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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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 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


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




Introduction to Business aims to provide a platform for understanding the world of management and the managerial role. The module explores the business environment, key environmental drivers and functions of organisations, providing an up-to-date view of current issues faced from every contemporary enterprise such as business sustainability, corporate responsibility and internationalisation. There is consideration of how organisations are managed in response to environmental drivers. To address this aspect, this module introduces key theoretical principles in lectures and seminars are designed to facilitate fundamental study skills development, teamwork and practical application of theory. No previous knowledge of business or business management is required. The general business concepts introduced in lectures are applied in a practical manner during seminars.By the end of this module, students will be able to understand and apply key concepts and analytical tools in exploring the business environment and industry structure respectively. This module is for NON-NBS students only.




This module will provide an overview of drug delivery, including different routes of administration and the physiological barriers for each route. Essential pharmacokinetic calculations will be introduced to students which will enable them to conduct dose calculations and predict the therapeutic outcome of a range of dosage forms.




The unit aims to provide the student 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 the students will be introduced to basic laboratory etiquette and techniques used in pharmaceutical analysis of raw materials and formulated products. Students will be introduced to the requirements of "Good Control Laboratory Practice" and the discipline and documentation required for pharmaceutical quality control. They will then carry out modules covering a wide range of basic analytical methods commonly encountered in the British Pharmacopoeia while testing raw materials and familiar formulated products. In the second semester the unit will build on the students' chemical knowledge and will introduce the student 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.




This module explains the peripheral nervous system to students and discusses how drugs can act at neuronal synapses.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module explains the immune system to students and introduces inflammatory and infectious diseases. It will provide students with a detailed knowledge of the aetiology and pathophysiology of common inflammatory disease and the pharmacology of the associated therapeutic interventions as well as infectious diseases and their treatment options and prevention strategies.




This module builds on pharmacology and peripheral nervous system modules and covers the physiology of the heart, vascular system and kidney. It will provide students with a detailed knowledge of the aetiology and pathophysiology of common cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and renal diseases and the pharmacology of associated treatments.




This module will provide underpinning medicinal chemistry principles and relate this to drug design, mechanism of action and metabolism. Students will be instructed in basic organic synthesis as well as complementary spectroscopic techniques.




This module provides students 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





Project management has become an increasingly important approach to management and skilled project managers are in increasing demand across all sectors of the economy. This module will introduce you to the basic tools and skills required to create, plan, deliver and evaluate projects. You will use these tools to manage a real project for a sponsor. You will reflect on your experience in the light of both developing academic evidence based on project management and current practitioner debates.










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.

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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