BSc (Hons) Pharmacology

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.

Learn practical laboratory skills in our modern Science Building
Learn practical laboratory skills in our modern Science Building
Take a placement year with pharmaceutical companies like GSK
Take a placement year with pharmaceutical companies like GSK
This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology
This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology

This course includes the sandwich year options of:

Work Placement*

Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

Why choose this course?

You have an interest in how medicines work. You want to learn about their actions in living systems.  As the demand for new drugs continues, the need for specialists to discover and test them grows. Join our team of aspiring pharmacologists to learn how drugs are made, developed, and marketed. Our course is also accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. This means you’ll graduate with all the credentials you need to succeed in your career.  We’ll introduce you into the world of medicine in an engaging and practical way. Explore the methods used to test the effectiveness of drugs. Get hands on experience in our modern teaching and research laboratories. You’ll be able to use well equipped labs spread over five storeys of innovative facilities. Work alongside researchers, academics and other students.  Learn new techniques in microbiology and blood analysis. Benefit from exclusive access to IT rooms for bioinformatics. You’ll even have your own bespoke space for pharmacology investigations.  As you discover the world of bio science, you’ll form specialist interests. You may find you really enjoy metabolic pathways in biochemistry. Or maybe you prefer gene manipulation in molecular biology. That’s why we give you the chance to experience a range of modules before committing to the Pharmacology pathway. We believe in flexibility. We will guide you to find your passion to study what you really love.    

You’ll explore various new and exciting areas in this degree. Rest assured, we are with you all the way. You’ll get a personal tutor, who’ll support you in gaining subject-specific skills in scientific writing, data interpretation, and communication. Take advantage of peer support too in group workshops. Share your breakthroughs and discuss patient case studies.  This programme is the stepping-stone into a wide range of scientific careers. You’ll also gain plenty of transferable skills to enter broader fields like teaching or business if you prefer. 

We are proud of our professional and aspiring pharmacologists. You’ll be learning current developments from experts in the industry. The theory you’ll learn is important. The practical experience you will gain just as much. But our strong links with the pharmaceutical companies, such as GSK, makes this degree stand out. It’s no wonder we’re rated TEF Gold – the highest rating for teaching and support.  

Graduate Stories:

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What's the course about?

Pharmacology covers all aspects of drugs and their uses as medicines. You’ll learn how new drugs are discovered and tested. You’ll understand why they are effective in treating disease. You’ll explore how they work at a whole body, tissue, and receptor protein level. Governments and companies spend billions of pounds on pharmacological research. The demand for well-trained pharmacology graduates is fierce. We’ll teach you what you need to know to be a highly sought-after employee in the industry.    

Your first year is about building a solid foundation in bioscience. You’ll study alongside students from other disciplines. You’ll obtain an initial grounding in chemistry, molecular biology and genetics, microbiology, and human physiology with pharmacology.  You’ll learn how to describe physiological processes in the body. This will be at cell, tissue, organ and organism level. Your theory will be backed up with extensive practical work to develop key laboratory skills.  

In your second year, you start specialising. You’ll start to look at the stages of drug development. You’ll learn the need for clinical trials. Explore the controversial issues around trialling human volunteers. You’ll uncover how medication keeps us in good health and how they save lives. You’ll learn how pain relief drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin work in the body. Understand the process of chemotherapy for cancers.  You’ll hear amazing success stories as well as the limitations of existing therapies.    

Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too.  

In your final year you’ll find that you have grown to love certain topics that you just need to delve deeper into.  You’ll learn how to find new targets for drug development. How could you treat Alzheimer’s Disease? What role do our genes play in determining safe dosages of medicines for each of us? Then, you can select from all modules to focus your project on. You could look at important disorders such as diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease. Or maybe you could look at the toxicity of Novel Psychoactive Substances. It’s totally up to you. Just know, from hypothesis to conclusion, we are with you all the way.   

You have 20 hours of contact time, with lectures and workshops taking up about 6-10 hours per week, while the remaining time is devoted to practical work. Throughout your degree, you will be assessed in a variety of ways. This will include exams, literature reviews, portfolios, lab reports, practical's and presentations. Coursework assessments are generally 50-100% per module. 

Your main campus is College Lane     

This is where the creative arts, science and health related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in the pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. You can take the free shuttle bus to our other campus or walk there in just 15 minutes.  

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.      

Part-time study

If you are studying part-time you will have up to 7 years to complete your course from registration. You will complete 60 credits per year and the modules you will study each year will depend on how they fit together on the timetable.  For some modules there are several sessions run for each workshop and practical.  As a part-time student you will be able to choose the slots that fit best with when you are at the University for other teaching sessions. 

Alumni Stories

Nikunj Thakrar

Meet Nikunj Thakrar who has built a successful career as a Pharmacist since graduating in 2009. He currently works for Tesco as a Pharmacy Manager and has returned to the University as a visiting lecturer.

Current job rolePharmacy Manager
Year of graduation2009
Course of studyBSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science

Nikunj Thakrar

University experience

Nikunj has been working at Tesco since he was a pre-reg Pharmacist and has worked his way up to the position he is now in. He speaks highly of the University, crediting us with helping him succeed in his career. Through the University's resources, facilities and exceptional Pharmacy degree, Nikunj had the opportunity to train three pharmacists as a pre-reg tutor. This hands-on practical experience helped him when entering employment and gave him tangible skills to take into his career.

He says, 'The University had, and still has, a massive impact on how my career has progressed. The teaching, support and resources were excellent and helped me  develop into the pharmacist I am today. I count my time at university as one of the main contributing factors to my success.'

Real world skills

Nikunj's experience and career demonstrates how the University gives students the skills to succeed, delivering fully skilled, work ready graduates to the professional world, equipped with unique experience and knowledge. Nikunj says, 'I feel that the preparation we were given for the real world was extremely useful in helping me settle as a pharmacist. We spent a lot of time in the mock pharmacy and dispensing suites which were the closest thing to an actual pharmacy. And although daunting, OSCE examinations were an extremely effective way of mimicking real-life scenarios a pharmacist may encounter, ultimately testing our knowledge.'

Aspirations for the future

As a visting lecturer, the University recognised Nikunj's talent and was able to facilitate his passion for the subject. He is continually developing new skills that he can incorporate into his professional role, in addition to help nurture the pharmacists of tomorrow. He encourages prospective pharmacists to gain experience alongside their degree as it will be invaluable when qualified. He adds, 'Set yourself goals to work towards and never lose sight of them.'

Looking ahead to the future, Nikunj says, 'I am currently very happy with my roles at Tesco and the University of Hertfordshire. However, in the future, I plan on helping out with more central and operational projects within the company and to increase my time spent in academia.'

I made great friends on my degree and through the Students' Union, and I've now got friends around the world, because of the wider Alumni community.

Alumni Stories

Chika Madubuko

Meet Chika Madubuko who has used her business knowledge to help others. She is currently the CEO of Greymate Care, Africa's pioneer AI-Powered, home-care platform that connects the elderly to a vetted caregiver.

Current job roleCEO of Greymate Care
Year of graduation2014
Course of studyMSc Biotechnology

Chika Madubuko

University life and experience

Chika initially decided to study at the University of Hertfordshire based on our impressive Learning Resource Centre’s ranking and our close proximity to London. As an international student, these factors were extremely important to ensure she had the tools and support to succeed in her course.

Her course, MSc Biotechnology, enabled Chika to push herself and provide a comprehensive and practical approach to the industry she wanted to pursue a career in.

‘Our course was delivered using a problem based learning approach where we tried to solve problems using real life scenarios as case studies.’

Similarly, Chika goes on to add that the composition of the modules on her course was completely different to other universities as the variety on offer ‘covered all areas within the sector.’ She firmly believes that as a University of Hertfordshire alumna, she has ‘the best recipe for success’ and ‘the world is [her] oyster.’.

The future

Since graduating in 2014, Chika’s career has spanned across three continents and several multinational companies. She is currently the CEO of Greymate Care in Africa but has set her sights even higher. In the future, she would like to become a renowned business mogul and take the world by storm.

In June 2020 we were delighted to announce Chika as our AInternational Alumnus/Alumna of the year for 2020.

‘Our course was delivered using a problem based learning approach where we tried to solve problems using real-life scenarios as case studies.’

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.