BSc Pharmacology and Drug Discovery with Foundation Year

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Science

UCAS Course Code
A-Level typical
CCC (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

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)


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This is a unique course in the UK that combines the study of the mechanism of action of drugs and medicines with their design and development. The foundation year is designed to fill gaps in your knowledge, and provide you with the skills you'll need as an undergraduate. It will give you a firm grounding in chemistry, biology and mathematics as well as introducing key concepts of pharmacology and medicinal chemistry. After this, you will be well equipped to progress to the BSc in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery where you will focus on the exciting world of the design, development and mechanisms of drugs and medicines.


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 pharmacy research output (Times Higher Education REF 2014 subject rankings).

The foundation year will equip you with all the skills you need in chemistry, biology and mathematics to enable you to succeed as an undergraduate student over the following years of the course. It will also introduce you to areas of pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and drug delivery that underpin your studies over the following years of the course.

Course Structure

In the Foundation year, you will take modules worth 120 credits in all. These credits are obtained by passing the module which are assessed by a mixture of coursework and examination to produce an overall percentage grade and specific module marks. It is these marks, combined with the 120 credits that are taken into consideration when determining progression onto an Honours course.

Students will take modules in chemistry, biology and mathematics as well as a focused course on pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and drug delivery. At the end of the Foundation year, successful students will move onto the BSc in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery.

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. 

In the laboratory, you will carry out experiments, based on the subject matter of your lecture programme. These sessions are supervised by your lecturers and by postgraduate student demonstrators, who will ensure the safe execution of the experiments and discuss the theory behind them.

Assessment is through laboratory practicals, coursework and examination.

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 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


This is a core module if you are studying on the Biological Sciences with a Foundation Year course. The topics covered will give you a basic grounding in biological processes including the fundamental characteristics of living things; basic metabolic processes; an understanding of evolution and knowledge of the levels of biological organisation with some focus given to organ systems. This module also gives you the opportunity to develop key transferable skills such as lab skills, report writing, assignment preparation, researching and evaluating evidence, giving and responding to presentations.




A course in chemistry intended to take you to the level required to begin a relevant degree in the Faculty of Science. The module will help you to develop an understanding of: reactions of functional groups in organic chemistry; basic thermodynamics; spectroscopic techniques; transition metal chemistry and practical laboratory skills.




This foundation year module will introduce you to basic principles of pharmacology and drug discovery.




This module is for you if you are studying on one of the Science Foundation Year courses. The topics covered on the module will give you a basic grounding in biological processes including the fundamental characteristics of living things; basic metabolic processes; an understanding of evolution and knowledge of the levels of biological organisation with some focus given to organ systems. This module also gives you the opportunity to develop key transferable skills which may include lab skills, report writing, assignment preparation, researching and evaluating evidence, giving and responding to presentations.




A module designed for you if you are on a Science Faculty degree with a Foundation Year or Medicine with a Foundation Year. You will receive an introduction to the structure and electronic configuration of the atom. You will learn how to predict the nature of bonding given the position of elements in the periodic table and therefore. You will be introduced to the chemistry of key groups of elements. You will become familiar with key measures such as the mole and the determination of concentrations. The module includes laboratory work. No prior knowledge of chemistry is assumed.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Students will be assigned to the relevant mathematics module based on their previous qualifications.

Name Code Credits


Taught by lectures and seminars to bring students from Maths GCSE towards A-level standard, this module covers several algebraic topics including functions, polynomials and quadratic equations. Trigonometry is approached both geometrically up to Sine and Cosine Rule and as a collection of waves and other functions. The main new topic is Differential Calculus including the Product and Chain Rules. We will also introduce Integral Calculus and apply it to areas.




This is a course in mathematics for students who have studied Maths at GCSE level gaining a grade B/C or equivalent and/or more than two years ago. The course includes some AS level material relevant to science. This module is reserved for students on the Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacy, Environmental Science or Computing Foundation Years.



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

  • Our Students

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  • UEA Award

    Develop your skills, build a strong CV and focus your extra-curricular activities while studying with our employer-valued UEA award.

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  • Chemistry and Pharmacy Summer School

    Join us for an exciting two day residential experience to help enhance your UCAS personal statement.

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


Entry Requirements

  • A Level CCC
  • International Baccalaureate 28
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC
  • Irish Leaving Certificate CCCCCC or 6 subjects at H3
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma.

Entry Requirement

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

The typical offer for students studying A levels will be CCC (excluding general studies and critical thinking).  Applicants who have been in continuous education are required to hold a level 3 qualification even if they meet the contextual criteria with regard to the GCSEs.

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.

Contextual Criteria

We use contextual criteria for entry. Applicants must meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • You have been out of full time education for at least 3 years prior to your application.
  • You have not previously studied more than one science (Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Mathematics) at ‘A’ Level or equivalent.
  • You have been in Local Authority Care.
  • You have previously studied science but your Secondary School had 60% or less students achieving 5+ grade A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and Maths in 2013 - Data from Department of Education website:

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 applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. You may be called for an interview to help the School of Study, and you, understand if the course is the right choice for you.  The interview will cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.  Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.

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