Pharmacology Degrees - Current Students

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Information For Current Students
Timetables and other information can be found as links from the Modules page.


Click on the links below to download the appropriate enrolment programme.

The enrolment for the 2011-2012 session is now over. Enrolment programmes for the 2012-2013 session will be posted here in mid-September.

The Pharmacology Degree Handbook and the Biosciences Student Handbook can be downloaded by clicking the links below:

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A pharmacology degree is a very valuable resource. A large number of Pharmacology students choose to carry on in a scientific career. Those who prefer not to can use their degree to enter a number of fields where specific degrees are not required.


Carrying on your education

If you consider carrying on your education and doing a PhD or MSc course at a university. A PhD will require a 2:1 degree – if you gain this there is no need for a MSc unless you wish to move into a field that was not covered in your degree. Since Pharmacology utilises skills from many disciplines, a number of graduates seamlessly progress into neuroscience, cell biology, immunology and other areas of biological sciences. There is no UCAS scheme for postgraduate degrees so New Scientist, Nature and the Guardian (Tuesday) are good sources of information as are University, Institute or hospital websites. The careers service has listings of MSc courses. All information received on PhD places, both internal and external, is posted in the department.

After completing your course, if you want to stay in academic research you would normally be expected to do some further research as a post-doctoral researcher (grant funded posts) and then enter a university as a lecturer, or move into industry.

If you don’t want to do a PhD then you can still work in academic research as a research assistant or a technician.

The Drug Industry

The Drug Industry offers graduates a variety of careers although many research-orientated posts have a ceiling beyond which you cannot progress in the company without a PhD. It is sometimes possible to do a PhD within industry.

How industry divides its search for new drugs is variable but Drug Discovery is the realm of chemists and medicinal chemists who produce, or extract potential compounds and then pharmacologists would be involved with the screening process. This is part of Drug Development that ranges from tests to determine effects in animal models and assessment of different formulations and toxicological studies. There are also independent screening companies who are another potential area of employment.

Various human studies are the next stage and pharmacologists have found employment in Clinical Trials where a Clinical Research Associate, has to liase with the clinicians involved and to collect, collate and analyse the data.

Further opportunities are in Registration and Regulatory Affairs who deal with getting the drug on the market and the provision of evidence that the drug is safe and that it conforms to the regulations set by national and international bodies.

European and international drug companies seek UK pharmacologists so you do not need to restrict yourself to this country. These days there are many smaller start-up/’niche’ companies working on drug development so you are not restricted to the large multinational companies.

Finally, within industry there are positions in Sales and marketing, public relations and medical information. The sales positions could be in direct sales as a drug representative or within a company deciding on marketing strategies, indications, clinical education etc.

More information on Careers in the Drug Industry can be found at www.apbi-careers.org.uk or www.apbi.org.uk, or from the companies themselves.

Remember that there are patent agencies outside the drug industry, government agencies responsible for monitoring the effects of drugs and controlling their entry to the market, and medical information services.

Medical Writing

Medical writing is another area you might consider, either for companies, health organizations, magazines or newspapers or work for journals as editors, where they edit submissions for publication and produce reviews.

More details on careers in medical writing can be found at the European Medical Writers Association, www.emwa.org.

If you need more help, then register at the Careers Service at UCL; Prof Tony Dickenson is also available for advice.

Link to the British Pharmacology Society employment page.

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Industrial Placement Year
Industrial Trainee Placements

Those students who are studying Pharmacology at UCL have the opportunity to carry out an industrial placement in a Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology company for one year, between their 2nd and 3rd academic year. During this year the student carries out a research project within the company, under the supervision of an industrial scientist. In general 2-3 students take advantage of this opportunity every year.

While not an integral part of the Pharmacology degree program at UCL, taking a year out in industry has many benefits for the student. These include:-

  • Experience of working in the industrial environment/sector
  • Experience of cutting-edge research and techniques
  • Acquiring generic and research skills
  • Salary

These skills make a student not only attractive to prospective employers in the pharmaceutical industry but also to prospective employers in other industrial sectors. In addition, a years research experience is highly valued by both final year research project, and PhD supervisors.

If you are interested in an industrial placement please contact Dr Dean Willis (GM05) at the end of your 1st year or in week 1-2 of your 2nd year. Available industrial placements are advertised on the 2nd year Pharmacology Students notice board (and this web page). Expected closing dates for these applications are between October-December of that year, however other positions may become available throughout the year

It is important to note that, because of the benefits from taking an industrial year, there is a great deal of competition for places, from students across the country.


Takeda Cambridge (TCB) is a drug discovery company specialising in identifying and validating novel drug targets derived from the human genome. TCB is offering industrial placement opportunities for 2010-2011 for undergraduates looking to gain experience of working in the pharmaceutical industry. We encourage creativity and look for people with enthusiasm and dedication who can bring innovative thinking to our target validation and drug discovery programmes.

To apply for a placement please send your c.v. and a covering letter quoting ‘Industrial Placements 2010’ and specifying the discipline in which you are interested to:
Human Resources, Takeda Cambridge Ltd, 418 Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge, CB4 0PA

Closing date for applications: 30 November 2009


No deadline for industrial placement application is advertised, but students should search for possible placements via this website www.gsk.com/careers/uk-stud-industrial-plac.htm and apply as soon as possible.


A number of 12 month sandwich placements are also available at NIMR in London. Currently, 2009-2010 placements have not been advertised. Students are advised to contact Dr Willis concerning these placements as soon as possible.

Dr Dean Willis

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Undergraduate Research Bursaries

Undergraduate Research Bursaries are awarded by several Research Charities with the aim of allowing high calibre students to undertake a summer internship in a research laboratory. The two major funding Charities in this area are The Wellcome Trust (www.wellcome.ac.uk/) & The Nuffield Foundation ( www.nuffieldfoundation.org/).
The internships are usually undertaken by students for a period of 6-8 weeks in the summer between their 2nd and final year. The Research Bursaries themselves provide a stipend (£180-190 per week) for the students for the duration of the internship and are applied for by the academic/laboratory Head for a named student.
Benefits of Internship.

  • Paid Lab experience.
  • Development of technical and generic skills.
  • Excellent  preparation for 3rd year Laboratory project
  • Significantly contributes to the students CV development

If you are interested in applying for a Bursary you must first approach an Academic/Laboratory Head to determine if they are willing to supervise a summer internship and your eligibility for various award schemes. Application deadlines for Bursaries will be in the first quarter of 2009 (see above web-sites for details and application notes).
Please note that because of the benefits derived from the Bursaries the award process for Undergraduate Research Bursaries is very competitive. For this reason Applicants (Academic/Laboratory Head) will usually only but forward very strong candidates for these awards.

Dr Dean Willis 

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Writing and Learning Mentors

Quiz. Given an essay, do you:

A. Stare into space for the next two days?
B. Panic?
C. Rough out a plan for your essay before heading for the library?
D. Clean your room; anything is better than essay writing?

If you answered anything other than ‘C’ then you may be interested to know that Pharmacology now has two Writing and Learning Mentors.

What do they do? They are there to advise you on all aspects of your writing, from how to make a start, how to avoid plagiarism, through to how to improve your style.

Mentoring sessions may be done in small groups or on a one-to-one basis and will cover a range of subjects such as essay planning, ‘brainstorming’ and critical thinking.

The Mentors are there to help you, please make use of them.

Nick Hayes, Room G32, Tel: 33744
email: n.hayes@ucl.ac.ukn.hayes@ucl.ac.uk

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Staff Student Consultative Committee

College regulations state that there shall be a Staff-Student Committee in every department to provide direct student input and feedback. This is an important forum and one that you are urged to attend.

Feedback from students raised at the SSCC about teaching and academic matters is discussed by the Programme Teaching meetings. Notices of SSCC meetings are emailed to all students and posted on the notice boards. Minutes from previous meetings can be found by clicking on the appropriate link below.

We hope you will be willing to take an active part.

The activities of SSCCs are monitored by the College Joint Staff-Student Committee which is chaired by the Dean of Students and has student representatives nominated by UCL Union.

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Key Skills

UCL is committed to helping you develop skills alongside your formal degree course that can be helpful in your future career, regardless of what path this takes. These skills are called Transferable Skills or Key Skills and will be accumulated throughout your stay at UCL. If you want to know more, try taking a look at the UCL website on Keyskills at

In order to help you recognise, pursue and keep track of these Skills, we have now introduced a Departmental system that is operated through your meetings with your Personal Tutor. The system is called Profiles. It involves a questionnaire that you will have been given during Induction Week. Each year at the start of the first and second terms you should fill in a copy as much as possible. You should then take a copy of it with you to your meeting with your Personal Tutor. Your Personal Tutor will contact you to arrange meetings, will discuss the form with you and will keep a copy of the completed form.

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Plagiarism and the detection system Turnitin

Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of another person's thoughts or words or artifacts or software as though they were a student's own. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must, therefore, be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and students should identify their sources as accurately and fully as possible.

Students have to submit a paper copy of their coursework as usual, with the normal receipting procedures in place.  With the submission of the work, students will be asked to sign a form stating that the work submitted is their own unaided work and that they have read and understood the guidelines on plagiarism, and acknowledge the fact that the work submitted will be checked using the detection service (Turnitin).  In order for the work to be considered as submitted, an electronic copy of the work must also be attached to an email and sent to a particular email address (which you will be given) or submitted directly to the Turnitin service at www.submit.ac.uk, whichever method is being employed for that module.

You are urged to refer to the following documents if you are in any way unsure of what contitutes plagiarism:

Click here to UCL's Policy on Plagiarism in the on-line student handbook.

Click here to download a leaflet on plagiarism and how you can avoid it.

Click here for a Library document on Citing References & Avoiding Plagiarism

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Page last modified on 15 nov 11 15:02 by Talvinder S Sihra