Drug Discovery and Development MSc

Drug Discovery and Development, MSc

Introduction

Develop your knowledge and understanding of how drugs and medicines are made and used safely with this MSc programme delivered by Scotland's leading pharmacology researchers and bio-entrepreneurs.

Key Facts

Duration
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time / Part Time
Start Month
September
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

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Overview

The University of Aberdeen has developed an enviable reputation in pharmacology and drug metabolism since the discipline was founded over 50 years ago.

The main areas covered in the MSc are:

  • drug metabolism and toxicology
  • small molecule drug discovery
  • biologic drug discovery

In addition to these topics you will also learn about research methods which are key to understanding modern drug discovery and development. Uniquely, this programme will also teach you about Bio-Business which describes the commercialisation of scientific ideas, demystifies the language of business and explains the business models used by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

This MSc is suitable for graduates in biomedical science, pharmacy and medicine who want to improve their career prospects, widen their knowledge base and are interested in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Bio - Business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5012)

This course will describe the basic language of business and give examples of large versus small businesses in the bioscience area. Intellectual property rights will be explained as will how present your business and how to set up a small biotech company. A comparison will be made of the big Pharma business model and that of small biotech businesses.

Drug Metabolism & Toxicology (MT5003)

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.

Generic Skills (GS50M1)

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.

Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

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 and advance these to a level required to undertake graduate practical classes and projects by developing hands-on experience, competence and confidence in key laboratory skills. An expert from the library will explain the use and facilities of the library and the basics of database searching to enhance research skills and project validation.

Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5013)

The course will focus on small molecule drug discovery. Receptor theory and cell communication and signalling will be revised to facilitate understanding of the remainder of the course. The basis of the drug discovery process will be described and the phases of drug development discussed. A range of targets for drug discovery will be identified and how small molecule drug affect these will be described. Issues around drug regulation will be raised.

Optional Courses

Introduction to Molecular Biology (MB5022)

This is an introductory course in molecular biology basics for all taught postgraduate programmes with a molecular biology content. It aims to ensure that PG taught course students, with diverse educational backgrounds, on programmes with a substantial molecular biology content, have an adequate knowledge of the basic concepts and techniques of molecular biology. There is a practical element with this course.

Molecular Pharmacology (MT5024)

This course will cover a wide range of topics and will include revision of receptor theory and intra- and inter- cellular communication. Cancer will be used a s model disease and the molecular basis of cancer, how it is treated, clinical issues, drug resistance and chemotherapy and prevention

Applied Statistics (PU5017)

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.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Bio - Business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5508)

This advanced course builds on the basics provided in Introduction to Bio-business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5012). It provides more detail on financing and setting up a Bio-business.

The course deals in depth with finance, corporate governance and business models. The major assessment involves the students working together in teams to set up a virtual bio-business and to pitch this business to a group of experts in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. The team will adopt the roles of senior management team and present to the experts their part of the business.

Pharmacokinetics (MT5518)

Pharmacokinetics describe “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

Basic Research Methods (MT5515)

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.

Biologic Drug Discovery (BT5509)

This course is aimed at the understanding of novel areas of drug discovery with the specific aim of understanding the roles immunology and peptide chemistry play in informing the development of antibody and small molecule peptide-based biologic therapies for diverse diseases.

Optional Courses

Pharmacovigilance (MT5501)

The will comprise 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.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Research Project 2 (MT5903)

The research project is the climax of the MSc programme and involves working on an independent research project for 12 weeks prior to completion of a dissertation. It involves utilisation of much of the skills developed throughout the previous 2 semesters, and is selected based on student interests and preferences.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Postgraduate Open Day

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How You'll Study

The teaching of our MSc Drug Development and Discovery 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 when required.

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.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work

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. Some examples of the course work assessed throughout the component courses are: essays, commercially focused presentations, business planning and bio-entrepreneurship, public communication of science and written examinations.

Progression to a research project is dependent on performance in the individual courses.

Why Study Drug Discovery and Development?

  • The University of Aberdeen is regarded as a “centre of excellence” for drug discovery and commercialisation.
  • You will be taught by world-leading researchers and bio-business entrepreneurs on-site, many of whom are involved with successful spin-out companies.
  • You will experience studying within the one of the top 10 medical schools in the UK.
  • We 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.
  • You will learn best practices, increasing the relevancy of your degree. There will also be opportunities to build a network of contacts within the drug discovery and development field which will help with your future employability and career development.
  • We strongly believe in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning, which 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.
  • You will have access to a University and a hospital – all on one campus. The Foresterhill Health Campus at the University is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes a Medical School, large teaching hospital and the Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • Close links with the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) and the British Toxicological Society (BTS) mean the content of the programme is maintained in line with UK standards and there are significant opportunities for membership, interaction and networking across these learned societies.
  • The British Pharmacological Society has recognised the University of Aberdeen as a site of special scientific interest based on its achievements in pharmacology.
  • The University has the rare distinction of having two British Pharmacological Society Wellcome Gold Medal winners on staff.
  • Award winning research on opioids and cannabinoids was carried out by world-renowned Professors Kosterlitz and Pertwee at the University.
  • The University of Aberdeen is associated with a Nobel Prize for research which led to the development of insulin as a treatment for diabetes.

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding Table for HOME, EU, RUK and International Students
Nationality Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition fee for main award £4,500
International Students Tuition fee for main award £17,200
  • You will be classified as one of the fee categories above.
  • All International students entering in year 2016/17 will pay the 2016/17 fee for each year of study.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trip courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.

Funding

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. Further information can be found on our Finance and Funding pages.

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

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Top 10 for Graduate Spin-Out Companies

We are one of the top 10 UK Universities for spin-out company formation.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Applicants will usually require a second class Honours degree (2:2) 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.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Life Sciences and Medicine Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempt from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Degree Certificatea degree certificate showing your qualifications
  • CVan up-to-date CV/Resumé

Facilities

  • The Institute of Medical Sciences

    The Institute of Medical Sciences

    Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

  • Library facilities

    Library facilities

    A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.

  • Foresterhill Health Campus

    Foresterhill Health Campus

    The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Careers

Completing the MSc in Drug Discovery and Development at the University of Aberdeen will give you a wide range of career opportunities within academia and industry.

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 drug discovery and development.

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

  • Research in academia or the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry
  • Further study (PhD, MPhil)
  • Regulation of medicines/drugs worldwide
  • Business development in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry

Industry Links

We have strong links with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry including Servier, GSK, Pfizer and AstraZeneca and with small biotechnology companies such as Novabiotics, Antoxis, Cell ProTx and TC Biopharma. These companies provide expert teaching and training opportunities during the degree.

Our Experts

The programme will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of world renowned and vastly experienced researchers in drug discovery and development with each course having its own specialised co-ordinator(s).

Other Experts
Dr Steve Tucker
Programme Coordinator
Professor Heather Wallace

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

What our Alumni Say

  • Ahmed Abdulkareem Abdulhessein, Product Manager at

    Ahmed Abdulkareem Abdulhessein

    Job Details
    Product Manager
    Graduated
    I studied at the University of Aberdeen because it is a well-known and high ranking university over the world with a high quality of research.

Contact

Address
College of Life Sciences and Medicine Graduate School
University of Aberdeen
Polwarth Building
Foresterhill
Aberdeen

AB25 2ZD
Email
Phone
+44 (0)1224 437096
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