Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc

Develop your skills and knowledge in the design, development and production of medicines with our Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc at Aston University, Birmingham and prepare yourself for an exciting industrial or academic career in pharmaceutics or industrial pharmacy.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham


Course type


Course format

No placements


1 year

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Professor Afzal Mohammed, Course Director and Professor in Pharmacy

“This is a comprehensive course in pharmaceutical development, designed and delivered by experts in the field to prepare you for careers in pharmaceutical industry and further research.”

Professor Afzal Mohammed

Course Director and Professor in Pharmacy

Course outline and modules

Pharmaceutical science focuses on formulation strategies for current and future drug therapies and medicinal products.

Encompassing a range of scientific disciplines such as chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and physiology, this specialist area of study is crucial for the safe and effective design, development, production and regulation of medicines.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc at Aston University has been designed to prepare you for an academic or industrial career in the pharmaceutics or pharmacology arena; an area in considerable demand in response to the continued increase in development of highly complex and sensitive drug molecules.

By choosing to study this specialist pharmacy masters at Aston University, you’ll be joining a well-established and highly respected School of Pharmacy, that can trace its roots back to the establishment of the Birmingham Pharmaceutical Institution in 1847. We’re also the only Pharmacy School in the UK to hold a prestigious Regius Chair in Pharmacy awarded by HM the Queen, meaning you can be sure that you’re learning experience will of the highest of quality. 

Pharmacy research at Aston

Aston has expansive and highly regarded research community; we are home to several pharmacy research groups including:

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacy Research Group
  • Pharmacology and Translational Neuroscience Research

You’ll be taught by passionate research active academics whose specialist areas of research include the formulation development and optimisation of orally disintegrating tablets, oral liquid nano medicines and particle engineering.

Our research is fed into the teaching on our courses, ensuring that you not only have access to the very latest trends and thinking in this specialist area, but that you also develop a critical appreciation of recent scientific developments and their clinical and industrial application.

International students and post-study work visa

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

As a University, we welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Course outline 

During your time on the Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc at Aston, you’ll receive specialist training in a broad range of topics such as drug discovery, drug dosage form and design, and chemotherapy and selective toxicity. Ensuring you possess the necessary skills of a pharmaceutical scientist before embarking on your own final research project.

You’ll encounter a broad range of experiences designed to enhance your skills and knowledge. It’s our aim to provide you with:

  • An understanding of the biopharmaceutical, pharmacokinetic and physicochemical principles important in the design and formulation of drug dosage systems.
  • An overview of the role of molecular modelling in rational drug design.
  • An understanding of the biology of specific targets for drug-based intervention.
  • Knowledge of the latest advances in pharmacology. In particular the new chemistry underlying brain function, the neurochemical and neuroanatomical basis of the common neuropathologies, and pharmacotherapeutic approaches to central nervous system diseases.
  • An insight into the regulatory procedures and laboratory processes required for analysis of pharmaceutical drug delivery products.

In addition to this subject specific knowledge, you will also develop transferable skills in presenting, team working, report writing, critical analysis, negotiating and data analysis.

Core modules:

  • Drug Dosage Form and Design
  • Drug Discovery
  • Chemotherapy and Selective Toxicity
  • General Pharmacology
  • Principles of Product Analysis and Validation
  • Research Skills
  • Research Methods / Professional Development Skills
  • Research Project

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications, experience, references and motivation.

All applicants require:

  • Lower second class honours degree (2:2) or higher from a recognised university in pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, physiology, physical science, biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry, chemical engineering, genetics, materials science, medicine or related field. More information on international degree requirements can be found on our Aston in your country webpage.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English speaking country. Find out more about our English language requirements.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

More advice on applying to Aston can be found here.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching 

Teaching on the course is delivered via a variety of methods including lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Some modules may also use computer modelling and simulation sessions.

This course is worth 180 credits, with each credit equivalent to 10 learning hours. The learning hours may include but are not limited to lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practicals, online activity, reading, other independent study, reflecting on assignment feedback, field trips and work placements.


You will be assessed by a mixture of coursework, examinations, practical work and oral and written presentations. The research project module will be assessed on the basis of a submitted project report and an oral defence of a poster.

Key staff

Course Director: Professor Afzal-Ur-Rahman Mohammed

Meet the Pharmacy team.


As a postgraduate student with Aston Pharmacy School, you will have access to a range of facilities and resources including:

  • Access to industry-standard clinical trials simulations software (e.g. Simcyp, Winnonlin).
  • Modern lecture theatres and classrooms, equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and technology
  • Newly refurbished laboratories that are equipped with a range of pharmaceutical and analytical instruments for “wet” practicals 
  • An established Virtual Learning Environment for teaching and course-organisation materials and communications
  • Hard-copy and electronic access to publications, journals and large scientific databases.


Fees and scholarships

UK/EU students (2020): £9,350

International students (2020): £18,900


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

On successful completion of this programme, you’ll be well prepared for an academic or industrial career in the pharmaceutics or biotechnology arena. This is an area in considerable demand due to the continued increase in development of highly complex and sensitive drug molecules.

You’ll be provided with not only the specialist training and practical experience the design and development of effective drug delivery systems, but also a wide range of directly applicable transferable skills for career and professional development. This means, you will be well suited for various careers in the pharmaceutical industry such as analytical sciences, formulation development, project management, regulatory affairs and scientific writing.

In addition, for those that wish to peruse a career in academic research or academia, this course is a well-placed stepping stone for PhD study at Aston or another leading institution. 

Graduates from our suite of Pharmacy masters programmes have gone onto secure roles with a variety of organisations across the public and private sector.

Recent graduate roles include:

  • Associate Pharmaceutical Development Scientist
  • Analytical scientist
  • Laboratory Analyst
  • Lecturer in Science
  • PhD student
  • Product Performance Chemist
  • Quality Assurance Production Technician
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Research Associate
  • Scientific Director


Frequently asked questions

Why study Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc at Aston?

Pharmaceutical science focuses on formulation strategies for current and future drug therapies and medicinal products. It encompasses a range of scientific disciplines including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and physiology.

This specialist area of study is crucial for the safe and effective design, development, production and regulation of medicines.

By choosing to study Pharmaceutical Sciences at Aston, you’ll be gaining qualification from an institution rated in the Top 10 in the UK for research quality and student satisfaction (Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Complete University Guide 2020). This means you’ll have everything you need to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding and exciting academic or industrial career in the pharmaceutics or pharmacology arena.

What will I study on this course?

This course covers everything from the role of molecular modelling in rational drug design, to the latest advances in pharmacology and the regulatory procedures and laboratory processes required for analysis of pharmaceutical drug delivery products. You’ll also learn a range of important transferable skills in presentation, negotiation and communication, as well as getting the opportunity to gain hands on research experience in your final project.

What research could I undertake for my final project?

Your research project forms a large and important part of your MSc studies, and at Aston, we offer projects covering wide range of specialist disciplines in pharmaceutical sciences. This could include a range of topics in the areas of: 

  • chemical synthesis and characterisation
  • in silico drug modelling
  • particle engineering 
  • formulation design and development.

Recent examples of projects undertaken by Aston Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc students include:

  • Formulation and permeability evaluation of nanoparticulate modified release biologic (protein) particulates.
  • Assay development, validation and paediatric formulation design of oral liquid formulation.
What facilities will be available to me?

At Aston, you’ll benefit from dedicated specialist learning facilities, industry-standard clinical simulations software, and a virtual learning environment, to help you to learn flexibly.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding careers support and advice.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government have created a new post-study work visa. See here for more information.


Chat with current students

Register your interest

The information you provide will be used by Aston University to contact you about the University, courses you may be interested in and events you may wish to attend, for anything outside of this purpose we will obtain your consent. Your data is subject to Aston University’s privacy policy and cookie policy.  For further information, please visit