Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2019

Pharmacology MSci

This programme is intended for students who want to pursue careers or further study in pharmacology or related disciplines. It offers an additional year on top of the Pharmacology BSc in which to undertake your own major, cutting-edge research project, alongside advanced modules.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
(contextual offer)
ABB (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B or 6. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects including Chemistry and one subject from Biology, Mathematics or Physics, with no score below 5.
(contextual offer)
34 (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
A total of 16 points in three higher level subjects including Chemistry and one subject from Biology, Mathematics or Physics, with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics

A,A,B at Advanced Highers (or A,A at Advanced Higher and B,B,B at Higher). Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics, at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAB. Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Pharmacology at UCL offers you an outstanding academic environment. We are internationally renowned in the discipline and are recognised for numerous major discoveries.

  • We combine excellence in pharmacology research with high-quality pharmacology teaching. We have particular expertise in areas such as neuropharmacology and immunopharmacology.

  • In your final year, you will have the opportunity to join a world-leading research group, working side-by-side with some of the best scientists in the field and carrying out your own experimental research project.

  • We offer state-of-the-art modern facilities, and are located adjacent to the Medical Research Council's Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, allowing for collaborative final year projects.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The subject of pharmacology is immensely broad and covers the areas of physiology, chemistry, neuroscience, biochemistry and genetics. As a result, some of your modules will be taken with other Life Sciences students and will draw on expertise from across the faculty.

In the first year, all modules are compulsory, giving you a sound knowledge of the discipline and enabling you to identify your own strengths and interests. Year two mainly comprisesf compulsory modules, but by the third year you will take only one compulsory module, leaving you free to choose from a wide range of specialist options.

MSci students undertake a literature-based research project in their third year, whilst in year four, a compulsory, laboratory-based research project accounts for 50% of the year's work. You may find this particularly helpful in making choices about your future career and whether you would like to pursue postgraduate study.

You may also apply for a 'sandwich' year in your programme, taken between years three and four, spending your time in the pharmaceutical industry or another pharmacology-related area. These are offered on a competitive basis, but contacts between our staff and colleagues in industry open up many opportunities.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

An Introduction to Mechanisms of Drug Action
Cells and Development
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Chemistry for Biology Students
Mammalian Physiology

Optional modules

All first year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Experimental Pharmacology
General and Systematic Pharmacology
Immunity to Infection
Structure and Function of the Nervous Systems

Optional modules

Options may include:

Animal and Human Physiology - Maintenance and Regulatory Mechanisms
Cellular Neurophysiology
Developmental Neurobiology
Human Neuroanatomy
Management Information and Control
Medical Microbiology
Modern Languages
Science in the Mass Media

Core or compulsory module(s)

Molecular Pharmacology
Library Research Project (1.0 credits)

Optional modules

You will select 2.5 credits of optional modules. Options may include:

Drug Design And Development
Receptor Mechanisms
Synaptic Pharmacology: The Synapse, a Major Site Of Disease and Drug Action

Core or compulsory module(s)

Extended Research Project

Optional modules

You will be able to select advanced modules from a wide range of options.

Your learning

Teaching is mainly conducted through lectures and laboratory classes together with regular small-group tutorials involving in-depth discussion of topics being studied. Modules run concurrently; lectures and tutorials are usually held in the morning with practical classes in the afternoons.


You will be expected to submit coursework (e.g. essays and practical write-ups) and make oral presentations as part of your assessment. You will also take written examinations at the end of each year.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Pharmacology MSci.


This programme not only provides detailed knowledge of the subject, but also trains you in planning, executing and analysing scientific projects and in quantitative and analytical skills. This will equip you with a versatility that will be very attractive to many employers.

Pharmacology brings together different aspects of biomedical sciences, opening up many fields of employment. If you are interested in laboratory research, you could progress to a postgraduate research degree (PhD) leading to opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, government research institutes, hospital laboratories, forensic science or university-based research.

Your scientific training may also be used in careers outside the laboratory, such as scientific publication and health administration (e.g., the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA)).


First destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) of this programme at UCL include:

  • Financial Analyst, HSBC
  • Full-time student, PhD in Neuroscience at Aix-Marseille University
  • Full-time student, PhD in MIBTP (Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership) at the University of Warwick
  • Associate, Deloitte and studying Kaplan

Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2014-2016 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2018/19 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2018/19 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2018/19)
Overseas students
£24,040 (2018/19)

Overseas fees for the 2019/20 academic year are expected to be available in July 2018. Undergraduate UK/EU fees are capped by the UK Government and are expected to be available in October 2018. Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The scholarships listed below are for 2017 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2018 entry will be published when they are available.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

We will read your UCAS application to ascertain whether you meet, or are expected to meet, our academic entry requirements and also to find out why you are interested in pharmacology.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2019


Selection will be based on information provided in your UCAS application.

Candidates who receive an offer (either conditional or unconditional) will be invited to attend an open day at UCL. Attendance at the open day is optional and its purpose is to provide you with information about UCL and the pharmacology degree programmes. You will also have the opportunity to meet staff and current undergraduate students.

We offer the flexibility of a three-year Pharmacology BSc or a more in-depth four-year Pharmacology MSci programme. If in doubt, we recommend you apply for the MSci initially, as this may keep more options open.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.