Triangle

Course overview

Learn about the discovery and design of medicines at a world top 5 university for pharmacy and pharmacology*. Prepare for a career where you can develop new drugs and medicines to transform people's lives. Improve your employability with a year spent working in industry in an area related to pharmaceutical sciences.

You'll study the core sciences that make up pharmaceutical sciences throughout the first two years:

Chemistry

  • drug design and discovery using organic chemistry
  • analytical chemistry to study the structure and purity of drug molecules

Pharmaceutics

  • the science of designing and formulating medicines
  • understand the properties of drugs and medicines through physical chemistry

Biosciences

  • understand disease and drug action through biology and pharmacology
  • the design of complex biological drugs

You'll study diseases and some of the most commonly prescribed medicines. You'll also learn about regulations, patenting and business skills in a national and global context.

* QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 and 2022.

Why choose this course?

Top 5

in the world for pharmacy and pharmacology

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 and 2021

Career-ready

designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry and research

Industry experience

improve your employability with a year spent working in industry

Study abroad

Fly to our Malaysia campus for all or part of your second year


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB
Required subjects

A levels

  • AAB - including chemistry and at least one further science A level from biology, maths, physics or further maths
  • A pass in the practical element of science subjects is required if assessed separately
  • The third A level can be any subject apart from general studies, critical thinking and citizenship which are not accepted

GCSEs

  • Maths 5 (B) or above
  • English 4 (C) or above
IB score 34 including 6 in Chemistry at Higher Level and one of Biology, Physics, Maths or Further Maths

Foundation progression options

If you don't meet our entry requirements there is the option to study the science foundation programme. If you successfully pass the year, you can progress to the pharmaceutical sciences courses. There is a course for UK students and one for EU/international students.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem classes

How you will be assessed

You will be given a copy of our marking criteria which provides guidance on how your work is assessed. Your work will be marked in a timely manner and you will receive regular feedback. The pass mark for each module is 40%. To progress to year three of the MSci, you must have a minimum mark of 55% in year two. If you don't, you'll move to the BSc course.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained for your second and subsequent years of study. Year two is worth 20% with years three and four worth 40% each.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Lab reports
  • Oral exam
  • Poster presentation
  • Research project
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. You will spend around 35% of your time in lectures, 25% in laboratories and 25% in workshops. The remaining time will be spent in tutorials, doing original research and completing e-learning activities. There is also time needed for independent study. Core modules are typically delivered by professors, assistant professors or associate professors. Some lab classes may be supported by PhD students.

Study abroad

You have the opportunity to apply to study abroad as part of this course, living and learning in a different culture.

Benefits of studying abroad

Students who choose to study abroad are more likely to achieve a first-class degree, secure a graduate-level job, and earn more on average than students who did not (Gone International: Rising Aspirations, Universities UK International, 2019).

  • Gain global perspective of pharmacy
  • Meet new people from all over the world
  • Explore a new culture
  • Improve your communication skills, confidence and independence

We provide support throughout the process, including an academic advisor and a dedicated team to help you with the practicalities.

Third-year research project abroad

You can apply to complete your third year research project abroad during the second semester of your third year. Available destinations change each year but possible destinations include:

  • Australia
  • France
  • Italy
  • University of Nottingham Malaysia
  • Singapore

Finance

You’ll pay a reduced tuition fee for the time that you’re abroad. The University also offers a range of funding opportunities, as well as external funding being available.

 

Important Information

Study Abroad opportunities are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the University’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Year in industry

An industrial year can improve your employability.

In your third year, you'll apply for an industrial placement. You'll be supported by our placement team to source find placement. These are typically located in the UK, although overseas placements are also possible. Placements could be in the pharmaceutical, biotech, or health and consumer industry. Companies that have offered placements to our students include AstraZeneca, GSK, Pfizer and small, and medium-size businesses.

During the placement, you will complete a year-long research project and a distance learning module.

Companies that are keen to host projects include some of the largest global pharmaceutical companies as well as regional businesses. Reduced tuition fees are payable during this year. You'll still receive academic and pastoral support from the University during this year. You'll also have supervision from the industry partner.

If you don't secure a placement but you pass year three then you'll graduate with BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Our chemistry lab

Nadia and Benedict talk about what it's like to study pharmaceutical sciences at Nottingham, including facilities and their career aspirations.

Modules

Core modules

Cardiovascular and Haematology

Using examples from cardiovascular disease and haematology, you will be introduced to the molecules of life, cellular structure and the components of cells including lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids. You will be introduced to drug interactions with receptors and cellular signalling cascades.

Drug Structure

This module introduces the basic concepts of molecular structure that underlie the physicochemical properties of drugs and their interactions with pharmacological binding partners. You will learn how to draw the chemical structures of drug molecules, name them, and understand their composition, three-dimensional shape, and flexibility.

The Science of Medicines

The action and stability of drugs is influenced by the physical, chemical and biological properties of the components used in the formulation of medicines. By using tablets as an example of solid dosage forms, you will learn about the importance of crystallization and crystal forms, the stability of medicines, and the properties of powders.

Biopharmaceutics

Using physicochemical principles, you will learn how medicines are designed to suit different physiological conditions and clinical needs. You will study how drugs that are ‘almost impossible to dissolve’ can be formulated to yield benefits in the patient, and how drug formulations can be designed to cross physiological barriers.

Endocrine and Metabolism

You will learn about the human endocrine system and the body’s metabolic processes. You will discover how hormones influence metabolism and the important role of nutrition. The fate of drugs within the body will be studied, as drug absorption, metabolism, clearance and interactions between medicines will be considered.

Synthesis of Simple Drugs

Concepts of reactivity are introduced and rationalised in the context of the basic reactions that are used to form the bonds in organic molecules. You will acquire a mechanistic understanding of the reactions that are used to form carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds in simple functionalised aromatic and aliphatic drug molecules.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 06 April 2022.

Core modules

Advanced Drug Delivery

You will study how novel materials are used for drug formulations and how delivery systems are designed. The physiological factors which affect particular drug delivery technologies will be discussed. You will learn how formulation can modify the distribution of a drug in the body and achieve its delivery to the preferred location.

Infection and Immunity

You will study microbiology, learning about pathogenic microbes including viruses, fungi, parasites and the roles of bacteria in health and disease. You will learn how the body generates immunity; the causes of diseases associated with faulty immune responses will be considered. In applied microbiology you will be introduced to recombinant DNA technology and prokaryotic gene regulation.

Synthesis of Complex Drugs

You will learn about further synthetic methodology that is used to prepare complex drug molecules, including peptides, (oligo)saccharides, and (oligo)nucleotides. You will gain an understanding of how structurally and functionally complex drug molecules can be assembled synthetically from simple starting materials.

Drug Design

You will learn how knowledge of structural and synthetic aspects of molecules is applied in the discovery and design of new drugs. The concepts of pharmacophores and structure–activity relationships are introduced with the aid of instructive examples of drugs in clinical use. You will learn to apply medicinal chemistry concepts to the design and optimisation of molecularly targeted drug candidate molecules.

Oncology

Using examples related to oncology, you will explore signal transduction networks. You will examine in detail receptor-mediated signalling, and study how drugs perturb signalling cascades. You will also learn about processes involved in cell division. Drug targets and production of biopharmaceutics (monoclonal antibodies) in eukaryotic cells will be considered. This module will also introduce you to eukaryotic gene regulation; DNA replication, recombination and repair.

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Monoclonal antibodies and other biotechnology products (biologics) are increasingly important and require new formulation strategies. You will examine the materials, constructs and concepts behind technologies to produce, formulate and deliver biologics and learn about factors influencing the application of these technologies.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Core modules

Science and Industry

A set of models, tools and concepts that are common within the business community will be discussed to equip you with the skills to write and assess business plans and make informed decisions about product and business development. It includes medicines regulation, marketing, the product life cycle, intellectual property, ethics and product design.

Biologics

Biological products, such as monoclonal antibodies, are an increasingly important class of medicines. In addition, new entities such as RNA molecules, new approaches for gene therapy and cell-based therapies are promising but require new chemical approaches and advances in biology and formulation to realise their potential.

Natural Products

Following a diminishing role in the past few decades, natural products are re-emerging as a source for drug discovery. You will focus on a topic that you find most interesting such as genomic and analytical techniques that supplement traditional methods of studying natural products, (semi)synthesis of natural products or advances in small molecule formulation.

Pharmaceutical research project

You will actively engage in research and solve a specific problem related to pharmaceutical science. You will be required to collect, analyse and interpret data and present this in the form of a poster presentation and research report.

You will have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art instrumentation available in the School of Pharmacy.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Core modules

Industry Placement

In this module, you will have the opportunity to undertake a full-time research placement in the pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare or related industry where you will develop the application of science.

Professional Competencies for Pharmaceutical Scientists

This module provides the opportunity to undertake a full-time research placement in the pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare or related industry where you will develop professional competencies relevant for pharmaceutical scientists.

Current Topics in Pharmaceutical Science

This year-long module will be delivered through distance learning while you are completing the industrial placement. You will learn and reflect on the latest advances in pharmaceutical science.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2022*
Keep checking back for more information

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

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) .

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. For the year in industry, travel or accommodation costs may depend on the location of your placement. There may also be travel costs for the placement year interviews.

It is beneficial to have your own laptop or PC to have access to our virtual learning environment and complete and submit coursework.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

The knowledge and skills that you'll gain from this course can lead to roles working in:

  • drug discovery
  • medicines regulation
  • medical affairs
  • drug formulation
  • manufacturing
  • patenting and licencing
  • analytical testing

As you will study elements of chemistry, biosciences and pharmaceutics it means you will be able to explore jobs in any of these areas.

The year in industry will help you build contacts for graduation. It gives you the hands-on experience that employers are looking for. 

Other opportunities to help your employability

The Nottingham Internship Scheme provides a range of work experience opportunities and internships throughout the year

The Nottingham Advantage Award is our free scheme to boost your employability. There are over 200 extracurricular activities to choose from

Average starting salary and career progression

97.1% of undergraduates 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 £32,123.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2021. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Dummy placeholder image
" I really enjoyed studying this course and now in industry I have realised how relevant a lot of the content we learnt is. "
Evie, Regulatory Strategist (MSci graduate)

Related courses

Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.