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This programme is designed to provide an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of core areas of pharmaceutical sciences.


Study Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

The aim the of MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences programme is to provide an academically challenging and vocationally relevant education and training in pharmaceutical sciences, both theoretical and practical. Students will acquire an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of the subject, and achieve learning outcomes that enable them to be able to appreciate and apply acquired knowledge, skills and technological understanding primarily for the benefit of the pharmaceutical and related industrial sectors in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

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About this course

In this section


This course is designed to provide an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of core areas of pharmaceutical sciences, including drug discovery, development, formulation and delivery, quality assurance and evaluation of drugs, analysis of medicines and medicinal natural products and pharmaceutical instrumental methods.
The course increases the awareness of ethical issues and scientific integrity in the pharmaceutical sciences. It will provide you with the chance of specialisation in one of the core specialisms of pharmaceutical sciences through elective modules.
As an MSc student you will learn how to formulate hypotheses, design and conduct a research project, analyse research data, and report results of research to peers.


This is a fully online course.

Overseas students working in the pharmaceutical/chemical industry can carry out their MSc research project in their workplace.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

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Year one

Research Methodologies

Year: 1

This module provides the foundation for undertaking of scientific research. The design of experimental investigation is discussed. The module requires the the development of a research hypothesis through critical evaluation of published literature, completion of problem-based assessments and a research proposal. The latter incorporates issues relating to ethical and professional subjects in pharmaceutical sciences. Consideration is paid to the means for exploiting pharmaceutical sciences research commercially.

Quality Assurance and Instrumental Methods in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Year: 1

This module helps students to develop an understanding and expertise in the qualitative and quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical products, and GLP.

Research Project

Year: 1

This module provides practical laboratory experience in pharmaceutical analytical techniques and experience in research philosophy, planning, generation and evaluation of data, and reporting in pharmaceutical sciences.

Drug Discovery, Development and Delivery

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides a thorough understanding of the scientific principles of how medicines are developed, manufactured, and brought to the market place through the process of discovery, development and approval of drugs.

Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Systems

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides an understanding of the principles and procedures of the industrial manufacturing of pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, it provides in-depth knowledge of drug delivery systems currently used and relevant knowledge and skills to apply basic physicochemical principles and preformulation information to the design and production of stable pharmaceutical dosage forms.

Analysis of Medicines and Medicinal Natural Products

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is designed to help students acquire essential skills, advanced knowledge and understanding of the origins, structures, properties, isolation techniques and analyses of various classes of medicines and medicinal natural products.

Advanced Novel Targeting agents in Cancer

Year: 1

This module is optional

To provide the students the opportunity to consider all of the issues relating to the development of a novel drug or formulation from early laboratory testing, through animal studies, human trials and the implementation of a licensed drug as a routine treatment.

Advanced pharmaceutical nanotechnology

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides an introduction to the understanding of the formulation, characterisation, evaluation and application of novel pharmaceutical delivery systems based on nanotechnology.

Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Sterile Product Manufacturing

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module develops a knowledge and understanding pharmaceutical microbiology and the principles of sterilisation, and production of pharmaceutical sterile products.

Quality Management Systems, Regulatory Affairs and The Role & Duties of a Qualified Person

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module develops a knowledge and understanding of the three foundation knowledge elements: ? pharmaceutical law and administration; ? the role and professional duties of the Qualified Person; ? quality management systems This module also enables the student to be able to apply his or her knowledge of QMS principles, and to demonstrate understanding of the additional knowledge requirements to apply for certification as a Qualified Person through Joint Professional Bodies, administering the Qualified Persons scheme in the UK.

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.

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Entry Requirements

A degree in subjects such as Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences or in a course that has significant amounts of chemistry and biology from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard.

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

Teaching and learning assessment

The content will be taught through a combination of lecture material and online discussions/tutorials, all of which will be supported online by eTutors and by on-campus staff. Self-directed and independent learning will also be encouraged and supported throughout the module.


Written assignment [30%]

Essay question (2000 words) on an analytical technique and its application in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science.

Set exercise [20%]

Set exercise based on HPLC Simulator software for compounds of pharmaceutical relevance.

Set exercise [50%]

Given a spectral dataset for a set of substituted quinoline and coumarin compounds the student is tasked with elucidating the molecular structure of an 'unknown' member of the series. Complete spectral interpretation is required for each of the given infrared, EI mass spectra, 1H and 13C NMR spectra (5000 words).

Within this module feedback will take the form of:

  • Introduction of learning objectives in the module and each online lecture presentation by the module coordinator/lecturer
  • Online discussions and debates with online communication tools
  • Tips on how to approach assignments Specific comments on students’ work, progress and performance through online communication
  • Specific written comments on student's work to help indicate progress and develop understanding Guidance and advice on academic progress from assigned Studies Advisor(s) and other staff

100% Coursework 0% Examination

Exemptions and transferability

Other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that:

(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a Masters award

(b) No exemption shall be permitted from the Research Project module

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

This postgraduate programme is tailor-made to meet the demands of employers in the pharmaceutical industry sectors. It is suitable for those who wish to follow careers in pharmaceutical and related industries and also as academics in various universities to enhance and promote education in the pharmaceutical sciences area. As the proposed programme will have significant amounts of research elements, it is assumed that a number of postgraduate students from this programme may choose further postgraduate research studies such as a PhD.


Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

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Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:

Scholarships, awards and prizes

MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences – Barnett Pharmaceutical Sciences Scholarships

Ulster University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, supported by Norbrook Laboratories Limited, has a total annual scholarship fund of £10,000 available to students holding a conditional offer of a place on the above course. The scholarships will be used to cover the full, or part course fee, (up to a maximum of £10,000 per annum). Any remaining funds will be paid directly to scholarship holders in support of living expenses.

The awards are competitive and selection is based on interview.

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.


Course Director: Dr Murtaza Tambuwala

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4016


For application enquiries contact the Faculty Office:

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4159