MScAdvanced Clinical Pharmacy Practice

Why this course?

This new and unique course enables pharmacists (registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council) to come together in a small peer-group learning environment to develop as advanced clinical practitioners. The course is flexible with a choice of classes that look at specific practice and personal development needs.

The course is designed to produce highly skilled practitioners who can improve patient care by driving forward innovation in all areas of pharmacy practice through delivery of the Scottish Government’s Vision and Action Plan: Prescription for Excellence

The Independent Prescribing (IP) qualification is included within the course as an  optional 30-credit module; practitioners who have already completed the IP qualification will receive 30 credits for prior learning and the requirements for each award will be reduced by 30 credits.

You’ll study

This course consists of a series of optional classes.

Successful completion of 60 credits from any combination of classes leads to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate.

The award of a Postgraduate Diploma requires 120 credits. The MSc requires 180 credits, which includes a project and class in research skills.

Our facilities & staff

The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS)is recognised as one of the foremost departments of its kind in the UK. It's a leading research centre in the search for new and improved medicines. You'll benefit from the advanced facilities of a new £36 million building.

Our postgraduate community comes from all corners of the globe and benefits from the support and guidance of the Institute’s Graduate School as well as from close, long-standing industrial and NHS links.

Research in SIPBS is focused on “New Medicines, Better Medicines, Better Use of Medicines”. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, SIPBS submitted in the Allied Health unit of assessment and was ranked fourth on research power in the UK and first in Scotland.

The teaching and research interests of the Institute cover many aspects of pharmacy and biomedical sciences. There's particular emphasis on:

  • fundamental bioscience to develop new targets and translational opportunities
  • drug discovery to translate basic science into target validation
  • advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing and industrial biotechnology
  • pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacy practice research for better pharmaceutical care and medicines use

Course content

The course is designed around three practitioner toolkits, therapeutic, health service quality improvement and research.

Each theme contains classes designed to address a range of development needs.

You can take any combination of classes for the PgCert/PgDip. For the MSc you must complete Research Skills class.

Therapeutics toolkit

Elective classes

Advanced clinical assessment & consultation skills

The aim of the class is to understand the clinical assessment process and gain experience in conducting consultations to support clinical decision making for individual patients.

The class will study the following topics:

  • Consultation skills and behaviours
  • Frameworks for effective clinical assessment
  • Clinical decision making skills
  • Skills development through use of mannequins, expert patients/volunteers and patients in clinical practice
Advanced therapeutics & health innovation

The aim of this class is to explore the complexity of clinical care through the inter-relationship between co-morbidity, advancing diagnostic and treatment innovation, resource management and the wishes of individual patients.

The class will look at these topics:

  • Health technology assessment process illustrated through the Scottish Medicines Consortium approach
  • Clinical science advancements in diagnostics and monitoring of disease
  • Therapeutic advancements including genomics and stratified medicine
  • Complex clinical care decision making in clinical specialities
Clinical practice attachment

The aim of this class is to gain experience and exposure to a heath service specialty and the associated clinical team.

The class will study the following themed topics:

  • Clinical therapeutics and advancements in a clinical speciality
  • Communicating with the multidisciplinary team
  • Complex clinical care decision making and preparation of pharmaceutical care plans in a clinical speciality

Health Service Quality Improvement toolkit

Elective classes

Quality Improvement Methodology

To aim of this class is to provide an introduction to the principles and practice of quality improvement in healthcare through gaining an understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours required.

The class will look at the following topics:

  • Quality and quality improvement definitions and policy within healthcare
  • Quality improvement methods
  • Measurement for improvement
  • Team relationships in quality improvement programmes
  • Practical application of a QI project practice
Pharmacist Independent Prescribing

The aim of this class is to prepare clinicians to be pharmacist independent prescribers in clinical practice within NHS Scotland.

This class comprises the current Pharmacist Independent Prescribing (IP) course approved by GPhC covering the following topics:  

  • Therapeutics
  • Communication with patients and colleagues
  • Prescribing and public health
  • Care planning
  • Period of learning in practice
Clinical service development

The aim of this class is to introduce the principles and practice of planning a clinical service development.

The class will study the following themed topics:

  • Service development framework
  • Communicating with the multidisciplinary team
  • Stages in the formulation of a service development proposal
  • Preparing written service development proposal

Research toolkit

Research Skills

The aim of this class is to develop knowledge and skills in research methodology and analysis to enable practitioners to plan a project within clinical practice.

The class will study the following themed topics:

  • Framing a clinical question for research
  • Literature search construction, execution and reporting
  • Quantitative & qualitative research methods and design
  • Quantitative & qualitative analytical approaches 
  • Research & ethics considerations in clinical research
  • Protocol design
Research Project

The aim of  the class is to provide experience in the design, implementation and reporting of a clinical research project.

The class will study the following themed topics:

  • Literature review
  • Project design and approvals
  • Project implementation and data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Manuscript and poster preparation

Learning & teaching

The course places a strong emphasis on student-centred learning delivered through a blended learning approach. There's a combination of e-learning materials, small group tutorials and workshops led by experienced staff, student presentations and work-based practice activities. Class material is available through online learning tools which can be accessed at any time.

The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has a well-established relationship with NHS Scotland and a number of leading clinicians have visiting or honorary appointments. The course team combines both academic and clinical expertise to deliver classes that provide both the scientific knowledge and practical skills that are necessary to achieve the changes required to improve patient care.

Together we undertake collaborative research focused on the “Better Use of Medicines” through the study of real-world clinical data (pharmacoepidemiology) and the design and testing of novel healthcare intervention models in clinical practice settings (practice research).


Assessment is through both written assignments and practical observation/examinations and submission of a manuscript (MSc students only).

Entry requirements

  • A degree in pharmacy from a United Kingdom university or a qualification deemed by the Head of Department acting on behalf of Senate to be equivalent.
  • Registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

Fees & funding

You can take any combination of classes for the PgCert (60 credits)/PgDip (120 credits). For the MSc (180 credits) you must complete the Research Skills class.

A maximum of five years is allowed from the point of first registration to completion of the required classes up to the award of an MSc.

If you have undertaken the Independent Prescribing Course in Scotland in the five years before registration this can be recognised as prior learning (30 credits).

How much will the classes cost?

2017/18 - Scotland/EU/Rest of UK

  • Advanced clinical assessment and consultation skills (20 credits) - £800
  • Advanced therapeutics and health innovation (20 credits) - £800
  • Clinical practice attachment (40 credits) - £1,600
  • Quality improvement methodology (20 credits) - £800
  • Pharmacist independent prescribing  (30 credits) - £1,300
  • Clinical service development (10 credits) - £400
  • Research skills (20 credits) - £800
  • Research project (60 credits) - £1,900

How can I fund my course?

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


The course prepares you to develop and grow your clinical career to prepare you for senior clinical leadership appointments in variable healthcare settings. For example:

  • appointments as principal clinical pharmacist
  • clinical pharmacy lead within a managed healthcare in hospital or primary care
  • clinical pharmacist independent prescriber within a speciality with your own clinical caseload

Contact us


Advanced Clinical Pharmacy Practice

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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