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.

Please note that the structure of the course as outlined here reflects some changes from January 2022, which remain subject to validation

Please contact us with any questions by emailing

Due to extremely high demand for our programmes starting in January 2023, we are no longer accepting applications from international applicants for this programme. We’re sorry that you won’t be able to join us in January.

Students at work in science lab

Mode of Study:



2 years

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. 

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.


This is a two-stage programme run over two years. The first stage will allow you to develop key skills and an understanding of best practice around learning and assessment enabling you to be more effectively prepared to undertake the modules in the second stage of study which will further deepen your knowledge of the subject. The first trimester of study on this programme will commence in January each year.

Stage 1: Trimester 1

3 Taught compulsory modules:

  1. Professional Practice 1 (20 credits)
  2. Scientific Communication (20 credits)
  3. Pharmaceutics: Small Molecules (20 credits)

Stage 1: Trimester 2

3 Taught compulsory modules:

  1. Professional practice 2 (20 credits)
  2. Pharmaceutics: Macromolecules (20 credits)
  3. Analytical methods in Drug Development (20 credits)

Continuation of study requirements.

In order to progress from stage 1 to stage 2 you must pass all modules at stage 1 (pass rate 50%) and obtain 120 credits. Stage 1 modules are not eligible for repeat module decisions or compensatory passes.

Stage 2: Trimester 1

3 Taught compulsory modules:

  1. Drug Design and Chemotherapy (20 credits)
  2. Research Skills (20 credits)
  3. Quality Control and Pharmaceutical Analysis (20 credits)

Stage 2: Trimester 2

3 Taught compulsory modules:

  1. Current Practice in Drug Discovery (20 credits)
  2. Current Research in Pharmaceutical Science (20 credits)
  3. Pharmacology and Pharmaceutics (20 credits)

Continuation of study requirements.

To progress to the final research project module (60 credits) you must successfully complete 100 credits of your Stage 2 taught compulsory modules, which must include the Research Skills module.

If you complete a number of taught modules but are unable to progress due to insufficient credit or you have decided not to continue your studies for any other reason, you will be entitled to receive the following awards:

You will be awarded a Graduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical & Analytical Science on successful completion of 60 credits from Stage 1 at grade 9 or above. 

You will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Analytical Science on successful completion of 120 credits from six Stage 2 modules.

On successful completion of 180 (Stage 2) credits at SCQF level 11 including a minimum of 60 credits achieved from the final research project, you will be awarded a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Analytical Science.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    Students will complete the programme in 27 months, over seven trimesters.  

    Four trimesters will comprise taught modules and a fifth will be devoted to your independent research project.  

    There is a one trimester break during the summer on both stage 1 and 2 and so you will have an opportunity to work during these breaks or may be required to engage with any reassessments if you have not passed a particular module.

    This programme 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

The entry requirement for Stage 1 of this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree with a background in subjects such as biomedical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry, microbiology and/or biotechnology at a 2:2 or above.

We may also consider other qualifications or experience which demonstrate through our recognition of prior learning process that you have appropriate knowledge and skills such as a degree-equivalent qualification in a relevant biomolecular discipline as per above, plus a minimum of two years relevant post-qualification work experience. 

For students who may not meet the normal entry requirements, who wish to explore if they would be eligible for entry to the programme, contact to seek advice on whether or not they should apply

English language requirements

As all learning, teaching and assessment activities are conducted in English, if your first language is not English you must have a minimum International English Language Testing System score of 6.0 with all four elements having a score of at least 5.5

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, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • 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 2022/23 2023/24
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,730 £10,025
Overseas and EU £10,390 £11,390
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

Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


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 with his hands inside a fume cupboard in a science lab