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Mapping teaching, learning and assessment in the MPharm in UK schools of pharmacy

To undertake a national study of teaching, learning and assessment inUK schools of pharmacy. A major responsibility of the RoyalPharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (the Society) is ensuring thatundergraduate and postgraduate training equips pharmacists with theknowledge and skills they need to practise.

By Keith Wilson, Chris Langley, Jill Jesson and Katie Hatfield

Keith A. Wilson, PhD, FRPharmS, is professor of pharmacy practice, Chris A. Langley, PhD, MRPharmS, is lecturer in pharmacy practice and Katie Hatfield, BSc, MRPharmS, is teaching fellow in pharmacy practice at the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University. Jill Jesson, PhD, is lecturer in marketing at Aston Business School.

Correspondence to: Professor Keith Wilson, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET (e-mail



To undertake a national study of teaching, learning and assessment in UK schools of pharmacy.


Triangulation of course documentation, 24 semi-structured interviews undertaken with 29 representatives from the schools and a survey of all final year students (n=1,847) in the 15 schools within the UK during 2003–04.

Subjects and setting

All established UK pharmacy schools and final year MPharm students.

Outcome measures

Data were combined and analysed under the topics of curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, multi-professional teaching and learning, placement education and research projects.


Professional accreditation was the main driver for curriculum design but links to preregistration training were poor.  Curricula were consistent but offered little student choice. On average half the curriculum was science-based. Staff supported the science content but students less so. Courses were didactic but schools were experimenting with new methods of learning. Examinations were the principal form of assessment but the contribution of practice to the final degree ranged considerably (21–63%). Most students considered the assessment load to be about right but with too much emphasis upon knowledge. Assessment of professional competence was focused upon dispensing and pharmacy law. All schools undertook placement teaching in hospitals but there was little in community/primary care. There was little inter-professional education. Resources and logistics were the major limiters.


There is a need for an integrated review of the accreditation process for the MPharm and preregistration training and redefinition of professional competence at an undergraduate level. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10967649

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