patient care. It exposes you to real clinical situations and near patient learning, as you will need to spend one and a half days in a hospital setting as part of your compulsory placement.

From Bench to Bedside

30 credits

This module develops the knowledge gained during the induction period of Application of Science to Patient Care (PY7960) to include advanced pharmaceutical concepts such as nanotechnology and their application to patient care. You will study the regulatory framework that underpins drug development from discovery of active substance through clinical trials, drug development, manufacture and licensing. You will acquire hands-on practical skills in preparation and dispensing pharmaceuticals in an aseptic environment. The module also examines the paradigm shift occurring in the pharmaceutical industry; the move from simple small molecule actives to macromolecules (such as proteins and DNA) and nanotechnology constructs (such as polymer conjugates, and viral and non-viral vectors). It integrates advanced clinical and scientific concepts using complex patient cases as a platform of analysis to train you how to provide evidence based recommendations. Emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving skills and independent learning.

Research Project (MSc top-up only)

60 credits

This module is a capstone piece of work which allows you to work independently on a laboratory, field or work based in-depth research project.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

All applications for the Pharmacy Practice (Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme) must go through the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for approval in the first instance. Please see their website or contact them directly for more information including entry requirements.

If you make an application for a place on the course, the General Pharmaceutical Council will advise us of your eligibility and you will be sent information from the admissions team on how to apply for a place at Kingston University.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in each element (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking).

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1 PGDip

Year 1 MSc

Year 1 PGDip
  • Scheduled teaching: 750 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1200 hours
Year 1 MSc
  • Scheduled teaching: 590 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1190 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment



  • Coursework: 7%
  • Exams: 80%
  • Practical: 13%
  • Coursework: 30%
  • Exams: 60%
  • Practical: 10%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

­You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes, therefore you may be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by the School of Life Sciences, and Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.The Faculty's wide selection of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covers a diverse range of subject areas, from aerospace to geography; from maths and computing to biotechnology; and many more. Our collaborative set-up provides new opportunities for our students, and we design our courses with industry professionals to ensure you stay up to date with the latest developments.

School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry

The School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry is well known for the high quality of its undergraduate and postgraduate courses. These include full- and part-time foundation programmes. Excellent facilities support our teaching - students benefit from new, purpose-built laboratories, equipped with state-of-the-art instruments. Strong links with industry and other key sectors ensure our students are well prepared for today's employment market. These include connections with hospitals and community pharmacies, accreditation from industry bodies, and involvement with active research groups.

Staff teaching on this course

You will be taught by staff members with wide-ranging educational, research and industrial expertise, as well as teacher practitioners from hospital and community pharmacies. This diverse and well-qualified team fosters an enthusiasm for learning and ensures that the most up-to-date clinical and scientific skills needed for practice in the UK are taught.

Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Pharmacy lab

Central to your learning is our new pharmacy practice laboratory, designed to allow you to experience what it is like in a real pharmacy and finesse your skills before you start working in the health service. Based at our Penrhyn Road campus, the £420,000 centre includes:

  • 40 medicine-dispensing stations;
  • a pharmacy counter;
  • a consulting area; and
  • computers connected to the Nexphase system (used in many local pharmacies).

You practice your people and diagnostic skills through role plays, taking it in turns to play the patient. Other role plays include advising doctors (usually played by experienced tutors) on how to deal with prescribing errors and clinical problems.

When dispensing prescriptions you have to make all the same checks that you would make in a real pharmacy, including:

  • analysing prescriptions to check they have been filled in correctly by doctors;
  • checking clinical issues such as how one medicine might interact with another; and
  • advising pretend patients on how to take their prescriptions. 

What this course offers you

  • This course covers the science behind the preparation, supply and monitoring of medicines for the treatment and prevention of disease.
  • This course gives a broad understanding of the pharmacy-related aspects of chemistry and biology.
  • This course equips you with a sound clinical knowledge for your extended role as a UK pharmacist.
  • Placements in hospitals and community pharmacies mean you can apply your studies to real life situations.
  • Visiting lecturers from various practice backgrounds are used to provide teaching that is current and is related to current practice.
  • Supportive staff help you to reach your full potential.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • PGDip full time £12,400
  • MSc other full time £4,800

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • PGDip full time £12,400
  • MSc other full time £4,800

After you graduate

Where this course will take you

The course is designed for those who wish to practise as a pharmacist in the UK.

To become a registered pharmacist in Great Britain, on completion of your accredited OSPAP degree, you will be required to satisfactorily complete 52 weeks of preregistration pharmacist training in an approved pharmacy establishment and pass the General Pharmaceutical Council's registration assessment.

There are many career opportunities for qualified pharmacists, in community and hospital pharmacy, working in GP practices and primary care organisations, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. There are also opportunities to pursue higher degrees by research, or to obtain the MSc top-up by research.

Our graduates have secured positions in community and hospital pharmacies. Some are also employed in the pharmaceutical industry.

Careers and recruitment advice

The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques.

Our team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs where you can meet prospective employers. We also provide information on the Oriel once you have decided to join our OSPAP course here at Kingston.

Upon joining the course, you will be assigned a personal tutor who is a UK qualified pharmacist, who will be able to provide support during your time here at Kingston and beyond.

What our OSPAP students say

Studying the OSPAP at Kingston is like being part of a family. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and if you find anything that is not available, they will go out of their way to help you find what you need. It's a great place to prepare ourselves to become practising UK pharmacists.

Nakul Patel

The postgraduate OSPAP course at Kingston University has helped me develop the professional skills required to enable me to progress in my Pharmacy career in the U.K. The teaching standards are quite good with effective teaching methods which improved my ways of understanding things. 

The course may feel a little overwhelming, however, with good time management skills you can cope quite well and it is not an impossible path to overcome especially with the immense support from faculty members. It can sometimes become challenging, but definitely rewarding in the end. Undergoing this course at Kingston University has helped me create a guiding path towards my goal.

Chandni Shah

Current research in this subject

Many of our staff in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Research in the Faculty is organised into several research areas, including the Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Group (BPSRG). This is an interdisciplinary group shared by Kingston University and St George's, University of London in which research is organised into the following themes:

  • parasitology and microbiology;
  • haematology/immunology/cancer biology;
  • biomedical, pharmaceutical and instrumental analyses;
  • medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry;
  • clinical pharmacy and advanced drug delivery; and
  • nutrition/exercise and sports science.

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.


We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Workshops will be delivered synchronously either on campus or online. For laboratory practicals, there are no changes to the number of sessions, but where for safety reasons, some will not be able to be delivered on campus so will instead be delivered as virtual online practicals.

Lab workshops and tutorials will be delivered through both on-campus teaching and as virtual online activities to meet the same learning outcomes in a socially-distanced manner, with no change in the total hours of delivery.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.


Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

On-campus teaching may involve smaller class sizes in line with social distance requirements. Workshops and seminars may run in larger groups when delivered online.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.


There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)


No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.