Bedfordshire University Logo

Select your course options:


Where Are You Applying From?

How Would You Like To Study?

When Do You Want To Start Your Studies?

Which Campus Would You Like To Study At?

Which Options Would You Like With Your Course?

Why choose the School of Life Sciences

Our Life Sciences Liaison Board draws in professionals from across the industry including Glaxo Smith Kline, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Cellmark Forensics

Our academics are involved in real-world research, leading the way in areas such as COVID-19 testing technology, autoimmune disease, obesity, cancer pathways and global food security

We work with leading employers including Glaxo Smith Kline, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Nelson’s Natural Healthcare and Cellmark

About the course

This two-year Master’s gives you the high-quality pharmacological training knowledge and skills you need to work in the field of drug discovery and development alongside teaching you valuable IT skills in data analytics.

The development of safe and effective new drugs is a challenging and rewarding field. On this course you acquire a broad knowledge of drug discovery and development focusing on the mechanisms of drug action at molecular level; the treatment of human diseases; and the latest cell and molecular technologies used in pharmacology. You also have the opportunity to specialise in one research area through the completion of a laboratory research project.

The Data Analytics units cover a range of topics including programming; databases; security; project management; and computer networking. You also learn how to apply your IT knowledge and skills to complex real-world problems as well as emerging technologies and developments.

Why choose this course?

  • Study the principles of drug design pre-clinical evaluation clinical trials regulatory affairs and the application of new technologies in the drug discovery and development process
  • Explore the latest therapeutic concepts and principles relating to the causes epidemiology diagnosis and treatment of human diseases in current clinical practice
  • Develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of new technologies in cell and molecular biology
  • Work with our expert academic team who are actively involved in research so you are up to the minute when it comes to current and emerging developments in the field
  • Gain a wide range of valuable practical and transferable skills as well as the ability to apply data analytics to problems and developments in the pharmacological field

Course Leader - Dr Prashanth Bajpe

I joined the School of Life Sciences in May 2020 from the Francis Crick Institute, London. I obtained my PhD from Erasmus University Medical Centre from the lab of Peter Verrijzer in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The focus of my PhD was ubiquitination and the reversal of ubiquitination (de-ubiquitination) in the context of gene regulation. I helped discover an interesting protein complex of USP7-GMPS. This work laid the foundation for future works on the role of metabolic enzymes in gene regulation in Verrijzer’s group.

Course Leader - Dr Prashanth Bajpe

I joined the School of Life Sciences in May 2020 from the Francis Crick Institute, London. I obtained my PhD from Erasmus University Medical Centre from the lab of Peter Verrijzer in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The focus of my PhD was ubiquitination and the reversal of ubiquitination (de-ubiquitination) in the context of gene regulation. I helped discover an interesting protein complex of USP7-GMPS. This work laid the foundation for future works on the role of metabolic enzymes in gene regulation in Verrijzer’s group.

What will you study?

Drug Discovery And Development

The unit provides a broad overview of the drug discovery and development process, with hands-on experience of molecular modelling and computer-based drug design to expose you to modern platforms for drug discovery. It covers pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and the regulatory affairs that form an integral part of drug development process. You will be taught specialised topics including: determination of the physicochemical properties of drugs and toxicology in drug development. The unit also benefits from the lectures in regulatory affairs and business marketing and management delivered by pharmaceutical industry scientists.

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Gain an insight into the methodology employed in identification of lead compounds, drug synthesis and development
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of determination of the physiochemical properties of drugs in screening process of new compound entities
  • Understand principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in drug development
  • Recognise the role of toxicology to play in the drug development
  • Gain an insight into the clinical trials and its management
  • Appreciate the preparation of market and post-market surveillance

Clinical Pharmacology And Therapeutics

The unit provides a broad overview of therapeutic concepts and general principles relating to the causes of  disorders of the central nervous system, circulatory system, endocrine and metabolic system, inflammation, infections and cancer in humans. It will cover the aetiology, epidemiology, diagnosis and pharmacological management of these pathological conditions in current clinical practice.

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Introduce the therapeutic concepts and principles related to the study of human diseases in the central nervous and circulatory systems
  • Present an overview of the major diseases that affect the central nervous and circulatory systems
  • Describe current and future treatments of such diseases
  • Introduce the therapeutic concepts and principles related to cancers and common infections in humans: their causes, incidence and pharmacological management; Introduce and evaluate therapeutic concepts in dealing with inflammatory disorders
  • Introduce and evaluate therapeutic concepts in use of drugs for disorders of the endocrine and metabolic systems.

Cell And Molecular Biology

Advances in cell and molecular biology are at the forefront of biomedical engineering and pharmacology. You will study the cellular processes that have driven the recent revolution in these areas.  An emphasis will be given to current techniques in molecular biology and their application to areas of biomedical sciences and applied research.  Aspects of gene editing, protein engineering and nanotechnology will be covered along with the cellular and molecular biology that underpins them. You will also look at different aspects of genomics and pharmacogenomics.

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Gain an advanced understanding of cellular processes applicable to Pharmacology. 
  • Understand the principles of molecular biology used in Pharmacology. 
  • Develop practical skills in molecular biology techniques. Appreciate the impact of genomics.
  • Explore the potentials of advances in molecular biology and related fields such as genomics and proteomics.

Molecular Pharmacology

Molecular Pharmacology is concerned with the pharmacology of receptors particularly with respect to emerging drug targets or ideas concerning putative mechanisms of drug action. This unit covers in-depth areas of molecular pharmacology that are particularly relevant to the discovery and characterisation of receptors and drug action, such as: modern aspects of drug target development (biologics); anticancer drug development; new drug targets in the central nervous system. It also covers some aspects of systems biology in drug development. Theory is supplemented throughout by practical exercises and literature review, both to improve understanding of the material covered and to develop important transferable skills.

The aims of this unit are to:

1. Consider the criteria that must be satisfied to establish the existence of a new receptor.

2. Explore strategies for discovering new drugs, and for characterising pharmacological receptors

3. Gain detailed understanding of receptor signal transduction processes.

4. Introduce the developments and applications of  genomics, proteomics and metabolomics techniques in drug development

5. Gain expertise in use of computer software packages for handling of data by which drugs or receptors are classified and in the interpretation of these data.

6. Gain expertise in selective reading of the objectives and critical interpretation of information resources and in the written presentation of a hypothesis and its underlying evidence.

Personal Professional Development

This unit aims to help you to gain the full benefit of your extended Master’s programme by supporting you in preparing for employment and career progression. You should develop realistic awareness of the challenges and opportunities that exist within the employment market place and how to successfully present yourself and navigate your future career.

Scheduled coaching and reflection will support you in realising your ambitions. Participants have an equal partnership and control. You set and own the goals and shape your development.

It provides you with key tools of research and learning at the overarching / meta level in terms of skills and behaviours including those of self-knowledge, reflective practice, working collaboratively, enhanced problem solving and building a personal brand.

Through Executive Coaching and Action Learning Sets, Your Professional Future allows you to tailor your own development through whatever routes are appropriate and anchors these achievements in reflective practice.

The unit aims and objectives are captured specifically in the reflective professional development plan the students develop by the end of this unit.

Data Modelling, Management And Governance

Managing data is an area of crucial importance in any field. Its application facilitates the rational decision making process that is the basis for successful operations within any environment. To this extent, the purpose of this unit is to discuss how data should be managed during its lifecycle through a mixture of relevant topics. This includes development tools and basic techniques for data capture, modelling, storing and retrieval to serve as the mechanisms for making effective and efficient use of available data.  The approach will be based on exploring basic applied principles and practices to enable students to develop an information system as a solution to a problem for a particular field of application. These are fully informed from practices employed in small to middle and, middle to large sized companies.

The primary aim of the unit is:

  • To advance students by applying a range of both theoretical and practical issues involved in data modelling and management techniques in order to develop appropriate relational database systems for managing data within a chosen field of interest.


Therefore, the objectives involved are as follows:

  • To review the underlying theory of databases including data modelling and management techniques
  • To critically appreciate and exploit available methods and techniques used for data modelling and management purposes
  • To develop the student’s awareness of and ability to select and apply appropriate tools and techniques for building relevant database systems
  • To effectively demonstrate good practice in database development by using industry standard software
  • Develop problem solving skills in being able to select the best possible e-Governance solution for a given "real-world" context
  • To critically review the role of XML (Extensible Markup Language) schemas and ontologies in facilitating data governance
  • To enable students to gain an up-to-date knowledge by applying data modelling and management tools in their chosen field of application

Computer Networks And Security

This unit introduces core computer networking and information security concepts to those who need a foundation in the subjects. It is relevant for a wide range of career pathways - from business and risk management, software development, to cyber and data security and sciences.

Learners will be shown the fundamentals of how computer networks operate and the essential principles of cybersecurity. 


Developing Independent Research

In this unit you will learn what goes into a research proposal and application, the rudiments of good research design at masters level and beyond. 

The unit examines the processes of authentication, verification, dissemination of knowledge through scholarly publishing. You will learn about contemporary debates over access and peer review, impact evaluation (citations, H-index, etc), revenue models and research funding.

Completion of this unit will support your ability to critically evaluate research data and to present your conclusions to a professional standard.

Pharmacology Research Project

Independent research is a critical part of any master’s degree and the part that most students find the most satisfying since it is an opportunity to undertake an extended period of personal research and present it in a professional format.

The MSc Pharmacology project enables you to apply the theory and practice covered in the four taught units to a specialist theme of relevance to your future career opportunities. 

The aim of the project is to provide for you:

  • an intensive practical experience in a chosen area of study
  • the opportunity to undertake a research investigation under supervision
  • experience in scientific reporting of a research project.

How will you be assessed?

The assessment philosophy of the MSc Pharmacology Award conforms to the recommendations of the aspects of relevant QAA Benchmarks and Masters level descriptors. The methods used for the assessment of students achievements will correspond with the knowledge abilities and skills that are to be developed through degree programme. Both formative and summative modes of assessment will be used. Summative assessments will be undertaken in all units of the course to check that you have met (or are working towards meeting) the threshold standards expected of all students. Also there will be a formative assessment in the beginning of semesters 1 and 2 to help you understand the academic writing and online submission process along with the assessment marking criterion. Evidence on which assessment of students achievement is based will include:

  • Formal written examinations
  • Summative practical assessments
  • Laboratory and other written Academics
  • Problem-solving exercises
  • Oral presentations
  • Individual planning conduct and Academicing of project work
  • Essay assignments
  •  literature surveys and evaluations
  • Collaborative project work
  • Preparation and displays of 'posters' Academicing project work
  • Personal portfolios of learning achieved
  • Computer-based assessments
  • Self and peer assessment

The course assessment strategy is compliant with the University of Bedfordshire Quality Assurance Regulations. The commitment to practical skills and the ability to communicate and interpret data through scientific Developing Independent Research is emphasised at all units of the programme. As such practical (laboratory) activities form a significant proportion of students assessment. Practical work will be assessed through written practical activities poster oral presentations and reflective laboratory diaries.

Assessment throughout the units most notably in the research project will call upon abstract writing and journal review skills to promote critical thinking and integration of knowledge across the course units. The importance of oral communication skills is also acknowledged as some of the units require students to undertake oral presentations as part of the unit assessments.

Throughout the course formative feedback will be provided in support of various tasks that include practical work in all four units mini-projects literature reviews case studies and presentation prior to final summative assessments. Students capability in carrying out research will be assessed through a research proposal research project activities and presentations.

Group work including laboratory practical sessions will help students to develop transferable skills such as taking initiative communication team working and decision making. Ability in oral communication will be assessed through presentations including a poster presentation.


On completion of this course you will be able to progress into careers in drug research and development across a wide range of employers including the pharmaceutical industry; biotech companies; academic institutions; the NHS; and other public organisations.

You also have the opportunity for further study at Doctoral level.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Virtual Tour