MSc Drug Design and Biomedical Science

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Unique in Europe, this course combines biomedicine and pharmaceutical science to prepare you for a rewarding career in the pharmaceutical, bioscience or healthcare sectors.

  • Napier code:

    74709MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    3 trimesters

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

If you're interested in a career in the fascinating and challenging world of drug design, this is the course that will take you there.

Rather than presenting just one of the disciplines used in the field, this postgraduate degree, unique in Europe, blends the subjects you need - biomedicine and pharmaceutical science - into one comprehensive course that focuses on the integration of modern organomedicinal chemistry and molecular biology.

You’ll study various steps involved in developing and creating effective drugs, from concept to clinic, including the theories and practical applications of chemical drug design and immunology, pharmacology and molecular biology. Learning will be based on emergent technology from academic research and how it is applied to the drug development process, identification of drug targets, and development of effective drugs via reference to the relevant biological systems and pathways.


This course provides the knowledge, understanding and practical experience you’ll need to forge a rewarding career in research and development in the pharmaceutical, bioscience or healthcare sectors. You’ll develop in-depth understanding of disease processes and molecular targets and an ability to apply this knowledge and theory to key aspects of drug design and biomedical science.

Equipped with the ability to follow developments in the field, you’ll learn to apply them to your work and make innovative contributions to the industry that will benefit others. Complex issues often arise in this field: you’ll acquire the skills necessary to make informed judgements and effectively communicate decisions.

There is an emphasis on developing your practical laboratory skills with various opportunities for hands-on experience in a range of current techniques and practices. In your final trimester you’ll undertake an independent project within a vibrant biomedical or drug design research team, allowing you to apply and further develop your technical, research and professional skills. There may be the opportunity to conduct your research project externally in a relevant organisation or industry in the UK or overseas.

You’ll also develop key skills including communication, problem solving, team work, project management, and leadership. You’ll learn through interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials, site visits and laboratory sessions, and by engaging with guided independent study. A variety of assessment tools are used to enhance and evaluate your learning.

This is a full-time course over one year and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September. There may also be some opportunities to study abroad.

This programme is also available as a Masters by Research.

What you study

  • Current practice in drug development
  • Advanced immunology
  • Molecular pharmacology and toxicology
  • Research skills
  • Quality Control and Pharmaceutical Analysis or Biotechnology and Drug Discovery
  • Drug design and chemotherapy
  • Research project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

The rapidly developing pharmaceutical, bioscience and healthcare sectors all need qualified drug discovery or biomedical scientists. This course is your fastest and most effective route to a successful career in drug design.

You could establish a laboratory-based career with global pharmaceutical companies, developing biotechnology companies, contract drug testing, hospitals, NHS, local government or health and safety divisions.

Alternatively, further studies to PhD level are available at institutions all over the world leading to an academic career.


The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a background in Bio-Molecular Sciences such as biological sciences, biotechnology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, pharmacology, pharmaceutical, genetics, virology etc. in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient work experience in the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.


Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol on our nursing courses.

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Home/EU £3,750 £3,750
Overseas £14,690 £14,690

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

For over 15 years this course has prepared graduates from more than 50 countries in all aspects of the discovery and design of new drugs for global careers in pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Dr David Mincher

Reader in Experimental Chemotherapy, School of Life, Sport and Social Science