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Masters Degrees (Pharmacokinetic)

We have 2 Masters Degrees (Pharmacokinetic)

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Our MSc Model-based Drug Development course provides the knowledge and skills for making evidence-based decisions at various stages of drug development. Read more

Our MSc Model-based Drug Development course provides the knowledge and skills for making evidence-based decisions at various stages of drug development.

It covers the scientific and regulatory aspects of evaluating a drug, with emphasis on the use of modelling and simulation methods. You will learn why these methods are so highly valued by industry and regulatory authorities as effective, cost-saving, decision-making tools. Learning is reinforced via hands-on application of the skills to real data.

The course has been developed with an emphasis on mechanistic approaches to assessing and predicting pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PKPD), such as physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK) .

As this comes under the general umbrella of systems biology, you will be able to apply your knowledge of modelling and simulation in various areas of research within the pharmaceutical industry.

Full-time students benefit from immersion in the varied biomedical research environment at The University of Manchester, including interaction with research staff at the renowned Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research .

Alternatively, part-time students already working in the pharmaceutical industry can take advantage of the flexible, distance learning mode of the course, which allows you to fit study around other commitments.


The aim of the course is to provide specialist knowledge and skills that are highly relevant for a career linked to drug development and pharmaceutical industry.

It is designed for science, engineering or mathematics graduates who want to acquire:

  • awareness of the commercial and regulatory factors in drug development;
  • understanding of the physiological, chemical, and mathematical foundations used to define the safe and effective use of potential medicines;
  • training in the use of mathematical modelling and simulation methods to guide drug development.

The course aims to:

  • provide background information on the theory and methods for quantitative assessment of drug absorption, distribution and elimination;
  • provide an understanding of the role of pharmacometrics in the process of drug development;
  • provide background information on in vitro assays used to characterise ADME properties of new drug entities;
  • indicate the mathematical framework that is capable of integrating in vitro information with knowledge of the human body to predict pharmacokinetics;
  • provide familiarity and experience of using different software platforms related to pharmacometric data analysis including R, Phoenix, NONMEM, MATLAB, Simcyp, WinBUGS and MONOLIX;
  • equip you to reflect upon influential research publications in the field, to critically assess recent published literature in a specific area;
  • provide awareness of the elements of a convincing research proposal based on modelling and simulation;
  • provide the opportunity to undertake a project and carry out original research.

Special features

Distance learning option

Our distance learning option is ideal for scientists linked to the pharmaceutical industry who wish to expand their expertise while working in the industry.

Full-time mode

The full-time mode allows suitably trained mathematics, science or engineering graduates to focus on obtaining the advanced skills needed for a career in this area. We utilise a blended learning approach in which online learning content is supported by regular face-to-face contact with tutors.

Hands-on learning

Your learning will be reinforced over the duration of the course via hands-on application of your skills to real data.

Additional course information

The course focuses on the following topics.

  • Pharmacokinetics: addressing how a drug dose is administered to the body and the fate of drug molecules that enter the body.
  • Pharmacodynamics: addressing the chemical and physiological response of the body to drug.
  • Pharmacometrics: the science that quantifies drug, disease and trial information to aid efficient drug development and/or regulatory decisions (definition used by the US FDA).
  • Systems pharmacology: analysis of interactions between drug and a biological system, using mathematical models.
  • In vitro: in vivo extrapolation using physiologically based pharmacokinetic models (IVIVE-PBPK).

Teaching and learning

The course emphasises the development of problem-solving skills. A large portion of the learning involves structured problems requiring you to apply theory and practical skills to solve typical problems that arise in drug development.

The following teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course:

  • taught lectures;
  • hands-on workshops;
  • self-directed learning to solve given problems;
  • webinars and tutorials by leading scientists in industry/academia;
  • supervised research;
  • mentorship in solving problems and writing the research dissertation;
  • independent study.

Coursework and assessment

We assess your achievement of the learning outcomes for this course through:

  • unit assignments (submitted electronically);
  • unit examinations;
  • research project dissertation and oral presentation.

Career opportunities

This course was originally developed for scientists working within the pharmaceutical industry who wished to qualify as modellers with hands-on experience. The qualification will enhance your abilities within your current role or provide you with skills to progress into new posts.

The course is also appropriate for science and engineering graduates who wish to enter the industry. The role of modelling and simulation or pharmacometrics is assuming greater and greater importance in the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmaceutical companies and government regulatory agencies are recognising its value in making best use of laboratory and clinical data, guiding and expediting development and saving time and costs.

A range of well-paid jobs exist in this area across the globe. Scientific and industry publications often discuss the current shortage and growing need for modellers.

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The global drug delivery sector is set to attain significant growth over the next five years. This is driven by the introduction of technologies with improved product features. Read more
The global drug delivery sector is set to attain significant growth over the next five years. This is driven by the introduction of technologies with improved product features. As the pharmaceutical industry continues to innovate in order to maintain growth and profitability, the use of new drug delivery technologies is being explored for many treatment areas.

The introduction of new routes of delivery combined with increasing research and development spend, has created a new market for drug delivery and there is a market need for employees with matched skill sets.

What you'll study

The programme provides specialist research training and practical experience in the design and development of effective drug delivery systems, as well as promoting directly applicable skills for career and professional development.

This course is designed to provide a robust postgraduate training and skills development for life science or physical science-based graduate students seeking employment in the pharmaceutical industry or at the life sciences interface.

You'll gain an overview of drug delivery and have hands-on experience of pharmaceutical formulation and drug delivery.

The course aims to:
-Develop your understanding of the biology of specific targets for drug-based intervention
-Develop your understanding of the biopharmaceutical, pharmacokinetic & physicochemical principles important in the design and formulation of drug dosage systems
-Address the latest advances in drug delivery & targeting & develop your understanding of the concept of drug targeting using drug -Carriers & provide an in depth appreciation of the strategies available & utilised for a particular drug & biological barrier
-Enhance your research skills & transferable skills relevant to drug delivery in preparation for a career in the pharmaceutical industry or academia including leadership skills & entrepreneurship
-Develop your understanding of advanced research methodology to enable you to carry out independent work of publishable standard

Major projects

Within your project, you'll have the exciting opportunity to work alongside leading researchers developing the next generation of drug delivery systems. We offer a range of topics from nano to macro drug delivery systems and we consider a wide range of delivery strategies.


The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences offers an excellent environment for research and teaching. It’s located in a new building with several laboratories. All are fitted with the latest equipment.

The course will also provide students with full experiential learning with facilities including:
-Formulation & manufacturing facilities
-Thermo-analytical facilities
-Particle, microparticle & nanoparticle size & surface analysis
-Dissolution analysis facilities
-In-vitro analysis

The course is also supported by access to the full range of analytical spectroscopic and chromatographic instrumentation for the characterisation of drug and drug delivery components, including:
-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
-Ultra-violet (UV)
-Attenuated total reflectance fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR_FTIR)
-Mass spectrometry (MS)
-High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)
-Gas chromatography (GC)
-Liquid chromatograph/gas chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/GC-MS)


This Masters programme is designed to support your career journey into the field of drug delivery and pharmaceutical sciences and provide the support for you to take up an exciting role within the pharmaceutical industry or continue your research career into a PhD programme.

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