MSc Pharmaceutical Science

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Explore drug development, manufacture and production and enhance your prospects for a career as a drug discovery or development scientist in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, nutraceutical or bioscience industries.

  • Napier code:

    74719MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year, or 18 months for January start

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

This course provides expert critical and technical knowledge related to the development, analysis and production of medicines, the drug industry and regulatory affairs.

You'll study recent trends in chemical, biological and biotechnological therapeutics and evaluate the latest technologies used in the pharmaceutical industry.

You'll also gain an understanding of the processes and methods used in clinical trials and the regulation of medicines and acquire the skills and knowledge to pursue your career in pharmaceutical science.


pharmaceutical science

This course provides the opportunity to acquire all the attributes necessary for a successful career in pharmaceutical science, undertaking lead research and development, or analytical management roles in the drug and healthcare industries.

You’ll acquire broad knowledge of contemporary, integrated drug discovery strategies and acquire the necessary skills to communicate effectively across the key, diverse component disciplines with other professional scientists and non-specialist audiences.

You’ll develop broad knowledge of current pharmaceutical analysis and quality control strategies and will learn about GMP and GLP compliance. You’ll also gain an in-depth critical understanding of current research in biotechnology and pharmaceutical science.

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 including specialist equipment such as HPLC, UV/Vis, and FTIR. In your final trimester you’ll undertake an independent project within a vibrant 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 pharmaceutical 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 taken over one year and 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.

Subjects include

  • Current practice in drug development
  • Molecular pharmacology and toxicology
  • Current topics in pharmaceutical science
  • Research skills
  • Quality Control and Pharmaceutical Analysis
  • 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.

A large proportion of our graduates enter laboratory based and research management based product development work. They are employed in industries ranging from the big pharmaceutical companies to developing biotech companies; contract drug testing companies and service providers to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries; hospital laboratories, NHS and local government.

If you currently work in a relevant sector, this course will enhance your prospects for career progression. This qualification also provides a sound platform for study to PhD level in pharmaceutical and biomolecular sciences and an academic career.


The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above. We look for applicants to have a background in  bio-molecular sciences in order to be eligible for this programme. The following acceptable degree background are: pharmacy; pharmacology, pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry; biological or biomedical sciences; chemistry; immunology; biotechnology; genetics; virology; molecular biology; forensic science.

We may also consider degree-equivalent qualifications, as will applicants without Honours degree equivalence but who have appropriate experience gained 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

This is a versatile and industry relevant course that deals with various aspects of the world of Pharmaceutical Science.

Maria Gauci

Teaching Associate and former Quality Control Analyst