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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement

Entry year
Entry requirements
2 years (Full-time)
3 years (Part-time)
Places available
25 (Full Time)
15 (Part Time)

Acquire the skills, knowledge and hands-on experience for a career as a Pharmaceutical Analyst in Industry or Academia.


You are probably a recent physical or life sciences graduate – chemistry, pharmacy and biology.

But you could equally be in work and want to develop your professional skills. If you are, we offer this course part-time as well, one day per week.


Our industrial partners are always telling us they need people like you. Analysts are among the most sought after professionals with some of the highest employability rates.

Experience in a pharmaceutical company can help you decide if you enjoy working in industry or prefer research/academic career. Placements also improve employability prospects as a lot of placement students get offered a job immediately after they complete their degree.

You will receive practical training on state-of-the-art separation techniques, such as HPLC/MS and GC/MS, in the purpose built Pharmaceutical Analysis lab designed in partnership with Agilent (a world-leading instrument manufacturer).

International placement can be done in ANY country in the world, in an appropriate company (subject to visa requirements). They are open to both local and International students. It will depend on where you choose to do a placement.


Applications for this course received after 30th June 2024 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.

This programme is taught jointly between the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the School of Pharmacy by leading experts in the field. The Programme Director is Professor Peter Nockemann, FRSC.

Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement highlights

Industry Links

Our industrial partners have influenced the course structure and inform us about what they need from the latest analytical graduates.

We invite guest lectures from industry to tell you about the issues they face, out in the field.

Career Development

Employability is a major perk of the course. Ireland, north and south, is a major hub for the Pharmaceutical industry and your international placement experience builds on the benefits of our learning and teaching connections with the Pharmaceutical sector.

World Class Facilities

Everything is on-campus, and the course is very hands-on and interactive.

You will receive practical training on state-of-the-art separation techniques, such as HPLC/MS and GC/MS, in the purpose built Pharmaceutical Analysis lab designed in partnership with Agilent (a world-leading instrument manufacturer)

Student Experience

We were ranked 13th in the UK for the study of Chemistry and joint 1st in the UK for research intensity in Chemistry (Complete Universities Guide UK 2023) and were 5th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2022 category of value-added score for Chemistry.

Global Opportunities

Many pharmaceutical companies are global players responding to rising demand and the need for new drugs. Your placement will give you both insight into and experience of this dynamic industry.
The International Industrial Placement year of this MSc will start after the students have completed their taught modules in May. Students can complete their research project on return to QUB or during their placement (and that completes the course).

Course Structure

If you have a primary degree in chemistry, pharmacy or a related subject, this degree is designed to provide you with advanced knowledge and high-level practical skills in laboratory analysis, and
meets the ongoing need for analysts in the pharmaceutical industry.

Apart from basic and advanced separation, spectroscopic and
characterisation techniques, you’ll learn about aspects of quality assurance and quality control, as well as the preparation of scientific and technical reports.

Your learning will be applied and developed during your placement year.

Course Details

You’ll learn the theory behind state-of-the-art analytical techniques and have an opportunity to practice your skills using the most modern instrumentation.

You’ll be trained on techniques such as:

Liquid and gas chromatography (HPLC, GC)
Mass spectrometry (MS)
Thermal Analysis (DSC, TGA)
X-ray crystallography (PXRD, XRD)
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy

You will also receive training on QA/QC aspects of the Pharmaceutical Industry. For your research project, you’ll spend 2-3 months in a laboratory. You have the option to do this during your placement.

Indicative Number of Modules Per Semester

First Year: Two taught Modules per semester. 
Second Year: One Module spans a year from May.
There is also a research module.

Indicative Proportional Mix of Time in Classes, Tutorials/Seminars/Labs, and Private Study in a Teaching Semester

Contact time:
Lectures / Seminars 56 hrs.
Laboratory / Workshop classes 48 hrs.

Study time:
Coursework 50 hrs
Preparation of written/oral reports 96 hrs.
Private study / revision 150 hrs.

List of Indicative Programme Modules

Advanced Separation Science
Chemical, Biochemical and Spectroscopic Analytical Methods
Solid State Pharmaceutical Analysis Methods
Quality Assurance/Control in the Pharmaceutical Industry
International Placement*
Research Project

*Students enrolled on an international placement module will be offered training and support in preparation for their placement applications as well as during their industrial placement. Placements are competitively secured by the students and are not guaranteed by the University.


The course in Year One comprises four taught modules, two of which will run during the entire academic year (Sept-May) and two semester-long modules; the first running Sept-Jan and the second Feb-May.

Advanced Separation Science: (Sept-Jan) will cover the most important separation techniques relevant to the Pharmaceutical Industry as well as method validation, stability of pharmaceutical compounds and sample preparation methods (20 CATS points).

Chemical, Biochemical and Spectroscopic Analytical Methods: (Sept-May) will cover the majority of modern spectroscopic techniques and their applications in pharmaceutical analysis as well as aspects of GMP and GLP (40 CATS points).

Solid State Pharmaceutical Analysis Methods: (Sept - May) will discuss a series of solid state characterisation techniques and their application in pharmaceutical analysis (40 CATS points).

These three modules include a large number of practical sessions, which involve conduct of experimental work using state-of-the-art analytical techniques and instrumentation, literature searches and preparation of scientific reports.

Quality Assurance/Control in the Pharmaceutical Industry: (Feb-May) will cover QA and QC aspects of the Pharmaceutical Industry (20 CATS points) and is assessed exclusively by class tests and group assignments.

In Year Two International Industrial Placement (120 CATS points) students will experience an industry-based work environment and will have the opportunity to analyse and critically self-reflect on the experience of working in industry, communicating their conclusions in writing.  They will develop an awareness and understanding of the structures, practices and ethos of an industrial workplace as well as developing a range of highly transferable skills which will maximize their future career prospects.

International Industrial Placement students will have the opportunity to complete their research project (60 CATS points) on return to QUB or during their placement, with this being dependent on approval from both the industrial supervisor and the research project module coordinator. In the latter case students can submit their thesis and other necessary components upon return to the University following completion of their placement, with these aspects, and others, being assessed as per the requirements of the research project module. 

People teaching you


School of Chem & Chem Eng
Prof. Małgorzata (Gosia) Swadźba-Kwaśny graduated from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland (2005) with an MSc Eng in Chemical Technology. In her final year, she researched oxidations in ionic liquids under the supervision of Prof Chrobok. She then moved to QUB, where she studied acidic ionic liquids for her PhD degree, supervised by Prof. Ken Seddon at Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL). Following graduation (2009), Gosia worked a post-doctoral researcher at QUILL, and was involved both in fundamental studies of inorganic chemistry in ionic liquids, and in industrial collaborations with Petronas and Evonik. In 2015 Gosia won Queen’s University Research Fellowship in Green Chemistry (a tenure-track position) and established her own research group. She was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in 2019 and to a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in 2021. Since 2018, Gosia has been the Director of the QUILL Research Centre. Gosia’s research interests lie in ionic liquids and other advanced liquid materials. She serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Chemical Engineering.

Professor; Head of School

School of Chem & Chem Eng
Professor Manesiotis is the Head of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.  He specialises in developing novel polymerisable building blocks for Molecular Imprinting for applications in bioanalysis, affinity separations, sensors, catalysis, and polymeric sorbents for environmental clean-up.

Professor; Course Director

School of Chem & Chem Eng
Professor Peter Nockemann, FRSC, is the Programme Director for the MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis at QUB. His research focuses on Inorganic and Materials Chemistry, with a keen interest in eco-friendly methods for processing rare and high-tech metals and improving energy storage solutions vital for renewable energy adoption. He completed his PhD in 2002 in Cologne, Germany, and subsequently worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. Koen Binnemans at K.U. Leuven, Belgium. In 2008, he joined QUB as a Lecturer on an RCUK fellowship and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Inorganic and Materials Chemistry in 2016. In 2019, he was appointed Chair in Inorganic and Materials Chemistry. Beyond academia, Prof. Nockemann co-founded and serves as director for the QUB spin-out company, Green Lizard Technologies Ltd., which aims to provide technological solutions for the sustainable and clean energy sector. He also co-founded Ionic Technologies Ltd. (former Seren Tech), playing a pivotal role in introducing new technologies for recycling rare-earth metals.


School of Chem & Chem Eng
Prof. Steven E. J. Bell received his PhD from Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and worked at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory and the University of York before returning to QUB where he is a Professor of Physical Chemistry. His research centres on nanomaterials and Raman spectroscopy. He has a particular interest in the application of Raman methods to real world problems and is an expert on material and advanced technologies for healthcare. He has undertaken projects on the development of novel nanomaterials for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and catalysis, application of metal nanoparticles and nanoparticle assemblies as sensors, diagnostic applications of photonic sensors, vibrational spectroscopy forensic analysis, detection and identification of drugs of abuse, explosives and paint evidence, trace analysis of DNA/RNA and quantitative Raman spectroscopy for chemical analysis on foodstuff and pharmaceuticals.

Teaching Times

FT hours: term 12-20hrs pw and 35hrs pw summer project. Lectures/practicals will be run over a single day each week to accommodate day-release schemes. Teaching may be available outside normal teaching hours to support employed part-time students.

Learning and Teaching

The course accommodates both full-time and employed part-time students.

CONTACT TEACHING HOURS (per week in term time):

Full-time: 12-20 hours
Part-time: 8-12 hours

  • Excellence

    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 student to achieve their full academic potential. 
    On the MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society. We make use of innovative technologies and a world class library to enhance their development as independent, lifelong learners.

  • Learning opportunities

    Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
    A good balance of practical and taught classes across all aspects of the programme, including hands on training on the state-of-the-art analytical laboratory designed and build in partnership with Agilent Technologies. Significant aspects include: analytical method development, problem solving and safe working practices and transferable skills (such as report writing, oral presentations, IT, teamwork, critical thought) and the application and development of this technical portfolio within an international company.


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • Written examinations and successful completion of research project and Industrial Placement.
  • Continuous assessment


The School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has seen substantial strategic investment in building new state-of-the-art research laboratories for synthetic chemistry and catalysis research, with accommodation for over 50 researchers.
A recent £4 million investment in research and teaching laboratory space has significantly modernised and further extended our facilities, with recently added open-access equipment including an environmental SEM facility, powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction equipment, a high-end confocal Raman microscope, and 400 & 600 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers.
Further open-access Departmental facilities include three additional NMR spectrometers, three mass spectrometers, and additional powder XRD, ICP-OES, BET and Hg porosimetry equipment, a CD spectrometer and a HPLC/GC chromatography, as well as standard spectrometer and computational facilities.
An in-house team provides analytical services to internal and external stakeholders using their dedicated instrument suite. 15 technicians provide support for microanalysis, glass-blowing, mechanical engineering, electronics, computer management and laboratory safety.

What our academics say




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

Entrance requirements


Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Chemistry, Pharmacy or a closely allied subject. Performance in key modules will be taken into consideration.

Applicants with relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2024. However, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

Please note: a deposit will be required to secure a place.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

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.



Career Prospects


This programme is designed to prepare students for employment as analysts in the pharmaceutical and related industries.

There is currently a high demand, both locally and internationally, for graduates with analytical skills in this sector.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Graduate School, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast Full Employability Statement for further information.

Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements at home or overseas, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.

Overall, these initiatives, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.

Employment after the Course


You might be working as a laboratory analyst or senior analyst in a global company - in quality assurance or quality control or in an industrial R&D facility.

You could be managing graduate recruits of your own, signing off the analysis and the quality of drugs and releasing batches into the world.

You could study further towards obtaining a PhD and continue towards an academic career.

The main focus of this degree is pharmaceutical analysis, but your training and placement experience could open up career pathways in other areas, such as the food industry or environmental protection.

Employment Links

Many of our previous students have gone on to work for companies such as:


Graduate Plus/Future Ready 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 Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £25,800
International £25,800

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

Where students are undertaking a professional internship (industrial placement) they are required to pay a placement charge to the University. When the placement charge for the academic year is published, it will be available on page 11 of the Tuition Fee Schedule at,1527396,en.pdf.

Students are required to buy a laboratory coat and laboratory glasses in year 1 at a combined cost of approximately £20. Students can use a locker each year but will have to provide their own padlock.

Students also have the option to join the Royal Society of Chemistry at a cost of approximately £20 per year.

Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications: 

1.1  Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications. 
1.2  You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3  This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.

Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:

All Students

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. 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 programme 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.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

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.

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