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BSc|Undergraduate

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Entry year
Academic Year 2025/26
Entry requirements
BBB
Duration
3 years (Full-time)
UCAS code
B212

The UK pharmaceutical industry headquarters two of the largest global companies in pharma and employs 63,000 people, with nearly half involved in research and development (R&D). Ireland’s sector has similar success and accounts for more than 5% of global pharmaceuticals production. Graduates entering this space play an important role in the development of new medicines with global employment opportunities existing at all stages of the product pipeline. Our BSc degree course in Pharmaceutical Sciences aims to create the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists, able to work in all stages of the drug development process as part of a multidisciplinary team. You'll learn about drug discovery, formulation, manufacturing, and regulation with a focus on small molecule medicines. Working with some of the world’s leading researchers, you will be exposed to cutting edge technology that will feed into the pharmaceutical industry of the future.

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.

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology highlights

Global Opportunities

The School of Pharmacy has world-leading academics that are fully engaged with leading industrial partners tackling global health problems. This programme offers graduates an opportunity to be involved across a range of disciplines in drug product and technology platform development.

Industry Links

Academics teaching on our BSc degree programmes are leading subject experts and work with major multinational pharmaceutical companies. These include GSK, Eli Lilly, Teva, Astra Zeneca, Reckitt Benckiser, Almac, Capsugel, and many others.

World Class Facilities

The McClay Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences provides extensive state-of-the-art facilities for research, supported by well-equipped pharmaceutical engineering, analytical, molecular biology, advanced microscopy, tissue culture and microbiology laboratories.

Internationally Renowned Experts

The BSc degrees in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology are 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.

Student Experience

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.

Further Study Opportunities

Graduates can choose from a wide range of Master’s programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics for study at PhD level (PhD); see www.qub.ac.uk/pha for further information.

Course Structure

Introduction

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 in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology has been developed by a team of academic experts in consultation with industry and involves a broad syllabus founded on the principles underlying health and disease. It encompasses an understanding of therapeutic targets and the fundamental mechanisms and applications of biomolecules and novel drug delivery systems. It is the application of this knowledge which enables the discovery, development and manufacture of innovative products that have the potential to improve and extend life.

Level 1

All students take four modules: The first module provides an introduction to pharmaceutical microbiology, including aspects of disinfection and sterilisation, with a second module introducing foundational physical and organic chemistry, as well as spectroscopic methods of pharmaceutical analysis, which are widely used in industry.

The third module addresses the mathematical, statistical and other general skills that are needed by pharmaceutical scientists to work effectively in the industrial sector, and other related areas.

Finally, a physiology module covers the principles of general physiology and histology as well as an introduction to systematic pathophysiology.

Level 2

This year provides further development and understanding of the basic/fundamental sciences related to pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical biotechnology.

Students are introduced to medicinal chemistry, analytical techniques and formulation. Further knowledge and practical expertise is developed across several other key subjects, including biochemistry, immunology and molecular biology. This training prepares students both for their placement* and their Level 3 research project.

Level 3

The final year of the degree covers a range of areas in biotechnology, including therapeutic proteins and molecular and cellular engineering for the development of a range of biotherapeutics, nanomedicines and advanced delivery systems. Students will become familiar with recombinant DNA technology, microarrays, genomics and proteomics. Teaching will also focus on the development of biological approaches to disease treatment and prevention, such as gene therapy and stem cells, highlighting opportunities for precision medicine. In addition, 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.

Students also carry out a research project in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology which provides the students with a valuable opportunity to work within one of our research laboratories.

People teaching you

Director of Education

School of Pharmacy

Course Director, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

School of Pharmacy
https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPharmacy/Connect/AcademicStaff/

Contact Teaching Hours

Personal Study

25 (hours maximum)
Hours quoted are per week.

Large Group Teaching

8 (hours maximum)
Large Group Teaching (e.g. lectures) 6 - 8 hours per week. Please note: this is an average weekly amount across the teaching semester

Medium Group Teaching

8 (hours maximum)
4 hours practicals 2 hours workshops 2 hours tutorials (Hours quoted are on average per week across the programme) (Hours quoted are per week.)

Teaching Times

The course is taught across the week from Monday through to Friday. Wednesday afternoons are teaching free.

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 Biotechnology 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 which will help build knowledge and understanding 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 using interactive support materials and web-based learning activities.

  • Induction

    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 a first-year module, there are a number of sessions on topics such as academic writing, referencing, plagiarism, communication skills, examination preparation and managing time effectively.

  • Lectures

    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.

  • Practicals

    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.

  • Workshops/seminars

    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.

Assessment

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. Most 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.

Feedback

Students 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 may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback 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.

Facilities

Students have access to large teaching laboratories

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Modules

Modules

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

  • Year 2

    Core Modules

  • Year 3

    Core Modules

Entrance requirements

A level requirements

BBB including Biology and Chemistry + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
OR
BBB including Biology and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
OR
BBB including Chemistry and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Biology grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4

A maximum of one BTEC/OCR Single Award or AQA Extended Certificate will be accepted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications with a Distinction* being equated to a grade A at A-level and a Distinction being equated to a grade B at A-level.

Irish leaving certificate requirements

H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology and Chemistry + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Mathematics.

Access Course

80% average with no less than 70% in any module including sufficient relevant Level 3 modules in Biology and Chemistry (normally two Chemistry and two Biology). GCSE Mathematics grade C/4 or equivalent in Access Course.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

32 points overall including 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Chemistry and at least one of Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Biology grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
OR
32 points overall including 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Biology and at least one of Chemistry (preferred), Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4

Standard Level grade 4 would be acceptable in lieu of the GCSE requirement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma

Not considered

Graduate

A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree, provided any subject requirements are also met.

Note

All applicants must have GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

How we choose our students

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.

For applicants offering Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account. For entry last year offers were initially made to those who achieved 6 IJC grades B/ Higher Merit, 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 Leaving Certificate subjects can be satisfied.

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 (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

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

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.

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Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction

Studying for a BSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 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.

The School of Pharmacy has introduced a range of 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.

GRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES

The prospects of employment for a graduate with a BSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 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 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, biotechnology and medical device industries. 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

Employment Links

Alumni Success

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 and biotech companies, employability workshops, writing CVs and job applications, psychometric tests and interview preparation techniques.

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

Level 1 Teva NI Ltd. Prize for Distinction in Properties and Analysis of drug molecules QUB Foundation Award Prize for Distinction in Level 1 Studies

Level 3 cont: Almac Group Prize for Distinction in QA and Pharmaceutical Analysis Almac Group Prize for Pharmaceutical Innovation

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

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,750
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,750
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £25,300
International £25,300

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.

The tuition fees quoted above are for the 2024/25 academic year and are a guide only. In addition, all tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase in each year of the course. Fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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.

Additional course costs

Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £13.

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.

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?

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 www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

Scholarships

Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/international-students/international-scholarships.

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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 2025 from early September 2024.

The advisory closing date for the receipt of applications for entry in 2025 is still to be confirmed by UCAS but is normally in late January (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.

Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2025) subject to the availability of places. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen's for entry to this course until 30 June 2025. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

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: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

Apply via UCAS

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

  1. 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 2025.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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