Queen's University Belfast

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Queen's University Belfast
In Belfast City

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Important information

Typology Bachelor's degree
Location Belfast city (Northern Ireland)
Duration 3 Years
Start Different dates available
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Belfast city (Northern Ireland)
  • Duration:
    3 Years
  • Start:
    Different dates available

Overview Our Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology degree programmes are concerned with the design, evaluation, production, and testing of medicines. As such, they are based on the chemical, biological and medical sciences as the foundation for employment within the pharmaceutical and related (e.g. medical device) industries. All of these facets are addressed and integrated in these three-year undergraduate degrees.  Students will study on the same pathway for the first year of the degree, before specialising in either Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmaceutical Biotechnology during their final two years of study (Level 2 and Level 3).   Why Queen's?Top Ranking: the School of Pharmacy at
Queen’s is acknowledged as a leading centre
for Pharmacy teaching and research in the UK, consistently featuring at or near the top of league tables for the subject. In the latest editions of the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and the Complete University Guide, the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s is ranked as the No. 1 Pharmacy School in the UK. 
 International Links: the School has strong international links as well as a great community spirit. 
 Placement: a feature of this BSc is the opportunity for experience of the industrial environment. Students have the opportunity to undertake an optional 6-week or 48-week placement within pharmaceutical industry between Years 2 and 3. 
   Did you know? The School of Pharmacy is ranked as the No. 1 Pharmacy school in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 Share this course Share

Facilities (1)
Where and when



Belfast City (County Antrim)
See map
University Road, BT7 1NN


Different dates availableNow taking bookings

To take into account

· Requirements

Entry Requirements   In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application. Entrance Requirements A-level: BBB including Chemistry and at least one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Biology grade C or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC + GCSE Mathematics grade C. Note: Biology to at least AS preferred. Irish Leaving Certificate: H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology and Chemistry + if not offered at...

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What you'll learn on the course

Quality Training
Medical training

Course programme

Course Content (including module information)

Level 1

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

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

Two modules, common to both the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology courses, are studied. The first covers the basic principles of drug action and the second is concerned with medicinal substances and the analytical methods used to determine the relationships between structure and function of drug molecules.

Pharmaceutical Sciences students also undertake an Industrial Pharmaceutics module (40 CATS) concerning the formulation of drug products, drug stability and the industrial manufacturing of pharmaceutical dosage forms, whereas Pharmaceutical Biotechnology students undertake a Human Biochemistry module (20 CATS) and a Pharmaceutical Formulation Module (20 CATS). Human Biochemistry provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the biochemistry of major organ/tissue systems in humans whilst Pharmaceutical Formulation is concerned with formulation of pharmaceutical drug products.

Level 3

The final year of each of these degree programmes builds upon the disciplines that are covered in the first two years, and provides further specialisation in key areas, allowing graduates to work successfully within the industrial sector.

Modules studied in the final year cover the following areas which include the design of large and small molecules, advanced delivery systems for these active ingredients, and their associated pharmaceutical analysis. Quality assurance and regulatory aspects of pharmaceutical manufacturing are studied by Pharmaceutical Sciences students, while those specialising in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology study biological approaches to disease treatment and prevention and applied biotechnology and regulatory affairs .

Students also carry out a research project in either Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment (general): 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 shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.

Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving 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 comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • 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.

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 student to achieve their full academic potential.

On the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • Lectures: these introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • Practicals: students have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. Practicals form a major part of the assessment of the MPharm degree programme. Students will be expected to attend one practical per week for the majority of modules within the degree programme. In Levels 3 and 4, students will gain experience of working in groups in practical classes. Students will additionally receive training in the Practice of Pharmacy within the state of the art Pharmacy within the School.
  • E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project- based work etc.
  • Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-30 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage 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 peers. Students are also expected to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
  • 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.
  • Work placements: Students taking the MPharm degree undertake work-placements in all four years of the degree, both in the Hospital and Community environments. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.
  • Supervised projects: In final (fourth) year, students are expected to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology in s broad research area selected by the student. The student receives support from a supervisor who will guide him/her in terms of how to carry out research and will provide feedback on at least 2 occasions during the write up stage.
  • Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.

Additional information

Career Prospects Studying for the BSc 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.  The prospects of employment for a graduate with a BSc degree in the UK are high. Examples of career sectors (and graduate starting salaries) are:  Industrial pharmacy (£25k) Academic pharmacy (£31k with a PhD) Scientific publishing (£21k) Various graduate programmes (Times Top 100 Graduate...

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