Pharmacist taking notes

Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing

This qualification 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. On successful completion and being awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing, you'll be eligible to apply for the annotation to your regulatory register as an Independent and/or Supplementary Prescriber.

Key features of the course

  • Gives you a critical understanding of pharmacology, including the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic effects of medicines and devices.
  • Provides an understanding of the implications and management of side-effects, contra-indications and adverse drug reactions.
  • Understanding of the legislation and ethical frameworks related to prescribing decisions.
  • Develops your ability to critically evaluate appropriate investigations, results and data.
  • Online and face-to-face teaching delivered by field experts.


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 and practice-based learning

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 02 Sep 2023

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.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing to our Postgraduate Diploma in Enhanced Clinical Practice (E95) or our MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice (F85).



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 15 March 2022.

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 a level 1 NMC registered nurse (RN), a pharmacist registered with the GPhC, or an allied health professional registered with the HCPC and satisfy the professional regulatory requirements to enter on to a prescribing programme.
  • have a current and valid Access NI (Northern Ireland), PVG scheme (Scotland) or Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (England) declaration.
  • have been deemed competent to safely and effectively practice clinical/health assessments; diagnostics/care management; planning and evaluating care within your proposed area of prescribing practice
  • have a supporting organisation which is able to provide governance, learning opportunities and continued service provision.
  • have identified an appropriate Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who has agreed to supervise your learning in practice. For nurses, this is a Practice Supervisor to supervise clinical practice and Practice Assessor to assess clinical practice.

How to apply

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

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 activities1.Two of which will be held online and two will be 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)
  • 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

There is a compulsory 100% attendance requirement for the on-campus face-to-face sessions (these may be delivered online where required) and an 80% attendance/completion for all other directed learning. Achieving less than this will mean automatic withdrawal from the course.

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.

1Previously this qualification 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.

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, 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.