Psychiatric Therapeutics PgCert

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
    Full-time, Part-time, Online / distance learning
  • Duration
    1 Year
  • Course options
    No placement
  • School

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate degree
    A good honours degree (minimum lower 2nd class) from a recognised university in a relevant subject. See below for more details
  • Alternative qualifications
    An equivalent qualification as agreed with the Programme Director and Pharmacy Technicians without a degree but with extensive relevant experience will also be considered.
More information

Key Dates

  • 2020 start date
    January 2020

Accredited by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP)

Distance Learning. No time needed away from employment

94% of our research was rated as being internationally excellent or world leading (REF, 2014)

Research in Allied Health Professions and Studies ranked 5th out of 97 UK higher education institutions (REF, 2014)

Course Summary

This course is for you if you are looking for a distance learning course that is written, taught and assessed by specialist mental health pharmacists. This qualification is often a requirement for specialist clinical mental health positions in the NHS. This course is accredited by the CMHP.

Key information for applicants & entry requirements

Mode of delivery: Distance learning - all course materials are delivered electronically.

Duration: 12 months

Entry requirements: 

  • We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications, experience, references and motivation.
  • Applicants would usually possess a good honours degree (minimum lower 2nd class) from a recognised university in one of the following subjects (or an equivalent qualification as agreed with the Programme Director; Pharmacy Technicians without a degree but with extensive relevant experience will also be considered):
    • Pharmacy, 
    • Medicine,
    • Nursing.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English speaking country. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.
  • 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. 

Start date: January 2020


For students starting in 2019: £3,300

Bursaries are awarded to members of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP) according to the need and merit on application to the Treasurer of the CMHP.


Course outline

You will take six modules in total, two of which are introductory with the following four covering the major therapeutic areas of psychiatry:

  • An Introduction to Psychiatry
  • Underlying Principles
  • Schizophrenia
  • The Affective Disorders
  • Anxiety and Sleep Disorders
  • The Dementias and Related Disorders.
Learning, teaching & assessment

All course materials will be delivered electronically. You will encounter a range of learning methods, including:

  • Study of authored text material, directed reading and self assessed exercises
  • Formative exercises and assignments
  • Additional reading
  • Application within professional practice.

Assessment is by assignments and multi-response question papers, plus a final examination.

Your future career prospects

This course is the first stage for pharmacists in becoming a specialist mental health pharmacist.

It is also undertaken by mental health nurses to increase their knowledge base especially those practicing or intending to practice as non-medical prescribers.

General practitioners and psychiatrists, as well as graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry, have also taken this course.

Professional accreditation

The programme is accredited by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy (CMHP).

Course Director & teaching staff

Ian Maidment

Course director Dr Ian Maidment has a broad pharmacy background, having spent periods in the pharmaceutical industry, the acute sector and community pharmacy. However, the majority of his career (20 years) has been within the mental health sector mainly as a clinical pharmacist. He has also been chief pharmacist in two NHS Mental Health Trusts and led medication management education in an NHS Trust. 

He was awarded his PhD on medication error in dementia in 2013 and has a masters in research methods. He is a past chair of the UKPPG (UK Psychiatric Pharmacy Group) - predecessor organisation of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, has advised the Department of Health and lectured widely on aspects of Mental Health Pharmacy. He has published approximately 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Hannah Macfarlane has worked in general hospital, community pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry and prison pharmacy posts but has been a specialist mental health role since 2006, working predominantly in forensic psychiatry.  Hannah achieved distinction in the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy and was awarded the Helen Tennant award for best overall student performance. She has been a clinical tutor on these courses since 2011.

Hannah is a credentialed member of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy and teaches regularly on behalf of the College. Hannah was a member of the College Council from 2014-2017 and was made a Fellow in 2018. Hannah is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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