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Become a registered Pharmacist Prescriber in New Zealand

The University of Otago School of Pharmacy offers two 30-point level 7 papers, PHCY 621 and PHCY 622, which when both completed will allow registered pharmacists to apply to the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand to have the additional scope of Pharmacist Prescriber added to their registration.

Taught predominantly online, our course is part-time, flexible and competency based. These papers will enable you to evaluate and challenge prescribing practice with reference to evidence-based practice, equality and diversity and clinical governance.

Work and planning is currently underway towards proposing a qualification for which the programme requirements will comprise PHCY 621 and PHCY 622. Pending approval, it is hoped that this may be in place by the end of 2024, but at this stage we must stress that the papers can only be credited towards a Certificate of Proficiency, and there is no guarantee that completion of them will lead to a qualification.

The role of Pharmacist Prescribers

Pharmacist prescribers are experienced pharmacists who work in patient-focused roles in collaborative healthcare teams to optimise medicines use.

For example:

  • In Primary care, general practitioners are now referring patients to pharmacists, who assess the patient and work in partnership with them to optimise their ongoing medicine use and prescribe for them. Example areas of prescribing practice include renal, diabetes, hypertension, gout, and management of cardiovascular risk.
  • In hospitals, pharmacists are working as members of the clinical team who can now prescribe. Example areas of prescribing practice include renal, emergency admission, surgical preadmission, parenteral nutrition, paediatrics, and mental health.

About the course

The PHCY 621 and PHCY 622 papers together aim to deliver competent pharmacist prescribers who can provide a prescribing service that is safe, effective, equitable and patient-centred. To help you move from being a clinical pharmacist to a pharmacist prescriber, we will:

  • Equip you with health assessment skills and practical expertise to take on the role of pharmacist prescriber
  • Ensure your clinical knowledge is up-to-date and hone your clinical decision-making skills
  • Provide a diverse range of learning opportunities – expect to learn form nurses, GPs, pharmacist prescribers and others
  • Support you to review and reflect on current practice, to enable you to determine what skills, knowledge and attitudes you need to develop in order to become a prescriber
  • Enable you to evolve an expertise in the art and science of prescribing

How to apply


Enrolment in PHCY 621 and PHCY 622 is open to registered pharmacists, who need to have (as a minimum):

  • The support of an identified designated medical practitioner (DMP).
  • An appropriate practice-based learning environment in a prescribing setting that can offer appropriate clinical support.
  • At least two years of post-registration patient-focused experience in a hospital, community or a primary care setting.
  • Completed at least 60 points of pharmacy postgraduate study e.g. a PGCertPharm or PGDipClinPharm.


If you have undertaken postgraduate papers which are similar to some of those listed as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy or Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy, and you wish to have those credits recognised, you will need to request an exemption by email:

Associate Professor Alesha Smith
Associate Dean Postgraduate
School of Pharmacy

These exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Student Records of the University will be notified. This should be requested separately from the application process. If you have a qualification from a University other than Otago, you will need to supply evidence of your transcript, and a description of the papers undertaken, such description detailing the course content.


  • PHCY 621 Special Topic: Pharmacy Prescribing: Access and Equity (30 points)
  • PHCY 622 Special Topic: Pharmacist prescribing (30 points)

Prerequisite papers for pharmacists who have not already completed 60 points of pharmacy postgraduate study:

  • PHCY 520 Applied Patient-Centred Care (30 points)
  • PHCY 521 Elective Topics in Patient-Centred Care (30 points)

Where do I begin?

  • If you have already completed a PGCertPharm or a PGDipClinPharm (or equivalent) then you are eligible to enrol in the first of the two prescribing papers, PHCY 621.
  • If you are yet to complete any postgraduate study then you need to enrol in PHCY 520 (available in semester 1, 2024). You will need to complete both PHCY 520 and PHCY 521 before you can enrol in PHCY 621.

To enrol, visit the postgraduate Certificate of Proficiency page:

Certificate of Proficiency – Postgraduate (COP)

Key dates for PHCY 621 – semester 1, 2024:

You will need to attend all three face-to-face workshops in Dunedin as listed below, alongside evening webinars. Regular work is provided online via the University’s blackboard site and progression will be monitored by the programme team. Pre-webinar work, online interactive discussions and peer collaboration is also required.

Face-to-face days are as follows:

  • Workshop 1 – week beginning 26 February 2024 (3 days)
  • Workshop 2 – week beginning 8 April 2024 (2 days)
  • Workshop 3 – week beginning 21 May 2024 (2 days)

You will also need to organise your DMP – in PHCY 621 you will need to complete a minimum of 4 days in a clinical practice site.

Contact us

Postgraduate Administrator
School of Pharmacy
Tel +64 3 479 7271
Fax +64 3 479 7034

Office address:

Level 7, Adams Building
18 Frederick Street, Dunedin

Postal address:

Postgraduate Administrator
School of Pharmacy
University of Otago
PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054

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