Taught course

Genomic Approaches to Drug Discovery

University of Sheffield · Department of Biomedical Science

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a biomedical-related subject.

We also accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Train in the latest automated genomics techniques and develop your professional skills in drug screening, gene discovery and the use of pharmacogenomics.

Course description

This unique research-led masters course is for students who are fascinated by genomic technologies. You'll be provided with practical laboratory training in drug screening and gene discovery, using the latest automated genomics techniques.

We’re home to the internationally renowned Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility (SRSF), which is kitted out with the same pioneering equipment that’s used by pharmaceutical companies around the world. During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to work within the purpose-built SRSF and train to use technologies for drug screening, laboratory automation, cellular assays, imaging and processing.

You’ll learn how to use high-throughput machinery that you’ll find in industrial research facilities and develop skills in techniques including genome editing, 3D cell culture, robotics, and functional genomic screening. You’ll also discover how academic labs, as well as those in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries use these same cutting-edge techniques to identify candidates for potential therapies. We’ll then show you how to program a Hamilton Star liquid handling robot, used in many automation laboratories, as well as how to use and write algorithms for High Content Microscopy.

Practical training will be supported by theoretical sessions, teaching you about the latest techniques including T-cell therapies, antibodies, gene therapy, cell therapy, CRISPR, RNAi and clinical trials, so that you develop an appreciation of every step that’s involved in the academic and commercial drug discovery process.

The most substantial part of the course is the research project. You’ll spend three months working within the SRSF, honing your professional skills in the use of pharmacogenomics. You’ll choose your research area from a range of projects to match your future career aspirations. This could cover cancer drug screening, target identification, gene delivery or peptide therapy projects. You could even choose to do a project away from the SRSF in another lab within the School of Biosciences.

Example research projects include:

  • An in vivo chemical screen for antagonists of an adhesion
  • GPCR signalling pathway in zebrafish
  • New strategies for cancer drug development: protein-protein interaction inhibitors to inhibit the critical cancer target Fen1
  • Understanding hypothalamic development: a scRNA seq approach

This course will give you the practical experience you need for an exciting career in the field of drug discovery. Alongside your training, you’ll also get direct exposure to industry leaders from a wide range of companies. You'll build your professional network and gain a deeper understanding of how pioneering techniques and equipment are used in practice.


We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School website.

Please see our University website for the most up-to-date course information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses

Information for international students

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

For more information about entry requirements for international students, please visit https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/international/applying/postgraduate-taught

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
+44 114 222 2341