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Medicinal Plant Science (MSc)

Course Description

This course is designed to respond to the growing market in the use of medicinal plants and natural products, which needs professional expertise to support its quality, analysis and development. The taught Medicinal Plant Science MSc course provides a programme of advanced study for graduates from pharmacy, horticulture, herbal medicine and biochemical sciences, to equip them for future careers in the pharmaceutical, phytopharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmeceutical industries and quality assurance of herbal medicine. Through studying medicinal plants from their genesis as plants in a field to analysing them in a chemical laboratory, the course equips you with a unique perspective and critical understanding of plant medicines. You will also learn their traditional uses and the technical skills to unlock their future potential.

Medicinal Plant Science MSc aims to produce tomorrow's researchers and leaders in development of quality phytomedicines. Students will benefit from internship opportunities in the medicinal herbs quality research laboratory, and the University's polyclinic dispensary, providing valuable real world practical experience.

Core modules

- Applied Phytomedicine
This module provides an In-depth exploration of the current nature and context of herbal medicine, relating uses of herbs from different countries and from different herbal traditions and form different herbal traditions to contemporary research and the evidence base for therapeutic applications. It also includes detailed study of selected important herbs and herbal preparations.

- Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Assurance
In-depth understanding of analytical techniques in use in the pharmaceutical industry with emphasis on quality and regulatory controls

- Phytopharmaceuticals
Study of research and development of a wide range of plant-based pharmaceuticals, their preparations and formulation, pharmacology and physiological actions and up-to-date scientific research.

- Phytotherapeutics
In-depth exploration of a range of medicinal herbs from different countries and from different herbal traditions, and the evidence base for their therapeutic use; critical evaluation of the clinical use of herbal medicines in the context of integrated health care and current legislation; consideration of the efficacy and effectiveness for chosen herbs in specific therapeutic applications or health conditions.

- Postgraduate Research Methods
Principles and practice of research with a focus on study design and methods of data collection, evaluation and research; taught in a supportive and intellectually challenging environment within which you develop your knowledge, understanding and skills as a researcher.

- Research Project
You will investigate an appropriate research topic, generate and critically analyse data, as well as present your results and discuss your findings in the context of previously published work. You will include rigorous and critical analysis of data with a high level of initiative, supported by a series of generic and theme-specific tutorials, which will include preparation for your employment and career development.

Option modules

- Pharmacology and Drug Discovery
You will explore the scope of pharmacology and concepts of drugs as biologically active molecules through the drug discovery phases. You will interact with cellular targets and experimental techniques used in pharmacology, from target identification through to pre-clinical models of disease and clinical applications.

- Plant Science
In-depth understanding of medicinal plants, taxonomy and identification, and herbal preparations for therapeutic uses.

- Xenobiotic, Metabolism, Pharmacokinetics and Toxicology
In-depth view of the molecular mechanisms of toxicology, with perspectives on drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and how these process can lead to toxicity; aspects of tissue specific toxicology and the literature basis behind research in this area.

Other option modules include Molecular Bioinformatics, and Molecular Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics modules.

Associated Careers

The course is designed to enhance the skills of graduates with wide-ranging backgrounds in plant, biological, chemical, pharmaceutical and pharmacy disciplines to pursue a career in research and/or development in the pharmaceutical, phyto-pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmeceutical industries. Graduates may continue in education, entering PhD programmes on traditional uses of medicinal herbs to contemporary research and the evidence base for therapeutic approaches.In addition, the course is also designed to enhance the analytical skills in quality assurance, drug discovery, phyto-pharmacology and toxicology for herbal medicine practitioners.

Graduates may find employment in academia or research institutes, as well as management, marketing and development in complementary and alternative healthcare provision.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. We place as much emphasis on gaining skills relevant to the workplace as on learning the academic discipline that you are studying.

Obtaining a placement, part-time or vacation job while you study will provide you with extra cash and help you demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for.

In London, there is a plentiful supply of part-time work - most students at the University of Westminster work part-time (or full-time during vacations) to help support their studies.

Visit the Medicinal Plant Science (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The normal standard of entry is BSc Honours degree at a minimum of a Lower Second (2.2) or equivalent, in Herbal Medicine, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Science, Pharmacology, Botany, Horticulture, Biochemistry or related subjects. Competence in English language for those whose first language is not English is required to have at least IELTS 6.5, and minimum 6.0 for each component.

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