Find a Degree Postgraduate Taught Programmes Clinical Pharmacology
MSc Clinical Pharmacology

Programme Details

Do you want to promote the safer use of medicines in man?

Our MSc in Clinical Pharmacology aims to develop your research skills, your knowledge of clinical drugs and their use in the real world. You will benefit from hands-on research taught through practical teaching sessions in laboratories and classrooms.

The MSc will enable you access to leading academic and industry experts and provide you with valuable networking opportunities. Coupled with the skills and experience that you will gain from the programme, your employability and career prospects will be improved.


The programme is made up of ten compulsory courses, two optional courses and one research project, split over three stages:

  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Drug Metabolism and Toxicology
  • Therapeutics
  • Applied Statistics
  • General Skills/I-SEE Module
  • Introduction to Molecular Biology (optional)
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Drug Development to Evidence Based Medicine
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Basic Research Methods
  • Basic Laboratory Techniques: Core Practicals
  • Introduction to Bio-Business (optional)
  • Research Project

Aims

The MSc programme aims to provide students with:

  1. An understanding of the principles of pharmacology and methods
  2. An ability to apply knowledge in academic and real world health contexts
  3. Opportunities to learn from world renowned researchers

Common themes throughout the programme include molecular pharmacology and toxicology within the fields of disease, the drug discovery process and drug design and development.

The MSc is aimed at students, medics and scientists, who would like to improve their career prospects, fill skills gaps and further their hands-on research experience.

The degree can be completed full time over a period of 12 months or part time over a maximum of 24 months.

Why Choose to Study at Aberdeen?

Excellent Learning Experience

A range of teaching methods are employed at Aberdeen to ensure your success and to help you achieve the highest grade you can. We have small class sizes and a low tutor to student ratio, meaning you will have the full support of your group tutors.

We also have a huge range of online learning materials so you can re-listen to lectures and access revision materials whenever you need to. We aim to make your learning as interactive as possible to improve your understanding of clinical scenarios.

World Renowned Researchers

If you choose to study Clinical Pharmacology at Aberdeen, you will benefit from having access to clinical teachers and researchers who are Key Opinion Leaders in their field. You will be taught by people who have experience of working for regulatory bodies and Government, which will provide you with useful insights into the pharmacology employment market.

You will also gain insights into real life situations and you will learn pharmacology best practices, increasing the relevancy of your degree. There will also be opportunities to build a network of contacts within the clinical pharmacology field.

Collaborations

The University of Aberdeen strongly believes in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning and this is reflected in the collaborations we organise with other universities, research institutions and governments within the UK, Europe, America and more than 12 developing countries.

Our collaborative approach means you will benefit from an increased understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other health professionals and will develop insights that aid successful collaboration in the workplace.

Learning Environment

Studying Clinical Pharmacology at Aberdeen means you will have access to a hospital and a university – all on the one campus. You will be taught by qualified clinicians and world-leading researchers on-site and you will experience studying within one of the top 10 medical schools in the UK. At Aberdeen, you will be part of a community that will help improve your knowledge and awareness of the clinical pharmacology field.

Contact Information

Syllabus

[Jump to: Programme Team | Assessment | Teaching]

The taught part of our MSc Clinical Pharmacology programme extends over two terms. It consists of approximately 150 hours of lectures and 10 days of practical classes in addition to tutorials, seminars and teaching.

Over the last four months of the programme, students will undertake a project involving original research. The research will be linked to the areas of interest of the college and staff but special interests can be accommodated. The project is presented in the form of a thesis.

Compulsory Courses

Basic Laboratory Techniques: core practical (15 Credits)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. The course will revise basic laboratory skills and techniques, providing hands-on experience in key areas of practical, experimental science. An expert for the library will also explain the use and facilities of the library and the basics of database searching.

Generic Skills/I-SEE (0 credits)

This course will improve your employability skills. I-SEE (Individualised self-assessment to enhance employability) is a bespoke online resource developed to help identify your strengths and areas needing improvement. The self-assessment process allows you to identify development areas for employability skills like communication, IT and numeracy skills and personal attributes like creativity, organisation and timekeeping, flexibility, team working. This leads to automated, tailored feedback and signposting to self-study to assist in improving your CV. Reflection and an e-portfolio will assist in articulation of these enhanced skills/attributes during mock interviews. Some sessions are compulsory, but otherwise it involves self-directed learning. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Molecular Pharmacology (15 Credits)

This course will cover a wide range of topics related to basic and molecular pharmacology. It will include revision of receptor theory and intra- and inter- cellular communication. Cancer will be used as model disease and the molecular basis of cancer, how it is treated, clinical issues, drug resistance and chemotherapy and prevention. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Drug Metabolism & Toxicology (15 Credits)

This course provides advanced level drug metabolism and includes the importance of drug transporters in the drug discovery process, dealing with molecular toxicology and pharmacology at an advanced level. Mechanisms of drug and oxidative stress and immunopharmacology are described. External experts are invited to provide their unique expertise on a range of topics which can include toxicopathology, immunotoxicology, risk assessment and an industrial perspective on the drug discovery process. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Therapeutics (15 Credits)

This course will describe and review the use of medicinal compounds in man together with methods to assess and describe efficacy and toxicity. A number of exemplar disease areas and at risk populations will be selected and the drugs used to treat these conditions and populations discussed and explained. The importance of understand drug mechanisms of action and associated risk as well as benefit will be emphasised in a clinical setting. The course will consider both drugs in current use and those in development. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Applied Statistics (15 Credits)

This course intends to develop the student's awareness of the fact that statistical techniques are integral to scientific research. Researchers must be able to specify a precise research question in statistical terms and then select an appropriate study design in order to carry out an effective research project. They must also be able to assess the adequacy of the research presented in scientific or medical literature. The same skills are also required for many MSc dissertation projects. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Pharmacovigilance (5 credits)

This course will comprise of lectures, tutorials and seminars. The curriculum will provide an in-depth look at pharmacovigilance using examples from both first and third world countries and will include detection of adverse drug reactions; causality assessment; prevention of adverse drug reactions including correct prescribing, prevention of drug errors and promotion of rational drug use; and communication of risk-benefit information to the general public. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Drug Development to Evidence Based Medicine (20 Credits)

This course will provide you with an introduction to evidence-based medicine. It will also include a description of the elements of pharmaceutical research as well as of the drug development process. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Pharmacokinetics (15 Credits)

Pharmacokinetics describes “what the body does to a drug” and thus is a central feature of applied pharmacology. The course will develop an understanding of the role that pharmacokinetics play in all aspects of drug administration, distribution, metabolism and excretion and how these effects can be modelled and predicted graphically and mathematically. Such modelling is a fundament of therapeutic regimen design, drug development, clinical pharmacology and drug safety and will be considered within all of these contexts providing a broad and relevant appreciation of the importance of pharmacokinetics to the pharmacologist. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Basic Research Methods (15 Credits)

This course reviews a range of methodologies that are currently used in basic research. Experts in the various techniques describe the methodology and showcase the equipment. Read full details in our course catalogue.


Elective Courses


Research Project (60 credits)

This is a 16 week project for MSc students. A list of proposed projects, based on the work currently being undertaken by lecturing staff, is distributed to the students early in the second half session. Students undertaking a laboratory based research project must attend the BT5902 short course Basic Lab Skills.

^ top

Programme Team

The programme will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of world renowned and vastly experienced researchers in clinical pharmacology with each course having its own specialised co-ordinator(s) as follows:

^ top

Assessment

Each course has its own continuous assessment criteria based on the progress of practical and course work as well as a written degree examination. Progression to a research project is dependent on performance in the individual courses. The MSc project is assessed with the submission of a thesis and via examination.

^ top

Teaching

The teaching of our MSc Clinical Pharmacology programme is lecture based with self-directed learning, practical classes (where appropriate) and tutorials to support the lecture material. External experts are also regularly invited to provide specialist expertise. Many lectures are recorded via Camtasia and can be viewed again whenever they are needed.

The MSc makes the most of hands-on learning to enable repeated exposure to evidence-based practice using real life examples. Some of the teaching methods employed in the programme include:

  • Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning
  • Exposure to leading academic and industry experts
  • Research-led teaching taught by Key Opinion Leaders
  • Insight into real-life situations and examples
  • Real life learning in a clinical environment

On-going support is provided by the University’'s dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers, who will be tutoring you. Peer support will develop throughout the course(s) as engagement with students from other countries and disciplines is actively encouraged.

Much of the teaching on this course is participatory and students are expected to consolidate all taught content by completing related tasks and activities and engaging in independent study in their own time.

Careers

Completing the MSc programme in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Aberdeen will equip you with a range of essential research skills that you can apply to workplace environments. You will be able to conduct research into new drugs and promote the safer use of medicines.

The University of Aberdeen strongly believes in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary working, meaning our programme will help you build an essential network of contacts that will prove useful in establishing your career in clinical pharmacology.

On graduating from the programme, there are several career options you can choose from, some of which include:

  • Further study (PhD)
  • Academic jobs in university settings, e.g. lecturer, researcher
  • Careers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in roles such as Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Trials Co-ordinator, Advisor in Regulatory and Safety Pharmacology, Researcher and Drug Developer

Many clinical pharmacology graduates go on to pursue careers in the NHS. At national level, pharmacology consultants often work with governing bodies such as the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Joint Formulary Committee, who are responsible for publishing the British National Formulary.

An MSc in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen will prove a rewarding platform towards a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Completion of the programme alone will show prospective employers that you have the hands-on research experience required to bring value to their organisation.

Requirements

Applicants will usually require the equivalent to a second (2:2) class Honours degree or equivalent in a biomedical science subject such as biochemistry, biomedical science, pharmacology or a degree in medicine or pharmacy.


Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Document requirements

For this application we need at least:

  • An official full Bachelor degree transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) so far (original & official English translation)
  • Degree certificate (if you have already graduated)
  • Academic reference letter OR a reference letter from your employer (if you have 2+ years of work experience in an industry relevant to the programme)
  • Detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Ideally - current CV/resume

It is important when submitting an application that you ensure you have completed all the necessary sections and enclosed all the relevant documentation to ensure that your application can be processed as quickly as possible. Any missing document may result in delay.

English Language requirements

Even if you have been educated in the medium of English you must meet our English Language requirements (certain countries may be exempted from this requirement). Full details are available on our English language requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the 'Postgraduate Standard' level of English proficiency.

University of Aberdeen offers also pre-sessional English courses that when successfully completed will remove language conditions for studying at the University of Aberdeen. Further details are available on the Language Centre website.

Fees

Tuition Fee Rates 2015/16 - MSc Clinical Pharmacology

  • UK/EU students: £4,000
  • International students: £16,200

Further information about tuition fees and cost of living for both UK/EU and International students can be found on the Finance and Funding web pages.

Funding

Prospective students should visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen.  More Information can be found here.

(Please note this cannot be claimed in conjunction with any other scholarship award)

Contact

Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College
ABERDEEN AB24 3TU

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576
Email: sras@abdn.ac.uk