School of Pharmacy

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Our MPharm degree will equip you with the professional skills, scientific knowledge and clinical experience to become a caring, ethical and effective pharmacist.

Pharmacists work in a variety of settings to provide essential healthcare services. Roles range from drug design and production to working in the community and the clinical setting.  

This four-year degree focuses on developing your scientific, technical and communication skills so that you can confidently pursue a career in this area.  

It is a highly rewarding field and graduates of pharmacy degrees enjoy high employment levels.


Highlights of the MPharm degree


Quality and ranking

Study Pharmacy at Newcastle University and you will be joining our world-renowned Faculty of Medical Sciences.

We have an international reputation for the quality of our well-established degrees in medicine, dentistry, psychology and biomedical sciences.

Pharmacy at Newcastle ranks:

  • top 125 – Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health category – Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2018
  • top 200 – Pharmacy and Pharmacology category – QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


Becoming a pharmacist

Pharmacy is a highly varied profession with a number of different possible career paths open to graduates.  To register as a pharmacist in the UK, you must complete the MPharm degree, a pre-registration training year and sit the registration assessment.  After registration, pharmacy graduates are highly sought after and are amongst the most employable professionals in the UK, with many opportunities to work internationally. 


What you will study

Our MPharm degree will provide you with the practical skills and knowledge base to effectively contribute to high-quality patient care, whichever section of the profession you ultimately choose. 

Through a varied range of teaching methods, you will develop a strong base of theoretical and academic knowledge related to:

  • the structure and function of the human body
  • abnormal pathology
  • chronic disease management
  • pharmacology and medicinal chemistry
  • cutting-edge pharmaceutical science
  • injections, implants and transdermal delivery systems

You will develop practical skills to enable you to excel in professional practice, such as:

  • effective communication and consultation with patients
  • examination skills and physiological monitoring
  • law as it applies to pharmacy
  • medicine management systems
  • prescribing and decision making 

We develop your academic and research skills, to help you complete your degree and to prepare you for a research career should you wish to pursue one.  Skills include: 

  • conducting research
  • literature searching
  • academic writing
  • statistics 

You'll also undertake numerous clinical placements during your degree.  These are an essential part of preparation for clinical practice and introduce you to the varied settings in which pharmacists work.


Facilities and support

This degree is taught within the Faculty of Medical Sciences, which is also home to Dentistry, Medicine and Psychology.

Situated next to Newcastle’s RVI hospital, we’re one of the largest integrated teaching / hospital complexes in the country.

However, you'll benefit from excellent facilities across the University and within the regional NHS.

  • Newly refurbished pharmacy laboratories in the historic red-brick George VI Building
  • Clinical skills suite, anatomy lab and biochemistry lab in the Medical School
  • Specialist medicinal chemistry facilities
  • Access to the hospital environment through our close proximity to the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

You'll be supported by a personal tutor throughout your degree – an academic member of staff who can help with academic and personal issues.

You'll also have access to a peer mentor in your first year – a fellow student who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have.

About the MPharm

Our Pharmacy MPharm degree is divided into four Stages.  Each Stage develops your theoretical knowledge and practical skills further.  Each Stage lasts for an academic year and you need to complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each Stage.

This ensures you graduate fully equipped with the understanding, skills and professional competencies needed for your future career.

After your degree, you'll need to complete a period of pre-registration training in order to register as a pharmacist.  Throughout your degree, we'll help prepare you for this next step in your professional journey. 


Stage 1

The first year will comprise a single, integrated module, Fundamentals of Pharmacy: the Integration of Science and Practice.

This module will focus on patient-orientated problems.  You will have access to patients from the very start of the course to ensure that you understand how to apply knowledge and skills.

You'll study:

  • the normal structure and function of the human body
  • pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and formulation science in terms of identifying and developing drug substances, then formulating them into acceptable and effective medicines
  • micro-organisms and their role as agents of infection, but also in terms of the damage they can cause to pharmaceutical products

You'll gain experience of the workplace and learn a range of professional and practical skills:

  • how to talk to patients and work within healthcare teams, all focused on the effective use of medicines
  • simple examination skills and aspects of physiological monitoring
  • the importance of professional identity and the dynamic working situations that result from multi-professional networking
  • research skills, including literature searching, academic writing and referencing, statistics and how each is applied to pharmaceutical research


Stage 2

The second year will build on previous studies and will continue the focus on patients.

You study a single integrated module, Pharmaceutical Care: Pathology, Patients and Professionalism.

You will examine abnormal pathology and subsequent therapeutic options to deal with disease, including chronic disease management.

This material will be fully integrated with cutting-edge pharmaceutical science, and will be built upon by continuing to give experience of the workplace.

You will also study:

  • law as it is relevant to pharmacy
  • systems for medicines management including the development and use of clinical guidelines and formularies
  • patient communication; communicating complex information to patients at a level that is understandable


Stage 3

You study a single integrated module, Applied Pharmaceutical Interventions: Design, Delivery and Decisions.

You will be presented with more complex, patient-based examples, which will include multiple disease states and complex therapeutic interventions.

You will develop an understanding of how medicines are used concomitantly and how adverse effects are monitored and managed.

The development of drugs from first principles will be examined including the use of molecular modelling techniques to analyse molecular structure in the context of drug action.

You will study the formulation of injections, implantable medicinal devices and transdermal delivery devices.

You'll also continue to develop vital decision-making skills, skills in communication and consultation, and examination. 

As with other modules this will be supported by inter-professional learning sessions and time in the workplace.


Stage 4

The fourth year will contain two 60-credit modules.

The first module allows you to choose an area of pharmacy to study in more detail as part of a Research Project.  Potential areas for focus are:

  • medicinal chemistry
  • pharmacology
  • pharmacy practice
  • formulation science
  • pharmaceutical microbiology

This project will be supervised by one of the academic staff and will be closely related to their current research interests. 

We have international study abroad links.  This means it's possible for you to take the practical aspect of your project at a partner institution overseas. 

The second, Targeted Therapeutics: Optimisation, Critique and Responsibility will be focused on preparing for practice.

You will examine specific areas of oncology, infection and immunology, including support strategies for patients suffering with such diseases.

You'll examine state-of-the-art formulation devices used in the delivery of chemotherapy and associated medicines, including the use of nanotechnology.

The importance of personalised medicine will be discussed in detail. You will encounter complex clinical problems, which you will be required to manage from first principles.


Teaching and Assessment

Our approach to teaching is primarily problem orientated.  We use lectures, seminars, tutorials, problem-based learning, practical experience, laboratory work and case seminars to encourage you to develop knowledge and skills in an integrated manner.

We demonstrate the important links between fundamental pharmaceutical science and application to professional practice.  We do this by using a primarily case-led approach.  This means we can ensure that you learn to integrate your developing knowledge and are able to apply it to your future work.

The level of contact that each year group has with the entire MPharm programme team is high, and all students spend a high percentage of their week engaged in some form of teaching.

Our range of teaching methods ensures you firmly develop both a theoretical knowledge base and practical skills to the correct level.

Our internationally acknowledged teaching staff have expertise in health informatics, pharmaceutical public health and medicinal chemistry.

Student Support

Our students receive outstanding academic and pastoral guidance.  This is provided by both the School of Pharmacy and the University’s specialist support services.  A network of support is available to pharmacy students and students are free to seek information and advice form a variety of sources.  The Student Services website contains comprehensive information concerning your life as a student at Newcastle University.  Our Student Wellbeing Service provides information, advice and support on a wide range of student support issues.

Our central websites have information about:

They also have information about university facilities, including:


School Office

Students are encouraged to contact the office with all queries and concerns, the friendly staff are well equipped to assist.

Academic Support

Some students have trouble in adapting to the learning environment at University as opposed to that experienced in school.  What worked for A-levels may no longer be effective in a university context.  Most support activities are available in person, through the library or online. For students with dyslexia or learning difficulties, specialist study skills support is also available.

English as a second language

If English is not your first language, you may wish to access additional support to improve your spoken and written English.  INTO Newcastle University offers English language support for non-native speaker students. 

English Language Materials Online (ELMO)

ELMO provides online multimedia, self-study English language activities to help you improve your English for Academic Purposes (EAP), whether you are a native English speaker or not.  It’s free to Newcastle University students.

Maths support

Maths-Aid provides a free and confidential service to all students of Newcastle University, providing professional assistance and advice on all aspects of mathematics and statistics.

Academic writing skills

The Writing Development Centre offers a free service to help students to develop their academic writing skills in a supportive environment.  Key priorities are to support students in the transition from secondary to higher education and from undergraduate to postgraduate study.


Pastoral and Career Support


Personal tutors

At the beginning of your first year, you'll be allocated a personal tutor within the School of Pharmacy.  Usually, this person will act as your personal tutor throughout your time at Newcastle University.

You're asked to meet with your personal tutor at least twice a year.  Their role is to provide an initial point of contact for any concerns you may have.

Your tutor can advise and support you in academic and non-academic matters.  You can go to them at any time for advice and help, whether about your academic development and progress, finance or any other University matter.

Depending on the nature of your discussion, they may refer you to other sources of support within the University.

It is important you maintain contact with your personal tutor even when you are not experiencing personal issues or academic challenges - your personal tutor can support you by being a referee for vacation jobs, giving insight into career needs, etc.

Senior Personal Tutor

Based in the School of Pharmacy, the Senior Tutor is available to all pharmacy students and staff as a source of advice and information relating to student wellbeing.

Student Wellbeing Service

The University’s Student Wellbeing Service provides a confidential source of more specialised information, advice and guidance.  This covers a wide range of student support issues to enable all students to maximise their potential while at University.  The Student Wellbeing Service offers specialist advice to students on all aspects of financial management, including:

  • Disability support
  • student loans
  • NHS bursaries
  • a range of discretionary funds

Careers Service

The University Careers Service offers careers guidance and advice throughout your studies and up to three years after graduation.


PharmSoc is a student-led profession oriented group. PharmSoc provides social opportunities, support by others studying pharmacy and introduces you into a professional network that is likely to extend well beyond your days at University.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We recognise the importance of establishing a balanced approach to study.  There are plenty of opportunities for our students to engage in extra-curricular activities and there are many social opportunities for students.

Many students also choose to volunteer in the local community or help local community by raising money for things like playground equipment, etc. Volunteering can also help other students, for example, Nightline is a University listening service for students, run by students. 


Clinical placements are a key element of your MPharm degree and an essential part of the preparation for clinical practice.  Students undertake placements at each stage, introducing them to the varied range of settings in which pharmacists could work. 

Each placement is carefully thought out to ensure that you are able to experience and learn about the different roles you will be able to take on once you are qualified.  The placements help you develop a sense of identity as a pharmacist and identify your interests.  They are also an opportunity for you to gain, develop and craft your practical knowledge and skills.

In stage 1, the placements are designed for students to develop their communication skills.  The Pharmacy School works with with the Newcastle University Student's Union to provide students with the opportunity to contribute to the internally managed service provision for the deprived refugee and asylum community.  Students will engage in activities that will require them to communicate with those whose first language may not be English and with potentially challenging needs.

In stage 2, the placement is designed to introduce and develop students' ability to engage and communicate with hospital inpatients on wards to discuss drug therapies.  Students will work supervised on the hospital wards of the local hospital to undertake clinical and accuracy checking of drugs patients have brought in with them upon hospital admission.

In stage 3, the rotational placement is designed to allow students to develop their communication, consultation and physical assessment skills.  Students will work supervised in hospital environments to undertake patient consultations and physical assessments.  Students will also have the opportunity to gain experience working within a general practice hub and explore the role of the pharmacist in this environment.

In stage 4, the placement is designed to provide students with a snapshot experience of a highly specialised clinical role and environment.  Students will have an element of choice in this placement, and previous hosts have included:

  • palliative care hospices
  • drug and alcohol recovery programmes
  • research and development departments of companies
  • HIV clinics
  • Public health sector

Specialist Pharmacy areas have included:

  • Microbiology
  • Oncology
  • Antibiotics
  • Orthopaedics
  • Service design and delivery

Interprofessional Education

The General Pharmaceutical Council’s standard 5.6 states that “the MPharm curriculum must include practical experience of working with patients, carers and other healthcare professionals and practical experience should increase year on year”.  This requirement reflects directly the concept of Interprofessional Education (IPE), defined in 1997 by the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE), as “occasions when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of health and social care”.

Our current concept for the IPE experiences at all levels of the MPharm includes the planning of learning activities around the concept of learning “with, from and about each other”.  The overall aims are to modify students’ thinking and understanding of interprofessional teamwork through the recognition of the roles and responsibilities played by different healthcare professionals, and as a consequence create respectful and conscious practitioners and team players.

We aim to provide IPE in a step-wise manner over the four-year MPharm course (in line with the model of a spiral and integrated curriculum).  Specifically, sessions have been planned within each successive academic year within the current structure, where interprofessional working is revisited with increasing levels of sophistication and complexity as the student progresses.  At Newcastle, you'll be working and training alongside professionals and other students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, developing your understanding of pharmacy within the complete healthcare system.

Pre-registration Training

To register as a pharmacist, after successfully completing the MPharm, graduates must complete pre-registration training.  More information on pre-registration training can be found on the General Pharmaceutical Council website.

This includes the requirement to pass the General Pharmaceutical Council Registration Assessment.

Guidance will be given on personal development, pre-registration training and the pharmacy profession by the academic team and other dedicated staff within the division.

At numerous points throughout the course we will introduce you to employers in order that you can prepare for their likely expectations at the point of applying for pre-registration training.

Work placements in community, hospital, primary care and industry will be offered throughout the MPharm degree to ensure you are fully prepared for pre-registration training and your future professional role in pharmacy.

The importance of continuing professional development (CPD), and lifelong learning will be introduced to you from induction, this will include maintenance of a CPD portfolio relating to your practical experiences throughout the programme.

Open Days

Come and have a look at our wonderful facilities and meet our team.

We usually hold two open days a year, for prospective students and their families.

Find out more on the Newcastle University Open Day website.

Entry Requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis.  Please see full details of our entry requirements here


Important Admissions Information

Applicants must satisfy Fitness to Practise requirements on admission to the course.  This includes a health declaration and submission of an acceptable disclosure and barring service (DBS), clearance.  Students coming direct to the course from a country outside of the UK must provide a letter of good conduct from their home country and will be required to submit an acceptable DBS at the end of the first year.


Fees and Funding

Full details of current Fees and Funding can be found here


Applying to Newcastle University through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

UCAS codes for Newcastle University

  • institution name - NEWC
  • institution code - N21

UCAS buzzword

Ask your teacher or adviser from your school or college for the UCAS buzzword.  You need the buzzword when you register on the Apply system.  This makes it clear which school or college you are applying from.

All UK schools and colleges and a small number of EU and international establishments are registered with UCAS.

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system.  You will not need a buzzword.

Making your application

On the UCAS website you can also find out more about:

Application decisions and enquiries

Find out more about our admissions process and who to contact if you need help with your application.