Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation, MSc

Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation, MSc


Scotland has a long tradition of excellence in clinical research and significant recent investment in the new science of Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation makes it the ideal place to acquire the skills required for a successful career in 21st century biomedicine.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Location of Study

Precision Medicine (also known as Stratified, Personalised or Individualised Medicine) aims to improve therapies for patients such that drug treatments are individualised for each patient thus improving his/her likelihood of the best response. This approach has huge potential to enhance therapies and the timely development of new treatments for human disease. It is one of the most important concepts in 21st century clinical science and is a crucial component of the global drive to increase the efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness of new medicines.

This taught postgraduate Masters programme harnesses Scotland's strengths in Stratified Medicine, Clinical Trials, Bioinformatics and Pharmacogenomics and draws on the current and future needs of the Life Sciences sector. It has been developed in conjunction with the industrial partners of the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC).

Throughout, this programme will integrate basic and clinical sciences and emphasise the important link between these and the biomedical and healthcare industry. You will benefit from focused training and will graduate better equipped to design, execute and evaluate modern clinical interventions.

This specially funded programme is open for applicants domiciled in Scotland. Prestigious Scottish Funding Council Awards are available to high calibre applicants for this programme. The awards cover all tuition costs and all you need to do is apply in order to be considered.

The MSc Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation is a unique postgraduate degree, offered jointly by the University of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. Students choose to study on campus at either the University of Aberdeen or University of Glasgow. For informal programme enquiries contact

PLEASE NOTE: Applications to this degree programme are made through the University of Glasgow's applications system. To submit an application, apply here.

What You'll Study

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

In semester 1 students take four compulsory courses.

  • Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialisation
  • Applied Statistics with Routine Health Datasets
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.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

In semester two students study two compulsory courses.

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.

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.

Optional Courses

In semester two students must take 30 credits from a choice of optional courses:

  • New Venture Creation
  • Regulation and Governance of New Therapies
  • Spatial Epidemiology
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Applied Health Economics
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.

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

In the final semester students undertake a research project which will account for the remaining 60 course credits. All projects will either have an industrial placement or a project which addresses an industrial need.

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

Please refer to our Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

Fee Information

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 Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

Scottish Funding Council Awards

Scottish Funding Council Awards are available to high calibre applicants for this programme. The SFC has selected this programme in recognition of the high demand for students with these qualifications.

Financial Assistance for Travel and Accommodation

Students will receive financial assistance for travel between the partner Universities and assistance with accommodation costs.

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


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

How You'll Study

You will be offered a choice of base institution, either Aberdeen or Glasgow. In addition, you will participate in modules/courses provided by the Universities of Dundee and Strathclyde.

Tuition comprises core modules/courses (60 credits) and a series of optional modules/courses (60 credits) which enable participating students to personalise their degree better to align it with their future career aspirations. Students will also be offered a choice of project, which will afford them the opportunity to gain employability skills and to apply their new knowledge in a commercial or academic context. Further flexibility will be provided through a choice of host institution for some modules, and distance learning options for others.

Learning Methods

  • Clinical Learning
  • E-learning
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Peer Learning
  • Professional Placements
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

The project accounts for 60 credits. All projects will either have an industrial placement or a project which addresses an industrial need.

The programme will include an opportunity for all students to present the outcomes of their projects to an audience of other students, academics and industry representatives. Assessment will consist of submission of a Dissertation and oral presentation.

Why Study Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation?

  • Precision Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation is highly topical. There is high demand for graduates with this qualification and skills and you will be ideally placed to pursue a career in the commercial or academic life sciences upon graduation.
  • You will be given the unique opportunity to undertake an industry linked placement as your main project. This fantastic opportunity will be offered by partner commercial organisations/companies and universities.
  • The programme will cover aspects of commercial innovation and entrepreneurial skills, together with the principles which underpin the emerging science at the interface between genetics and pharmacology.
  • You will undergo theoretical and practical training in state-of-the-art research processes, enabling an appreciation of how to apply novel stratified approaches, together with clinical pharmacological, regulatory and ethical principles to the optimisation of future clinical research and therapeutic practice.
  • You will gain an understanding of statistical methods used to evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of new treatments, and direct experience of how all of these techniques are applied by academic and industrial researchers in the development of new medicines.
  • The five universities, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Dundee and Edinburgh are internationally recognised as leaders in biomedical research, hosting highly collaborative and productive groups with the requisite expertise in pharmacology, clinical trial methodology, pharmacogenomics, and life sciences.
  • 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.

Entry Requirements

Applications should be accompanied by a personal statement, highlighting career goals and how this programme will help to achieve them.


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

Candidates must normally possess:

  • At least a second class honours degree in Life Science or Pharmacy/Pharmacology from a university in the United Kingdom; or
  • A qualification deemed by the Joint Management Committee to be equivalent to the above; and/or
  • Professional or industrial experience deemed appropriate by the Joint Management

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 - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


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

PTE Academic:

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

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded postgraduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


Upon graduation you will be able to pursue a career in a variety of academic and commercial sectors including clinical research, preclinical lab-based research, business development with expert knowledge in life sciences and Bioinformatics/biostatistics.

"As a small biotech company having excellent staff is paramount to our success. Scotia Biologics is based within the Aberdeen University Medical Institute campus and as such has the added bonus of being able to take on Masters students for their 10 week placement. I have been amazed at the level of competence displayed by the students on the Precision Medicine taught MSc programme. As a result, we offered two of these students full time employment in our company when they completed their MSc"

Dr Gill Broadbent
Chief Operations Officer
Scotia Biologics Ltd.

“Cell ProTx Ltd. was able to provide a significant learning experience in the areas of free radical biology and medicine, redox chemistry and drug development as well as the operations of an SME Life Sciences company. Students provided significant benefit to the company by undertaking literature reviews and initial proof-of-concept studies in areas of research, additional to our core programme, which we could not otherwise have done. All of the candidates were of very high calibre and integrated well with other members of staff becoming part of our team for the duration of their placements. One of the students successfully secured an industrial PhD position following his time with us. I very much hope that the Precision Medicine programme will continue to thrive as it provides a unique foundation for students to progress into the Life Sciences sector.”

Donald McPhail Director,
Cell ProTx Ltd.

Industry Links

Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC)

Scotia Biologics

Cell ProTx



Top 10 for Spin-Out Companies

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

Our Experts

The programme will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of world renowned and vastly experienced experts.

Programme Coordinator
Professor Andy Porter

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


Image for Stratified Medicine Scotland - Innovation Centre
Stratified Medicine Scotland - Innovation Centre

Stratified Medicine Scotland - Innovation Centre

The SMS-IC is a world-class centre for providing commercial delivery of stratified medicine capabilities. SMS-IC is based at the newly opened Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow.

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

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