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Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing

This qualification enables you to gain the knowledge and skills required for safe, appropriate and effective prescribing practice as you become eligible to apply for the annotation to your regulator register as an Independent and/or Supplementary Prescriber. You’ll become equipped and 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.  

Key features of the course

  • Successful completion entitles you to apply to your respective regulator for annotation as a non-medical prescriber.
  • Provides you with a critical understanding of the necessary clinical and practical aspects of prescribing.
  • Gives you the appropriate knowledge that underpins applied pharmacology.
  • Provides you with an understanding of the legal and ethical implications of prescribing.


Course 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.
How long it takes
7 – 13 months
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits as follows:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing (K803)  

This module enables you to gain the knowledge and skills required for safe, appropriate and effective prescribing practice and become an Independent/Supplementary Prescriber.

See full description

60 03 Sep 2022

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PG Cert NMP (Open) after your name.


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

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.

Entry requirements

You will need to: 
  • 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.
  • have as a minimum the appropriate length of post registration patient-orientated 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.

How to apply

You will need to complete an application form. If you are interested in applying, please contact us for more details.

You should be a nurse or midwife1 registered with the NMC, a pharmacist registered with the GPhC, or an allied health professional registered with the HCPC.

Application timeline

Places are limited and in high demand. You should apply for this qualification at least four weeks before the final registration date; we'd recommend you have your application completed by the date listed below.

Start date Submit application by
February 2022 10 December 2021
(Final registration 13 January 2022)*

*This is the final registration date for the course start listed. You may apply any time until the final registration date, however, we'd recommend you apply by the suggested application date above to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed.

How long study takes

The minimum time to complete this qualification is seven months and must be completed within 13 months to meet the requirements of the regulatory bodies.

The expected total study time is 600 hours, which will include:

  • four separate days of face-to-face activities (due to the ongoing pandemic, we may replace face-to-face events with an online alternative)
  • four days equivalent of synchronous online forum-based activities (15 x 2 hour sessions)
  • 18 days online study activities
  • 90 hours of supervised, in-practice learning
  • 315 hours of self-directed learning

Prior learning, experience and clinical exposure will help with the self-directed learning portion, so you may find that you require fewer self-directed hours than that specified here. This is perfectly admissible but a pass in all summative assessments must be achieved in order to be awarded a pass in the overall module/qualification.

1We are currently awaiting confirmation regarding whether this qualification will made be available to midwives. This page will be updated once confirmation has been received.

Career relevance

This qualification will allow you to apply for annotation with your regulatory body as a non-medical prescriber.  It will increase your career prospects by widening opportunities for you and for the further development of services within your organisation.

Currently the independent prescribing programme is aimed at nurses and midwives1, pharmacists, physiotherapists, chiropodists or podiatrists, therapeutic radiographers and paramedics. Diagnostic radiographers and dieticians will be eligible to apply for annotation as Supplementary Prescribers.

It is the intention of Government and health care organisations, including the NHS, that non-medical prescribing will make better use of the skills of health professionals and contribute to the introduction of more flexible team working.

1We are currently awaiting confirmation regarding whether this qualification will made be available to midwives. This page will be updated once confirmation has been received.