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.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

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

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5013)

15 Credit Points

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.

Introduction to Commercialisation and Bio - Business (BT5015)

15 Credit Points

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.

Optional Courses

Plus one of the following electives:

Molecular Genetics (MB5025)

15 Credit Points

The course provides a detailed exploration of the structure and function of genes at the molecular and biochemical level. It covers the analysis of genome activity from the 3D structure of chromosomes through to RNA and DNA-protein interactions. The course will provide you with a thorough understanding of the approaches and molecular biology techniques used in modern molecular genetics research and its applications in gene editing and gene therapies.

Molecular Pharmacology (MT5024)

15 Credit Points

The course focuses on the molecular mechanisms of drug action and how cutting edge research can advance current therapeutic approaches to disease. The utility of molecular pharmacology will be highlighted in the context of current and future drug discovery for cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic diseases and cancer.

Applied Statistics (PU5017)

15 Credit Points

This course in Applied Statistics intends to focus on the application of statistical techniques in postgraduate research for health professionals, with a particular emphasis on the correct interpretation of statistical analyses. The course will NOT concentrate on the statistical theory underlying the subject. An important component of the course is the use of a statistical package, IBM SPSS Statistics 27, which can be used to implement all the methods taught on this course.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

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

15 Credit Points

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)

15 Credit Points

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)

15 Credit Points

This course reviews a range of essential methodologies that are currently used in medical research from molecular technologies to human studies. Experts in the various techniques will describe the fundamentals of the methodology and show how they can be applied.

Biologic Drug Discovery (BT5509)

15 Credit Points

Biologic therapies represent one of the most important and novel areas of drug discovery in the 21st century. The aim of this course is to provide an insight into the success of protein, peptide or antibody based biologic therapies and to examine how this exciting new area will develop over the next decade.

Stage 3

Optional Courses

Masters Research Project (Laboratory) (MB5904)

60 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within their field of study under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of their field of study. Alongside supervisors, students will identify a suitable topic area, describe an appropriate study design and implement an empirical study to be completed within a laboratory setting. Students will be involved alongside the supervisors in the process of defining the research question, and developing the research plan and, where appropriate, obtaining regulatory approvals. This course is for laboratory-based projects (if you are intending to undertake a project in non-laboratory setting you should register on PU5913)

Masters Research Project (PU5922)

60 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within their field of study under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of their field of study. Alongside supervisors, students will identify a suitable topic area, describe an appropriate study design and implement an empirical study to be completed within a laboratory setting. Students will be involved alongside the supervisors in the process of defining the research question, and developing the research plan and, where appropriate, obtaining regulatory approvals. This course is for non-laboratory based projects (if you are intending to undertake a project in a scientific laboratory setting you should register on MB5913)

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.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £25,100
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The following options are available to support your studies. Please click the links for full details and eligibility criteria.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

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

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

Assessment Methods

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 leading 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.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

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.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

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

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.

The students' view

Students from our suite of Clinical Pharmacology Masters programmes describe their experiences here at Aberdeen and where their Masters degree will take them.

Watch video

What our Alumni Say

Ahmed Abdulkareem Abdulhessein

Ahmed Abdulkareem Abdulhessein

Ahmed Abdulkareem Abdulhessein

Job Details
Product Manager
Graduated 2012

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.

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 Expert
Professor Andy Porter
Programme Coordinator
Professor Steve Tucker

Information About Staff Changes

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.

Facilities

Image for The Institute of Medical Sciences
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.

Image for Foresterhill Health Campus
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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX