MSc Pharmaceutical & Analytical Science

Postgraduate, Full-time

Pharmaceutical & Analytical Science MSc

Unique to Scotland, this new two-year programme will prepare graduates for careers in the pharmaceutical sector and allied industries


This programme is primarily, but not exclusively, aimed at international students who have an interest in developing a career in the pharmaceutical sector. 

It is designed to equip you with versatile skills in the theoretical understanding, practical execution and critical evaluation of pharmaceutical science principles.

You will develop expert critical and technical knowledge related to the development, analysis and production of medicines (pharmaceutics), the drug industry and regulatory affairs.

You will gain insight to contemporary, integrated drug discovery strategies, study recent trends in chemical and biological therapeutics and evaluate the latest technologies used in the pharmaceutical industry.

You will also study the interaction between drugs and the body (pharmacology) and explore key analytical and bioanalytical techniques used in therapeutic drug monitoring, with the opportunity for hands-on practical experience in a range of specialist instrumentation and techniques.

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Mode of Study:



2 years

About you
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Course details

This programme provides the opportunity to acquire versatile skills in the theoretical understanding, practical execution and critical evaluation of Pharmaceutical Science principles to underpin your chosen professional careers.  In addition, a specific aim is to enhance your theoretical understanding and practical application of analytical science in pharmaceutical disciplines.

You’ll acquire broad knowledge in contemporary pharmaceutics and pharmacology and gain an in-depth critical understanding of current research in biotechnology and pharmaceutical science.

You’ll develop broad knowledge of current pharmaceutical analysis and quality control strategies and will learn about GMP and GLP compliance.

There is a strong focus on developing your analytical and practical laboratory skills with many opportunities for hands-on experience in a range of current techniques and practices including specialist equipment, for example, HPLC, UV/Vis, FTIR, microscopy, cell culture and flow cytometry. You will have the opportunity to collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data, and to interpret and evaluate data produced both in the laboratory and in silico.

In the final trimester you will undertake an independent project within a dedicated research team, allowing you to apply and further develop your practical, analytical and scientific research skills. There may be the opportunity to conduct your research project externally in a relevant organisation

You will develop graduate attributes necessary for a successful career in the pharmaceutical sector, developing key skills including communication with other professional scientists and non-specialist audiences, organisational skills, problem-solving, review and synopsis, numeracy, statistical analysis and computing skills.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    Students will complete the programme in twenty four months, over six trimesters.  Three trimesters will comprise taught modules and a fourth will be devoted to your independent research project.  There is a one-trimester summer break in year one, and again in year two, when you will be attending workshops and preparing for the research project.  

    As a full-time student you will undertake a total of seven taught 20 credit modules, two or three per taught trimester. This requires an intensive period of study, involving interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials and laboratory sessions, as well as guided independent study, supported by our virtual learning environment Moodle. Guest lectures and site visits may also be arranged.

    The Research Project (60 credits) in the final trimester offers you the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of research full-time in the laboratory.  Opportunities may also exist for you to conduct the research project at an external academic institution, research institute or industrial laboratory. 

  • note and pen Assessments

    Your assessments are carefully mapped out across your programme and designed to assess important knowledge, skills and aptitude.  Assessment will include formative work to help practice your skills and gain feedback from tutors, as well as summative work which will build on this preparatory work and count towards your award.

    Assessments are carefully spaced out across each trimester and include various types such as practical exercises, lab reports, seminar and poster presentations, critical reviews, short discussions, class tests and exams.  Some of these assessments involve group-work, whilst others are carried out individually.

  • briefcase Work placement Optional supervised work placement or overseas study module. 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.
  • library Facilities The programme is delivered at our landmark Sighthill Campus where you will learn in state-of-the-art laboratories equipped with, for example, industry standard HPLC; GC/MS and FTIR spectroscopy instrumentation; cell culture facilities, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy equipment, to ensure that you gain both the theoretical and practical experience that will prepare you for employment in the pharmaceutical and allied healthcare sectors.


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

Placement and study abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

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 such as: biological sciences, biotechnology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry, immunology, genetics, virology, molecular biology, forensic biology in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience.

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.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult or Mental Health)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2021/22 2022/23
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,455 tba
Overseas and EU £10,095 *tba
You study this course over two academic years, fees listed are per annum.

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The University offers a 10% discount on MSc Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.


With a two-year Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical & Analytical Science, you can take advantage of the increased opportunities for advancement in the pharmaceutical, healthcare or bioscience sectors, as discovery or development scientists, in research leadership, development or management roles.  You may develop your career in global pharmaceutical companies, smaller developing biotechnology enterprises, contract drug testing companies or service providers to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, hospital laboratories, or in local government, or health and safety divisions in industry. 

Successful completion of the programme also provides a sound platform for PhD study across the pharmaceutical and bio-molecular sciences, in worldwide academic and research institutions.

Student working in a science lab at Napier University