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.

Global Opportunities

  • 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.

Industry Links

  • 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.

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.

Course content

Course Structure

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 you

Dr Maurice Hall
Director of Education
School of Pharmacy

Contact Teaching Times

Large Group Teaching
13 (hours maximum)
Hours quoted are 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.

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Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

E-Learning technologies, lectures, personal tutor, practicals, self-directed study, seminars/tutorials, supervised projects, and work placements.


Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

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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.

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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.

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
BBB including Biology and Chemistry + GCSE Mathematics grade C
BBB including Biology and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade C or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC + GCSE Mathematics grade C
BBB including Chemistry and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Biology grade C or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC + GCSE Mathematics grade C

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.

Selection Criteria

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

How we choose our students

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, which is considered by the Selector for the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions and Access Service. 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 admission to the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree performance at GCSE and AS-level is taken into account when deciding whether or not to make conditional offers. Where candidates do not cash-in AS-level examinations results at the end of year 13 (Year 12 England and Wales), it is helpful if the equivalent grades are given in the academic reference, since this will speed up the decision-making process.

For entry last year offers were initially made to those who achieved 6 Bs at GCSE. This is the initial threshold which may be relaxed once we have received all of our applications. The final threshold is not usually determined until late in the application cycle (February-March), so there may be a delay in processing candidates who have less than 6 Bs at GCSE. The final threshold varies from year to year depending on competition for places.

Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. 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.

Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview.

Repeat A-level Applicants
The offer for repeat candidates may be one A-level grade higher than the normal asking grades. Grades from the previous year can be held. Please note that only two attempts at admission are allowed.

Visiting the School of Pharmacy
In addition to the general University Open Days held in September students made an offer will be invited to a UCAS Visit Day, which are usually held in February-April. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree 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.


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.


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.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)


Career Prospects

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.

Employment Links
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.

Alumni Success
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(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

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

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee rates for undergraduate students who first enrol at the University in the academic year 2018-19 have not been agreed. Tuition fees for 2019-20 will be based on 2018-19 levels, normally increased by inflation and these are set out below.

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,160
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
Other (non-UK) EU £4,160
International £19,500

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

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.

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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.

International Scholarships

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/apply.

When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2019 from 1 September 2018.

Advisory closing date: 15 January 2019 (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 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/

Apply via UCAS
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.

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 2019.
  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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