International applicants

Applicants who are from countries outside of the European Economic Area are defined as international students.

The application procedures for non-UK students are the same as those described on the applications page. However, international students will have additional things to consider. It is important to note that the information below is for guidance purposes only and should always be confirmed with individual institutions directly.

Non-UK entry requirements

Pharmacy schools vary as to which non-UK qualifications they accept and what the requirements are. Normally this information will be listed on each individual university website but if you cannot see your qualifications you should contact the pharmacy school directly. Most schools of pharmacy have a dedicated admissions email address or phone number to help with queries which can normally be found on their entry requirements pages. The UK National Recognition Information Centre (UKNARIC) can also help with comparing UK and international qualifications.

Fee status

Publicly funded universities usually group the fee status of their students by two categories: ‘home’ and ‘overseas’. The fees for home students also differ between universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, therefore specific requirements should be checked with the universities you are interested in applying to. Normally, home students are required to be both a national and resident (for a minimum of three consecutive years) of the European Economic Area countries. This includes all European Union countries and the UK. Swiss nationals and children of Turkish workers may also be eligible for home status, subject to fulfilling certain criteria. To find out what these criteria are, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

There are other criteria for an applicant to be considered a home student, but if you are unsure then it is always best to contact the pharmacy schools in which you are interested. For further information on fee status, contact the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Student support and scholarships

Applicants from an EU country may be able to get a tuition fee loan and help with living costs. For more detail, please see the Student Finance website.

If you have not lived in the UK and are a citizen of a country outside of the European Economic Area then overseas fees will apply. These fees vary between the different pharmacy schools and can be found on their websites. The UK Council for International Student Affairs and the British Council offer support to help you work out how much money you will need. The UCAS website has some useful information on funding issues for overseas students.

Information on general scholarships can be found at the nearest British Council office. Scholarships or bursaries available can vary between different pharmacy schools, and they will post information on any funding they offer on their websites.

The British Council can help you find funding for a chosen course through its scholarship schemes and links with other websites. Many of the scholarships available are only applicable to postgraduate degrees, but some do provide funding to help cover fees for specific subjects, and scholarships may be available for specific institutions. For help with identifying the funding available, visit the British Council website.

The education departments within the UK Government, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly decide on who is eligible for student loans and grants. The regulations on the different categories for eligible students can be complicated. To help, the UK Council for International Student Affairs has produced a summary for international students and publishes some general information about fees, funding and student support which is available on its website.

Visa and immigration

Gaining entry clearance is compulsory for everyone wishing to enter the UK as a student. Students require a Tier 4 visa. Information on applying for this on this can be found on UK Visas and Immigration website. For more information on visa and immigration issues, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Language requirements

If you are applying from outside the UK and you do not speak English as your first language then you are required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. This requirement applies to both international and EU/EEA students.

Many universities will expect you to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There are two versions of IELTS, the Academic test and the General Training test. You will need to complete the Academic test, which is for those who wish to study. Most pharmacy schools will require a minimum score as part of their entry requirements, which will be listed on their websites.

The IELTS can be taken in over 500 locations worldwide and there is a set fee for sitting it. To find your nearest test centre, visit the IELTS website.

Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme

The Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme (OSPAP) is the first step for a pharmacist who qualified outside of the European Economic Area to register as a pharmacist in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a postgraduate course which can lead to either a Postgraduate Diploma (usually a nine-month course) or a Master’s degree (usually lasting a year). After the OSPAP you will need to complete a pre-registration training year, along with passing the registration assessment.

You should be aware that completing an OSPAP does not guarantee a pre-registration place or a job as a registered pharmacist. A student from outside of the European Economic Area is very likely to require a visa, and this can be dependent on meeting a number of conditions, including a minimum salary requirement.

There are six providers of the OSPAP in England, Scotland and Wales:

The OSPAP commences in September or October of each year. Applications of eligibility to study the OSPAP are administered by the General Pharmaceutical Council, the independent regulator for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. Please see here for further information.