BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences Queen's University Belfast
The pharmaceutical industry in the UK has a greater impact on the UK economy than any other high-tech industry. Employing 73,000 people, of whom around 27,000 are directly involved in research and development (R&D), the pharmaceutical industry offers graduates a chance to play an important role in the development of new medicines with employment opportunities existing at all stages of the product pipeline. Our BSc degree course in Pharmaceutical Sciences is designed to create the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists, able to work in all stages of the drug development process as part of a multi-disciplinary research team. You’ll learn about drug discovery, formulation, making small molecule medicines as well as some of the cutting edge research that will feed into the pharmaceutical industry in the future.
Pharmaceutical Sciences Degree Highlights
The School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast is consistently ranked as one of the top UK Schools of Pharmacy by the Times Good University Guide and we are recognised for our excellence in teaching and our international reputation in research.
- Graduates are able to work in any aspect of drug product development, and we are offering a global network of industry and research links through our world-leading academics.
- The School of Pharmacy has developed close links with a wide variety of industry partners through research and teaching at a local, national and international level. These include GSK, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Teva, Astra Zeneca, Reckitt Benckiser, Almac, Capsugel, and many others.
- The School provides extensive state-of-the-art facilities supported by well-equipped pharmaceutical engineering, analytical, molecular biology, advanced microscopy, tissue culture and microbiology laboratories.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- The programme is taught by world-leading academics. Research within the School is both fundamental and applied and is supported by a broad range of funders including government, charitable and multi-national industry sources.
- The School of Pharmacy at Queen’s is consistently ranked as one of the top Schools of Pharmacy in the UK, ranked as the number one pharmacy school according to the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, the 2017 Complete University Guide and the Guardian University League Tables 2018. This reflects our commitment to deliver the highest quality learning experience and we are recognised for our excellence in teaching and our international reputation in research.
Studying for a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree at Queen‘s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.
Placements provide an opportunity to supplement formal University education with invaluable industrial experience and present an opportunity to form strong links with potential employers. Moreover, this will help students develop vital skills, improve their employability and ultimately help them become more aware of the global pharmaceutical community and their connection to it. The School of Pharmacy has also introduced a range of other activities to support successful employability post-degree. These include industrial visits to local pharmaceutical industries, employability workshops, writing CVs and job applications, psychometric tests and interview preparation techniques.
The prospects of employment for a graduate with a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree in the UK are high. Graduates can pursue careers in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. Opportunities also exist in areas relating to research and development, manufacturing and supply, commercial or support functions.
Employment after the Course
The School of Pharmacy has introduced a range of activities to support successful employability post-degree. These include visits to local pharmaceutical industries, employability workshops, courses in writing CVs and job applications, psychometric tests and interview preparation techniques.
Placements provide an opportunity to supplement formal University education with invaluable industrial experience and present an opportunity to form strong links with potential employers. Moreover, this will help students develop vital skills and become more aware of the global pharmaceutical community and their connection to it.
The prospects of employment for a graduate with a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree in the UK are high. Graduates can pursue careers in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. Opportunities also exist in areas relating to R&D, manufacturing and supply, commercial or support functions.
Prizes and Awards
A number of local employers and professional bodies sponsor prizes on an annual basis for the best students in their level and module.
Almac Group Prize for Distinction in QA and Pharmaceutical Analysis
- Level 1
- Teva NI Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Physicochemical Principles for Formulation
- QUB Foundation Award Prize for Distinction in Level 1 Studies
- Level 2
- ProAxsis Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Industrial Pharmaceutics
- Teva NI Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Medicinal Substances
- Level 3
- Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (NI) Prize for Distinction in L3 Studies
- Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (NI) Prize for Best Research Project
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's, you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world-leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
The degree has an engaging and dynamic curriculum that deals with the underpinning science of the drug development process, including physical, chemical and biological concepts. Students will encounter innovative and flexible teaching methods and will be provided with a range of work-related learning opportunities (including placement) to equip them with the skills required by employers in the industry.
During your course of study, you will develop breadth and depth in the skills, knowledge and experiences required for success in your future career. The BSc has been developed in consultation with pharmaceutical industry representatives and involves a broad syllabus covering the design, evaluation, production, and testing of medicines.
The first year of the degree teaches students foundational knowledge and skills in chemistry, maths, physiology and microbiology. This helps students to make the transition from secondary education and prepares them for more complex concepts in levels 2 and 3.
All students take five modules: The first module provides an introduction to pharmaceutical microbiology, including aspects of disinfection and sterilisation, with the second module provides an introduction to the principles of physical and analytical chemistry which are of importance to pharmaceutical systems. The third module addresses the mathematical and statistical skills that are needed by pharmaceutical scientists to work effectively in the industrial sector and other related areas.
A chemistry module covers important aspects of organic and bio-organic chemistry, including structure determination, chemical reactivity and the chemical mechanisms involved in making molecules.
Finally, a physiology module covers the principles of general physiology and histology as well as an introduction to systematic pathophysiology.
The second year introduces formulation and drug-delivery, medicinal chemistry and analytical techniques. Building upon the knowledge and skills from the first year, modules cover key concepts and processes which are fundamental to a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Practical elements help to cement this theoretical knowledge, preparing students for placement* and their Level 3 research project.
The final year of the degree deals with the advanced formulation of small molecules and biosimilars, along with the pharmaceutical analysis of complex systems. During their research project, students are brought into contact with cutting-edge pharmaceutical research conducted by our world-leading academics. Importantly, students will develop an understanding of scale-up and manufacturing processes, and other industry-relevant skills such as knowledge of quality control and regulatory affairs.
The course is structured to spiral upwards in complexity, so that concepts introduced early are picked up again in later modules with greater complexity, in various aspects of pharmaceutical sciences. The integration of chemistry, biology and material science makes this course unique and gives our graduates a holistic view of pharmaceutical science; a highly desirable quality in those seeking a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high-quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.
The Pharmaceutical Sciences degree programme provides a range of learning experiences, which enable our students to engage with world-leading research experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in the pharmaceutical and related industries.
During their degree programme, students will make use of advanced pharmaceutical equipment, develop knowledge of innovative drug delivery technologies and have access to a world-class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Students will also have the opportunity to engage in a range of work-related learning opportunities and may opt for a placement period within the industry. This will help students build knowledge, understanding and operation of industrial processes and develop an ability to work independently and in a multidisciplinary team.
- Advisor of Studies
Who can provide additional support for students and can give advice on academic progression.
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. A range of e-learning experiences is also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials and web-based learning activities.
- Induction – Skills weeks
A formalised induction for all undergraduate students in the School of Pharmacy. This allows first year students to familiarise themselves with the campus and the degree programme. During the first two weeks, there are a number of sessions on topics such as academic writing, referencing, plagiarism, communication skills, examination preparation and managing time effectively.
These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups to all year-group peers, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments.
- Personal Development Planning
To encourage students to engage in independent learning.
- Personal tutor
Who acts as the first point of contact for students with academic or personal issues that they may require guidance and/or support with.
You will have opportunities to develop technical skills in our teaching laboratories and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts through the modules you study.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures. This provides students with the opportunity to engage closely with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of their peers.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. The majority of modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are made available to students online.
As you progress through your course you will receive general and specific feedback about your work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers.
As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work.
- As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module coordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work.
- Feedback is provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comments, either as part of scheduled classes or through meetings with members of staff
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Program Tuition Fee
Scholarships and Funding
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fees and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students.
English Language Requirements
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