Course overview

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 is 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 the development of highly complex and sensitive drug molecules.

Why Pharmaceutical Sciences at Aston University?

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Internationally recognised Pharmacy school
Aston University's Pharmacy School is the only in the UK to hold a prestigious Regius Chair in Pharmacy awarded by HM the Queen
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Research active staff
Study with research-active academics from a wide range of pharmaceutical fields and backgrounds
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Specialist equipment
Access to a wide range of state-of-the-art specialist facilities

Course description

Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc

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. 

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you, fantastic facilities that will bring your course to life through hands-on, practical experience; years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs.

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What you will provide
As an postgraduate student, you will be required to balance academic work and research projects. You will be expected to engage with teaching materials, online lectures, and in-person sessions. It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understand that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, you must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
In addition to a comprehensive education in Pharmaceutical Sciences, this course emphasizes developing transferable skills such as presentation, teamwork, report writing, critical analysis, negotiation, and data analysis. 

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Career prospects
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. 

How you will learn

Your teaching style is modern and innovative, with a hands-on approach that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This enables you to apply your skills as you progress through your course, marrying your learning with practical examples, all designed to prepare you for the world of work. 

You will engage in a variety of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, practical sessions in the laboratory, tutorials, seminars, group work, and a research project - likely to be a laboratory-based project where you will collect and analyse your own data. 

What you will learn

Specialised training covering drug discovery, drug dosage form and design, and chemotherapy with a focus on selective toxicity. Throughout the program, you will gain a deep understanding of biopharmaceutical, pharmacokinetic, and physicochemical principles crucial for designing and formulating drug dosage systems. 

 The curriculum also includes an exploration of molecular modeling in rational drug design, insights into the biology of specific drug targets, and knowledge of the latest advances in pharmaceutical sciences. Expert guest lectures and laboratory-based practicals will enhance your systematic approach to formulation development, seamlessly integrating theoretical principles with hands-on learning. 

 Additionally, you will gain valuable insights into regulatory procedures and laboratory processes essential for the analysis of pharmaceutical drug delivery products, ensuring a well-rounded education in the field.  

Facilities

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.  

Course objectives

  1. Provide you with an overview of the drug design and drug discovery processes  
  2. Provide you with an understanding of the biopharmaceutical, pharmacokinetic and physicochemical principles important in the design and formulation of drug dosage systems.  
  3. Provide you with an overview of the role of advanced pharmaceutical sciences in ensuring optimal therapeutics outcome   
  4. Provide you with an insight into the regulatory procedures and laboratory processes required for analysis of pharmaceutical drug delivery products   5. 
  5. Develop your research skills and transferable skills relevant to drug discovery, drug design and drug delivery in preparation for a career in the pharmaceutical industry 

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Drug Discovery15
Chemotherapy and Selective Toxicity15
Research Skills15
Principles of Product Analysis and Validation15
Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences30
Drug Dosage Form Design30
Total120

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Research Project60
Total60

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, biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. 

International students

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

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Masters Foundation programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

 

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Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,750

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£20,700

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

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.

Assessment

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. 

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  
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Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Pharmaceutical Sciences MSc at Aston University?

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. 

What research could I do in 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 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 the analysis of pharmaceutical drug delivery products. You’ll also learn a range of important transferable skills in presentation, negotiation and communication, as well as get the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in your final project. 

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 career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

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