Help improve human or animal health through creating new or more effective drugs and medicines. Learn the research processes used to identify drug targets and develop new therapeutics.
Your studies will combine the biological sciences with chemistry, giving you the skills to target, design, synthesise, create and assess new drugs. You'll also learn about protecting intellectual property, assessing the financial viability of drugs and the pre-clinical and clinical trial processes.
Tailor your studies to your strengths, interests and career goals. You'll learn a mix of academic and practical skills that are closely aligned to the needs of industry.
The Master of Drug Discovery and Development is best suited to very able students with backgrounds in chemistry or relevant life-science subjects such as biochemistry, biomedical science, pharmacy or pharmacology. It is an intensive one-year taught programme, unique in New Zealand.
Learn from academics and professionals who are leaders in the field and have experience in successfully taking drugs to market. Each course is taught by at least three academics so you'll be exposed to a wide range of expertise.
Drug Discovery and Development is taught by the Schools of Chemical and Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences in collaboration with the University's Ferrier Research Institute and the Centre for Biodiscovery.
You'll be able to take advantage of the research expertise of the Ferrier Research Institute in drug design and development, and if you're doing a Master's, you'll be working alongside the more than 30 scientists who make up the largest carbohydrate research team in the world. The Institute also has its own manufacturing facility so you'll have the opportunity to observe the drug development process from discovery to product.
You'll also benefit from the programme's links with the Centre for Biodiscovery where you will interact with the research teams that are actively discovering, designing and assessing novel bioactive compounds.
Get wise to the real-world issues facing pharmaceutical development and make the most of the hard-earned experiences of staff who have worked in the local and international biotech industry. Learn not only how to handle chemicals on a large scale, but to develop the mindset to do this in a way that is safe, reliable and robust—so you end up providing medicines that will change people’s lives.
Victoria offers three postgraduate qualifications in Drug Discovery and Development. Choose the one that suits your career goals, time constraints and financial situation.
If you begin by enrolling in the Certificate or Diploma programme you can continue on to complete your Master's. Or if you enrol in the Master's but can't complete it, for whatever reason, you may have completed enough points to be awarded a Certificate or Diploma.
Each qualification includes the core courses DRGD 401 Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, and a choice between DRDG 402 Drug Design or CHEM 421 Organic Chemistry and Bio-organic Chemistry.
After that you'll choose from selected courses from the study areas of Drug Discovery and Development, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Clinical Research and Microbiology.
All three qualifications give you the opportunity to do at least some research.
You'll complete four courses worth 60 points made up of the two core courses and two further choices.
You're likely to take seven courses that will include the two core courses, your elective options and the 30-point Research Preparation course.
You'll study for your Master's in two parts over three trimesters. In Part 1, the first two trimesters, you're likely to take seven courses that will include the core courses and a 30-point Research Preparation course.
In Part 2, you'll complete a full research project. Choose between DRDG 561 Applied Research Project, where you'll complete one or more problem-solving projects, or DRGD 590 Research Project, where you'll focus on medicinal chemistry and the formulation of active pharmaceutical products. In some cases you may be able to replace the research project with the thesis course DRGD 595.
Your Master's may be endorsed with a specialisation in either Drug Discovery, Drug Development or Chemical Biology. Check the requirements to find out what you need to do for these.
You can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of your studies.
The MDDD can be completed in 12 months full time, or in two years of part-time study but you'll need to discuss this option with the programme directorfirst. The Diploma will take you two trimesters and the Certificate one trimester.
You'll study at Wellington's Kelburn campus where you will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities. Students doing a research programme will also work in partnership the world-renowned Ferrier Research Institute in Lower Hutt.
Be part of a dynamic and collaborative scientific research community. Past students' research areas in drug discovery and development have included:
Become part of an active community of scientists. Postgraduate study at Victoria will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues. You'll have unprecedented access to world industry leaders who visit as guest lecturers and run seminars with students.
You'll have the broad skills you need to work in drug discovery in companies, universities, research institutes or with drug regulatory authorities. You might work within the pharmaceutical, bioanalytical or chemical industries, or take your skills into nutraceuticals or agrichemicals.
This unique professional training programme has been designed and developed in collaboration with the multinational Contract Research Organisation, Covance.
The course is 20 months long, covering campus-based taught modules in the first six months, followed by a 12-month guaranteed paid placement in industry where you can expect to earn around £20,000.
During your training you’ll gain an integrated understanding of the full biological drug development pathway and the regulatory framework. The focus will be on large molecule drugs: monoclonal antibodies like Herceptin, bio-similars and antibody-drug conjugates; gene therapies and the technologies that underpin the discovery and development pathway.
You’ll be taught by leading industrialists and internationally renowned academics working at the forefront of their fields in the areas of science that support drug development. The curriculum is delivered primarily via project work in teams, and is assessed with outputs that are commonplace in industry, including presentations and reports to clients, regulators, investors/sponsors etc.
To prepare you for work in industry, you’ll also have access to cutting-edge practical technologies and gain hands-on practical training in protein purification, characterisation, formulation and assessment of binding function. In addition, you’ll use cell-based assays to look at drug potency, all performed in a strict regulated environment.
This course will help give you the experience and skills to become highly employable. Many pharmaceutical companies are expanding their biopharmaceutical capability, which is creating demand and opportunities for talented, well-trained people. At the same time, these companies report difficulties in recruiting employees with relevant skill sets and those with broad industrial experience are greatly sought after.
This course will provide you with an understanding of biological drug development focusing on each of the major steps of the process:
The course is 20 months long, covering the campus-based taught elements in six to seven months, followed by a 12-month guaranteed paid work placement involving a research project where you’ll experience at first hand the working environment of this industry.
Work placement: an integral part of your training
An integral part of this course is your first paid job in industry. This is a 12-month guaranteed work and research experience in industry or placement hosted within the university research laboratories developed and co-supervised with industry. Students can expect to earn up to £20,000 over the duration of their placement.
The placements will all include a practical research project where you will gain in-depth practical experience of at least one technical function of the drug development process (discovery, manufacturing, pre-clinical testing, clinical safety and efficacy).
You will commence your project in May, six-months after the start of the programme and will be completed by the following April. Graduation is scheduled immediately thereafter, making you available for employment immediately after your placement.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
Over the first six to seven months starting in September you will study 100 credits worth of taught modules.
Seven months after the start of the course (April/May), you will start a 12-month industrial placement where you will undertake a research project worth 80 credits.
The learning and teaching on the course has been constructed to align with activities performed in industry, preparing you to be work-ready immediately after you finish.
You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.
This course will challenge you to think creatively, solve problems and develop strong communication and teamwork skills. You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods, including formal lectures, interactive workshops, practical classes and industry site visits.
You’ll extensively use of real-life, industry specific case studies to illustrate theoretical and practical concepts and multiple opportunities to work in teams, including the opportunity to lead a team. A wide range of ‘authentic’ assessments will be used that students will experience in the workplace including submissions to regulatory authorities, client reports and presentations to industry panel members.
Your first steps into an industrial career
The course is designed to train talented scientists wishing to pursue a career in drug development in the international biopharmaceutical industry.
You’ll be exposed to senior industrialists working as tutors throughout the course and can take this opportunity to obtain career advice. You’ll also work in industry full time for 12 months, which is an outstanding opportunity for you to develop a competitive career plan.
With this degree, you’ll have the relevant knowledge and experience to fast-track your career as, for example, an analytical scientist, project manager, or coordinator, in areas such as research, quality control, manufacturing, project management, non-clinical, clinical, and market access.
As a student on this course you’ll have unique access to an industry-mentor and a personal tutor (academic member of staff) for the duration of your studies. You’ll also get support in planning your career through sessions that develop your CVs and applications.
If you are interested in how drugs metabolise, small molecule discovery and biologics this programme will provide an advanced level of study and challenge to ensure you have sound skills to innovate within the drug development industry. This industry area is rapidly expanding due to new discoveries across biotechnology, biologics, Internet of Things, customised drug treatments and diagnostics at source. This has lead to many new companies being formed, customised and small batch medicines apart from large batch pharmaceutical research and production.
University of Aberdeen is world renowned in this area with the invention of Insulin to treat diabetes which won a Nobel Prize and strengths in medical research areas which also include food and nutrition and disease treatment. You learn about bio-business, how drugs are developed and managed. The university has strong links with GSK, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca plus Novabiotics and others.
In our MSc in Drug Discovery and Development we train students in major areas of biochemical and molecular pharmacology and therapeutics relevant to the drug discovery and development business. This includes training in molecular pharmacology, drug metabolism and toxicology, therapeutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacovigilance, regulatory affairs and clinical pharmacology.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
• 12 months or 24 months
Find out about fees
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
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