BSc Pharmacology and Drug Discovery

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Science

UCAS Course Code
A-Level typical
ABB (2018/9 entry) See All Requirements
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UEA is proud to deliver the only course of its kind in the country; the BSc in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery which draws on our research expertise in medicinal chemistry and drug delivery.

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Key facts

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We are proud to offer this unique course, designed to produce the UK’s next leaders in drug discovery. It combines fundamental chemistry, pharmacology and drug design to give you the expertise and scientific creativity to develop new, life-changing pharmaceuticals.

The only course of its kind in the country, the BSc in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery draws on our research expertise in medicinal chemistry and drug delivery, so you’ll receive world-class teaching in biology, chemistry and pharmacology to prepare you for a range of exciting careers in academia, health or the pharmaceutical industry.

We developed the course in consultation with world leading scientists and pharmaceutical industry veterans. The course is based in our prestigious School of Pharmacy, which is ranked first in the UK for the quality of its research (REF 2014).


We are proud to offer this unique course, designed to produce the UK’s next leaders in drug discovery.

The only course of its kind in the country, BSc Pharmacology and Drug Discovery combines our unique blend of expertise in medicinal chemistry and drug delivery with cutting edge training in pharmacology. You’ll receive world-class teaching in biology, chemistry and neuroscience to prepare you for a range of exciting careers in research, health or the pharmaceutical industry.

We developed the course in consultation with world leading scientists and pharmaceutical industry veterans, based in our prestigious School of Pharmacy. The School is ranked first in the UK for the quality of its research (REF 2014) and in the Top 10 for Pharmacology and Pharmacy in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

What is Pharmacology and Drug Discovery?

Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their effects on organisms. It combines a range of scientific disciplines – notably biology and chemistry – in the pursuit of understanding how chemicals interact with the body; how they modify behavior; and how new drugs can be synthesised and manufactured.

It differs from Pharmacy in that it doesn’t involve a clinical component (prescribing, treating and caring for patients), instead focusing on the pure science behind pharmaceuticals. The emphasis on drug discovery means you’ll learn how to apply your understanding of chemistry and biology to the design and manufacture of new drugs.

Course Structure

Year 1

In the first year you will be given a foundation in biology; the chemistry of the life sciences; basic pharmacology, endocrinology, drug delivery and pharmacokinetics. These modules will lay the groundwork for understanding how drugs work, what they target, and how drugs are developed. In addition to building a foundation in the sciences, you will also take a course in business studies at the Norwich Business School that will provide you with an understanding of the world of management and the key concepts of management practice; vital tools to working in today’s corporate world.

Year 2

In the second year, you will begin to apply your knowledge to individual systems of the body.  These include neurology, immunology and the cardiovascular, renal and gastro-intestinal systems. You will also take modules covering cancer and infectious diseases. You will be taught how drugs are designed and synthesised, and their mechanism of action, while enhanced topics of pharmacology will be learned and applied in state of the art teaching labs. On top of this scientific learning, you will also develop your professional skills – from how to write an eye-catching cover letter and C.V. to interviewing techniques. External speakers from the industry will expose you to real-world challenges and topics in the pharmaceutical industry, helping you to thoroughly prepare for the job market.

Year 3

In the final year, you will exploit your knowledge from the first two years and perform a final year project in collaboration with a research active faculty member. This will include tackling major contemporary challenges in cancer, inflammation, age-related disorders, epigenetics, drug design, and drug delivery. In addition to the final research project, you will have the opportunity to select from further modules covering a broad range of biology, drug discovery and pharmacology topics. Furthermore, you will learn about the toxicology of drugs and how quality control of drugs is important during industrial production. Finally, in collaboration with the Norwich Business School, you will take a course in project management. This course will provide you with key management skills required for your future career, including the ability to create, plan, and deliver as part of a team that manages real projects for external sponsors.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching is undertaken by a dedicated team of academic staff, including pharmacologists, cell biologists, medicinal and pharmaceutical chemists, who will utilise a range of teaching and assessment methods to prepare our graduates for industry and/or research including practicals, problem-based learning, research and business management projects. 

Career Prospects

This unique course has been designed for students who are looking to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry or drugs research, whether in design or development.

We embed employability skills development throughout the course, with careers workshops to support developing CVs; interview techniques; presentation skills; team-working; research skills; business skills and links with industry.

We’re also committed to supporting entrepreneurial students who want to turn their work into a business. Thanks to dedicated facilities on Norwich Research Park, like the Innovation Centre and Centrum, we have state-of-the-art lab and office spaces right on our doorstep.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


You will be introduced to fundamental cellular structure, function and processes involved in cell life cycles (cell growth and cell death). You will cover intracellular signalling pathways and different forms of cellular communication (inter-cellular signalling). The module will introduce you to fundamental principles of molecular biology, including nucleic acids, genes, transcription and translation, plus the application of human genomics and bioinformatics in medicine. You will learn the basic principles of receptor pharmacology, drug binding and drug actions, including major classification of receptors covering five major receptor families for pharmaceuticals. Specialised cells and receptors will be highlighted including neurons and electrical signalling.




How are businesses organised and managed? This module helps non-Norwich Business School students explore the dynamic and ever-changing world of business and provides insights into the managerial role. You'll explore the business environment, key environmental drivers and the basic functions of organisations. There will be a review of how organisations are managed in response to various environmental drivers. You will consider some of the current issues faced by every organisation, such as business sustainability, corporate responsibility and internationalisation. This module is designed to provide an overview of the corporate world for non-business specialists, so no previous knowledge of business or business management is required for this module. General business concepts are introduced in lectures and applied in a practical manner during seminars. By the end of this module, you will be able to understand and apply key business concepts and employ a number of analytical tools to help explore the business environment, industry structure and business management. You will be assessed through a range of assignments, for example an individual piece of coursework, group work and an exam. Therefore, the module reinforces fundamental study skills development through a combination of academic writing, presentational skills, teamwork and the practical application of theory. Core business theory is introduced in lectures and applied practically with the use of examples in seminars. By the end of this module you will be able to understand and apply key business concepts and a range of analytical tools to explore the business environment. Introduction to Business facilitates study skills development that is essential across all 3 years of the undergraduate degree by developing academic writing, presentation, team working and communication skills effectively.




This module will provide you with an overview of the physicochemical basis of drug delivery, including different routes of administration and the physiological barriers for each route. You'll be introduced to essential pharmacokinetic calculations, enabling you to conduct dose calculations and predict the therapeutic outcome of a range of dosage forms.




The module aims to provide you with an introduction to the basic chemical principles that underpin understanding of the bonding interactions that hold drug molecules together, the structures and reactivities of carbon based compounds, and the specificities of drug-target interactions. In the practical element of this module you will be introduced to basic organic synthesis techniques. In the second semester the module will build on your chemical knowledge and will introduce you to fundamental cellular structure, function and biochemistry. The biological and chemical properties of each of the major classes of cellular (life) molecules are presented, together with details of some of the essential processes in which they are involved.




You will gain an understanding of the peripheral nervous system to and explore how drugs can act at neuronal synapses.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


How does the immune system work? This module will answer that question and provide an introduction to inflammatory and infectious diseases. Exploring these topics in detail, you will gain in depth knowledge of the aetiology and pathophysiology of common inflammatory diseases, as well as the pharmacology and medicinal chemistry of associated therapeutic interventions. You will also explore the treatment options and prevention strategies for infectious diseases.




Do you want to build upon your knowledge of pharmacology and peripheral nervous system modules and learn about the physiology of the heart, vascular system and kidney? This module will provide you with a detailed knowledge of the aetiology and pathophysiology of common cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and renal diseases and the pharmacology of associated treatments.




Gain knowledge of the underpinning medicinal chemistry principles and understand how this relates to drug design, mechanism of action and metabolism. You will be instructed in basic organic synthesis as well as complementary spectroscopic techniques.




This module will provide you with a detailed knowledge of gastrointestinal diseases and cancer. It covers the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract, the basic biology of cancer and the aetiology and pathophysiology of common gastrointestinal diseases and cancers. Conventional therapeutic interventions will be discussed, alongside innovative approaches and novel delivery systems. The role of natural products in these diseases will be highlighted. The module builds on pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and drug delivery modules in Year 1.




This module focuses on the pathophysiology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and treatment of common diseases of the central nervous system (including psychiatric disorders).



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module will enable you to appreciate the development of modern approaches to drug discovery and understand the complexity of the drug discovery process and drug pipeline. Topics featured include advanced pharmacology, pre-clinical studies, disease models, toxicology, ethics and clinical trials. During the module, you will utilise case studies based upon drugs that have reached the clinic or are in advanced clinical development. You will build on your knowledge gained from pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and clinical therapeutics modules taken in previous years.




Project management has become an increasingly important approach to management and skilled project managers are in increasing demand across all sectors of the economy. You'll be introduced to the basic tools and skills required to create, plan, deliver and evaluate projects. You will use these tools on a real project. You will critically reflect on your experience in the light of both the developing academic evidence-base on project management and current practitioner debates.




Develop your understanding of how drug discovery and development is advanced through research and learn the research and communication skills associated with best scientific practice. In collaboration with an academic supervisor, you'll conduct a research project leading to an expertise or in-depth knowledge in a selected area of pharmaceutical research at the forefront of the academic discipline. Following the project work, you'll prepare a research paper commensurate with journal publication and deliver an oral presentation at a student research conference.




You will draw upon the investigative techniques developed in your Research Project and build on the knowledge and skills you developed in all modules in Levels 1 and 2 of the course. You will study two (of a range) pharmaceutically-related special topics in depth and develop an extensive knowledge in these selected areas.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

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    Do you know the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmacology? Take a look at our FAQ's.


Entry Requirements

  • A Level ABB including Chemistry with a second science or Mathematics. Science A levels must include a pass in the practical element
  • International Baccalaureate 32 points with HL Chemistry at 5 and one other science or Maths at HL5. If no GCSE equivalent is held offer will include Mathematics and English requirements
  • Scottish Highers Only accepted in combination with Advanced Highers
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BCC including Chemistry with a second science or Mathematics. A combination of Advanced Highers and Highers may be acceptable
  • Irish Leaving Certificate AABBBB or two subjects at H1 and four at H2 including Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 30 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 15 credits at Level 3, including 12 Level 3 credits in Chemistry and 12 Level 3 credits in one other science or Mathematics. Science pathway required
  • BTEC DDM in a relevant subject. Applied Science and Applied Science (Medical Science) preferred. Excluding Public Services. Applied Science and Applied Science (Medical Science) preferred. BTEC and A level combinations are considered - please contact us
  • European Baccalaureate 75% overall, including 70% in Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics

Entry Requirement

GCSE requirements: GCSE English Language grade 4 and GCSE Mathematics grade 4

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted  

Applicants with Access or BTEC qualifications who receive an offer will also be asked to complete a chemistry test at UEA during the summer

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 6.0 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Please click here for further information.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not meet the academic and/or English language requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme. Depending on your interests and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

INTO UEA also offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:



The majority of candidates will not be called for an interview. However, for some students an interview will be requested. These are normally quite informal and generally cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.


Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year, believing that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry and may wish to contact the appropriate Admissions Office directly to discuss this further.


The School's annual intake is in September of each year. 

Alternative Qualifications

We encourage you to apply if you have alternative qualifications equivalent to our stated entry requirement. Please contact us for further information.


Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Service prior to applying please do contact us:

Undergraduate Admissions Service
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Please click here to register your details via our Online Enquiry Form.

International candidates are also actively encouraged to access the University's International section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515