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MSc | Postgraduate Taught

Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement

Entry year
Entry requirements
2 years (Full Time)
Places available
Please note, the start date of this course may have changed. Check for latest updates.
  • Overview

    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 2020 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.

    Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement highlights

    This programme is taught jointly between the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the School of Pharmacy by leading experts in the field.

    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).

    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

    • Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis, the course director, has a background in analytical and materials chemistry. His research covers: Plastic antibodies: making from polymers what nature makes from proteins: creating more robust and less expensive antibodies. Environmental clean-up: engaging with the food industry and environmental protection agencies to recover valuable resources from waste and recycle them into useful materials – including phosphorus and nitrogen in food production waste, and even heavy metals from waste water. Find out more about Dr Manesiotis' ground-breaking research and the School's recent partnership with Agilent which has resulted in a new purpose-built lab:
    Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the demand for highly-skilled analytical scientists, both in industry and academia.

    This course offers advanced training in chemical analysis, with a focus on applications in the pharmaceutical sector.

    Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis
    Course Director

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure


    Course DetailsYou’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 SemesterFirst 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 SemesterContact 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 ModulesAdvanced 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.
    ModulesThe 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

    Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis
    Senior Lecturer

    School of Chem & Chem Eng

    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.

    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:


    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


    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

  • Entry Requirements

    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.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    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.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • 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.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £6,140
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £6,900
    Other (non-UK) EU £6,140
    International £20,800

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    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.

    Pharmaceutical Analysis with International Industrial Placement costs

    Students are required to buy a laboratory coat in year 1 at a cost of £15. Students have the option to hire a locker, at a cost of £5 per student per year.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 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 £10,609 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.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

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

    Apply now

    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.

    Download a prospectus