Pharmaceutical Sciences (with a Year in Industry) MSci


Fact file - 2019 entry

MSci Hons Pharmaceutical Sciences with a Year in Industry
UCAS code
4 years full-time 
A level offer
Required subjects
  • A level chemistry
  • At least one further science A level from biology, maths or physics
  • A pass in the practical element of science subjects is required
  • The third A level can be chosen from a wide range of subjects
  • General studies, critical thinking and citizenship are not accepted
  • GCSE maths, 7 or above, and English, 4 or above
IB score
34; including chemistry and one further science subject or maths
Course location
University Park Campus
Course places
We are still currently taking applications for 2018 entry


This exciting new course delivered by one of the leading pharmacy schools in the world is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and professional experience to become a leading expert in drug discovery and the design of medicines.
Read full overview

The MSci Pharmaceutical Sciences (with a year in industry) course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and practical skills to become a leading expert in drug discovery and the design of medicines. The course includes a year working in the pharmaceutical, biotech or healthcare industry to help you hit the ground running in the global workplace from the day you graduate.

  • The course is delivered by leading experts from one of the world’s most respected schools of pharmacy with invited contributions from many outstanding professional and industrial colleagues.
  • Ranked 6th in the world (QS World Rankings 2016 ‘Pharmacy and Pharmacology’), the leading UK school for research quality (GPA Score RAE2008 and REF2014)
  • The only UK school to have 100% of its impact for research ranked as 4* (‘world leading’) in REF2014 the school can provide an outstanding education opportunity.

A distinguishing feature of our course is the use of real life case studies throughout the first two years. These are designed to illustrate how science is used for the discovery of drugs and the design of medicines. The case studies bring together the sub-disciplines of pharmaceutical science:

  • Chemistry – organic chemistry for drug design and discovery; analytical techniques and physical chemistry to understand and determine the purity and properties of drugs and medicines
  • Pharmaceutics – the science of designing and formulating medicines
  • Bioscience – the biology and pharmacology to understand disease and drug action; the design of complex biological drugs

In the case studies, you will study diseases and some of the most frequently prescribed medicines. You will also learn about regulatory affairs, patenting and business skills in a national and global context.

Year one and two

The first two years of the course introduce the core science of drug discovery (both small organic and complex biological molecules) and the formulation of medicines. Laboratory-based classes and small group workshops will be an important part of the modules.

Real life case studies will allow you to apply scientific concepts and learn about patients and clinical contexts. You will also become familiar with many of the most commonly prescribed medicines in a variety of disease areas.

Year three

Emphasis is placed on current and possible future advances in drug discovery and pharmaceutical developments. Increasingly, you will be able to tailor the course and focus on areas of pharmaceutical science that you find most interesting. A research project will be a significant part of year three and prepare you for your year in industry.

Year four

Following a successful application and selection process with industrial placement providers in your third year, you will complete a year-long research project in the pharmaceutical, biotech or health and consumer industry. During this year you will also complete a year-long distance learning module to ensure your theoretical knowledge is cutting-edge.

Companies that are keen to host projects include some of the largest global pharmaceutical companies as well as regional businesses, many of whom trace their origins to the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. Reduced tuition fees are payable during this year. Comprehensive academic and pastoral support will be provided in addition to supervision provided by the industry partner. 

Students who are unsuccessful in the application and selection process for an industry placement, but who successfully complete their third year will be eligible for the BSc (Hons) degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Entry requirements

A levels

  • AAB - including chemistry and at least one further science A level from biology, maths or physics
  • A pass in the practical element of science subjects is required.
  • The third A level can be chosen from a wide range of subjects
  • General studies, critical thinking and citizenship are not accepted


  • GCSE maths, 7 or above
  • GCSE English, 4 or above

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

IGCSE First Language English grade B

IGCSE Second Language English grade A

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

Irish Leaving Certificate: five subjects at Higher Level including chemistry and a second science from biology, maths or physics; our typical offer is AAABB.

Scottish qualifications: Advanced Highers grades AA in chemistry and a second science from biology, maths and physics plus 5 suitable Highers grades AABBB.

Welsh Baccalaureate: Advanced Diploma with either a pass or grade A/B in the core and two A level grades AA/AB in chemistry and a second science from maths, biology or physics.

BTEC National Diploma: grades equivalent to our typical A level offer, with distinctions in key subjects like applied chemistry or pharmaceutical sciences and A level chemistry.

International Students are advised to take a look at our International Office pages for country specific entry requirements.

Mature applicants and graduate entry

Mature students should meet the same requirements as other candidates. Graduates in an appropriate subject with at least a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) will also be considered.

Other qualifications

For details of alternative qualifications accepted by the University, see alternative qualifications page. 

If you have a combination of qualifications, or would like advice on qualifications not covered here, please contact the school directly.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We consider applicants’ circumstances and broader achievements as part of the assessment process, but do not vary the offer from the grades advertised as a result of these. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Typical year two modules


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


Typical year three modules


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.


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.

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.

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.


Typical year four modules


  • Year in Industry Research Project

You’ll undertake a full-time research project in the pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare or related industry during the industrial placement year. You’ll review the relevant published work and plan and execute a research topic under the guidance of two supervisors. Your main supervisor will be your industrial contact and your second supervisor will be an academic from The University of Nottingham. You will present your results in an oral presentation, a written report and a portfolio.

  • Current Topics in Pharmaceutical Science

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



With the broad range of knowledge and skills across the pharmaceutical sciences that you will acquire from this course, you will have excellent career prospects in areas as diverse as drug discovery, drug formulation, manufacturing, marketing, patenting & licencing and analytical testing. 

Graduates may also be employed in professions outside the pharmaceutical and biotech industry including the health and consumer products industries, cosmetics, the food industry, education, marketing and the media.

With the benefit of a year working in industry, the course is designed to ensure that you are ready for the global workplace from day one after graduation.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 97.6% of undergraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,283 with the highest being £26,000.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Postgraduate study

Graduates are expected be well prepared for postgraduate study and we welcome graduates back to the school to study for higher degrees in research such as MPhil, MRes and other PhD programmes.

Careers Support and Advice

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 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 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/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. Each year of the programme includes a series of 'professional competencies' that must be passed in order to progress. These include regular practice of key skills vital to learning.

Assessment involves practical exams, regular calculations tests and compulsory Continuing Professional Development entries.

How to use the data

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.


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