Instrumental Methods in Pharmaceutical Sciences

2024/25 Part-time Postgraduate Short course and CPD


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Credit points:


Start date:

23 September 2024

For full instructions on how to apply for short courses, please contact the Centre for Flexible and Continuing Education -


This course provides participants with the ability to select and apply appropriate methods and instrumentation for quality control/quality assurance.


This course helps participants to develop an understanding and expertise in the qualitative and quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical products and GLP.

Successful participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the principles of the analytical methods and instrumental techniques used in pharmaceutical analysis, and describe and critically appraise pharmaceutical quality control protocols with reference to the major techniques of classical and instrumental analysis.
  • Appreciate the importance of interpretation of analytical data in relation to pharmaceutical analysis, understand the principles and applications of various assays in The British Pharmacopea (BP).
  • Critically evaluate the major analytical methods and instrumental techniques in the context of quality control and overall quality assurance and interpretation of analytical data in relation to pharmaceutical analysis.
  • Retrieve, assemble, discuss and develop information on quality control in relation to instrumental methods in pharmaceutical sciences, prepare documents and interpret pharmaceutical analytical data.

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About this course


The content of this course aligns with UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 9 by providing participants with an understanding of how analysis pays a key role in drugs design, development and manufacture, thereby contributing to good health and wellbeing as well as providing for management of healthcare resource in a sustainable manner. This also reinforces the impact of analysis on the development of novel pharmaceuticals.

Content includes:

History of Pharmaceutical Analysis.
Revision of functional groups
Chromatography. Mechanisms of chromatographic separation - partition, ion exchange, exclusion, affinity.
Atomic Absorption. Absorption process of atoms in flames. Instrumental set-up for aspiration of solutions. Hollow cathode lamps. Application in drug analysis
UV/IR Part 1 Electronic transitions in UV. Chromophores and conjugation. Beer Lambert Law. Quantitative analysis of drugs.
UV/IR Part 2 Characteristic vibration frequencies in IR. Qualitative analysis of selected drugs by IR. Application to BP.
UV/IR Part 3 Characteristic vibration frequencies in IR. Qualitative analysis of selected drugs by IR. Application to BP.
Qualitative and quantitative analysis of drugs by various chromatographic methods Part 1.
Qualitative and quantitative analysis of drugs by various chromatographic methods Part 2. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of drugs by various chromatographic methods Part 3.
GMP/ GLP 1. MHRA, FDA, Medicines Act, QA, GMP, GLP, QC, Audits.
Fluorescence Part 1. Theory of fluorescence following UV absorption. Fluorescing molecules.
Fluorescence Part 2. Mathematical relationship for quantitative analysis.Fluorescence sensors. Mechanisms (eg.,PET) and designs.
Fluorescence Part 3. Mathematical relationship for quantitative analysis.
NMR Part 1. The NMR signal and instrumentation. Chemical shift. Spin-spin coupling, and nuclear Overhauser effect.
NMR Part 2. Select NMR experiments for structure elucidation. NMR spectra of selected molecules and application to pharmaceutical analysis.
NMR Part 3. Select NMR experiments for structure elucidation. NMR spectra of selected molecules and application to pharmaceutical analysis.
Mass Spectrometry Part 1. Principles of mass spectrometry.
Mass Spectrometry Part 2. Ionisation modes such as electron impact and electrospray. Mass analyzers such as ion trap, triple quadrupole, QTOF.
Mass Spectrometry Part 3. Ionisation modes such as electron impact and electrospray. Mass analyzers such as ion trap, triple quadrupole, QTOF.
Structure Elucidation by spectroscopy 1. Use of spectroscopic information from UV, IR, MS and NMR in structure elucidation.
Structure Elucidation by spectroscopy 2. Use of spectroscopic information from UV, IR, MS and NMR in structure elucidation.
Structure Elucidation by spectroscopy 3 Use of spectroscopic information from UV, IR, MS and NMR in structure elucidation.
Mass Spectrometry 4. Applications of mass spectrometry to drug analysis.
Mass Spectrometry 5. Applications of mass spectrometry to pharmaceutical quality control.

Linked programmes

PgDip/MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences, PgCertPD Professional Development,


100% Coursework

Written Assignment (Coursework) [60%]
Essay (4000 words) on an analytical technique and its application in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science.

Written Assignment (Coursework) [40%]
Spectral interpretation for given spectra (2000 words).


This course is fully online for 12 weeks in Semester 1, starting 23 September 2024, with no on campus attendance requirements.

Entry requirements

A degree with subject specialist knowledge of chemistry, pharmaceutics or drug delivery.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English entrance requirements of the University and will need to provide recent evidence of this (certified within the last two years).

Most of our courses require a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Additional information on English language requirements for admission at Ulster University, is available at -

Start dates

  • 23 September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.


Start dates

  • 23 September 2024

Fees and funding


Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlements Status Fees: £1,166.70

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands Fees: £1,166.70

International Fees: £2,848.20

Fees information

Payment of Fees and Deposits

Information about how to pay for a course including different payment options is available at -

Fees and Funding

Information and advice about course fees and a guide to budgeting for your living costs, as well as sources for financial assistance including hardship funding, scholarships, prizes and awards, is available at - ​

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

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

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


For further information please contact us via -


Telephone: (+44) 028 9536 7199

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  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  1. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
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