To qualify as a pharmacist takes a minimum of five years and includes the following steps:
- Successful completion of a GPhC accredited Master of Pharmacy degree (MPharm), which is a full-time, four-year course
- Successful completion of the foundation/ pre-registration training year, a period of paid employment in one or several sectors during which a trainee pharmacist is required to build up a portfolio of evidence and demonstrate their competence whilst being observed at work
- Successful completion of the GPhC's registration assessment
- Meeting the fitness to practise requirements for registration as a pharmacist.
Only after completing these steps can you apply for registration with the GPhC as a pharmacist. As part of the registration process, applicants have to make a health declaration and character checks are carried out.
Possible routes and requirements
Update on the reforms to initial education and training for pharmacists (opens on a separate tab)
The MPharm degree is offered by Schools of Pharmacy at a number of universities in the United Kingdom. The course must be undertaken as the first part of the route to registration for those wishing to become a pharmacist within the UK.
The Masters of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree programme is a full-time course offered by Schools of Pharmacy at a number of universities in the United Kingdom. The programme integrates science and practice and equips students with the theoretical knowledge, professional behaviours and clinical skills required to become a pharmacist. The MPharm is normally a four-year programme which must be completed successfully in order to enter the foundation/pre-registration training year.
Some universities offer a five year integrated MPharm degree programme which incorporates the foundation pre-registration training year into a single programme of education and training. For details of these universities visit our Accredited MPharm degrees page.
A five-year sandwich degree is also offered by one university which involves undertaking the four years of the MPharm programme and two six-month blocks of the foundation/pre-registration training year in an intercalated programme. Further details can be found on our Accredited MPharm degrees page.
The entry requirements for a GPhC-accredited MPharm degree vary between universities. However, as a guide, you might be expected to have A-B grade A-levels in chemistry and two further A-levels in either biology, mathematics, or physics. If you have A-levels in chemistry and biology, you may also be considered with an alternative third subject.
The entry requirements are set by the individual university offering the MPharm degree. Universities may accept equivalent qualifications, other than A-levels, including qualifications gained outside of the UK. Universities may set other entry requirements for the course.
If you would like to pursue a career as a pharmacist, but do not have the required A-level grades or subjects, you might consider undertaking a GPhC-accredited foundation degree as an alternative route to enter an MPharm degree.
Accredited MPharm degrees
You can find a list of the universities that offer the MPharm degree course together with the latest accreditation reports.
For further information on the accreditation of MPharm degree courses please see Approval process for education and training providers
Some UK Schools of Pharmacy offer an accredited MPharm which is taught in part overseas at a partner university. This course is called an MPharm 2+2.
A number of the UK Schools of Pharmacy which currently offer an accredited MPharm degree also offer a version of their MPharm which is taught, in part, overseas at a partner university.
Students studying on this MPharm course – often referred to as a 2+2 course – study the first two years of the MPharm at the partner university and join the university's UK MPharm course for years three and four.
Currently, several collaborations exist with partner universities based in Malaysia. Students who graduate from an accredited MPharm 2+2 are eligible to enter the foundation/pre-registration training in the UK and, as such, may follow the UK route to registration allowing them to practise as a pharmacist in the UK.
Applicants applying to enter the overseas MPharm degree must apply via the overseas partner universities' application process and not through UCAS. Visit the website of the partner university for details of entry requirements.
Accredited MPharm 2+2 courses
You can find a list of the universities that offer the MPhram 2+2 course together with the latest accreditation reports.
For further information on the accreditation of MPharm degree courses taught in part overseas see Approval process for education and training providers.
This is a postgraduate diploma that is undertaken as the first part of the route to registration required by those who have qualified as a pharmacist from outside of the EEA.
The OSPAP is a one-year course designed to ensure that those who have qualified overseas receive the appropriate education and training to prepare them for UK practice and entry to foundation/pre-registration training.
The OSPAP course is available to those who hold a pharmacy qualification gained overseas and are registered, or eligible to register, as pharmacists in their country of qualification.
For further information on the route to registration for pharmacists who have qualified overseas, please see Overseas (non-EEA) qualified pharmacists.
Accredited OSPAP courses
You can find a list of universities that offer the OSPAP course together with the latest accreditation reports.
For further information on the accreditation of OSPAP courses please see Approval process for education and training providers.
This course can be taken as an entry route for anyone wanting to pursue a career in pharmacy who doesn't currently have the required qualifications to be accepted straight onto an MPharm degree.
The pharmacy foundation degree is a two year full-time course which includes the content of year one of an MPharm degree combined with work experience placements. The purpose of the foundation degree is to equip a student with the appropriate knowledge and experience to allow them to apply to enter an accredited MPharm degree directly into year two.
The foundation degree does not guarantee a place on an MPharm degree, however, it can be used as an entry route for anyone wanting to pursue a career in pharmacy who does not currently have the required qualifications to go straight into an MPharm degree.
To view a list of accepted qualifications for entry to the foundation degree, please visit the website of the course providers.
Accredited pharmacy foundation degrees
You can find a list of the universities that offer pharmacy foundation degrees together with the latest accreditation reports.
For more information on the accreditation of pharmacy foundation degrees please see Approval process for education and training providers.
The standards for pharmacy professionals are relevant to all pharmacy students while they are on their journey towards registration and practice. The standards explain the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will be expected of students and trainees if they apply to join the register.
Students should use them as a tool to prepare for registration and read them alongside other relevant documents that are provided by their education and training provider
Student fitness to practise
Anyone applying to register as a pharmacist must demonstrate their fitness to practise. The GPhC has issued guidance to all schools of pharmacy offering accredited MPharm degrees, foundation degrees and OSPAP courses to provide them with advice on how to develop and apply consistent fitness to practise procedures for students.
You can find out more about a career in pharmacy from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
British Pharmaceutical Students' Association is the pharmacy student association which promotes students' interests and welfare.