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 drug development process. The BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree is designed to create students who are 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.
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.
World Class Facilities
- 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.
“My time studying the BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences was enriching both personally and professionally. The small group teaching and early exposure to the lab setting allowed me to build a strong scientific foundation from day one. The staff could not have been more supportive over the three years, taking time to respond to any questions and also providing advice based on their own experience. I had the opportunity to undertake a summer studentship within the School of Pharmacy between my first and second years – this gave me the chance to apply some of my own knowledge to active research and make a contribution. This would not have been possible without the guidance of the lecturers and other teaching staff. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying the BSc and couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone considering a career in science. It has given me a great basis for further study and I use knowledge I gained from it on a daily basis.” - (Marcus Graham, BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate 2018)
Introduction 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 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.
Level 1 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 a second module providing 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.
Level 2 The second year introduces formulation and drug-delivery, medicinal chemistry and analytical techniques. Building upon the knowledge and skills from 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.
*In the sandwich programme, the third year will be spent on a work placement in the pharmaceutical industry, during which you will participate in a real-world project in the working environment for a minimum of 48 weeks.
Level 3 The final year of the degree deals with 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 a 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.
People teaching youDr Maurice Hall
Director of Education
School of Pharmacy
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 13 (hours maximum)
Hours of lectures per week.
Medium Group Teaching 14 (hours maximum)
10 hours practicals 4 hours workshops (Hours quoted are per week.)
Personal Study 25 (hours maximum)
Hours quoted are per week.
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 are 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 a 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.
- Feedback may be provided to you in a variety of forms including: formal written comments, face to face comments, placement employer comments or references, online or emailed feedback, pre-submission advice, feedback and outcomes from practical classes, and others.
Students have access to large teaching laboratories.
- Advisor of Studies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Pharmacy. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree, these are not the deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer is made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
School Leavers taking A-level Qualifications
For entry last year offers were initially made to those who achieved 6 B/6s at GCSE though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though applicants offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis. A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not acceptable. However, performance in these subjects may be taken into account in tie-break situations after the publication of A-level results in August.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview.
Repeat A-level Applicants
The offer for repeat applicants may be one A-level grade higher than the normal asking grades. Grades from the previous year can be held.
Higher National Certificate/Diploma
Those offering a relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) are considered individually on their own merits for entry to Stage 1. For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits. For those offering a HND, at least at least half of first year units must be at Merit grade. Where offers are made students would be expected to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year. For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
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 have 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 Biotechnology (Sandwich) 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. Further information may be found at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry careers website: careers.abpi.org.uk
Employment after the Course
The School of Pharmacy have 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. Further information may be found at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry careers website: careers.abpi.org.uk
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
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.
Teva NI Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Physicochemical Principles for Formulation
QUB Foundation Award Prize for Distinction in Level 1 Studies
ProAxsis Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Industrial Pharmaceutics
Teva NI Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Medicinal Substances
Assoc of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (NI) Prize for Distinction in L3 Studies
Assoc of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (NI) Prize for Best Research Project
Almac Group Prize for Distinction in QA and Pharmaceutical Analysis
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.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,395 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250 Other (non-UK) EU * £4,395 International £20,800
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
* The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Pharmaceutical Sciences costs
Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10.
Students on placement year are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students may receive payment from their placement provider during their placement year.
Students who take optional short placements are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs of around £20 to £100 per week.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee 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.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2020 from 1 September 2019.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2020 (18:00).
Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2019.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS