Postgraduate Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists (OSPAP) PgDip/MSc

Course overview

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate degree
    A pharmacy degree that enables you to register as a pharmacist with The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
  • GPhC approval
    Documented approval from the GPhC regarding eligibility to undertake OSPAP prior to applying, see below for full details
  • English language qualification
    An appropriate English language qualification, please see below for full details
More information
Apply PgDip September 2020

Key Dates

Accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

Top 15 in the UK for graduate prospects, student satisfaction and research quality (Pharmacology & Pharmacy, Complete University Guide, 2020)

Specifically designed for pharmacy graduates who gained their degree outside the UK, but who wish to practise in the UK

Top 10 in the UK for Research Quality (Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Complete University Guide, 2020)

Course summary

Study the key principles relevant to pharmacy practice in the UK with our General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) accredited OSPAP course here at Aston University. The course has been designed for those who obtained their pharmacy degree outside the UK but wish for it to be recognised here.

Key information, entry requirements and fees

Mode of delivery: Full-time, on campus (distance learning not available)

Duration: PgDip: 9 months / MSc: 12 months

Intake: Up to 54 students per year

Start date: September

Fees: Diploma: £11,700 / MSc: £17,550 (a deposit of £2000 will be required in advance to secure a place on this programme)

Entry requirements:

All applicants must:

  • Possess a pharmacy degree that enables you to register as a pharmacist with The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). 
  • Possess documented approval from the GPhC regarding eligibility to undertake OSPAP prior to applying to Aston University. This evidence must be obtained before you apply. Please note that it may take up to two months to gain approval from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). In order to secure a place for this course, we recommend that students apply for the GPhC approval before June of the year of entry and apply to Aston before July of the year of entry.
  • Possess an appropriate English language qualification. The GPhC have recently revised the evidence that they are willing to accept for English Language knowledge. Their requirements are listed below. You are required to provide one of these three types of evidence to the GPhC, however Aston University will only accept types 1 and 2:

1. A recent pass of the academic version of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with an overall score of at least 7 and with no score less than 7 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking at one sitting of the test.

2. A recent pharmacy qualification (i.e., a pharmacy qualification that would have enabled you to practise as a pharmacist in such countries) that has been taught and examined in English in a majority English speaking country (other than the UK) (e.g. Ireland, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand).

3. Recent practise for at least two years as a pharmacy professional (pharmacy technician or pharmacist) in a majority English speaking country (please note that Aston University does not accept work experience as proof of meeting our English Language requirements, you must have one of the above).

Please note that the information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Health assessment:

Students will be required to complete a declaration of health and vaccination status prior to starting the programme. Information will be provided about this pre-entry.

Criminal Records Check (DBS) and Fitness to Practise information:

Students enrolling onto this course will be required to undertake an Enhanced Level Criminal Records Bureau check (known as a DBS check). 

In line with national requirements for courses leading to a health professional qualification, this course is also subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations.

Discover more about DBS Checks & Fitness to Practise.

There are also further policies that all Pharmacy students must comply to and you should be aware of these before you apply:

Pre-registration visa information (non EU applicants) and choice between MSc and PgDip:

Which course you should choose depends on your individual circumstances but the following are a few points to bear in mind when deciding on your course.

This information assumes you have or will be applying for a Tier 4 Student visa to do the OSPAP course and will need to apply for a work visa in order to do the pre-registration placement. 

If you choose the MSc:

  • If you decide to do the MSc course you will be eligible to apply for the Tier 2 General visa for your pre-registration placement.
  • You will also get an extra 4 months on the length of your visa following the course end date to be able to make your Tier 2 General visa application. 
  • If you apply for the Tier 4 Student visa for the MSc course but later decide to do the PgDip instead we must report to the Home Office that you have changed your course and will complete your studies earlier than expected.  Your visa will be curtailed leaving only 60 days remaining permission to be in the UK so you will need to be able to apply for the Tier 2 visa within this period of time.

If you choose the PgDip:

  • If you decide to do the PgDip course you will be significantly limiting your options for a visa for your pre-registration post as the Tier 2 General visa requires you to have been awarded a masters degree and you cannot apply with a PgDip.
  • If you decide to do the PgDip course but wish to change to the MSc later you may be permitted to do this but will need to pay the extra fees for the course and also extend your Tier 4 Student visa to cover the full length of the MSc course (which also incurs a fee).  
  • Although in certain limited circumstances you may be able to use a previous UK qualification to apply for the Tier 2 General visa this depends on your circumstances and you should seek advice from an Adviser at The Hub if you think this may affect you.  If you choose to do the PgDip on this basis you will only get an extra 2 months after the course end date on your visa so you will have a limited amount of time in which to make the Tier 2 General visa application.
Professional accreditation

The Diploma for Overseas Pharmacists has been accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), fulfilling their requirements as an OSPAP. 

Course outline and what you will study

Our General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) accredited Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) has been designed for pharmacy graduates who gained their degree outside the United Kingdom. Through this course, international pharmacists can convert their existing pharmaceutical qualification so it is recognised in the UK.

During the OSPAP course, you’ll receive the key theoretical and practical training in topics essential for practice in the UK. You’ll learn the newest developments in key pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice together with the study of health service delivery and pharmacy law and ethics within the UK.


  • Professional Critical Skills
  • Applied Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Pharmacy Law, Ethics and Professional Practice
  • Practical Therapeutics
  • Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Pharmaceutics in Practice
  • Research Project (MSc only)

Those completing the MSc course will attend a compulsory two week induction/training session on research skills before starting their projects. Please note, students on the MSc cannot commence their pre-registration training until they have completed the course in full.

*Please note to ensure our courses provide you with the most up to date and relevant education our curriculum has recently undergone a redesign. This page will be updated shortly with the full details of our new curriculum.   

Learning, teaching, assessment and staff

Taught in our modern Birmingham city centre campus, attendance is expected Monday to Thursday (with the occasional Friday). Satisfactory attendace and performance in the assessments are required for successful completion of the OSPAP.

Various study methods are used throughout the course including:

  • Lectures 
  • Group tutorials 
  • Practicals 
  • Web-based learning 
  • Clinical teaching sessions.

Assessment methods include:

  • Examination
  • Web based clinical assignments
  • Clinical case studies
  • Clinical case presentation
  • Portfolio development
  • Practical dispensing examination
  • MSc only - Research project (critical appraisal, dissertation and poster presentation).

Assessments take place at multiple points throughout the year and main exams are split between January and May with exam boards held in June.

Course Director: Dr Kay Wood.

Your future career prospects

Once successfully completed, you will be eligible to undertake your pre-registration placement, before applying to register as a Pharmacist with The General Pharmaceutical Council. Please note that Aston University is not responsible for the provision of a pre-registration post or preparation for professional qualifying examinations.

The programme has an excellent track record of students obtaining and successfully completing the pre-registration training.


As a student at Aston University, you will have access to a range of specialist pharmacy facilities recently refitted as part of £3m upgrade.Facilities include:

  • Teaching and research laboratories
  • Mock 'ward' area
  • Medication supply laboratories
  • Medicines management suite
  • Clinical examination suites
  • Video recording technology
  • Computer-aided learning and patient simulations
  • An established Virtual Learning Environment for teaching and course-organisation materials and communications, such as lecture notes, presentations and videos.
  • Hard-copy and electronic access to publications, journals and large scientific databases. 
Contact us

Register your interest