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Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences with Industrial Training MSc (2 years)

    School of Pharmacy Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas



  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    2 years

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Please see the University website for details

  • Last Updated

    16 August 2018

Course content

* You can still apply for September 2018. Placements available in chemistry, biosciences and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics *


Our pioneering two-year MSc programme is unique in the UK, and builds on the foundations of our very successful one-year programme in Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences, to equip students with an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of drug discovery, and industry standard training. 

The course is designed to develop graduates who have exceptional scientific understanding and a host of transferable skills, including leadership skills. It is therefore especially recommended to high-achieving and ambitious students seeking an opportunity to gain extensive hands-on training in an industrial environment, working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

The course blends the two fundamental disciplines underpinning drug discovery and provides students with the opportunity to practise background theory within the productive, research-led environments offered by the School of Pharmacy. This school has world-leading expertise in the areas of drug discovery and pharmaceutical science, and students on this course will have the chance to learn directly from staff at the forefront of the field.

The course is technology-rich, using online learning packages to supplement face-to-face teaching and innovative assessment methods.

Placement year

The second year of the course has been developed in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure currency and relevance, and to increase the future employability of graduates. Our aim is to train future leaders in the pharmaceutical sector.

The placement year with one of our industrial partners is arranged and guaranteed upon completion of a successful application and interview process. You will pay reduced tuition fees for the second year of the course, as you focus on your industrial training.

Due to limited places available, students who are unable to join the two-year programme will automatically be considered for our Royal Society of Chemistry accredited one-year programme, which includes the same disciplines underpinning drug discovery and research-led environment in which to practise the theory. 

Develop your skills

The overall aim of the MSc is to develop knowledge and understanding, cognitive skills, key skills and practical and professional skills in the area of Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Science. The overall drug discovery process from ‘concept to clinic’ provides the reference point for the education and training delivered in the more specific scientific and regulatory aspects.

Students will, therefore, be able to develop an understanding of the scientific principles underlying the main topic areas housed within the arena of drug discovery. In addition, upon completing the degree students will be able to make effective use of electronic communication and information search and retrieval to facilitate development of key critical skills with which to assess and analyse a broad array of scientific literature.

When taken together, the ethos of the programme is therefore to:

  • instil, develop and encourage an independent approach to learning, through initiative and self-motivation
  • provide the education and training required to become a translational scientist; with pertinent knowledge of basic and clinical science that can be applied to drug discovery and development
  • instil a critical understanding of disease/disorder biology and how it impacts upon human health
  • provide the necessary knowledge of chosen areas of normal and abnormal pharmacology and bodily function to equip the student with an understanding of how and why drugs are either rejected or taken forward for future development
  • present physicochemical and pharmacological principles alongside the regulatory processes necessary for new medicine discovery and entry into the clinic
  • contextualise this knowledge and principles to the process of drug design and development and therefore equip the graduate to apply knowledge to practical problems in pharmacology, drug discovery and pharmaceutical science
  • provide students with the practical skills and experience via a year-long training placement to excel in future leadership roles

Please visit the online prospectus for detailed module information.

Application process

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be shortlisted for interview based on their whole application, including the personal statement. Your personal statement should include:

  • Why you are applying for this course, and why to the University of Nottingham in particular
  • Why you wish to pursue a career in drug discovery
  • How this course will help you achieve your long-term career goals, and why the industrial placement is key to this
  • What makes you suitable for this course compared to other applicants

The interview will include a technical component, which will involve questions relating to theoretical organic chemistry, synthesis and retrosynthesis. The final offer of a place will depend on the availability of placements.

To secure your place, you will need to pay a £2000 deposit. This will form part of your conditional offer as there are a limited number of placements offered in advance by providers. Once the deposit is paid and any other offer conditions are met, your place on the course is guaranteed. The deposit will be used to offset your tuition fee for the first year.

If you are unable to secure a place on the two-year course, after meeting initial eligibility criteria, you will be guaranteed an offer for the one-year course (which is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry). This course incorporates the same high quality taught module component but replaces the industrial placement year with a three-month research project at the University. 


Graduates can expect to move into a range of scientific careers, particularly with global pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical SMEs. Strong industrial links to the course will further enhance students’ employability.

The MSc also provides a strong grounding for students wishing to subsequently study for a PhD in a related subject area.

Visit the Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences with Industrial Training MSc (2 years) page on the University of Nottingham website for more details!




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