The first cohort of students to complete a five-year MPharm degree with fully integrated pre-registration training have graduated from the University of Nottingham.
The class of ten began their studies in September 2012. Seven of ten students graduated in July, with the final three due to graduate in September. A further 20 students are now partway through the degree.
The University of Nottingham is one of the only two English universities to offer an MPharm with fully integrated preregistration training. The other, the University of East Anglia, began offering the integrated option in 2014.
Tom Gray, the course director, said the integrated degree attracted a lot of interest from international students because it allows them to complete their preregistration training under their student visa. However, he pointed out that the course is not specifically targeted to international students, or marketed as an international degree. “At the moment, there is not really much of an incentive for home students to do this, because the preregistration placements are not salaried — you do them as a student, which means another year of tuition fees.”
Gray adds that the pre-registration placements offered as part of the course are all private, and that no existing placements have been taken away from the market.
The university is carrying out an evaluation of the integrated degree, some of which will be presented at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Winter Summit on 5 December 2017. “We want to demonstrate the impact of experiential learning in an integrated degree and whether this better prepares our students for practice when they graduate,” Gray says.
Gray would also recommend the integrated degree to other schools of pharmacy: “The current MPharm develops and tests knowledge, but it does not test application in practice. As pharmacy becomes more clinical, there is a need to demonstrate professional skills both to the regulator and to the public. This integrated degree offers two immersive six-month placements, to allow students to draw from their experience and develop their skills for professional work.”