Postgraduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing Practice

This course has been developed to reflect the advanced levels of knowledge and skills required to become an Independent Prescriber.

Fundamental to this course is that pharmacists, midwives, nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists will be taught alongside one another and assessed using the same assessment criteria. 

The course will follow the outline curricula of the accrediting bodies the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

This course has been designed to facilitate practitioners in achieving prescribing competency as set out by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) document “A competency framework for all prescribers”, and in line with the Standards for prescribing set out by the respective regulators."

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

How is the course delivered?

Blended teaching, mixing face to face study days and distance learning.

Face to face study is a mixture of lead lectures, tutorials and physical assessment sessions.

Utilising a range of experts from within the university as well as from our partner trusts. Students will be allocated either a Thursday or Friday study day.

The 15 days face to face will be spread out across the year. Students will also be expected to complete the 130 hours of directed study and 235 hours of independent study.

Additionally, 100 hours of supervised learning will be undertaken in practice.

The support given by the students' clinical environment to the development of prescribing practice is key.


This course provides a Postgraduate Certificate in Independent Prescribing Practice.

In order for nurses/midwives/Specialist Community Public Health Nurses (SCPHN) to attain prescribing annotation they would need to complete module Independent Prescribing for NMC registrants.

This module is a modification of the previous USW prescribing module. The modifications have been undertaken to meet the current NMC prescribing standards (NMC 2018).

In order for a pharmacist or suitable HCPC registrant to attain prescribing annotation, they would complete module Independent Prescribing for GPhC and HCPC registrants.

To complete the Post Graduate Certificate the students will complete either of the above modules and one portfolio module. Developing and Evidencing Prescribing Competence serves to evidence prescribing competence through the lens of the ‘Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Competency Framework for All Prescribers’.

The course is designed to provide opportunities for students to further develop their knowledge, skills, understanding and competence to be able to effectively and safely prescribe in their area of practice. 

Theoretical learning will be managed through blended facilitated learning processes that include distance education, lectures, tutorials, workshops, participant-led learning activities and use of simulated learning environments.

There will also be best practice exemplar lectures whereby expert practitioners will demonstrate innovative and effective prescribing methods they employ.

Work-based – practice learning will focus on supporting prescribing competence development within the context of the participants' practice. The participants will have support from practice-based tutors (Designated Prescribing Practitioners (GPhC and HCPC) and practice supervisor and practice and academic assessors (NMC).

The practice-based tutors will offer educational support and play a key role in assessment and responsibilities for signing off competence. USW personal tutors will discuss the ongoing experience the participant is having within their practice setting to enable the participant to develop competence and confidence in the prescribing.


For Independent Prescribing module

1.     Ten critical reflective accounts (weighting 40%). Each account must be passed at 40%.

2.     Written Examination – calculations examination and MCQ/SAQ (weighting 10%)

  • Calculations section (Pass mark 100%).
  • Pharmacology and prescribing practice section (Pass mark 80%)

3.     Record of work-based learning (weighting 40%):

  • Two in - practice assessments
  • Log of hours 100 hours supervised practice
  • Evidence of the development of prescribing competence
  • A supplementary prescribing Clinical Management Plan.
  • Evidence of competence in physical assessment document.  

4. Developing and Evidencing Prescribing Competence

  • Presentation (weighting 25%)
  • Essay (weighting 75%)


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

All Nursing and Midwifery applicants must meet the following criteria:

·           Valid registration on Part 1 of the Professional Register maintained by the NMC.

·           Have at least one year’s post-registration clinical nursing experience.

·           Have appropriate experience in the area of practice in which they will be prescribing; the employing organisation will assess and confirm the appropriate experience in areas of practice.

·           An ability to study at academic level 6. Candidates without a first degree must provide evidence of being able to work at level 6 (e.g. Possession of a relevant diploma/degree), and may be asked to submit evidence of relevant experience and/or study.

·           Support from the employing organisation whose responsibility it is to supply practice supervisors and practice assessors for the candidate.

All pharmacist applicants must meet the following criteria:

•      Applicants are registered as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or, in Northern Ireland, with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

•      Applicants are in good standing with the GPhC and/or PSNI, and any other healthcare regulator with which they are registered.

•      Applicants must have at least two years appropriate patient-orientated experience post registration, in a relevant UK practice setting.

•      Applicants have an identified area of clinical or therapeutic practice in which to develop independent prescribing practice. They must also have relevant clinical or therapeutic experience in that area, which is suitable to act as the foundation for their prescribing practice while training.

•      Have support from the sponsoring organisation (such as an NHS Trust or primary care organisation), including appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area in which they expect to prescribe, and an identified service need for this extended role.

•      Applicants must have a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) who has agreed to supervise their learning in practice.

•      The applicant’s DPP must be a registered healthcare professional in Great Britain or Northern Ireland with legal independent prescribing rights, who is suitably experienced and qualified to carry out this supervisory role, and who has demonstrated CPD or revalidation relevant to this role. Although an applicant may be supervised by more than one person, only one prescriber must be the DPP. The DPP is the person who will certify that by the end of the course, the pharmacist independent prescribers in training is competent to assume the prescribing role.


Contact [email protected] to be sent an application pack or if you have any questions.


International Entry Requirements

Applicants must be appropriately qualified healthcare professionals registered with either the NMC, GPhC or HCPC

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

A significant number of places on this course are funded by HEIW.

Allocation of these funded places is decided by the local health boards.

Anyone wishing to access these funded places must liaise with the relevant educational coordinator.

The Interview

Once the eligibility form has been checked and verified, and the applicant has been identified as eligible to study, they will be offered a telephone or face to face interview.

This will be used to clarify information submitted on the form and to confirm the appropriateness of the applicant’s intentions for prescribing. Interviews take place Between April and September.

Allocation of places to eligible applicants will be collaboratively determined by the University and Local Health Board or other employers.

Please remember that entry to the programme requires the support of your local health board or employer.

It is essential that you have gone through the appropriate channels within your organization to obtain this support.


Students must all be employed before starting the course.