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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


Course content

Sunderland is ranked sixth in the UK for pharmacy and pharmacology, according to The Guardian University Guide 2013.

Course overview

This Masters is one of the few in the UK that covers biopharmaceuticals as well as pharmaceuticals. The course covers drug delivery systems for large molecules such as proteins, genes and anticancer drugs that offer innovative ways to improve the health and wellbeing of our society.

The course also covers advanced formulations and delivery of small drug molecules. There is a focus on nanotechnology, dosage forms, pharmacokinetics and statistical methods used in data analysis.

Our supportive tutors will guide the development of rigorous approaches to research including sound methodologies, good manufacturing practice, high laboratory standards and effective communication of results.

Your Masters research project will be supervised by an expert in the relevant field, possibly in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company or research institution.

This course is particularly relevant if you plan to undertake a PhD in the area of pharmaceutical sciences, biopharmaceuticals or drug delivery. It is also suitable if you are considering, or already involved in, a career in pharmaceutical-related industries, hospitals or research institutions.

Pharmacy is a particular area of strength at the University of Sunderland. We have worked with GlaxoSmithKline for over 20 years and Pfizer has funded research projects at Sunderland for over 10 years.

Course content

The course mixes taught elements with independent research and self-directed study. There is flexibility to pursue personal interests in considerable depth, with guidance and inspiration from Sunderland's supportive tutors. Modules on this course include:
-Dosage Forms and Pharmacokinetics (20 Credits)
-Delivering Gene and Therapeutic Proteins (20 Credits)
-Essential Research and Study Skills (20 Credits)
-Research Manipulation (20 Credits)
-Nanotechnology (20 Credits)
-Bioinformatics (20 Credits)
-Research Project (60 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, problem-based learning, laboratory work, group work and visits to relevant companies. We also welcome guest speakers from the pharmaceutical industry who deliver guest lectures and seminars.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. Assessment methods include written examinations, online tests and coursework, which includes oral and poster presentations.

Facilities & location

Sunderland's exceptional facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutics, synthetic, analytical and medicinal chemistry and pharmacology.

Facilities for Chemistry
We’ve recently spent £1 million on our new state-of-the-art analytical equipment. The analytical suite contains equipment which is industry-standard for modern clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories. Our state-of-the-art spectroscopic facility allows us to investigate the structures of new molecules and potential medicinal substances. 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 Pharmaceutics and Pharmacology
Our highly technical apparatus will help you gain a better understanding of the effects of drugs on specific receptors located throughout the human body and related physiological effects. In addition to equipment for standard pharmacopoeial tests, such as dissolution testing, friability and disintegration, we also have 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.

We also have equipment for wet granulation, spray drying, capsule filling, tablet making, powder mixing inhalation, film coating and freeze drying.

University Library Services
We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, 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

Employment & careers

On completing this course you will be equipped with the skills and understanding needed for Research & Development roles with employers such as:
-Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies
-Medical research institutes

Salaries for senior pharmacologists range from £35,000 to around £80,000. Clinical laboratory scientists earn an average of £36,000. A Masters degree will also enhance opportunities in academic roles or further study towards a PhD.

Visit the Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Formulations - MSc page on the University of Sunderland website for more details!




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