Research overview

The School of Pharmacy is a world top 5 school two years in a row*. Our teaching, learning materials and student support back this incredible ranking.

Joint 1st place in Research Environment with our colleagues from the Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences **

Joint 4th in the UK for research quality, with 96% of our research assessed as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' **

Join us at the forefront of world-changing research that’s both innovative and relevant, working on new therapeutic targets and treatments that will improve the lives of millions of people.

We work with over 30 leading companies across the healthcare sector, including Boots, Evonik, Mars Petcare UK, Promega, SureScreen Diagnostics, Syngenta, Unilever and Widex A/S.

The school has excellent facilities in:

  • molecular biology
  • cell culture
  • mass spectrometry
  • medicinal chemistry (including our 80,000-compound library)
  • structural biology
  • molecular modelling
  • microscopy
  • parasitology and formulation
  • the only 3DOrbiSIMS in academia
  • a high resolution, cryogenic analytical and transfer scanning electron microscope

Research Divisions

All of our postgraduate research students are based in one of our five research divisions:

You are strongly encouraged to find a supervisor before you apply. You can approach any member of staff in relation to a research project of your own devising or you can look at our current vacancies.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 and 2021.

**Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Course content

The School of Pharmacy PhD is typically a 3 to 4 year research project.  It can be undertaken with a significant laboratory based component or can be focused around pharmacy practice and policy. Within the course a PhD student will receive training within their respective research discipline by expert leading academics and technical teams.

The course includes compulsory and optional training sessions covering generic research skills (e.g. report writing) and specific skills relevant to your project. Students are asked to give oral presentations to their division in year 2 and to the School in year 3, and a poster presentation in year 2.

The PhD course can also be taken part-time up to 8 years.

The MRes course is 1-year full-time only.

You will be able to identify a potential supervisor for your project by looking at the divisions and group members. You are strongly encouraged to find a supervisor before you apply. You can approach any member of staff in relation to a research project of your own devising or you can look at our current vacancies.

When you apply for a place, you will be studying for a ‘PhD in Pharmacy’.

Study options:

  • Full-time over 3-4 years
  • Part-time up to 8 years

The MRes is a one-year research course.

At least two-thirds of your time will be spent on an in-depth research project. You will be able to identify a potential supervisor for your project by looking at the divisions and group members.

You are strongly encouraged to find a supervisor before you apply. You can approach any member of staff in relation to a research project of your own devising or you can look at our current vacancies.

When you apply for a place, you will be studying for a ‘MRes in Pharmacy’.


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.


2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject


2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (6.5 in each element) for research programmes in the Pharmacy Policy and Practice division, or 6.5 (6.0 in each element) for research programmes in all other research divisions in the School of Pharmacy
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Additional information for international students

If your course requires ATAS clearance you will need to obtain an ATAS certificate before you can apply for your visa.

The ATAS certificate is also required before you can register at the University. Further details can be found on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme page.


When applying for the PhD course, you will be studying for a ‘PhD in Pharmacy’.

Please find a potential supervisor before applying. We're open for applicants to contact academic staff members about PhD projects. 

We don't need a research proposal for the application form but please indicate the research area you're interested in and the supervisor's name.

Points to cover when discussing your interest in applying for a PhD

  • Motivation for doing a PhD
  • Your academic record and research experience
  • Sources of funding
  • Research topic
Find a supervisorView our PhD vacancies

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£5,100
International£26,250 for research in the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy or £30,200 for other research. For details, contact

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).


UK applicants

We offer a number of projects each year which are funded by:

  • the school and university
  • industry partners
  • charities
  • centres of doctoral training (CDTs)
  • doctoral training partnerships (DTPs)

Some of the funded projects the school offers are posted on our PhD vacancies page.


These are our CDTs at our university that have projects related to pharmacy:

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


You will have at least two supervisors who will support you throughout your studies. A minimum of 10 supervisory meetings are completed per year.

The school has two Postgraduate Research Tutors, a Disability Liaison Officer and a dedicated Welfare team who can provide additional support.

All students are entitled to 25 days’ annual leave a year, in addition to bank holidays and University closure days.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

The PhD equips individuals for a variety of careers in both academia and industry. Many graduates find employment within the pharmaceutical sector. We have alumni employed by GSKAstraZenecaCatalant and 3M amongst others.

Graduates are also well positioned to pursue academic research careers as post doctoral research associates, and academics all within the UK and internationally.

87.5% of postgraduates from the School of Pharmacy secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £39,857.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Graduated PhD Student operating the 3D OrbiSIMS
Pharmacy is a friendly School with a broad range of world-leading research spread across four buildings. We have more than 200 PGR students. We support our PGR student community by providing excellent supervision, induction, training, seminar programmes, career development and social events. While we expect students to show commitment to their studies we also emphasize wellbeing. Enjoy your time in the School of Pharmacy as you acquire the research and transferable skills needed to complete your degree to succeed in your future career.
Catherine Jopling, Course Director and Assistant Professor in RNA biology, Faculty of Science

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • Joint 1st place in Research Environment with our colleagues from the Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021). We are joint 4th place in Unit of Assessment 3 with our colleagues from the Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences. This is for both GPA and the percentage of research that is judged to be 'world-leading'. For REF 2021.
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 28 November 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.