Pharmaceutical Science MSc

Why choose this course?

This course explores current trends in chemical, biological and biotechnological therapeutics and examines the latest technologies in the pharmaceutical industry.

You will gain an understanding of processes used in clinical trials and in the development, manufacture and regulation of medicines.

Through an independent research project, you will study an area of interest in depth. Examples of projects include: medicinal chemistry (e.g. synthesis of anti-cancer compounds and natural products), pharmaceutical technology (e.g. optimisation of tablet manufacture and formulation), and drug delivery (e.g. smart polymer-based nanoparticles and extravascular peptide delivery).

Pharmaceutical Science MSc

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 3 to 4 days per week January 2023
September 2023
Full time 2 years including professional placement 3 to 4 days per week plus placement year January 2023
September 2023

Pharmaceutical Science with Management Studies MSc

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 3 to 4 days per week, plus selected weekends for Management Studies pathway January 2023
September 2023
Full time 2 years including professional placement 3 to 4 days per week, plus selected weekends for Management Studies pathway plus placement year January 2023
September 2023
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Specialised topics, such as pharmaceutical regulatory affairs and pharmacovigilance, are taught by staff who have experience of working within the relevant regulatory bodies.
  • Guest speakers from the pharmaceutical sector share their industry perspectives of drug development.
  • The Management Studies pathway will place your scientific knowledge in a vocational context, which is ideal if you aspire to management roles.

What you will study

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments. It is the responsibility of individual students to find a suitable paid placement. Students will be supported by our dedicated placement team in securing this opportunity.

Core pathway

Management Studies pathway modules

Core modules

Statistics and Quality Systems

30 credits

The module introduces students to the role of statistics and quality systems in modern analytical science. It demonstrates how a thorough understanding of statistical concepts, the analytical process and the quality systems and quality management paradigms collectively enable the consistent and reliable interpretation of analytical chemical data to support the economic requirements of a business organisation.

Pharmaceutical and Analytical Technology

30 credits

The module is intended to ensure that students are aware of the processes by which a drug is formulated into a medicine. It examines the effect that formulation decisions have on the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines, and on the pharmaceutical industry's business model. It includes the principles of pharmaceutical analysis and the application of pharmaceutical analytical techniques (both routine and non-routine) for the design, process- and quality-control of manufactured pharmaceuticals and process-intermediates. It is designed to enable students to review instrumentation choices when confronted with pharmaceutical issues and to select the appropriate tool(s). It also looks at the emerging quality assurance concepts of process analytical technology and quality by design. The module aims are:

  • To analyse aspects of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing including process analysis.
  • To extend the students' knowledge of total quality management and apply it to the analytical laboratory in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • To provide current examples of the applications of the techniques studied in this course specifically to pharmaceutical problems.
Manufacture and Clinical Trials of Medicines

30 credits

This module introduces the student to the different phases and types of clinical trials and the associated legal, regulatory and ethical issues. This includes statistical data analyses and how to manage and review clinical trial data in relation to evidence-based medicine. The technology and application of the manufacture of various medicine formulations are discussed and the place of biotechnological products introduced. The module also covers elements of medicines regulation with particular reference to the UK and European Union. Regulations are dealt with both within a general framework and specific areas including manufacturing, dealing with specialist products, regulation in clinical use, and licensing.

Design, Discovery and Development of Pharmaceuticals

30 credits

This module complements others on the course by looking at drug development from a medicinal chemistry perspective. It covers:

  • key aspects of drug design, lead optimisation, pharmacokinetics and toxicology, with respect to drug development;
  • how drugs are designed and developed from laboratory bench to approval; and
  •  the essential research which must be conducted as part of this overall process.
Project

60 credits

This module involves a research- or industry-based in-depth research project. You will develop your ability to critically evaluate your own work as well as the work of others, utilising analytical and laboratory skills.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Prepare a realistic and coherent project proposal, formulate aims and objectives and plan your own time to achieve stated objectives.
  • Critically evaluate the current literature.
  • Carry out appropriate experiments in a safe manner (applying COSHH) and generate reliable data suitably analysed and apply appropriate statistical tests.
  • Communicate the results of the project in a coherent report and in oral and visual manner.

Core modules

Statistics and Quality Systems

30 credits

The module introduces students to the role of statistics and quality systems in modern analytical science. It demonstrates how a thorough understanding of statistical concepts, the analytical process and the quality systems and quality management paradigms collectively enable the consistent and reliable interpretation of analytical chemical data to support the economic requirements of a business organisation.

Pharmaceutical and Analytical Technology

30 credits

The module is intended to ensure that students are aware of the processes by which a drug is formulated into a medicine. It examines the effect that formulation decisions have on the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines, and on the pharmaceutical industry's business model. It includes the principles of pharmaceutical analysis and the application of pharmaceutical analytical techniques (both routine and non-routine) for the design, process- and quality-control of manufactured pharmaceuticals and process-intermediates. It is designed to enable students to review instrumentation choices when confronted with pharmaceutical issues and to select the appropriate tool(s). It also looks at the emerging quality assurance concepts of process analytical technology and quality by design. The module aims are:

  • To analyse aspects of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing including process analysis.
  • To extend the students' knowledge of total quality management and apply it to the analytical laboratory in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • To provide current examples of the applications of the techniques studied in this course specifically to pharmaceutical problems.
Manufacture and Clinical Trials of Medicines

30 credits

This module introduces the student to the different phases and types of clinical trials and the associated legal, regulatory and ethical issues. This includes statistical data analyses and how to manage and review clinical trial data in relation to evidence-based medicine. The technology and application of the manufacture of various medicine formulations are discussed and the place of biotechnological products introduced. The module also covers elements of medicines regulation with particular reference to the UK and European Union. Regulations are dealt with both within a general framework and specific areas including manufacturing, dealing with specialist products, regulation in clinical use, and licensing.

Business in Practice

30 credits

This postgraduate module covers the theory and practice of the business and management needs of students from different academic contexts such as, but not limited to Science, Engineering, Computing and Health Services who are aspiring team leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs in business within the context of the commercial, public, voluntary, or academic sector.

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Investigate business topics ranging from finance, accounting, budgeting, and marketing, to organisational management by developing the leadership skills to meet business challenges and to cope with their complexity.
  • Explain and put into context business concepts to graduates from a variety of sectors including those encompassed by Science, Engineering, Computing and Health Services.
Project

60 credits

This module involves a research- or industry-based in-depth research project. You will develop your ability to critically evaluate your own work as well as the work of others, utilising analytical and laboratory skills.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Prepare a realistic and coherent project proposal, formulate aims and objectives and plan your own time to achieve stated objectives.
  • Critically evaluate the current literature.
  • Carry out appropriate experiments in a safe manner (applying COSHH) and generate reliable data suitably analysed and apply appropriate statistical tests.
  • Communicate the results of the project in a coherent report and in oral and visual manner.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. You may find securing a professional placement difficult as they are highly competitive and challenging, but they are also incredibly rewarding. So it is very important to prepare and apply yourself if this is the route you wish to take. Employers look for great written and oral communication skills and an excellent CV/portfolio. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Student Route visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A 2:2 or above honours degree in chemistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, biological science or biomedical science. Other chemistry or medical science degrees will be considered on an individual basis. All applicants will be expected to pass all mathematics modules within their first degree and should demonstrate sufficient competency in biology and chemistry.
  • Applicants with alternative qualifications will also need appropriate experience (in healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry or a regulatory body, for example).

Please note: each application is assessed on an individual basis and may be subject to additional requirements, such as undertaking short course(s), work experience and/or English language qualification(s). Meeting particular minimum entry requirements does not automatically guarantee a place.

International

In order to complete your programme successfully, it is important to have a good command of English and be able to apply this in an academic environment. Therefore, if you are a non-UK applicant* you will usually be required to provide certificated proof of English language competence before commencing your studies.

For this course you must pass IELTS academic test in English with an overall score of 6.5, with no element below 6.0, or meet the scores listed on the alternative online tests. Please note that we do not accept Standard XII as proof of Academic English.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

* Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1 Core pathway (September start):

Year 1 Core pathway (January start)

Year 1 Management pathway (September start)

Year 1 Core pathway (September start):
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 611 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1189 hours
Year 1 Core pathway (January start)
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 616 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1184 hours
Year 1 Management pathway (September start)
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 573 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1127 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment

Core pathway (September)

Core pathway (January)

Management pathway

Core pathway (September)
  • Coursework: 49%
  • Exams: 30%
  • Practical: 21%
Core pathway (January)
  • Coursework: 49%
  • Exams: 39%
  • Practical: 14%
Management pathway
  • Coursework: 55%
  • Exams: 20%
  • Practical: 25%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

­You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes, therefore you may be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by the School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry.

The School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry offers an outstanding and diverse portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, forensic science, pharmacy, pharmacological and pharmaceutical sciences, and sport science and nutrition.

We've invested heavily in the development of new facilities including laboratories for teaching and research to provide students with access to ultra-modern equipment in a wide range of teaching facilities.

Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

What this course offers you

  • The Pharmaceutical Science MSc course focuses on:
    • the development, analysis and production of medicines;
    • the drug industry;
    • clinical trials; and
    • regulatory affairs.
  • You have the chance to study recent trends in chemical, biological and biotechnological therapeutics, coupled with the latest technologies. This is ideal if you wish to work in:
    • marketing, sales or public relations;
    • regulatory affairs;
    • production, process development or medical statistics; or
    • clinical trials.
  • The course also provides a good basis for a further research degree.
  • By choosing the Management Studies pathway, it will help to set your scientific knowledge in a vocational context. This makes it ideal if you want to work in a management position within the pharmaceutical and allied industries.
  • The independent MSc research project gives you the chance to study an area of interest in greater depth and gain valuable research skills. Our students often find this an excellent selling point when looking for a job or promotion.
  • We offer a variety of projects across a number of research areas, including:
    • medicinal chemistry – such as synthesis of anti-cancer compounds and natural products;
    • pharmaceutical technology – such as optimisation of tablet manufacture and formulation;
    • clinical pharmacy – such as pharmacovigilance, clinical trial and medicines regulations; or
    • some research projects in industry and research institutes.
  • We regularly review our courses to make sure they remain up to date and that you graduate as a marketable industry professional.
  • The taught courses aim to prepare you for the job market. Alongside your academic studies, you gain skills in:
    • problem solving and organisation;
    • data collation, review and synopsis;
    • communication (oral, written and electronic);
    • time management;
    • computing; and
    • co-operation and teamwork.
  • A careers and networking event at the end of the course will help you build valuable contacts.

Fees for this course

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MSc full time £9,860

International 2023/24

  • MSc full time £15,800

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MSc full time £9,620

International 2022/23

  • MSc full time £15,400

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost between £100 and £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Placements

If the placement year option is chosen, during this year travel costs will vary according to the location of the placement, and could be from £0 to £2,000.

Field trips

All field trips that are compulsory to attend to complete your course are paid for by the University. There may be small fees incurred for optional field trips such as travel costs and refreshments.

Our modern teaching environment

There is a wide range of facilities for practical work at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including:

  • the £9.8 million Eadweard Muybridge building with state-of the art laboratories, including labs dedicated to pharmaceutical science;
  • new work areas and dedicated laboratories for research;
  • specialist equipment, such as:
    • gas and liquid chromatography;
    • electron microscopy;
    • a range of spectrometers, including mass spectrometers, infrared spectrometers and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers;
    • nuclear science equipment;
    • thermal analysis;
    • x-ray diffractometers; and
    • electrochemical analysis;
  • computing laboratories and a team of IT technicians to offer assistance.

The library offers:

  • subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area;
  • online database subscriptions; and
  • a growing selection of resource materials.

After you graduate

Where this course will take you

On completion of the MSc, you will:

  • be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills relevant to a pharmaceutical science career in the pharmaceutical industry or public sector - such as clinical trials, regulatory affairs, formulation, quality control or marketing;
  • have developed the necessary skills to plan, carry out and effectively communicate an extensive independent piece of research - which will allow you to carry out further research studies;
  • have acquired new and/or improved practical skills, using a variety of equipment, techniques and instrumentation; and
  • have developed a variety of key skills - such as communication, time-management, organisational and problem-solving skills, which are expected by future employers.

Recent graduates have gone on to a range of areas, including:

  • drug manufacturing and pharmaceutical technology;
  • drug formulation and analysis;
  • clinical trials;
  • pharmacovigilance;
  • regulatory affairs;
  • sales and marketing; and
  • managerial.

Some have also gone on to study for a PhD.

Careers and recruitment advice

The Faculty has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques. Specific advice is also available for international students about the UK job market and employers' expectations and requirements.

The team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs, key speakers from industry and interviews on campus. These events give you the opportunity to hear from, and network with, employers in an informal setting.  

What our graduates say

I am very thankful for the quality education I earned from Kingston University, which has helped me building my career in pharmaceutical industry. Currently I am working with GSK as a regulatory affairs executive.

Ashvini Shitole – Pharmaceutical Science MSc

How we work with industry partners

Our links with industry provide a practical base for our courses. They also help us to ensure your studies are kept up-to-date and relevant to the working environment. If you choose to study this course, you will benefit from:

  • real-world experience thanks to your MSc project, which you may be able to take:
    • in industry – past students have undertaken project placements in the pharmaceutical industry, for example; or
    • in one of Kingston University's research institutes;
  • the latest views from visiting speakers; and
  • industry visits.

Current research in this subject

Many of our staff in the Faculty are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Research in the Faculty is organised into several research areas, including the following themes:

  • parasitology and microbiology;
  • haematology/immunology/cancer biology;
  • biomedical, pharmaceutical and instrumental analyses;
  • medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry;
  • clinical pharmacy and advanced drug delivery; and
  • nutrition/exercise and sports science.

Changes from 1 August 2022

Up until 31st July 2022 this course was taught in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing. For students enrolling from September 2022, the course will be delivered by the Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education. There will be no impact on the teaching or the award of the degree.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.