Taught course

Drug Discovery and Development (with optional placement)

University of Central Lancashire · School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Entry requirements

A 1st or 2nd class honours degree of a UK university or its equivalent in chemistry, pharmacy, biology, forensic science, bio/medical sciences or a related subject.

A qualification or experience deemed to be equivalent to the above.

Those applicants seeking entry with appropriate experiences will be required to demonstrate the suitability of this experience both on application and at interview.

International students should have an English language qualification, IELTS at 6.5 (no individual mark lower than 6.0), TOEFL at 600 (paper) and 250 (CBE) with a TWE of 4.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

Our MSc Drug Discovery and Development course is ideal if you wish to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, you will also have the opportunity to go on an optional professional placement.

We’ve designed this course to give you the knowledge and practical skills you need to become a valuable team member within the pharmaceutical industry. There’s an emphasis on the drug development process and the journey from discovery to product marketing, including quality control and regulatory science.

You’ll get deep insights into the molecular basis of disease, drug targets and their validation, identification of lead compounds, structure-based drug design, and analytical and synthetic techniques. You’ll also learn all about the regulatory and commercial aspects of management in the pharmaceutical industry.

By the end of this course you’ll have developed in-depth knowledge of biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics and toxicology, and an understanding of research skills and scientific methods. Our aim is to produce scientists with expertise in drug discovery and development as well as non-scientists who are equipped to work in pharmaceutical work environments.

As part of the course you will have the opportunity to hear about the experiences of service users, carers, patients and public members via our community engagement and service user support groups (Comensus).


  • You’ll learn about current and emerging trends in drug discovery, drug design and regulatory sciences through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions delivered by highly experienced academics and industry experts.
  • We have excellent links with some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry and you’ll have the opportunity to go on a professional placement and gain valuable work experience.
  • You’ll be taught by research-active staff with extensive academics, industrial and clinical expertise.


  • Develop a range of transferable skills required in the global pharmaceutical industry and beyond.
  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of the drug discovery and development process.
  • You will have opportunities build your research skills and practical experience.


Throughout the course we’ll assess you through a variety of means, including presentations, examinations, posters (with oral questioning during the poster session), case studies, data interpretation exercises, essays and scientific reports, practical reports, project reports and oral examinations.

We have links with major global firms across the pharmaceutical industry, including:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Bristol Myers Squibb
  • GSK
  • Rosemont Pharmaceuticals
  • Wockhardt UK


Our MSc Drug Discovery and Development (with Professional Placement) course follows the same structure as MSc Drug Discovery and Development, with the addition of the placement element. It’s a two year, full-time programme. You’ll undertake your professional placement in a pharmaceutical-related organisation, which will be for a minimum of 38 weeks and maximum of 40 weeks.

You are responsible for finding your own placement. We’ll support you in preparation for this through our Careers team, who can help you to plan and develop your CV and applications, and have practice interviews.


Our MSc by Research is very similar to a PhD, but with a research project designed to take 12 months. It is not intended as a first step towards a PHD, but rather is an alternative to a PhD. There are no associated lectures, classes or written examinations.


When you graduate you’ll be equipped with a knowledge and skills base that will allow you to pursue a range of scientific and non-scientific careers within pharmaceutical work environments.

This may include roles in the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, academia or further studies (such as a PhD).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Course Enquiries
+44 (0)1772 892400