Industrial Pharmaceutics MSc

Industrial Pharmaceutics MSc

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • Campus:


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Why study this programme?

The School is equipped with a range of state-of-the-art equipment, which would help provide relevant practical experience for the students. Therefore the course aims to help students develop the necessary knowledge and practical skills to work in various areas within the pharmaceutical industry, including formulation, regulatory, and analytical services. Students will have a holistic view on the drug development process and be able to solve common pharmaceutical problems by critically evaluating and discussing the scientific literature.

The course is offered on a one year full-time basis, taught over three terms. It includes six taught modules in the first two terms in which all lecture material will be provided on our VLE to enable access. 

Entry Requirements

Students must hold one of the following:

  • Recent honours degree (Minimum 2:2 UK-equivalent) in the fields of physical sciences, biosciences or pharmacy (or overseas equivalent).
  • International students should have an English language qualification: IELTS 6.5; TOEFL 600 (paper) and 250 (CBE) with TWE 4.
  • A qualification or experience deemed to be equivalent to the above.

Those applicants seeking entry with appropriate experiences will be required to demonstrate the suitability of this experience both on application and at interview.

Students must also be able to demonstrate a satisfactory command of the English language.

Applicants with industrial experience are also welcome. Please contact the Course Leader if you would like to discuss your suitability for the course.

Admission with Advanced Standing: students may be able to claim exemption from individual modules where they can demonstrate an appropriate level of prior qualification or experience. This will not normally be more than two modules. Applications for accreditation of prior learning, whether experiential or certified, will be considered on an individual basis and applicants should initially make arrangements to discuss their case with the Course Leader at the time of application.

Programme at a Glance

Semester 1

  • Practical Techniques in Industrial/Medicinal Chemistry
  • Research Skills
  • Applied Biopharmaceutics
  • Advanced Drug Delivery

Semester 2

  • Practical Techniques in Industrial/Medicinal Chemistry
  • Research Project
  • Research Skills
  • Applied Biopharmaceutics
  • Pharmaceutical Technology and Formulation Development
  • Pharmaceutical Regulation, Clinical Trials and Pharmacovigilance

Semester 3

  • Research Project

Postgraduate Advice Event

Find out more about Postgraduate courses at our Postgraduate Advice Event on 7 March 2018

Further Information

A research project occupies the whole of the third term in order to allow you to conduct a detailed investigation into a particular aspect of pharmaceutical formulation or another scientific research discipline on offer from the School. You will have the unique opportunity to undertake this project with a pharmaceutical company (UK or overseas) or at UCLan using the School’s dedicated postgraduate research laboratories. 

Module Information

BL4217 - Practical Techniques in Industrial/Medicinal Chemistry

This module focuses on two areas of medicinal chemistry, one covering aspects of pre-formulation of active compounds such as solubility and dissolution determinations, pH solubility profiles, pH stability profiles, partition coefficients, determination of pKa, polymorphism, bioavailability and compatibility studies of actives with specific excipients. The other area will involve students carrying out various synthetic manipulations of compounds of interest, characterizing them and studying their stability in the presence of specific enzymes or reactive reagents, monitored mainly by HPLC. Students will also gain an understanding and appreciation of the formation of salts. These procedures will expose the student to a variety of analytical and synthetic techniques. In addition, students will develop an awareness and understanding of techniques used in automated analysis and they will also have the opportunity to explore and evaluate approaches used in resolving analytical problems and its application to ‘real life’ situations is the main driving force behind this practical based module.

BL4209 - Research Skills

This full module will provide students with the necessary skills in literature-based study, including the use of primary scientific literature. IT and statistical awareness is required to plan scientific experiments and process the data and will also be included within the module. Guidance on finding and using information, including web-based information, scientific communication and citation will be applied to student-centred literature-based exercises. The module also aims to extend student’s knowledge of statistics not only to aid the experimental design of their research project (BL 4207) but also to include a range of suitable statistical tests which may be applied directly for analytical method comparison.

BL4216 - Applied Biopharmaceutics

The module will initially introduce the student to the basic physiology and anatomy of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and relate this to what happens to a drug during its transit through the GI tract. The concept of bioavailability will be presented and factors influencing this important drug property discussed. Potential barriers to drug absorption within the body will be explored together with the influence of the physicochemical properties of drugs. This information will be used to evaluate methods of assessing a drug’s biopharmaceutical properties and methods for the dissolution testing of pharmaceuticals. The module will then examine some other common routes of drug delivery, including transdermal, ocular, nasal and pulmonary. The specific challenges of these routes will be discussed within the biopharmaceutical context of the module. Students will also cover a substantial amount of pharmacokinetics and toxicology, explaining how these areas of understanding are used in formulation development.

PJ4100 - Advanced Drug Delivery

Advanced drug delivery approaches will be explored in this module, focusing on vesicular carriers, dendrimers, solid lipid nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, nanoemulsions and microspheres. The utility of hydrogels and biodegradable polymers in drug delivery and biomaterials science will also be discussed. In addition students will be introduced to the concepts of chronopharmacology and chronotherapeutics, and their relevance to clinical practice. This module aims to improve students’ ability to critically assess literature in the pharmaceutical area and effectively source appropriate literature to solve problems in drug delivery. It will encourage students to generate new ideas, developing an ability to analyse the potential of success of a particular delivery system in the future for solving the current problems.

BL4218 - Pharmaceutical Technology and Formulation Development

This module aims to equip students with the essential knowledge, practical skills and intellectual rigour required to function as key members of a pharmaceutical R&D formulation team. The module focuses on developing the student’s in depth understanding of scientific principles, as well as the commercial ideals underpinning the development of effective dosage forms for the delivery of various therapeutic agents. Theoretical and practical aspects of formulation of liquid, semi-solid, solid dosage forms, aerosols, transdermal patches, parenteral and biotechnology products are comprehensively covered, which complement the various drug delivery systems studied in BL4216 (Applied Biopharmaceutics). In addition, a thorough coverage of the theoretical and practical aspects of important pharmaceutical technology process and unit operations such as mixing, drying, granulation, compaction, coating, microencapsulation and packaging, is undertaken in this module. The module adopts a reflective and highly analytical approach to learning. Students are encouraged to take an independent approach to learning, for instance, by seeking and referring to the scientific literature for information and evaluating its relevance to particular scenarios. Topical or challenging issues are discussed with solutions sought through group discussions and workshops.

BL4219 - Pharmaceutical Regulation, Clinical Trials and Pharmacovigilance

This module aims to provide students with comprehensive knowledge of the scientific and commercial principles of pharmaceutical regulation, clinical trials and pharmacovigilance, within the context of modern pharmaceutical development as well as routine manufacturing. The module focuses on developing students’ in-depth understanding, critical evaluation skills and contextualization of day-to-day scientific, technical and ethical challenges encountered in drug development and industrial pharmacy. Topics to be explored include: overview of drug discovery and development; drug and medical device regulation; clinical trials and discussion on pharmacovigilance. Similar to module BL4218 (Pharmaceutical Technology and Formulation Development), this module adopts a reflective and analytical approach to learning and encourages students to take an independent approach to learning. Evaluation on current scientific literature for information relevant to particular pharmaceutical challenges is anticipated.

BL4207 - Research Project

Projects will be conducted individually allied to a specific theme embedded within those research areas which currently form the focus of research groups within the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. In this way you will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment housed in the new Biomedical Research Laboratories in Darwin Building and the Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories in Maudland Building, in addition to receiving expert guidance and support in their respective areas. The time allocated to the projects is inclusive of the necessary literature preparation, satisfactory completion of required health and safety forms, data handling and writing of the report. As part of the assessment process, you, together with your fellow students, will be responsible for the running of a M.Sc. ‘Research Day’, in which the results obtained during the project period are presented as short conference presentations in structured sessions organised and chaired by the students themselves.

How to Apply

You can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2018/19

Full-time: £6,500 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £3,250 per year for first 2 years (UK/EU)

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

Details of the UK Government postgraduate loan scheme for students commencing a Masters Postgraduate programme for the 2017/18 academic year.

View further information

Industry Links

GSK, Quay Pharma, Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and MHRA etc.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The MSc programme is delivered not only via the conventional means of face-to-face lectures, workshops, tutorials and seminars, but the use of online technologies such as videos and discussion forum would also help integrate students’ learning into their normal daily activities.

Practical classes, problem-based-learning exercises related to industrial challenges and reflective activities throughout the course would also help develop students’ ability to solve pharmaceutical problems practically and provide students an opportunity to apply their knowledge into practice, particularly in relation to the need for appropriate formulation design and development, and how these factors affect clinical outcomes in practice.

A variety of assessment methods will be used for this MSc course, including essays, oral presentations, posters, written examinations and laboratory reports.


Students on the course have opportunities to visit our industrial collaborators who specialise in liquid and solid dosage forms, which aim to provide an insight to students about the pharmaceutical industry and the various roles available in industry. Guest lectures and workshops provided at UCLan from the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies also supplement the various modules studied in the course.

Graduate careers include: formulation scientist, PhD research student, and quality control technician.

Graduates may apply for further PhD study at UCLan or other institutions following completion of the MSc Programme. Alternatively, graduates aim to find jobs in the pharmaceutical industry as a formulation scientist, regulatory affairs officer and other roles in industry.

Eligible students may also be able to conduct their MSc research project in collaboration with an industrial partner in semester 3 as part of their MSc studies. This could be in the UK or overseas, subject to availability and agreement with the industrial organisation.

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The specifically designed Pharmaceutical Sciences laboratories have excellent facilities to carry out teaching and research in pharmaceutical sciences. For example, a single-punch tablet press and powder encapsulation equipment help provide practical experience of small scale solid dosage form manufacturing. Other specialist equipment such as coating and spray drying instrument also help enhance students’ learning experience at the University. The characterisation of various dosage forms in accordance to the BP or USP methods can also be carried out using dissolution, disintegration, friability testers etc.

Various advanced drug delivery devices for pulmonary, oral and transdermal applications are also available for both teaching and research at the School. Students would also be able to use the superb analytical instrument available at the University for their practical classes and research project.

Pharmaceutical Science Laboratories - Our School has recently spent over £500K equipping its state-of-the-art pharmaceutics laboratory facilities.

Biological Sciences Laboratories - Teaching - We have a human patient simulator called IStan which is a breathing, talking, advanced mannequin used to teach undergraduate students and like most of our equipment is of a professional industry standard.