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 – 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 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 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, a leading global hygiene, health and nutrition 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 Science and Innovation Centre in Hull
  • Taught sessions delivered by industry 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 Chief Medical Officer 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
Proposed assessment: Essay 100%

Practical research skills in Pharmacology

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

Tutor: Dr Francisco Rivero
Term: Autumn
Credits: 20
Proposed assessment: BioCOSHH submission 20%, lab book submission 40%, poster presentation 40%

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 the most suitable formulation. You will also visit testing facilities and receive input from members of the pharmaceutical industry.

Tutor: Dr Laura Sadofsky
Term: Autumn
Credits: 20
Proposed 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.

Tutor: Dr David Allsup (Haematologist)
Term: Spring
Credits: 20
Proposed 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
Proposed assessment: Abstract 30%, clinical trial protocol abstract 70%


In this phase of your studies, you will get the opportunity to put your new skills to the test by undertaking a substantive research project within the field of pharmacology to produce novel exciting data, with the opportunity to publish the results. Projects can be based within a laboratory, with previous topics being in Cardiovascular Disease, Reproductive medicine, Wound healing, Respiratory disease, Diabetes, and muscle Biology.  However in addition projects can be non lab based, with previous topics investigating polypharmacy, drug safety and drug regulation.  or can focus on regulation and analysis of the clinical trial process.

Term: Spring - Summer
Credits: 80
Proposed 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.

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.


Through studying this Masters programme, you will have the opportunity to develop key skills essential for effective design, delivery and interpretation of laboratory and clinical data. This skill set is key for multiple roles within the industrial, medical and academic sectors. 

Within industry this MSc is likely to open job opportunities in drug safety, quality, regulation and compliance as well as Consumer Safety, Quality Managers, Clinical data associate, or clinical data managers, alongside the more traditional lab roles.

In the medical sector, an intercalating MSc can have a significant impact on your application to deaneries and your potential career prospects. Understanding the science of medicines improves prescribing and can also open up possibilities such as Medical Advisers.

Finally, this MSc should give you key skills to allow you for further your academic career by pursing a PhD.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have previous training in human or mammalian biology (e.g. graduates from medical, biomedical, or biological undergraduate courses) and other related fields with a minimum 2.2 (Hons) degree or equivalent.

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

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate evidence of proficiency in English Language with one of the following:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: Level 3 with Merit in all components
  • Duolingo: 110, minimum 100 in all other components

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.

Fees for 2021/2022 are:

UK (home) students fees

  • Full time (1 year): £9,730
  • Part time (2 years): £4,865

International (including EU) tuition fees

  • Full time (1 year): £23,300
  • Part time (2 years): £11,650
Graduate Scholarship

We are pleased to offer a 10% reduction in fees to University of Hull and University of York undergraduate students and alumni applying to this Masters programme.

More information

GREAT Scholarship 2021

In partnership with the British Council and the GREAT Britain Campaign, the University of Hull is offering 3 scholarships to students in India, Pakistan and Thailand (one for each country) applying for postgraduate courses in all subject areas.

The GREAT Scholarships 2021 programme, launched by the British Council together with 41 UK universities, supports postgraduate students from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand to access world-class UK higher education opportunities.

The scholarship programme offers financial support of a minimum of £10,000 to students pursuing one-year postgraduate study in the UK. Students can apply for courses in a range of subjects, at the 41 institutions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

More information about the GREAT Scholarship 2021

Government Master's Loan

If you're starting a Masters you may be entitled to a government-backed loan. 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.