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 2020

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

Location Penrhyn Road

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.