Over 95% of students said that they were satisfied with the learning resources on the course (NSS 2019)
About the course
Pharmaceutical scientists play a vital role in the development of new medicines – from the initial discovery chemistry through to formulation development, manufacture, clinical testing and beyond. This course has been developed in collaboration with local and national biotech and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that its content stays relevant and it gives you up-to-date skills. Modules give you a fundamental understanding of chemistry, biochemistry, biology and pharmacology, before building your specialist knowledge in drug design, formulation development and clinical testing. At the same time you’ll develop the essential capabilities employers want to see in their graduate employees.
You will study modules introducing you to the fundamentals of pharmaceutical chemistry and analytical chemistry, biology and biochemistry, as well as a human physiology and pharmacology. You will learn to use a range of experimental techniques and analytical tools in practice as well as in theory. You will develop strong data evaluation and presentation skills.
You will study analytical chemistry at an advanced level, dosage form design and manufacture, methods in drug design, formulation development and a more specialist pharmacology module. This will give you the scientific knowledge, laboratory and analytical skills to undertake a work placement year in any stage of the pharmaceutical drug development pipeline with one of our overseas partners.
Work placement/study abroad
We strongly recommend that our students undertake a supervised work placement; recent placements have been based in government and charity-funded research institutions, healthcare companies, agrochemical, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, environmental agencies and the NHS.
Alternatively, you can choose to spend the year studying at one of our partner universities.
In your final year you will spend one entire semester carrying out an independent extended research project, enabling you to develop and hone the laboratory, research and documentation skills sought by employers. You will also study modules in pharmaceutical industry practice; simulating real life industry scenarios, and the translation of laboratory science into clinical trials and marketed products, as well as being able to specialise in a core discipline including medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical formulation development or pharmacology.
This BSc Pharmaceutical Science course has been designed with the input from potential employers such as the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies to provide students with highly marketable knowledge and skills for a variety of different career options.
We teach scientific principles through practical, laboratory-based elements to open up lab-based employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector. Students will also learn about key concepts underpinning pharmaceutical research from the point of first discovery of a potential drug through to the manufacture of a new medicine, and the regulations associated with this process. This knowledge enables and supports office-based career opportunities such as marketing, quality assurance/regulation, or potentially in pharmaceutical sales. More general professional development skills are embedded within our modules to help students to develop their communication and IT skills expected by many employers.
While the course is principally designed to produce graduates for the pharmaceutical industry and related agencies, many of the skills are transferable to related sectors such as the food and drink, cosmetics, agrochemical and biotechnology industries as well as industrial, academic and charity funded research.
What job can I get?
Graduates of the course will be fully equipped to enter the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors in a variety of disciplines, including formulation science, analytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry and regulatory affairs. The course will also provide a platform for postgraduate study for those students interested in pursuing higher degrees such as MSc and PhD.
All our students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or study overseas in Europe or North America during their 3rd year.
We strongly recommend that our students undertake a supervised work placement; recent placements have been based in Government and charity-funded research institutions, healthcare companies, agrochemical, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, environmental agencies and the NHS.
You can also choose to gain an extra qualification – the Licentiateship of the City and Guilds Institute. This will greatly enhance your employability and your performance in your final year. Work placements are usually paid. Current employers are listed below:
GlaxoSmithKline: Data Management - Uxbridge,
Guy's Hospital: Drug Research Unit - London,
Imperial College: Toxicology Unit, Faculty of Medicine - London,
Medical Research Council - Mill Hill,
Medifix Adhesive Products - Luton,
This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in the Sandwich Year through the University's study abroad programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme. Find out more about Study abroad opportunities
Human Physiology with Pharmacology - 30 Credits
This module has been designed to provide students with an understanding of human physiology, enabling them to describe physiological processes at cell, tissue, organ and organism levels.
Topics covered will include:
* Homeostasis and control mechanisms
* Cell differentiation, basic tissues and musculature
* Nervous system (electrical signalling, autonomic nervous system and central nervous system)
* Cardiovascular system and blood
* Respiratory system
* Digestive system
* Renal system
* Endocrine system and reproduction
* Immune system
* Integrative physiology
* Basic pharmacology including receptor theory and pharmacokinetics to show how medicines may be effectively used to treat disease.
*Drug discovery, design and the process of drug development. The importance of clinical trials
Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry - 30 Credits
This module covers the fundamentals of analytical chemistry with respect to theory, essential tools and calculations; the principles of qualitative and quantitative analyses. The module provides the basics of analytical chemistry, presented in a contextualised manner, necessary to support other modules studied on the programme.
Foundations of Pharmaceutical Chemistry - 30 Credits
A foundation module that will cover essential areas of nomenclature, and physical, structural and organic chemistry. Topics covered include a study of the key organic functional groups, basic kinetics and thermodynamics, and an introduction to fundamental concepts in pharmaceutics. The module provides the underpinning pharmaceutical chemistry, presented in a contextualised manner, necessary to support other modules studied on the programme.
Biology and Biochemistry - 30 Credits
This module provides the students with a contextualised introduction to the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology and how knowledge of these sciences is implicit in the advancement of pharmaceutical sciences. The module introduces students to the fundamental structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and explores how cell structure and organisation relates to cell function. Topics covered include: Structure of cells and their components; membrane organisation and transport; DNA organisation, replication, mitosis and cell division; gene organisation, transcription and translation; protein structure and localisation; enzyme kinetics; cell signalling; cell biochemistry and metabolism; an introduction to microbiology and the key features of microbes in relation to disease; eukaryotic genetics including chromosome analysis, Mendelian inheritance, pedigree and linkage analysis; an introduction to differentiation/development; and basic molecular biological techniques.
Dosage, Form, Design and Manufacture - 30 Credits
This module will introduce students to the pharmaceutical properties of drugs and the important considerations to be made during product design, development and manufacture. The anatomical and physiological barriers which drug products encounter will be emphasised to enable students to develop an understanding of the requirements for pharmaceuticals. This knowledge will be developed in parallel with an understanding of pharmaceutical materials including the physicochemical properties of drug molecules and particles and how these influence bioavailability and drug disposition. The methods used to characterise these properties will be discussed and developed as practical skills. The module will also cover the manufacture of formulations into products.
Pharmacology - 30 Credits
This module will describe the analysis of drug actions at receptors. Specifically terms such as affinity, potency and efficacy will be discussed through drug interactions with known receptors. Receptor signalling pathways will be explored and the role of targeting receptors in disease states will be described. The fate of drugs in the body (pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism) will also be considered because of their importance to the success of current therapeutics, and their influence on novel drug development. Drug treatment for specific diseases of the cardiovascular system, autonomic and central nervous system, and gastrointestinal system will be described. The chemotherapeutics of cancers and infectious diseases will also be studied as well as the physiological process and pharmacological treatment of pain. Limitations of existing therapies will be highlighted and new targets for drug development will be discussed in terms of the present understanding of the pathology and genetic basis of disease.
Advanced Analytical Techniques and Quality Assurance - 30 Credits
The module covers the fundamentals and applications of the various separation techniques, spectroscopies and solid state analyses in pharmaceutical discovery and development. The process of an analysis from instrument calibration, sample preparation to data acquisition and interpretation will be covered and the additional challenges of analysing formulated materials rather than drug substances considered.
The importance and applications of the analytical procedures to ensure the quality of pharmaceutical products are addressed. Students will gain an understanding of quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry.
Methods in Drug Design - 30 Credits
Lectures and workshops cover therapeutic targets, the sources of drugs and the use and application of modern approaches such as combinatorial and computational chemistry to identify lead compounds. The use of case studies in lectures and workshops assists in the achievement of these learning outcomes and enables the students to contextualise their understanding and knowledge. Students will undertake a practical programme which will include the development and analysis of a pharmaceutical agent.
Applied and Integrated Pharmacological Science - 15 Credits
This module focuses on the manner in which clinical research and basic research impact each other particularly in pharmaceutical development i.e. 'bench to bedside' . An advanced understanding of clinical trial design, safety testing and toxicology and pharmacogenomics will be related to the testing of medicines in human clinical trials and the area of pharmacovigilance. Ethical questions arising from clinical trials design will be addressed. The influence of regulatory requirements on the pharmaceutical industry will also be highlighted. Students will apply problem based learning approaches to interpret data from preclinical and clinical studies in case studies of drug development. They will also gain an appreciation of the factors leading to the withdrawal of a drug from the market. Role play scenarios will be provided relevant to drug discovery and development where students will engage in group work.
Project - 60 Credits
This module will cover reviewing literature, appropriate research design, ethics, data analysis including statistical analysis and preparation of the research report. Students will be supported through lectures, workshops (including statistical training), tutorials, one to one sessions with their supervisor and a range of formative assessments including a literature review, journal club presentation and draft dissertation.
Pharmaceutical Industry Practice - 15 Credits
This module examines the practical environment and constraints in which pharmaceutical products are developed and marketed. The module will include an introduction to regulatory affairs concepts (global regulatory systems, international guidelines and quality management systems including GMP, GLP and GCP, safety and environment). Current economic models will be discussed including biotech, innovator, generic pharma and the impact of regulatory and intellectual property constraints on product development will be considered. Finally students will prepare for multidisciplinary project-based working through study of project management; team profiling and team work; business planning and pitching; presentation skills. As a component of the module, students will develop and display entrepreneurship and team-working skills by preparing a project development plan for an innovative product.
Year Abroad: Bioscience - 0 Credits
Learning and teaching methods may include taught courses, a research project, field studies or a mixture of
these components. The Year Abroad will be for two academic semesters or their equivalent. The students will
therefore follow a programme negotiated by the Associate Head of School or nominee and an equivalent
representative of the host institution. Prior to commencement of the Year Abroad, the student, the programme
officers from the University of Hertfordshire and from the host institution will agree a learning agreement and
mode of attendance.
Sandwich Placement; Bioscience - 0 Credits
The sandwich placement will provide students with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in the taught years of the degree in a work-based situation. The
establishment will appoint a work-place supervisor, and the student will also have a University supervisor. During the placement the student will return to the University to a one day Symposium which all placement students attend. During this day they will present a poster about their placement and attend talks on future employment.
In particular, all students will spend a minimum of 36 weeks on placement. Applied Biomedical Students will spend a minimum of 36 weeks on a training placement in an approved diagnostic laboratory performing routine diagnostic tests. In the process they will: gain an understanding of the workings of a professional, clinical laboratory; develop the skills necessary to be an independent and safe practitioner; perform various analyses in order to demonstrate competence in the use of specialist laboratory equipment.
Topics in Medicine Design - 30 Credits
This module option examines the processes and steps involved in the design of synthetic pathways for pharmaceuticals. The module will provide a brief introduction in the application of protecting groups in multistep synthesis; asymmetric synthesis, chemical approaches to stereoselective synthesis; strategies for the synthesis of carbocyclic and heterocyclic compounds; and retrosynthetic analysis. The application of the principles and concepts outlined above will be illustrated by examination of synthetic examples of drugs used in different therapeutic classes. Different formulation strategies for the synthesised drugs will be reviewed. The clinical applications of the synthesised drugs will be examined briefly.
Advances in Pharmaceutical Formulation and Drug Delivery - 30 Credits
This module provides students with a comprehensive and critical understanding of current and emerging research trends in the development and application of the novel drug delivery systems. Fundamental concepts and strategies involved in design, development and application of drug delivery via oral, pulmonary, mucosal, transdermal, topical and ophthalmic routes will be explored. Critical understanding of existing testing techniques and its bio-relevance and evolution of novel in vitro and in vivo testing techniques to evaluate performance of novel drug delivery system will be covered. The module will also explore pre-formulation strategies employed to enable formulation e.g. to address the challenges in development of formulation for poorly soluble drugs. Topics such as absorption number, dose number, dissolution number and the Biopharmaceutics Classification System and its relation to design of formulation and biowaiver will be covered. Novel approaches and the role of chronopharmaceutics in medicines design will be covered.
Fees & funding
£9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
£12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year
Additional costs include:
£30 deposit for a chemistry locker – refundable
£5 for 2 lab books – non-refundable
£35 deposit for EVS system – refundable after year 4 of study
For those students who wear a hijab or head cover there is a laboratory flame-proof Hijab or other head cover for £10 – non-refundable
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
Including 2 Science A levels including C grade or above in Chemistry (acceptable Science A levels are Human Biology, Biology, Psychology, Geography, Maths & Physics).
BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science with a minimum DMM profile to include a minimum of 6 chemistry-titled units at merit or above.
Access to Science
Access to Science Diploma with a merit profile in 45 credits at Level 3, 12 of which must be in Chemistry titled modules with a minimum of merit grade.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
IB offer ie 104 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above to include chemistry and one other Science (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core). Plus GCSE English language, mathematics and double science at grade 4 (C) or above (or 2 single sciences).
A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is required for those for whom English is not their first language.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.