Course specification and structure
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PMPHSDDS - MSc Pharmaceutical Science and Drug Delivery Systems

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Human Sciences
Subject Area Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The MSc in Pharmaceutical Science and Drug Delivery Systems is designed to offer opportunities for advanced study in drug discovery technology, therapeutics and process development, pharmaceutical analysis, drug delivery systems, formulation technologies, quality assurance, quality by design and process analytical technologies. The MSc is suitable for people working in industrial and research laboratories wishing to develop their knowledge in the design and synthesis of drugs and address the industrial pharmaceutical technologies and control. The course is also suitable for professionals working in hospitals, pharmacies and clinics as the course will also focus on drug analysis and quality assurance, providing the theoretical and laboratory instruction for evaluating analytical data and validating analytical methods, and strategies employed in analytical research and development. The programme also promotes the development of an informed and critical appreciation of recent scientific developments in molecular modelling and bioinformatics through the option programme.

Course aims

  • Provide a programme of advanced study for graduates that will equip them for future careers in pharmaceutical science and related areas.
  • Foster a comprehensive and critical understanding of the existing state of knowledge in pharmaceutical science and drug delivery systems.
  • Enhance intellectual and practical skills necessary for the collection, analysis, interpretation and understanding of scientific data.
  • Provide practical opportunities in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • Enable students to become effective learners/practitioners by developing a variety of personal skills and capabilities.
  • Enable students to plan, carry out and write up a masters level research project.

Course learning outcomes

The MSc, PgDip and PgCert have common core units. Delivery and assessment of the common core provides opportunities for students to achieve and demonstrate the learning outcomes listed below.

Knowledge and Understanding
By the end of the course the student is expected to have developed:
-An advanced systematic knowledge of the theoretical aspects of scientific topics studied, and an awareness of current issues and insights;
-An ability to apply knowledge in new contexts and in practical settings involving drug discovery, synthesis, analysis, drug delivery systems, formulation, process development, manufacturing and quality systems in pharmaceutical industry;
- The capacity to design, execute and critically evaluate research relevant to pharmaceutical science and drug delivery systems.

Teaching/learning strategies and methods:
A range of teaching methods will be employed including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals and self-directed learning. Problem-solving and literature analysis exercises will be included. Research skills are developed through the taught module ‘Scientific Framework for Research’, and also through the ‘Research Project module’ (MSc only).
Summative assessment of the students’ work is based on elements drawn from the whole range of their learning experience. The variety of assessment methods include problem solving assignments, unseen tests, practical work and reports, poster and seminar presentations, dissertations and unseen examinations. The coursework assessment elements are used formatively where possible, and additional formative assessments will be used in support of students’ development.

Cognitive skills
By the end of the course the student is expected to have developed higher-level skills that are reflected in their ability to:
- Assimilate information and developing ideas on issues, methodologies or process development;
- Explain how a working hypothesis may be devised and tested within the constraints of a pharmaceutical context;
- Critically analyse different situations and problems showing a high level of understanding and reasoning and providing their own interpretation of information;
- Organise and apply knowledge in a logical and systematic manner appropriate to the purpose or question in hand.
Teaching/learning strategies and methods:
Topic presentation in taught units will be largely evidence-based; areas of relevant current developments will be highlighted. Quantitative methods are taught explicitly in the ‘Scientific Framework for Research’ module, and are embedded in other taught units. The Research Project provides an opportunity to utilise knowledge gained throughout the course in pursuit of an individual, self-directed and focussed investigation.
Cognitive skills are summatively assessed by, inter alia, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, problem solving exercises, essays requiring the ability to sustain an argument, and the Research Project (MSc only) and its oral defence. Poster and seminar presentations provide scope for both peer assessment and immediate formative feedback.

Transferable Skills
By the end of the course the student is expected to be able to:
- Display the interpersonal skills required to work in a scientific, particularly laboratory, based environment;
- Implement an advanced information search and extract relevant information;
- Communicate a subject clearly and accurately orally, and in a variety of forms of written English;
- Select and obtain information and to interpret that information, drawing conclusions from and recognising the limitations of the available data;
- Employ a full range of investigative skills which can be applied to any set task;
- Use analytical and reviewing skills in order to produce accurate summaries based on a body of literature.
Teaching/Learning Strategies and Methods:
Communication skills will be developed through formative feedback of student work, and analysis of published literature. Use of appropriate technologies pervades all the modules. There is a significant element of independent learning in all modules. Self-evaluation of work follows on from the critical, evidence-based approach adopted in the taught units.
All assessment is in oral or written form, and throughout the course emphasis will be placed on development of both general communication skills and also on the requirements of formal scientific writing. Systematic and consistent referencing will be a requirement. Use of technology is implicit in all work requiring literature exploration, and in the written or oral presentation of work. Use of laboratory equipment is also heavily dependent on computer skills.

Subject-specific Practical Skills
Students should be able to demonstrate development of practical skills through:
- Experience of advanced or novel practical methodologies;
- The application of knowledge to practical problems, including test selection and the design of appropriate experimental protocols with due regard to safety and quality control issues;
- Experience of IT software and databases e.g. in drug discovery, therapeutics, formulation, drug delivery systems, bioinformatics and molecular modelling, and in searching biological, chemical and pharmaceutical literature;
- Comprehension and application of technologies in discovery, formulation and manufacture of modern medicines;
- The organisation and execution of practical work in an extensive Research Project (MSc only).
Teaching/Learning Strategies and Methods:
Practical laboratory skills will be taught through hands-on-experience, reflection and problem solving in laboratory sessions. Some observation of demonstration material will also be utilised.
Formative assessment is given continuously during the sessions in the dialogue between the demonstrating staff and the students. Practical skills will be assessed in the Research Project and the Laboratory Practice module by the results obtained and their contribution to the overall standard of achievement.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Although there are no QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) benchmark statements for Pharmaceutical Science and Drug Delivery Systems at Postgraduate level, the aims of the programme are consonant with the benchmarks outlining the QAA’s approved aims for master’s degree programmes in chemistry. These include acquisition of chemistry-related cognitive abilities and skills, chemistry-related practical skills and professional skills. The programme is also in agreement with QAA M-level descriptors for Pharmacy that refer to development of theoretical and practical training for component subjects within the course, that prepare these post-graduates well for key roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

Assessment strategy

Students are assessed through a variety of methods including problem solving exercises, in-class tests, data analysis, practical reports, case studies, oral presentation, extended essays, examinations, research project interim report, oral examination and dissertation.
Practical skills are summatively assessed through the coursework assignments, including those in the final Project module. Data handling skills are summatively assessed by, practical reports, problem solving exercises, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, oral presentations and examinations.
Formative assessments include group activities in tutorial classes, pre-laboratory exercises and project workshops.

Course specific regulations

The course conforms to both the University’s Postgraduate Scheme and the University Academic Regulations.

Modules required for interim awards

PGCert – 60 credits; any 3 modules;
PGDip – 120 credits; 6 modules (not including Research Project);
MSc – 180 credits; 6 modules plus Research Project.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

During the induction phase of the programme students will be introduced to structured reflection on their development of Postgraduate Skills which constitute much as the substance of personal development planning. Progress with Postgraduate Skills will be articulated to students as the programme progresses through feedback from tutors and peers enabling them to reflect on their progress based on the evidence available. Other activities outside of the academic aspect of university life will also contribute to aspects of Postgraduate Skills. Within each module students will be encouraged to develop their personal portfolio to critically review their learning experiences, set their future personal and academic goals and evaluate their progress towards these goals.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

The resources of the Careers Service are available to all Students, who, as Postgraduates, may already be pursuing defined career goals. Students are also made aware of the advantages of membership of, for example, The Royal Society of Chemistry, The Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (TOPRA). Postgraduates will also be kept up to date with related careers information and employment opportunities advertised in their publications.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

External speakers are utilised to enhance delivery and maintain currency of laboratory practice within the fields’ studies on this course. Members of academic staff teaching on modules have appropriate academic and research-based backgrounds.

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

Successful completion of relevant modules may allow you to use these as continuing professional development (CPD) towards being a qualified person (QP) in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Career opportunities

Upon graduation, you'll be well equipped to apply for roles focused on the formulation and manufacture of pharmaceuticals, pharmacovigilance, drug safety and regulatory affairs within large and medium sized pharmaceutical companies.

The analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills you’ll develop in this course are particularly applicable to careers focused on exploratory research. Our Careers and Employability Unit will be on hand to help you in your job search upon graduation.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have

  • a lower second (2.2) UK first degree in an appropriate subject (pharmaceutical science, chemistry or related)

Applications from graduates in related subjects such as pharmacology and biochemistry will be considered on an individual basis. Equivalent overseas qualifications will also be accepted.

An applicant who can demonstrate knowledge and skills at a postgraduate level equivalent to up to one third of the master's, postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certification required modules may apply, through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) coordinator, for appropriate transfer of credit. You’re advised to discuss your eligibility for credit with the course leader before completing a Credit Application Form.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2017/18 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 31 May 2017 Last validation date 31 May 2017  
JACS codes
Route code PHSDDS

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BM7001 Scientific Frameworks For Research Core 20 NORTH SPR WED AM
          NORTH AUT TUE AM
MS7029 Drug Discovery Technology Core 20 NORTH AUT MON PM
MS7032 Drug Delivery Systems Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
MS7049 Industrial Pharmaceutical Technology and Controls Core 20 NORTH SPR MON AM
MS7050 Pharmaceutical Analysis Core 20 NORTH SPR MON PM
MS7P35 Research Project for Pharmaceutical Science Core 60 NORTH SUM NA  
          NORTH SPR NA  
BM7027 Bioinformatics and Molecular Modelling Option 20 NORTH AUT WED AM
MS7048 Advanced Drug Formulation Technologies Option 20 NORTH AUT TUE PM

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
BM7001 Scientific Frameworks For Research Core 20 NORTH SPR WED AM
MS7029 Drug Discovery Technology Core 20        
MS7032 Drug Delivery Systems Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
MS7049 Industrial Pharmaceutical Technology and Controls Core 20 NORTH SPR MON AM
MS7050 Pharmaceutical Analysis Core 20 NORTH SPR MON PM
MS7P35 Research Project for Pharmaceutical Science Core 60 NORTH SUM NA  
          NORTH SPR NA  
BM7027 Bioinformatics and Molecular Modelling Option 20        
MS7048 Advanced Drug Formulation Technologies Option 20