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Masters Degrees (Medicinal Plants)

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The UCL School of Pharmacy has an international reputation in natural drug discovery and the evaluation of drug leads from natural sources. Read more

The UCL School of Pharmacy has an international reputation in natural drug discovery and the evaluation of drug leads from natural sources. This MSc has been designed in response to ever-increasing interest in the development and use of medicines derived from natural products.

About this degree

This programme aims to train students in the methods used to analyse and characterise medicinal natural products, to examine the safety and efficacy of currently used herbal medicines, analytical and bioassay methods, and the ethnopharmaceutical uses of plants from traditional systems of medicines.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (120 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Analytical Techniques in Phytochemistry
  • Biodiversity and Medicines
  • Medicinal Natural Products
  • Natural Products Discovery
  • Formulation of Natural Products and Cosmeceuticals

Optional modules

  • There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake a four-month research project in the third term which culminates in a dissertation. Topics range from natural product isolation and characterisation, synthesis, analysis, and a survey of medicinal products used in the community.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory-based practical classes. Assessment is through a combination of written examinations, coursework and practical assignments, and the research project and oral presentation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry MSc

Careers

Recent graduates of this programme have progressed to careers in herbal, phytopharmaceutical or health food sectors. Some are involved in drug discovery while others pursue a PhD in the UK or overseas.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The programme provides a broad overview of natural product science, the impact of natural products as medicines, their analysis and their place in various societies.

Specifically the programme covers herbal medicines in healthcare and their safety and efficacy, with examples of natural products as medicines. There will also be lectures on the analysis of natural products and their place in the drug discovery process.

A visit to an industrial manufacturer of herbal medicinal products will take place.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: School of Pharmacy

87% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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Pharmacy at Sunderland is ranked sixth in the country, according to The Guardian University Guide 2013. Read more
Pharmacy at Sunderland is ranked sixth in the country, according to The Guardian University Guide 2013.

Course overview

Do you want to contribute to the discovery and development of drugs that could potentially improve the health and well-being of millions of people? The UK has long been a leader in this complex technical area, in which each new drug requires around $1 billion of development work.

Our research-led teaching and state-of-the-art facilities make the University of Sunderland one of the UK's top locations for pharmaceutical science. Our strong links with the pharmaceutical industry ensure a flow of guest speakers and good contacts for your chosen Masters project/dissertation. Previous projects have involved collaborations with companies such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Helena Biosciences.

The course covers advanced pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical analysis, drug design, pharmacology, proteomics and pharmacogenomics. You will also cover regulatory processes for medicines, in line with ICH guidelines. The course is a direct response to employers’ search for postgraduates who have a mix of theoretical and practical skills and who will push boundaries in drug development.

With a Masters course, it’s important to consider the relevance of the research interests of tutors who will supervise your dissertation. At Sunderland, our interests include pharmaceutical analysis, process chemistry, various drug discovery programmes, and drug delivery systems, including those for large biological pharmaceuticals. Our academic team have produced some ‘world-leading’ research, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014).

Course content

The course mixes taught elements with self-directed research. The topic of the project / dissertation is negotiated to fit both your personal interests and the expertise of Sunderland's supportive tutors. Modules on this course include:
Core modules
-Essential Research and Study Skills (20 Credits)
-Fundamentals for Pharmaceutical Science (20 Credits)
-The Pharmaceutical R&D Cycle and its Regulation (20 Credits)

Choose four out of the five following modules
-Advanced Pharmacology (15 Credits)
-Pharmacogenomics and Proteomics (15 Credits)
-Advanced Pharmaceutical Analysis (15 Credits)
-Advanced Drug Design (15 Credits)
-Advanced Pharmaceutics (15 Credits)

Choose one Masters option
-Double Project (60 Credits)
Or
-Double Dissertation (60 Credits)
Or
-Single Project (30 Credits) and Single Dissertation (30 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, open learning, laboratory work and group work.

The Masters project may involve collaboration with a pharmaceutical company. Previous projects have involved collaborations with companies such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Helena Biosciences.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working and problem solving. Assessment methods include laboratory reports, oral presentations, case studies, critical reviews, examinations and the Masters project.

Facilities & location

This course is based in the Sciences Complex at our City Campus, which boasts multi-disciplinary laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to multi-million pound investments.

Facilities for Pharmaceutics
We have pharmaceutical-related equipment for wet granulation, spray drying, capsule filling, tablet making, mixing inhalation, film coating and freeze drying. As well as standard pharmacopoeial test methods, such as dissolution testing, friability and disintegration, we also offer highly sophisticated test methods. These include rheometry, thermal analysis (differential scanning calorimetry and hot stage microscopy), tests for powder flow, laser diffraction, photon correlation spectroscopy, image analysis and laser confocal microscopy.

Facilities for Medicinal Chemistry
Our state-of-the-art spectroscopic facility allows us to confirm the structures of new molecules that could be potential pharmaceutical products and to investigate the structures of potential medicinal substances that have been isolated from plants. We are equipped with Liquid Chromatography-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectroscopy (LC-NMR/MS) platforms; this is an exceptional facility for a university. We also have low and high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and elemental analysis equipment. Our facilities allow you to gain hands-on experience of a wide range of analytical techniques such as atomic absorption spectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy, which are of great importance in determining both ionic/metal content of pharmaceuticals and simple chemical structures respectively. You will also gain experience of revolutionary protein and DNA separation techniques, as well as Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (x8) and Gas Chromatography for separating all kinds of samples of pharmaceutical or biomedical interest.

Facilities for Pharmacology
Our highly technical apparatus will give you first-hand experience of the principles of drug action and the effects of drugs on pharmacological and cellular models. As a result, you gain a better understanding of the effects of drugs on specific receptors located throughout the human body and related physiological effects.

University Library Services
We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles. Some of the most important sources for your studies include:
-Embase, which is a complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
-PsycINF, which includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
-PubMed, which contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
-Science Direct, which offers more than 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
-Web of Science, which covers a broad range of science areas

Learning Environment
Sunderland Pharmacy School has a rich heritage in scientific studies and our degree courses are extremely well respected in the industry. We are fully plugged into relevant medical and pharmaceutical industry bodies, with strong links and an exchange of ideas and people. Your Masters project may involve collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, including working at their sites.

Employment & careers

Graduates from this course can pursue a variety of careers in the following areas; Drug Design, Pharmaceutical Analysis and Research, Pre-clinical Research in Experimental and Biological Studies, Formulation and Product Development, Pharmacogenomics and Proteomics, Clinical Research, Product Registration, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Previous Sunderland graduates have been employed in companies such as GSK, Eisai, Reckitt Benckiser, Merck, Sharp & Dohme and Norbrook Laboratories.

Some students may apply for a PhD programme or those who already hold a Pharmacy degree can pursue MSc/PG Pharmaceutical Sciences for the Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) and go through one-year pre-registration training.

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Sunderland is the only university in the north of England to offer an Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) that is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council. Read more
Sunderland is the only university in the north of England to offer an Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) that is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Course overview

Pharmaceutical Sciences for the Overseas Pharmacist Assessment Programme (OSPAP) is designed for those who are qualified pharmacists outside the European Economic Area and who are now looking to become registered pharmacists in the UK.

Our course is one of a small number of courses that are accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council. Their accreditation is based on quality reviews that ensure Sunderland is meeting the required standards.

Completing the OSPAP postgraduate diploma allows for entry to the next stages of registering as a pharmacist in the UK: firstly, 52 weeks of supervised training in employment; secondly, a registration assessment.

Once all these stages are successfully completed, and assuming you have the necessary visa and work permit, you would be in a position to apply for roles as a practising pharmacist in the UK. There is virtually no unemployment of registered pharmacists in the UK.

You can also apply to undertake a Masters research project in addition to your postgraduate diploma. Pharmacy is a particular area of strength at the University of Sunderland and our Department has been teaching the subject since 1921.

Course content

The content of this course reflects the accreditation requirements of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Modules on the course include:
-Pharmacy, Law, Ethics and Practice (60 Credits)
-Clinical Therapeutics (60 Credits)
-Research Methods for Pharmaceutical Practice and Masters Research Project (60 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, debate sessions, online learning packages, tutorials and seminars.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. Assessment methods include end-of-year examinations, practical assessments as well as assignments throughout the year.

Facilities & location

This course is based in the Sciences Complex at our City Campus, which boasts multi-disciplinary laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to multi-million pound investments.

Facilities for Pharmaceutics
We have pharmaceutical-related equipment for wet granulation, spray drying, capsule filling, tablet making, mixing inhalation, film coating and freeze drying.

As well as standard pharmacopoeial test methods, such as dissolution testing, friability and disintegration, we also offer highly sophisticated test methods. These include rheometry, thermal analysis (differential scanning calorimetry and hot stage microscopy), tests for powder flow, laser diffraction, photon correlation spectroscopy, image analysis and laser confocal microscopy.

Facilities for Medicinal Chemistry
Our state-of-the-art spectroscopic facility allows us to confirm the structures of new molecules that could be potential pharmaceutical products and to investigate the structures of potential medicinal substances that have been isolated from plants.

We are equipped with Liquid Chromatography-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectroscopy (LCNMR/MS) platforms; this is an exceptional facility for a university. We also have low and high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and elemental analysis equipment.

Our facilities allow you to gain hands-on experience of a wide range of analytical techniques such as atomic absorption spectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy, which are of great importance in determining both ionic/metal content of pharmaceuticals and simple chemical structures.

You will also gain experience of revolutionary protein and DNA separation techniques, as well as Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography for separating unknown chemical mixtures.

Facilities for Pharmacology
Our highly technical apparatus will give you first-hand experience of the principles of drug action and the effects of drugs on pharmacological and cellular models. As a result, you gain a better understanding of the effects of drugs on specific receptors located throughout the human body and related physiological effects.

Simulation technology
You’ll have the opportunity to apply your training in a realistic setting with our two advanced simulation technology ‘SimMan’ models.
Each of our £57,000 SimMan mannequins has blood pressure, a pulse and other realistic physiological behaviour. The models can be pre-programmed with various medical scenarios, so you can demonstrate your pharmacological expertise in a realistic yet safe setting. Our academic team is also actively working with the SimMan manufacturers to develop new pharmacy simulations.

Pharmacy Practice
One of the most important skills of pharmacists is to communicate their expertise in a manner that the public can understand and accept.

The University has invested in a purpose-built model pharmacy complete with consultation suite. This allows you to develop skills in helping patients take the correct medicine in the right way, with optional video recording of your interaction with patients for the purposes of analysis and improvement.

In addition, we can accurately simulate hospital-based scenarios in a fully equipped ward environment where medical, nursing and pharmacy students can share learning.

University Library Services
We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your studies include:
-Embase, which is a complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
-PubMed, which contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
-Science Direct, which offers more than 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
-Web of Science, which covers a broad range of science areas

Learning Environment
Sunderland Pharmacy School has a rich heritage in scientific studies and our degree courses are extremely well respected in the industry. We are fully plugged into relevant medical and pharmaceutical industry bodies, with strong links and an exchange of ideas and people. Our vibrant learning environment helps ensure a steady stream of well-trained pharmacists whose most important concern is patient-centred pharmaceutical care.

Employment & careers

On completing this course you can register and practise in the UK as a qualified pharmacist. An entry-level pharmacist usually starts within Band 5 of the NHS pay rates (up to around £28,000). Advanced pharmacists, consultants, team managers and managers of pharmaceutical services are rated as Bands 8-9 and can earn up to £99,000. Currently there is virtually no unemployment of qualified pharmacists. Typical starting salaries for community pharmacists range from £21,000 to £35,000 depending on location, conditions of employment and experience.

Most pharmacists work in the following areas:
Community pharmacy: this involves working in pharmacies on high streets or in large stores. You will dispense prescriptions, deal with minor ailments, advise on the use of medicines and liaise with other health professionals.

Hospital pharmacy: this involves the purchasing, dispensing, quality testing and supply of medicines used in hospitals.

Primary care: this involves working in General Practice surgeries, either as an employee of the Practice or the Primary Care Trust. Roles include Medicines Management Pharmacists, who are responsible for prescribing budgets and the development of prescribing directives.

Secondary care: this involves working in hospitals to supply medicines, manage clinics, provide drug information and prescribe medicines.

Industrial pharmacists are involved in areas such as Research & Development, Quality Assurance and product registration.
Research degrees can be undertaken in many aspects of pharmacy. Sunderland Pharmacy School offers excellent facilities and a wide range of research expertise.

You can also work in areas of the pharmaceutical industry, medical writing and in education. By completing a Masters project in addition to your OSPAP postgraduate diploma it will enhance opportunities in academic roles or further study towards a PhD.

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This course is designed for graduates of chemistry, pharmacy and other related sciences who are contemplating a career in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, the NHS or with government agencies such as drug licensing authorities. Read more
This course is designed for graduates of chemistry, pharmacy and other related sciences who are contemplating a career in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, the NHS or with government agencies such as drug licensing authorities.

The programme provides a good background in basic pharmaceutical sciences followed by advanced training in drug discovery, drug product design, drug delivery, pharmacology, microbiology and regulatory processes. It also offers advanced practical experience and supervised training, together with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth research project as part of an active research group.

This course is suitable for both UK and non-UK graduates, and international students benefit from our excellent support networks.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available for this course. Please click the link below for more information.
https://www.brighton.ac.uk/studying-here/fees-and-finance/postgraduate/index.aspx

Course structure

This course is one calendar year, full-time, involving 30 weeks of taught modules divided into two 15-week semesters, and a project which is largely carried out during the remaining time.

Students may have the opportunity to undertake a short industrial placement (optional) during their second semester. A four-month research project is integrated into the second semester, on completion of which you will be required to submit a 10,000 word dissertation. The assessment of each taught module includes coursework and a written examination paper at the end of semester two.

Past research project topics include the development of novel transdermal formulations containing naturally occurring antioxidants as sunscreen agents, and the use of mucoadhesive gels for vaginal drug delivery.

Syllabus

During the course you will:

• develop knowledge and understanding of the role of drug discovery; biological processes involved in drug action; drug product design; quality assurance, quality control and regulatory affairs
• develop knowledge and understanding of the chemical principles underlying the design, action and disposition of drug molecules
• appreciate aspects of drug ADME and the underlying mathematical principles, mechanisms of action and adverse effects of drug treatments and the phenomenon of drug interactions
• develop an understanding of the microbiological processes involved in the development and quality assurance of non-sterile and sterile medicines and devices including biotechnology products
• develop knowledge and understanding of the basic principles and current trends in the formulation design and manufacture of pharmaceutical dosage forms
• deveop an appreciation of the physicochemical and biological factors which affect uniformity, performance, stability and bioavailability of pharmaceutical products.

Modules:

Research Project
Research Methods
Pharmacology and Drug Development
Regulatory Affairs
Industrial Pharmacy, QA and QC
Current Research in Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Options:

Industrial Placement
Advanced Pharmaceutical Analysis
Advanced in Biochemical and Clinical Analysis
Quality Issues in Complementary Therapies That Utilise Plants
New Medicinal Products: From Inception to Market
Industrial Manufacturing Processes
Advanced Drug Delivery

Careers and Employability

This course will equip you for a career in the pharmaceutical industry, NHS, academic centres, research institutions or with government agencies such as drug licensing authorities. Our graduates are also well placed to apply for a PhD.

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