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Course content

Why this course?

This part-time course enables suitably-qualified pharmaceutical industry employees to:

  • acquire the necessary knowledge base to submit themselves for nomination as a Qualified Person (QP)
  • develop relevant academic knowledge and skills at postgraduate level
  • develop research and investigative skills in the area of pharmaceutical quality and good manufacturing practice

The course is provided in a unique collaboration between:

  • Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS)
  • NSF International (formerly known as NSF-DBA and David Begg Associates (DBA))

NSF-Health Sciences are leading experts in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries offering training, consultancy and auditing services.

You’ll study

You’re required to complete six of the NSF modules for consideration for the Postgraduate Certificate. For the Postgraduate Diploma you need to complete 12 modules.

Modules run over a 21-month period as a series of 13 one-week residential courses. You complete additional study before sitting examinations for the award of the Certificate or Diploma.

The Diploma can be converted to the MSc by completion of a research project which is normally undertaken at your workplace.

The course is by part-time study only.


The course is based on the syllabus in the European-approved 'Qualified Person' (QP) study guide as used in the pharmaceutical industry.

The course content includes all the diverse elements required to ensure that each batch of a medicinal product meets the quality requirements of the relevant product and manufacturer's licences. This includes:

  • an understanding of the pharmacology and chemistry of the product's active and other ingredients
  • a knowledge of how the product was manufactured
  • how the product delivers the drug in the patient's body
  • how the patient's body is expected to handle the drug by way of excretion and metabolism

You’re also made aware of the statutory framework which is applied in the control of the manufacture and distribution of medicinal products.


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

Learning & teaching

Each module consists of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratories
  • discussion groups
  • relevant visits

The cohesion of the student group rapidly develops as all participants are generally working in some aspect of quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry. As such, the informal aspects of each module can become an important part of the knowledge-gathering process.


Modules are assessed individually. You’ll sit formal examinations. MSc students write and submit for examination a thesis based on their research project.


Gaining knowledge and skills will enhance your career progression in the pharmaceutical industry.

Visit the Pharmaceutical Quality and Good Manufacturing Practice MSc/PgDip/PgCert page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!




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