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MSc Pharmaceutical Science (with specialism)

Course overview

Start date

January 2018

September 2018

Subject area

Health, Sport and Bioscience





On campus

Course summary

This course will give you a detailed understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of pharmaceutical science and help develop the skills needed for individual and collaborative research in areas such as drug development. 

Pharmaceutical Science is at the interface of biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, toxicology, analytical and medicinal chemistry, all of which will be studied in the degree course. Your studies will take place in laboratories fitted with the latest analytical equipment. Within the research area of drug development you will focus on both drug design, drug discovery and drug awareness as well as neuropharmacology and bioinformatics. You will complete four taught modules, and an independent research project.It will offer you the chance to study a core MSc alongside a specialisation within different areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

This course is designed and tailored to your own preferred specialism in either of the following: Pharmaceutical Analysis; Pharmacology; Physiology; Phyto-pharmaceuticals or Toxicology.

Teaching will be based on lectures, seminars, workshops, independent web-based learning and laboratory-based learning in our state-of-the-art facilities.The broad field of learning also suits people who are simply interested in furthering their knowledge of the subject.The course can be worked around a full-time job and there are intermediate awards available – a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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Tailored to maximise employability

This course is designed and tailored to your own preferred specialism in either of the following: Pharmaceutical Analysis; Pharmacology; Physiology; Phyto-pharmaceuticals or Toxicology.

Taught by industry professionals

You will be taught by a highly experienced team headed by Course Leader Dr Mukhlesur Rahman. He has worked extensively within the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, spoken at numerous international conferences and published 80 research articles.


UK Modern university for Research Quality*

Bioscience made a major contribution to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. It deems us the top modern university in London for our area of research and eighth in the country. *( Biological Sciences, CUG, 2018)

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What we're researching

We have two research groups, one working to develop new medicines and treatments, the other in infections and immunity. We’re also involved in research that tries to model and predict new drugs using bio-informatics. This uses computers to process and study biological data to help predict what a new drug structure would look like before making it.

We often carry out research in collaboration with other leading research universities in London, including University College London and King’s College London as well as overseas institutions. Our Phyto-Pharmaceutical scientists have close links with researchers at Kew. Students studying at all levels have an opportunity to get involved in our research work.

Bioscience research played a major part in our successful performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework - the six-yearly national review of research quality in higher education. The work of our researchers was rated the best in London among modern universities. The expert panel rated 67 per cent of our research as ‘internationally excellent’ and 19 per cent of it as ‘world-leading’, the highest possible accolade.

Key researchers in our Medicines Research Group include Professor Corcoran, whose work on wound-healing, smoking-related cancer and natural products with significant economic potential in low-income economies has been internationally acclaimed.

Other prominent researchers include: Dr Mukhlesure Rahman (antimicrobial natural products); Dr Samir Ayoub (inflammation, pain and thermoregulation); Dr Stefano Casalotti (molecular neuroscience); Dr Winston Morgan (toxicology of natural products and synthetic drugs); Dr Barbara Pendry (cancer and mental health); Dr Michael Seed (preclinical models of inflammation and immunity); Dr Sue Outram (the immune response); Dr Sally Cutler (zoonosis); Dr John George (targeted drug design); Dr David Guiliano (microbiology) and Dr Geoffrey Webb (diet and nutrition).

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.2 Honours in Physiology, Pharmacology, Sports Science, Applied Biology or Toxicology.

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.

Overall IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

Advanced Techniques in Bioscience (core)
Research Skills (core)
Research Project (core)
Drug Discovery, Design and Development (core)
Toxicology (optional)
Health and Disease of Physiological Systems (optional)
Neuropharmacology and Advanced Systems Therapeutics (optional)
Advanced Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control (optional)
Phyto-pharmaceuticals (optional)

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed via a mixture of coursework and written exams at the end of each term. Coursework takes a variety of forms, including laboratory work, data analysis, essays, case studies and oral presentations. 

The Research Skills module is assessed by coursework involving several forms of presentation. The research project is assessed mainly by final written report, with contributions from a poster presentation and portfolio.

Course specification

How you'll learn

Your studies will be overseen by experts at facilities that include newly refurbished laboratories with the latest analytical equipment.

This will be hugely beneficial when you go on either to employment or further research in the field as you will be familiar with all the technology you are likely to encounter.

You will benefit from regular field trips and visits to herbal suppliers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Recently our students visited GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) at Stevenage and toured the manufacturing facility. 

As well as taking two of the same modules as Phyto-pharmaceutical Science students, you will also share laboratories with them in a mutually enriching process. While they concentrate on plants, your focus will be on drug formulation.

You will also share trips with the Phyto-pharmaceutical Science students to places such as the Economic Botany Collection at Kew Gardens and the Medicinal Garden at the Royal College of Physicians. We recently inspected the manufacturing procedure at the Herbs in a Bottle company.

As an MSc student, your course culminates in an individual research project which will give you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your own particular skills and abilities.

We will provide you with the best possible setting for your studies. Bioscience has contributed to outstanding results in the recently published Research Excellence Framework, the six-yearly review by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Some 86 per cent of our research submission was classified as either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

What you'll learn

As an MSc student, you will complete four taught modules and an independent research project.

Three of the taught modules are core to the course: Advanced Pharmaceutics; Drug Design; and Research Skills. The latter serves as ideal preparation for your final project.

You can also choose one optional module from: Pharmaceutical Analysis; Advanced Cellular Pharmacology & Physiology; Bioinformatics; and Toxicology.

Advanced Pharmaceutics develops an understanding of advanced drug delivery systems. It includes study of the legislative process needed to turn a new substance into a medication that can be used safely and effectively.

Pharmaceutical Analysis covers the methods used in the detection, extraction, isolation and quantitative/qualitative analysis of drugs and phytochemicals.

Drug Design looks at the process of drug design and the development of drug products from traditional medicine systems.

Both these last two are joint modules with Phyto-pharmaceutical Science. 

For the PG Diploma you would complete the MSc course minus the final project. To gain a PG Certificate you need to complete two modules.

Your future career

As a graduate will have a wide range of career options open to you in the broad field of pharmaceutical research.

This course provides you with ideal training either for employment or for continuing your studies with a PhD or further work at a university or research institute.

You could choose to build a career in pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies that are developing new drugs and evaluating new products.

There are numerous small companies in UK and around the world carrying out research and development for drugs.

This course provides you with ideal training to fit into such operations, whether through being employed or by continuing your studies with a PhD.

There are also strong potential employment opportunities within chemical companies making intermediates for the drug industry. They require graduates with analytical skills and an understanding of drug development.

Major pharmaceutical companies need expert personnel to work in the manufacture, formulation and quality control of medicines and to advise customers on technical aspects of products.

The opportunity to work with cutting-edge equipment in our refurbished laboratories means you are likely to be familiar with all the relevant technology when you come to start work or a new research project.

You will be taught by hugely experienced members of staff, who have great contacts with potential employers or educational establishments where you might continue your studies.

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