MSc Drug Discovery and Toxicology

  • Taught by expert staff with big Pharma Research and Development experience and guest lecturers from industry fostering inquiry and strengthening inter-professional education.
  • Access to unparalleled teaching and research facilities in a new science facility.
  • Blended learning approach to teaching including problem-based learning to develop high-level critical analysis skills, substantial exposure to practical techniques in drug discovery and toxicology, and guaranteed laboratory-based research projects.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

About the course

This programme gives you in-depth knowledge of the scientific basis of drug discovery with a particular emphasis on toxicology, the science behind the safety of drugs. We make full use of our geographical location at the heart of the UK Pharmaceutical industry attracting numerous expert contributions from industry professionals (e.g. GSK, AZ). The course will cover all aspects of new medicine research and development from identifying novel targets through drug screening to clinical trials of candidate medicines. With our excellent facilities, emphasis on practical work, and teaching underpinned by the latest research, you will be qualified for research and development positions in pharmaceutical companies including discovery biology and toxicology, as well as a wide range of other non-laboratory roles in industry.

Alternatively, consider taking the MSc Drug Discovery and Toxicology with advanced research:

MSc Drug Discovery and Toxicology (with Advanced Research)

Why choose this course?

  • This course is a natural progression for anyone completing an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Pharmacology or Pharmaceutical Sciences, who is interested in a career in the Pharmaceutical industry. 
  • The course will enable you to apply your biosciences knowledge to the particular challenges of developing safe and effective medicines.
  • Our state of the art Science Building provides excellent facilities for laboratory based studies, including cell culture and plate reader based assays, isolated tissue studies, immunohistochemistry. 
  • We make full use of our geographical location at the heart of the UK Pharmaceutical industry attracting numerous expert contributions from industry professionals.
  • Offered as a part-time option to suit students who may already be in employment and wish to broaden their knowledge of the industry with support from their employer.

What will I study?

The MSc Drug Discovery and Toxicology Course will provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the drug discovery process and the role of toxicology in developing safe medicines. The programme comprises four taught modules and a project module. In Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology students study the essential aspects of these topics that provide a necessary background for contemporary drug discovery. A focus on immunology reflects the growing understanding of the contribution of this area to disease and hence novel opportunities for drug discovery. The Translational medicine module explores the process of drug discovery with a particular emphasis on translation, developing molecules that will eventually work in human patients as well as in a laboratory. Molecular Medicine explores with the emphasis on recent examples of chemical and biological approaches to developing 21st Century medicines and Contemporary topics in Drug Discovery and Toxicology provides a focus on recent developments in drug safety science. A problem-based learning approach is integral to develop advanced critical analysis and group working skills in students’ on the programme.

All students have the opportunity to complete a laboratory based research project in their chosen area of interest ranging across options in toxicology and pharmacology of drug discovery.

Currently available projects include:

  • Gastrointestinal pharmacology
  • Angiogenesis
  • Cancer
  • Molecular pharmacology of vascular disease
  • Diabetic Neuropathic pain
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Toxicology of new smoking devices
  • Toxicology of novel psychoactive substances

Professional Accreditations

Subject to validation, this course will be accrediated by the Royal Society for Biology Accreditation.

What job can I get?

Graduates of the MSc Drug Discovery and Toxicology may go on to work in a broad range of fields including: Toxicology research, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, clinical toxicology, forensic toxicology, food safety, academia research, medical writing/science journalism, UK government departments, education, or patent law. Alternatively, you may also use the MSc in Drug Discovery and Toxicology to underpin an application to study for a research degree such as MRes, MSc by Research, or a PhD in a related field.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.