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MSc Pharmacology

Course Overview

The MSc Pharmacology course is designed to allow you to gain a broad overview of drug discovery and development, mechanisms of drug action at the molecular level, drug treatment of human diseases, and latest cellular and molecular technologies applied to pharmacology at an advanced level.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge of individual examples of modern drug research and development throughout. You will then specialise in one of the research areas, culminating with a laboratory research project in the selected subject.

The aim of the course is to provide you with a fundamental understanding of drug research and development and treatment of relevant human diseases, and practical experience of new technologies applied to relevant areas of pharmacology at an advanced level, and to provide opportunities for specialisation through a choice of project in one of the four following main themes – (i) cell and molecular biology, (ii) molecular pharmacology, (iii) drug discovery and development, (iv) clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. These will provide graduates with the expertise for subsequent employment in organisations undertaking these techniques and/or research.

Key information

    Course name

    MSc Pharmacology

    Total academic credits

    180 credits

    Qualification awarded


    Awarding body

    University of Bedfordshire

    Professional recognition


    Academic level

    Postgraduate (QCF_NQF Level 7)

    Study mode

    Full time - Classroom


    12 months

    Tuition fees



    September and March

    Work placement


    Course location


Academic entry requirements

A good honours degree, or equivalent qualification, in Honours degree in a medical, biomedical, pharmaceutical, biological, chemical science or a related science subject from a recognised university or HE institution. The university also consider candidates with other relevant qualifications and individuals with appropriate work experience.

English entry requirements

IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any subcomponent; OR evidence that you have been instructed and assessed predominantly in English for a significant part of your educational career.

Assessment methods

Each unit of study has three summative assessment points and when each is marked you will be provided with feedback that is designed to show you where you are meeting/exceeding the standards and where/how you can/should make further improvement.

The final assessment in each of the taught units is a formal written examination. Other assessments will include laboratory reports, research proposals, poster/oral presentations.

The research project is assessed in three parts: first, the use and maintenance of a project notebook; second, production of a formal project dissertation; and finally, an oral presentation with associated question and answering session.

Progression route

Further postgraduate study (e.g. MPhil/PhD) in the areas of molecular pharmacology, toxicology, cellular and molecular biology, cancer studies and computational biology with supervisors from the Department of Life Sciences, administered through the Institute of Biomedical and Environmental Science and Technology (iBEST).

Career opportunities

The course programme will support graduates seeking careers in drug research and development from wide range of employers including the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, academic institutions, the NHS and other public organisations in the following key areas: Drug Design & Development; Preclinical Research; Clinical Research; Product Registration, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Medicine Information; Pharmaceutical Marketing and Sales; Medical Writing.


The course is divided into three semesters. As a full-time student, in each of semesters one and two you will study two taught units with a mixture of lectures, seminars/tutorials and practical sessions. In the third semester you will undertake an individual research project. The project is supervised by a member of academic staff and it is expected that you take responsibility for planning and implementing tasks.

Semester 1:

  • Cell and Molecular Biology – 30 credits
  • Molecular Pharmacology – 30 credits

Semester 2:

  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics – 30 credits
  • Drug Discovery and Development – 30 credits

Semester 3:

  • Laboratory Based Research Project (Pharmacology) – 60 credits


Reasons for choosing this course

The course has been designed to develop you as a graduate who is able to:

  • apply an understanding of drug action at cellular and molecular levels to advance research and development challenges in pharmacology
  • contribute practical expertise to multi-specialist research and development teams
  • access data and information at the forefront of biotechnology and apply it to new situations
  • learn independently and recognise the need for continuing professional development
  • Study the principles of drug design, pre-clinical evaluation, clinical trials, regulatory affairs and the application of new technologies in the drug discovery and development process
  • Explore the latest therapeutic concepts and principles relating to causes, epidemiology, diagnosis and the treatment of human diseases in current clinical practice
  • Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of new technologies in cell and molecular biology
  • Gain a wide range of valuable practical skills and the ability to devise an experimental plan as an independent investigator
  • Benefit from an enhancement in your learning skills and personal development, take the opportunity to work with self-direction and originality, and make a major contribution to the pharmaceutical industry, wider society and the global economy


Main learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates should be able to:-

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding and a critical awareness of new technologies in cell and molecular biology
  • Show in-depth knowledge and understanding of the pharmacology of receptors especially with respect to emerging drug targets and putative mechanism of drug action
  • Demonstrate significant knowledge and understanding of the principles of drug design, pre-clinical evaluation, clinical trials, regulatory affairs and application of new technologies in the drug discovery and development process
  • Show in-depth knowledge and understanding of the therapeutic concepts and general principles relating to, causes, aetiology, epidemiology, and diagnosis of human diseases in current clinical practice, as well as drug adverse effects
  • Use confident and accurate language to present work both orally and in written form including use of graphs and images to clearly illustrate complex points
  • Synthesise and effectively use information from a variety of relevant sources and to independently and critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the relevant subject areas
  • Demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, the development of practical skills and the ability to devise an experimental plan as an independent investigator. Students must demonstrate how established techniques and approaches can be applied to a new problem or a new method devised
  • Apply transferable skills (initiative, personal responsibility, effective communications, critical thinking and decision-making) that include a clear demonstration of independent learning commensurate with that expected from postgraduate students. This includes a detailed understanding of the social, moral and ethical considerations associated with any proposed research activity