OSPAP Course In UK Universities Fees For International Students

Are you an international student aspiring to pursue a career in pharmacy in the United Kingdom? If so, you may have come across the term “OSPAP.” The Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) is a crucial step for internationally trained pharmacists who wish to practice in the UK. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to the OSPAP course, the top universities offering it, and the fees involved. So, let’s dive in!

What is OSPAP?

The OSPAP is a mandatory assessment for non-European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists who have completed their pharmacy degrees outside of the EEA. It is designed to evaluate their knowledge and competence and ensure they meet the standards required to work as a pharmacist in the UK.

Why is OSPAP Required?

The OSPAP, which stands for Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme, is required for non-European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists who have obtained their pharmacy degrees outside of the EEA and wish to practice as pharmacists in the United Kingdom. The primary reason behind the requirement of OSPAP is to ensure that internationally trained pharmacists meet the necessary standards and competencies set by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in the UK.

There are several key reasons why OSPAP is necessary:

Regulatory Compliance:

The UK has strict regulations and standards in place to maintain the quality and safety of healthcare services, including pharmaceutical practice. The GPhC, as the regulatory body for pharmacy professionals, ensures that all pharmacists practicing in the UK meet their stringent requirements. OSPAP serves as a pathway for international pharmacists to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, ensuring they adhere to the same standards as UK-trained pharmacists.

Addressing Educational Differences:

Different countries may have varied pharmacy education curricula and the depth and breadth of topics covered may differ. OSPAP helps bridge the gap between international pharmacy qualifications and the content covered in UK pharmacy degrees. It aims to standardize the knowledge base of pharmacists entering the UK workforce, ensuring they are equipped to handle the specific healthcare challenges and practices in the country.

Patient Safety and Quality of Care:

Pharmacists play a vital role in patient care, dispensing medications, providing advice, and managing drug therapies. Ensuring that all pharmacists, regardless of their country of origin, have a standardized level of competence helps safeguard patient safety and the quality of healthcare services provided in the UK.

Pharmacy Ethics and Law:

Understanding the legal and ethical aspects of pharmacy practice in the UK is crucial for any pharmacist working in the country. OSPAP includes modules covering pharmacy law and ethics, ensuring international pharmacists are familiar with the legal framework within which they will operate.

Communication Skills:

Effective communication with patients, healthcare professionals, and the public is essential for pharmacists. OSPAP may also include modules focused on patient communication and counseling, preparing international pharmacists to interact effectively with English-speaking patients and colleagues.

Drug Regulations and Safety:

Different countries may have different drug regulations and safety standards. OSPAP familiarizes international pharmacists with UK-specific drug regulations, including the proper handling, storage, and distribution of medications.

Top Universities Offering OSPAP Courses

Studying at a reputable university can significantly impact your career prospects as a pharmacist. Here are some of the top UK universities that offer OSPAP courses:

University College London (UCL)

  • Location: London, UK
  • Course Duration: 8 months
  • Fees: £8,000 to £12,000

University of Manchester

  • Location: Manchester, UK
  • Course Duration: 6 months
  • Fees: £9,000 to £13,000

University of Brighton

  • Location: Brighton, UK
  • Course Duration: 10 months
  • Fees: £6,000 to £10,000

University of Hertfordshire

  • Location: Hatfield, UK
  • Course Duration: 6 months
  • Fees: £9,500 to £12,000

Liverpool John Moores University

  • Location: Liverpool, UK
  • Course Duration: 9 months
  • Fees: £7,500 to £11,000

Eligibility Criteria for OSPAP

To be eligible for the OSPAP (Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme) in the United Kingdom, international pharmacists must meet certain criteria. The OSPAP is a crucial step for non-European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists who obtained their pharmacy degrees outside of the EEA and wish to practice as pharmacists in the UK. The eligibility criteria are designed to ensure that candidates have the necessary qualifications and language proficiency to succeed in the assessment and subsequently practice pharmacy in the UK.

Here are the key eligibility criteria for OSPAP:

Academic Qualifications:

Candidates must have completed a pharmacy degree from a university outside of the EEA. The degree must be equivalent to a UK pharmacy degree, as determined by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The GPhC evaluates the academic qualifications of each candidate to ascertain if they meet the required standard.

English Language Proficiency:

As the official language of the UK, proficiency in English is vital for effective communication in a healthcare setting. International candidates are usually required to demonstrate their English language proficiency through recognized language tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The specific English language score requirements may vary depending on the university or institution offering the OSPAP course.

Visa Requirements:

International candidates must ensure they have the appropriate visa to study in the UK for the duration of the OSPAP course. Different visa categories may apply, and candidates should carefully check the visa requirements and obtain the necessary documentation before commencing their studies.

Professional Registration:

Before applying for OSPAP, candidates should check whether they need to be registered as a pharmacist in their home country or region. Some universities may require candidates to be licensed pharmacists in their home country before undertaking the OSPAP course.

Work Experience:

While work experience is not a mandatory requirement for OSPAP eligibility, some universities may prefer candidates with practical pharmacy experience. Previous work experience can enhance a candidate’s understanding of pharmacy practice and may be considered favorably during the application process.

Application Procedure:

Candidates must follow the specific application process outlined by the university or institution offering the OSPAP course. This typically involves submitting all required documents, including academic transcripts, language proficiency test scores, and a statement of purpose explaining their motivation to pursue OSPAP.

It is essential for candidates to thoroughly research the OSPAP requirements and criteria of the universities they intend to apply to. Each university may have slightly different eligibility criteria and application procedures, so prospective candidates should carefully review the details provided by the institutions.

Application Process for OSPAP

The application process for the OSPAP (Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme) is a critical step for international pharmacists seeking to practice in the United Kingdom. This process involves careful planning and attention to detail to ensure a smooth and successful application. Each university or institution offering the OSPAP course may have specific application procedures, so it’s essential for candidates to carefully follow the guidelines provided by their chosen institution.

Here is a general outline of the typical application process for OSPAP:

Research and Shortlist Universities:

Begin by researching and identifying the universities or institutions in the UK that offer the OSPAP course. Consider factors such as course duration, fees, location, and reputation to shortlist the ones that best align with your preferences and career goals.

Check Application Deadlines:

Each university will have specific application deadlines for the OSPAP course. Make sure to check these deadlines and plan your application timeline accordingly. Submitting your application before the deadline is crucial to avoid missing out on the opportunity to join the program.

Prepare Required Documents:

Assemble all the necessary documents required for the application. Commonly required documents include academic transcripts, proof of completion of a pharmacy degree, language proficiency test scores (IELTS or TOEFL), curriculum vitae (CV), and a well-written statement of purpose (SOP) explaining your motivation to pursue OSPAP and your career aspirations.

Language Proficiency Requirements:

Ensure you meet the English language proficiency requirements of the institution you are applying to. Some universities may have specific minimum scores for language tests, and you may need to take an English language proficiency exam if you haven’t done so already.

Submit Your Application:

Submit your application through the university’s online application portal or follow the specified application procedure provided by the institution. Double-check that all required documents are included and that you have filled in all the necessary information accurately.

Application Assessment:

Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the admissions committee or department responsible for OSPAP. They will assess your qualifications, academic background, language proficiency, and other relevant criteria to determine your suitability for the program.

Notification of Acceptance:

After the application assessment process, you will receive a notification from the university regarding the status of your application. If you are accepted into the OSPAP course, congratulations! You will be provided with further instructions on enrollment, fees, and any additional requirements.

Visa and Preparations:

If you are accepted into the OSPAP program, make sure to obtain the appropriate student visa to study in the UK. You may need to fulfill certain visa requirements, such as demonstrating sufficient financial support and providing biometric information.

Commence the OSPAP Course: Once you have all the necessary arrangements in place, you can begin the OSPAP course at your chosen university. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the intensive program, covering various pharmacy-related modules and assessments.

The OSPAP Course Structure

The OSPAP (Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme) course structure is designed to equip international pharmacists with the necessary knowledge and skills to practice pharmacy in the United Kingdom. It is a comprehensive and intensive program that covers various modules essential for practicing pharmacy in the UK healthcare system. The course aims to bridge the gap between international pharmacy qualifications and the requirements set by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in the UK.

Here is an overview of the typical OSPAP course structure:

Induction and Orientation:

The OSPAP course usually begins with an induction and orientation session. During this phase, students are introduced to the university’s facilities, staff, and the overall structure of the program. They may also receive guidance on the UK pharmacy system, GPhC regulations, and academic expectations.

Pharmacy Law and Ethics:

One of the fundamental components of the OSPAP course is the study of pharmacy law and ethics in the UK. Students learn about the legal framework governing pharmacy practice, including regulations related to the dispensing of medications, patient confidentiality, and ethical considerations.

Patient Communication and Counseling:

Effective communication with patients is crucial for pharmacists. OSPAP includes modules focusing on patient communication and counseling skills. Students learn how to engage with patients, provide clear medication instructions, and address their questions and concerns.

Clinical Pharmacy Practice:

This module delves into the clinical aspects of pharmacy practice. Students learn about common medical conditions, drug therapies, and the role of pharmacists in patient care. Emphasis is placed on the integration of pharmacists into healthcare teams and the collaborative nature of patient management.

Pharmacy Management and Public Health:

OSPAP covers topics related to pharmacy management, including the organization and operations of pharmacies. Additionally, students gain insight into public health initiatives and the role of pharmacists in promoting health and preventing diseases.

Drug Interactions and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring:

Understanding drug interactions and therapeutic drug monitoring is crucial for ensuring patient safety. This module focuses on recognizing potential drug interactions and monitoring drug levels in patients receiving certain medications.

Pharmacy Practice Assessments:

Throughout the OSPAP course, students undergo practical assessments to demonstrate their competence in various pharmacy-related tasks. These assessments may include simulated patient interactions, dispensing practice, and clinical case studies.

Preparation for Registration Exam:

Toward the end of the OSPAP course, students are prepared for the GPhC registration exam. This exam is a prerequisite for becoming a licensed pharmacist in the UK. The course may include mock exams and guidance on exam preparation strategies.

Workplace Experience (Optional):

Some universities may offer optional workplace experience as part of the OSPAP course. This allows students to gain hands-on experience in real pharmacy settings, further enhancing their practical skills and understanding of UK pharmacy practice.

Prospects After Completing OSPAP

Completing the OSPAP successfully opens up numerous opportunities for international students in the UK:

Pre-registration Training

Following OSPAP, you can undergo pre-registration training, which is a mandatory period of practical training before taking the registration exam.

Employment Opportunities

Once registered with the GPhC, you can explore various job opportunities in community or hospital pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and research.

Career Progression

With experience and further studies, you can advance in your pharmacy career and take up roles like a clinical pharmacist or pharmacy manager.


Undertaking the OSPAP course is a significant step towards building a successful pharmacy career in the UK. By choosing the right university and putting in dedicated efforts, international students can pave the way for a promising future in the pharmaceutical field. Remember to stay updated with the latest regulations and guidelines set by the GPhC throughout your journey.


Is OSPAP mandatory for all international pharmacists in the UK?

Ans: Yes, OSPAP is mandatory for pharmacists who obtained their qualifications outside the EEA.

Can I work in the UK as a pharmacist without OSPAP?

Ans: No, OSPAP is a prerequisite for international pharmacists to work in the UK.

How long is the OSPAP course?

Ans: The duration of the OSPAP course varies between universities but typically ranges from 6 to 10 months.

Do I need to pass an exam after completing OSPAP?

Ans: Yes, after OSPAP, you must pass the GPhC registration exam to become a licensed pharmacist in the UK.

Can I apply for OSPAP if my pharmacy degree is not in English?

Ans: Yes, you can apply, but you may need to provide evidence of English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

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