Pharmaceutical Bioscience - MSci (Hons) - Video

An integrated masters degree that will captivate your interest in chemistry and prepare you for a career in the global biopharmaceutical industry.

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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Biopharmaceutical Industry
  • Pharmaceutical Industry

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Analytical Scientist
  • Biopharmaceutical Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Research and Development Scientist


An integrated masters degree that will captivate your interest in chemistry and prepare you for a career in the global biopharmaceutical industry.


Study Pharmaceutical Bioscience at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

The MSci Pharmaceutical Bioscience has been designed for those with a strong interest in science and a keen desire to pursue a career in the industry responsible for the manufacture of medicines. The course contains all the relevant chemistry required for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry as well as providing students with a wider skillset to achieve the necessary expertise required for the biopharmaceutical industry.

The programme has been designed in consultation with a number of leading international bio/pharmaceutical companies, creating a tailored education to meet the needs of future employers. You will learn how to prepare pharmaceutical ingredients, formulate these into medicinal products and have a thorough understanding of the effect of these drugs and therapeutics on the human body.

You can read more about what the course entails in our blog here.

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Coleraine campus

Our coastal and riverside campus with a primary academic focus on science and health

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About this course

In this section


The overall purpose of the course is to provide an academically challenging and vocationally relevant science education for those wishing to follow careers in research, the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industry and other areas of biomedical science producing competent graduates to meet local, regional and national needs. The course aims to provide opportunities for students to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of pharmaceutical science, biomedical science, formulation and manufacture of medicines
  • Develop core skills necessary to evaluate and to undertake research in pharmaceutical/biomedical sciences or industry
  • Apply intellectual, practical, enterprise and personal skills (including communication, teamwork, problem-solving, decision making, initiative and creativity) to enable effective life-long learning in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.

At Ulster University we recognise the benefits of ‘hands on experience’ and as such we have incorporated a large practical element into each of the modules. In addition, there are two significant research projects/placement opportunities where the student will have the chance to work in a research environment in the award-winning Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BMSRI) at Ulster as well as a research/industrial placement in the final year of the four year masters degree.

The course is mainly delivered from the recently refurbished Saad Centre for Pharmacy and Diabetes on the Coleraine campus. Specialised teaching laboratories, seminar rooms, a computer suite and a lecture theatre have all been finished to a high specification. In addition, students will have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation including a 600 MHz NMR, various Mass Spectrometers, RP-HPLC, Uv-Vis spectrometers and an award-winning bio-imaging suite.

What will I learn?

During the course you will learn how to prepare a number of well-known pharmaceutical products used for a variety of ailments ranging from general pain relief to drugs used in the treatment of heart irregularities and epilepsy.

As well as the preparation of the actual pharmaceutical ingredients, you will gain insight into the different steps required to take the chemical compound and formulate it into a medicinal product. This product could be in a number of different forms such as capsule, cream, tablet or suspension amongst others. You will be able to determine which would be the most suitable formulation to use, as well as arming you with the necessary analytical techniques required for suitable quantitative determination.

In addition to learning all the necessary chemistry of medicinal products, you will also learn what effect these drugs have on the body as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the latest therapeutics to treat disease states, including an understanding into the highly anticipated benefits of personalised medicine.


Attendance is four years full time. Students will study a range of 10 and 20, and 40 credit modules in each of the first three years. Each year students will complete 120 credits. The final year will contain a larger 60 credit placement module together with four advanced distance taught modules worth 15 credits each. Each twenty credit module will typically require 200 hours of study to include lectures, tutorials, practicals and directed independent study.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

Grades BBB to include Chemistry and 1 other science subject from Physics, Maths, Biology, IT.

Life and Health Sciences A-level is accepted as a science subject provided optional unit A2 9 is completed.

Provided the subject requirements are met you can substitute a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University for one of the A level grades.


Pass overall BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science with DDM to include at least 9 distinctions and to include distinction in the following units:

Fundamentals of Science, Scientific Practical Techniques, Industrial Application of Chemical Reactions, Chemical Periodicity and its Applications, Industrial Application of Organic Chemistry

Irish Leaving Certificate

Grades H3,H3,H3,H3,H3 to include Chemistry and 1 other science subject from Physics, Maths, Biology or IT.

Higher Level English and Maths Grade H6 or above OR Ordinary Level English and Maths Grade O4 or above are also required.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grades BBBCC to include Chemistry and one other science subject from Physics, Maths, Biology, IT.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grades CCC to include Chemistry and 1 other science subject from Physics, Maths, Biology, IT.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 26 points including 13 at higher level - to include Chemistry and 1 other subject from Biology, Physics, Maths, IT.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Pass science-based Access course with a minimum overall mark of 70% and a minimum of 70% in each level 3 module.


GCSE pass in English Language and Maths at grade C(or grade 4) or above (or equivalent). You must also hold a GCSE pass in Chemistry (grade C/grade 4) or Double Award Science(grade CC) or above (or equivalent).

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Essential / Key Skill in Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

Pass HND with overall Merit to include 60 distinctions in level 5 credits/units may be specified.

Pass HNC with overall Distinction to include 90 distinctions in level 4/5 credits/units may be specified.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

Teaching and learning assessment

Teaching and Learning Methods: lectures, case studies, reading, tutorials, seminars, online material; videos; problem based cases and scenarios, workshops, online and face to face discussion groups, practical exercises, demonstrations, literature searching, observation.

Formal lectures

Lectures remain a key feature in teaching and learning within the School. However, lectures are increasingly interactive, and may include discussion elements. A high proportion of lectures are delivered using PowerPoint presentations and teaching material is also provided on BBlearn where students can access lecture and other material. Some lecturers also provide hard copy lecture notes that students can purchase through the Faculty laboratories, or printing out from BBlearn.

Practical classes

Practical classes are fundamental to the study of science and may take the form of laboratory sessions in, for example, chemistry, biochemistry, biochemistry or physical pharmacy. In these sessions students learn practical laboratory skills. Academic staff are supported by postgraduate student demonstrators, who provide practical help, advice on experimental procedures and ensure that correct Health and Safety practices are followed. Practical laboratory classes are also supported by the use of computers where students use Computer Aided Learning (CAL) packages to experiment in the virtual environment.

Case studies

Case studies are used to help students apply and integrate knowledge gained through the various subjects. They are presented with varying problems where they are required to research and apply knowledge from an interdisciplinary approach.

Seminar work/ Tutorials

The seminars and tutorials are designed not only to extend the lecture topics but also equip students with the skills to seek out relevant research material and to present and defend the material within a given time-frame. With the increasing amount of information available on the web, the knowledge and skills to select appropriate, scientifically sound material, is vital in all graduates. Initially, students make presentations in groups so as to give each other support. They will also facilitate support to students who need help with their studies.

BlackBoard Learn (BBLearn)

BBlearn is the online teaching tool for the University. It provides personalised online access to course material, university library systems, academic and student support programs, and electronic communication tools. An increasing number of campus-delivered modules are supplemented with a range of materials presented via the online portal, BBLearn. The modules in final year will be dependent on this medium for delivery. This will enhance the placement experience which will run the whole length of semester one and two.


It is well recognised that placements are important for experiential learning, and placements will be used to ensure that the student gains first-hand structured experience of research and the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industries.


Assignments are an essential part of teaching and learning as they encourage students to be independent learners. Assignments take a variety of forms and become increasingly demanding as you progress through the programme. They are used to encourage you to read the literature underpinning lectures, integrate and apply knowledge and improve written skills. Assignments include MCQs, structured essays, literature reviews, case studies, word-limited reports, presentations and reports on practical work. Assessments are designed to be progressive, moving from mainly MCQs and short answer type questions in year 1, at Level 4, to more evaluative problem solving, critical reviews in Levels 7. At the end of the programme you will have demonstrated your ability to write a correctly formatted scientific paper, as evidenced by the Research Project reports.

Private study

Students are expected to work confidently and competently in private study in all modules to produce pieces of work that are assessed. You will be introduced to study skills in your first semester, and many practical classes will include instruction in acquiring and integrating information from a variety of resources in order to prepare structured reports and presentations.

Group working

Working in groups, whether in practical classes or on assignments, is an important element of learning in the School. It is used to help you acquire, integrate and apply knowledge from a variety of sources, solve problems, engage with case studies, and prepare for and present seminar work.

Research projects

These are undertaken by all third year undergraduate students. Research projects provide an opportunity for you to work under the supervision of research active staff, carrying out an individual project that may be part of a larger commissioned research project.


Personal development planning is centred on student learning and development. All students will be trained on the use of a computer-based CPD portfolio builder.


Assessment is clearly linked to the learning outcomes of each of the modules and may be formative or summative for coursework and examinations. Each module has a variety of assessments associated with it designed to test knowledge and understanding, integrate and apply information, and encourage the development of skills. Assessments may include MCQ’s, practical reports, literature-based reviews, presentations, poster sessions and project reports. Online assessments may be used in some modules. Examinations are usually generally two or three hour papers of unseen short or longer questions. The proportion of module marks derived from coursework or examinations develops over the four years of the course, from a higher weighting for examinations in earlier years to a higher weighting for coursework in later years. This is to reflect the development of skills in reflective, critical examination of topics.

Exemptions and transferability

These are made on a case by case basis in agreement with the Course Director. Applicants who do not meet the published academic requirements and who are seeking entry through the Accreditation of Prior Learning must have the ability to demonstrate a core set of competencies relevant to the course.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Biopharmaceutical Industry
  • Pharmaceutical Industry

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Analytical Scientist
  • Biopharmaceutical Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Research and Development Scientist

Career options

The primary difference between the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries is the methods by which the new drug entities are produced. The traditional pharmaceutical method is through a series of chemical synthesis and purification steps, whereas the more recent biopharmaceutical method manufactures the new drug candidates from living organisms such as bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. The line between these two pathways is becoming increasingly blurred with many of the leading biopharmaceutical companies being the leading pharmaceutical companies. However, there is no denying that globally both industries are growing fast. A degree in Pharmaceutical Biosciences will provide you with the necessary training to pursue a career in either of these two industries. The variety of subjects studied throughout this course means that in addition to an industrial career, graduates will have acquired unique knowledge and skills that will equip them for careers in teaching, research and development, marketing, the scientific civil service, medical research, veterinary medicine, forensic medicine, armed forces as well as the potential to apply for further research by completion of a PhD.

Work placement / study abroad

An innovative feature of this integrated Masters programme is the work based learning provision and distance learning features in the final year. There is a significant placement module which will run through both semesters of your final year. The remaining final year modules are all delivered via distance learning to allow you to dedicate your time to this work based learning module. As a student on this course, you will have the opportunity to compete for both industrial based placements as well as research based projects with the learning outcomes ensuring that you are well equipped for a career in the global bio/pharmaceutical industry.

Academic profile

The current educational and economic climate requires that we employ efficient, effective teaching practice that enhances the student experience. The Subject Team uses technology where appropriate, to enhance teaching and learning and challenge and empower students to take ownership of their own learning. Staff are encouraged and supported to use the resources within the VLE (BBLearn) to promote independent student-centred learning, including rubrics, self-assessment tools, and audio feedback tools.

Three members of the course team are Fellows of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice (CHERP) at Ulster while two colleagues have been recognised through Ulster University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship Awards.

Furthermore, sharing modules with cognate courses from the School of Biomedical Sciences provides the opportunity for students to interact with their peers from other disciplines and professions and promotes multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary curriculum innovation and programme provision.

Colleagues within the School actively engage with the Higher Education Academy by attending, presenting and facilitating events held under the auspices of HEA. Colleagues have presented at the HEA Annual Conference, HEA STEM Conference, HEA Biosciences Summit and other locally organized HEA Workshops.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:
£9,250.00  Discounts available
£13,680.00  Scholarships available

Additional mandatory costs

In order to ensure your safety and to permit you to fully avail of the many learning opportunities available you may require certain vaccinations. The vaccination programme will cost £35 - £155 depending on the vaccinations required.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.