MSc Clinical Drug Development

Course Tutor: Dr Simon Yona

  • This MSc offers specialised training in state-of-the-art biomedical science.
  • Taught by leading research scientists, biotechnologists and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Students will develop theoretical knowledge and understanding and practical skills in research methodology. These include statistical methods applied to medical research, drug discovery, research in a specific biomedical area or health speciality, and ethics and governance of applied health research.

"Completing the MSc in Clinical Drug Development at an esteemed institution such as UCL has provided me with an in-depth insight into the field of drug development. I have gained an understanding into the process by which new scientific discoveries are translated to clinical practice, allowing me to fully appreciate the importance of scientific research. I have a greater understanding of the business, regulatory and clinical aspects surrounding drug development. During my research project I was able to contribute to cutting edge findings which have been accepted for publication by Nature Medicine. I also had the opportunity to stay on after my degree as a research assistant whilst applying to medical school. I have made some brilliant friends, met some very useful contacts and had a truly invaluable experience during my postgraduate degree. I would strongly advise anybody, of any age, interested in the field of drug development to undergo this MSc at a University with such excellent facilities and academic resources."

Grace Auld, MSc Drug Development student

All current students are supported by the extensive services offered by the UCL Careers Service, as well as the department's own specialist Careers Day, which forms part of our annual calendar of events.

This MSc provides an ideal foundation for graduates who wish subsequently to undertake a PhD in biomedical science within UCL or elsewhere. In addition the course provides key transferable skills for those wishing to pursue careers in drug discovery.

Destinations of recent graduates of the department include:

  • Imperial College London: Research Associate
  • GlaxoSmithKline: Senior Scientist
  • St George's Hospital: Consultant Physician
  • Garvan Institute: Researcher
  • UCL: Laboratory Manager and Research Assistant
Full Time

Students must take modules to the value of 180 credits. The MSc programme consists of six core modules (120 credits) and a Research Project (60 credits):

Core Modules
Credit Value
Term Day
MEDCG003 Drug Discovery I
Term 1
MEDCG001 Statistical Methods in Research
Term 1
MEDCG005 Ethics and Regulation of Research
Term 1
MEDCG004 Drug Discovery II 30 Term 2
MEDCG017 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

15 Term 2
Tues and Thurs
MEDCG018 Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

15 Term 2
 Tues and Thurs
MEDCG099 Research Project
60 Term 3

This is an example of projects taken by our students:

 Topic Title  Supervisor
Release of growth hormone from TIPS microparticles for sustained delivery Dr Richard Day 
 Economic evaluation alongside the CARDAMON trial: proposed analysis  Dr Rachael Hunter
 Transnasal Humidified Rapid Insufflation Ventilatory Exchange   Dr Anil Patel 
Cardiac MRI Dr James Moon
 Kinesin Kargo Transport in Health and Disease Prof. Frank Kozielski
 Development of inhibitors against the human kinesin Kif14, a potential target for drug development in cancer chemotherapy Prof. Frank Kozielski
 Vaccine fibres: developing new formulations for safe and effective inculcation of immunity Dr Gareth Williams
Does Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor (SLPI) cause its anti-inflammatory effect via up regulation of COX induced prostaglandin E2? Dr Alastair O'Brien
Validation of a novel preoperative POSSUM score in elective orthopaedic surgery. Dr Ramani Moonesinghe
Small molecule inhibitors of the HIF pathway in cancer drug development Dr Margaret Ashcroft
Lymphocyte mediated endogenous opioid analgesia in the postoperative period. Dr Gareth Ackland
In vitro optimization of chemical modifications of spliceswitching oligonucleotides for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia Dr Bernard Khoo
Pharmacokinetic modelling of alternative dosing regimens of anti-infectives for paediatric patients in resource-limited areas. Dr Oscar della Pasqua (GSK)
Surrogate decision-making in learning disability Dr Sarah Edwards
Generalisability (external validity) of RCTs for antiretroviral therapy strategies for the treatment of naïve and experienced HIV-positive patients Dr Alejandro Arenas-Pinto
Delineating a role for endothelium-derived C-type natriuretic peptide in the pathogenesis of septic shock Professor Adrian Hobbs
Physicochemical properties and metabolic fate of tetrathiomolybdate (TTM), a copper chelator and sulphide donor. Dr Alex Dyson
Clinical Research Activity in the EU Dr Ross Breckenridge
What is the best way to Investigate a Brain Hemorrhage? Dr David Werring
How does the production of superoxide change in neuroinflammatory disease? Professor Kenneth Smith
 Which factors influence a patient's decision whether or not to participate in a clinical trial? A qualitative and quantitative study comparing the acute and non-acute setting. Dr Sarah Edwards
 Factors that control neutrophil chemokine receptor expression Dr Andrew Williams
 Cardiac MRI  Dr James Moon
 A Retrospective analysis into the discriminatory power of exhaled breath temperature monitoring in a population of mild to moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects from healthy ex and current cigarette smokers.  Dr John Hurst
 The design, synthesis and evaluation of new inhibitors of the kinesin Eg5 as lead drug candidates for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Professor Frank Kozielski
 The evaluation of clinical evidence and Cost effectiveness analysis based on NICE guidance: Drug treatment for breast cancer. Professor Nicholas Freemantle
 Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Tetrathiomolybdate  Professor Mervyn Singer
 Development of a novel caspase 3-specific radiotracer for                        the detection of apoptosis in response to chemotherapy Professor Barbara Pedley
 Development of a Cardiac Patch Using the Novel Nanocomposite Polymer POSS-PCU Professor Alexander Seifalian
 Persisting blood propofol levels in the critically ill and levels of sedation following the termination of a long term (>72 hours) infusion Professor Mervyn Singer
 Klotho gene variants that can protect from adverse outcomes in CKD Dr Ben Caplin
 A Genetic Approach to Identify Biological Pathways Relevant to Stroke and its Subtypes. Dr Reecha Sofat
 Feasibility of using “bench-top” MRI for assessment of experimental stroke Dr Daniel Stuckey

Some of our key topics have included:

  • Formulating a scientific question
  • Modelling diseases
  • First into man
  • Surrogate Markers in Clinical Trials
  • Clinical Trial Design
  • Risk and toxicology
  • Regulation
  • Genome
  • Inflammation
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Angiogenesis/Hypoxia
  • Gene and Cell Therapy
  • Obesity

*please note that lectures are subject to speaker availability each year.

The Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) comprises all of the taught modules from the full MSc, without the independent Research Project. It is designed to allow students to complete it within approximately 9 months.

The Postgraduate Certificate is an alternative option for students who can't commit to full-time study, or who only want a taster of the full MSc degree. It is designed to allow students to complete it within 9 months on one day only. Students registered for the Postgraduate Certificate must take two core modules totalling 60 credits:

Module Title
Credit Value



MEDCG003 Drug Discovery 1
MEDCG004 Drug Discovery 2

Interested in pursuing a PhD? Why not consider our MRes in Clinical Drug Development 

Page last modified on 23 jun 15 12:12