MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Development

Be at the forefront of pioneering work in drug development, testing and application

Pharmacology is the science underpinning the action of drugs on biological systems, and its reach and impact are vast, playing a vital role in medicine, nursing, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Pharmacology therefore touches all our lives.
This programme is aimed at aspiring clinical researchers, as well as those wishing to gain a deep understanding of the underlying principles of ‘how drugs work’ and ‘how to develop new drugs’. If you are a highly motivated, inquisitive student, looking to push the boundaries of contemporary knowledge in pharmacology and drug development, whilst at the same time extending yourself in a high achieving academic setting, then this programme is for you.  


About the programme

Our brand-new MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Development will provide you with unique and unrivalled opportunities to immerse yourself in the clinical, basic science and industrial aspects of pharmacology. In this programme you will gain the skills to play an active role in developing the next generation of drugs – either from first principles in the lab, testing in clinical trials, or taking new products to clinic.

You will learn from experts in their field who are at the forefront of pharmacology and the drug design process. This includes our own clinical trials unit as well as invited speakers from internationally relevant drug companies and the Home Office.

As well as learning from their expertise, you will be challenged to think differently and develop skills to become a self-directed learner allowing you to continually grow your pharmacology knowledge throughout your career.

The MSc programme is built around core modules that cover the fundamental principles of pharmacology and the clinical relevance of drugs for the major organ systems, whilst demonstrating the drug development process, from initial drug design to understanding the fundamental importance of clinical trials.

The Hull Health Trials Unit will deliver high quality tuition into the principles and process of clinical trials covering a range of crucial topics, including study rigour, participant recruitment, data analysis and interpretation and appropriate regulatory and governance issues associated with modern clinical trials.

You will finish your year with us by conducting a significant research project in either basic or applied pharmacology to generate novel and cutting edge research findings. We will support you to increase your chances of getting your work published.


Gain industry experience

Through our founding corporate partner RB (leading global consumer health company with global brands such as Nurofen and Gaviscon) you will be able to experience:

  • Regular contact with an industrial mentor
  • Access to RB’s state-of-the-art healthcare Science and Innovation Centre in Hull
  • Taught sessions delivered by corporate employees alongside university colleagues

By working with Hull York Medical School, we are helping to shape the development and delivery of the curriculum to equip tomorrow’s researchers with invaluable industry insights and experience. This knowledge is useful to those entering clinical and academic careers, as well as those aspiring to work in industry.

Bruce Charlesworth VP R&D Health and Hull Site Lead at RB


The programme is a 180 credit Master’s programme, with five core taught modules (20 credits each), and a core research project/dissertation (80 credits).

Foundations of pharmacology

In this module you will have the opportunity to learn, discuss and critically analyse key pharmacological topics, such as the general principles of drug action, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and adverse drug reactions which underpin the drug development process.

Tutor: Dr Monica Arman
Term: Autumn
Credits: 20
Assessment: Abstract submission 40%, essay submission 60%

Practical skills

Experimental pharmacology goes hand in hand with the need to develop practical lab skills. In this module, you will complete four laboratory based experiments to refine your rigorous approaches to working through an experimental protocol, gain knowledge of different scientific phenomena and analysing, interpreting and presenting experimental data.

Tutor: Dr Francisco Rivero
Term: Autumn
Credits: 20
Assessment: BIOCOSHH submission 40%, lab book submission 60%

Bench to bedside I: Design and discovery

In this module, you will examine the work that goes on before a drug is given to humans.  This will include learning the core concepts of drug design, from target selection, through in vitro and appropriate testing and thinking about appropriate formulation. You will also visit testing facilities and receive input from members of the pharmaceutical industry.

Tutor: Dr Laura Sadofsky
Term: Autumn
Credits: 20
Assessment: Portfolio 100%


The use of drugs underpins modern medical practice. In this module you will explore the use of drugs in cardiovascular, cancer, gastrointestinal, renal, liver, rheumatological, and endocrine disease as well as exploring areas of uncertainty around the prescription of medicines. Your training will be delivered by practising clinicians and research scientists teaching in tandem.

Tutor: Dr David Allsup (Haematologist)
Term: Spring
Credits: 20
Assessment: Oral presentation 40%, essay submission 60%

Bench to bedside II: Clinical trials

So you have designed a drug – but what next? This module will give you a detailed overview of clinical trials. You will reflect on the different elements of trial design, understand the phases of clinical trials, all the time developing your skills in evidence synthesis and critical appraisal; crucial for underpinning evidence based practice.

Tutor: Dr Judith Cohen
Term: Spring
Credits: 20
Assessment: Patient information sheet 40%, clinical trial protocol abstract 60%


You now get the opportunity to put your new skills to the test by undertaking a substantive research project within the field of pharmacology, and you will be given invaluable support to maximise the chances of your work being published. Projects can be based either within a laboratory, or can be within the sphere regulation and analysis of the clinical trial process.

Term: Spring - Summer
Credits: 80
Assessment: Project write up 100%


An ideal option for Intercalation

If you are considering taking a year out from your undergraduate Medicine programme to intercalate, and you are interested in developing your pharmacology knowledge and skills, this programme is ideal.

Studying a Master’s degree will earn you more points for the Foundation Programme Application System (FPAS) than a Bachelor’s degree. We believe that that our MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Development will help give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of prescribing, as well as giving you a competitive edge when applying for foundation year training and jobs.


For intercalating medical students, this course will provide invaluable knowledge applicable to all subsequent medical careers and especially for those wishing to pursue a medical speciality. An intercalated masters course such as this could also provide a competitive advantage for medical graduates subsequently applying for specialist training in competitive specialities.

The programme will be of interest to students from a diverse range of backgrounds. After completing the course, there will be a number of career paths you could take, including Safety, Quality, Regulatory and Compliance as Consumer Safety or Quality Managers. You will also have roles within the clinical and medical fields as clinical study managers or medical advisors open to you. In addition, you will have also developed the much sought-after skills necessary to undertake careers in research in either academia or industry. This programme is also invaluable if you are a practising clinician or healthcare professional considering an academic career.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have previous training in human or mammalian biology (e.g. graduates from medical, biomedical, or biological undergraduate courses) and related backgrounds.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate evidence of proficiency in English Language with an IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic test, with minimum score of 6.0 in all four language competences (listening, reading, speaking and writing). The University of Hull offer an English Language Programme for students who do not meet the English language requirements for their degree.

Intercalating medical students must have successfully completed a minimum of three years of an MB BS or comparable medical qualification.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees for part time study are for the current year only, fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.

Home / EU students fees (2020-2021)

  • Full time: £9,010
  • Part time (2 years): £4,505

Overseas students fees (2020-2021)

  • Full time £22,720
  • Part time (2 years): £11,360
Postgraduate Taught Scholarship

We are pleased to offer a competitive scholarship for 2020 entry to applicants for this programme. In order for your application to be considered, you must hold an offer from Hull York Medical School.

The closing date for applications for the Scholarship is 31 May 2020.

More information

Graduate Scholarship

We are pleased to offer a 20% reduction in fees to University of Hull and University of York undergraduate students and alumni applying to this Masters programme.

More information

University of Hull International Studentship Scheme Discount

International students starting a new programme charging a standard undergraduate or taught postgraduate fee will receive a tuition fee discount of up to £2,500 per year from the University of Hull, which is increased by £1,000 for students from low and lower middle income countries as defined by the World Bank.

For information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit the University of Hull website.

Government Postgraduate Masters Loan

If you're starting a Masters you may be entitled to a government-backed loan of up to £10,609. Visit the Government website for details.

Other sources of funding

Our parent universities also have details of further funding opportunities. Please see the University of Hull and the University of York websites for details.