Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing

This module aims to develop the knowledge and skills required for safe, appropriate and effective prescribing practice and enables you to meet the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competencies within your scope of practice. It will empower you to enhance your role and effectively use your skills and competencies to improve patient care. You’ll have the opportunity to consider contemporary research and its importance in the continued development and implementation of best practice. You’ll become equipped as an Independent/Supplementary Prescriber ready to be responsible and accountable for the assessment of patients with diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions, together with the decision-making skills required in clinical management.

Vocational relevance

On successful completion of this module, and on being awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing (K33), you'll be eligible to apply for the annotation to your regulatory register as an Independent and/or Supplementary Prescriber. This will increase your career prospects by widening opportunities for you and for the further development of services within your organisation.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method

Distance and practice-based learning

Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module provides you with a critical understanding of the necessary clinical and practical aspects of prescribing in your area of practice. The academic grounding is accompanied by important practice-based learning allowing you to gain and demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the underpinning applied pharmacology. Group sessions will provide you with a sound understanding of the legal and ethical implications of prescribing.

The module has been developed in partnership with the Institute of Clinical Science and Technology which uses a state-of-the-art creative teaching and learning experience. Vibrant and diverse learning materials and activities are brought together, bringing an exciting and innovative approach to non-medical prescribing whilst allowing you to control both the pace and direction of your own learning.

To facilitate this learning the timetable includes: video presentations, research materials, interactive sessions and flipped learning. Flipped learning is where students are introduced to the learning material before they study it in a formal learning session with their tutor. This is used to deepen and extend current understanding through discussion with peers and problem-solving activities often using case studies.

The teaching and learning elements are presented over an equivalent of 26 days. Four of these are campus days1. Two campus days will be delivered online and two will be delivered face-to-face on the Milton Keynes campus (an online alternative will take place if we're unable to deliver the face-to-face campus days) which allow for developing consultation techniques and acquiring clinical skills. Satisfactory attendance is required to gain credit for this module.

1Previously this module description stated an online alternative was available alongside the four face-to-face activities. This description was updated on 17 June 2022 to clarify that online activities would only be offered if face-to-face activities were unable to go ahead.

You will learn

You'll be inspired to develop best academic practice; learning sets will cultivate an ethos of excellence and support. You'll also be encouraged to develop research skills, evaluate evidence directly and to expand your professional skills, attitudes, confidence and resilience through interdisciplinary and professional interaction.

The integration of knowledge, clinical skill and practice will be developed in your practice-based learning experience under the guidance of your Practice Supervisors and Practice Assessor.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You are supported throughout the course by the student dashboard and weekly contact. Online alternatives will be provided for events and activities we’re currently unable to offer face-to-face, e.g. tutorials, workshops, assessments, or day schools. Learning and assessment schedules are clearly explained with timely prompts and regularly updated progression indicators.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). Your assignment booklet will tell you which method of submission you should use for each assignment.

Professional recognition

To practice as a prescriber, a healthcare professional must hold the relevant annotation on the appropriate regulator's register. Annotation is dependent on completing an approved prescribing programme such as the Open University Non-Medical Prescribing Programme.

The learning outcomes of our programme correlate with the standards for independent prescribers and/or the standards for the education of independent prescribers at each of the regulatory bodies. These include the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Course work includes

8 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing starts twice a year – in September and February. 

This page describes the module that will start in September 2023. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2027.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    To be able to take this module you must:

    • hold a degree from a UK university or equivalent, or in the case of non-graduates, be able to demonstrate equivalent academic ability and professional experience.
    • be registered with an appropriate regulatory body and evidence this by providing your registration number, which can be checked using online public sources. For pharmacists, the GPhC or, in Northern Ireland, with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
    • have a current and valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (England and Wales), Access NI (Northern Ireland), or Disclosure (Scotland) check and provide a signed declaration from the Trust as evidence.
    • identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice in which to develop independent prescribing practice.
    • have a supporting organisation which is able to provide governance, learning opportunities and continued service provision.
    • fulfil the necessary minimum requirements of the registrants' regulatory body (GPhC, HCPC or NMC). This includes as a minimum the appropriate length of post registration patient-orientated experience in a relevant UK practice setting. This is currently one year for the NMC, two years for the GPhC, and three years for the HCPC.
    • identify a designated prescribing practitioner who has agreed to supervise their learning in practice. For nurses, a practice assessor and a practice supervisor.

    You are required to produce a personal statement to support your application. This statement should be original work, written by you, and include a short summary of the group of patients you are planning to prescribe for and the setting. Academic referencing is not required but your personal statement should be written in prose and demonstrate a good use of English.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    How to apply

    The next start date is September 2023, and registration details will follow shortly.


    Start End England fee Register
    02 Sep 2023 Mar 2024 £3720.00

    Registration opens on 01/07/23

    10 Feb 2024 Sep 2024 £3720.00

    To register for this course - see 'Entry requirements'. Registration closes 11/01/24

    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2027.

    Future availability

    Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing starts twice a year – in September and February. 

    This page describes the module that will start in September 2023. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2027.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    The module handbook, assessment material and the module forums are provided on the module website, which also includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assignment details and submission section
    • online tutorial access.

    In addition to online learning materials and synchronous forums you are expected to spend a considerable time reading – including text books, guidelines, journals and research papers. Some guidance will be provided as to where these may be found, including a recommended reading list. However, one of the important aspects of prescribing is ensuring that knowledge is kept up to date by using the best evidence base available; it will be up to you to find the most relevant material for your future personal practice.  

    Another valuable aspect of the course is peer support. In addition to the synchronous forums there are asynchronous forums where you can discuss wide ranging topics and where some of the practice elements (e.g. case studies) may be developed with your peers. You are actively encouraged to be involved in these forums.

    You will need

    For the numeracy assessment you will require a non-scientific calculator, for the pharmacology assessment you will require an unmarked BNF.

    We also recommend you have access to a webcam, or similar device, to help with online tutorials and assessments if they are required.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Most printed documents and the online material provided are available in an electronic format that can be enlarged by students with visual difficulties.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.