UCL Biosciences

1st Year Students 2015

Will you be starting a new undergraduate course in UCL Biosciences this September?

For further information, including induction week timetables and joining instructions, please see our Undergraduate Induction Week webpages.

BSc/MSci Pharmacology (B210/B211)


What is Pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the science of chemical substances and how they interact with our bodies. It includes the study of medicines, poisons and drugs of abuse. Progress in developing therapeutic drugs and identifying new drug targets is giving rise to fascinating challenges for qualified pharmacologists.

Pharmacology is commonly subdivided into pharmacodynamics (the biological effects of drugs) and pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion), also expressed as, respectively, the effects of drugs on the body and the effect of the body on drugs. (from A Dictionary of Pharmacology and Clinical Drug Evaluation, by Desmond Lawrence and John Carpenter).

Degree Benefits

  • Pharmacology at UCL offers you an excellent academic environment. We are internationally renowned in the discipline, having been credited with numerous major discoveries.
  • It is our aim to combine excellence in research with high-quality pharmacology teaching. We have particular expertise in the application of molecular biology and electrophysiology to pharmacological problems.
  • In your final year, you will have the opportunity to join a research team to carry 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 scientific ventures.

Degree Features

  • The subject of pharmacology is immensely broad and covers areas of physiology, biochemistry and toxicology. As a result, some of your courses will be taken with other Life Sciences students and will draw on expertise across the faculty.
  • Many students undertake a nine-week pharmacology research project in their third year, including experimental laboratory research. 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 consider a 'sandwich' year in your programme, taken between years two and three, spending your time in the pharmaceutical industry or another pharmacology-related area. You may arrange this yourself, but contacts between our staff and colleagues in industry also open up many opportunities.

Entry Requirements

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

The Admissions Process
  • Once you have submitted your application to UCAS, we will receive a copy of your UCAS form for consideration.
  • Your application will initially be assessed based on your grade predictions (or achieved grades if you have already completed your exams) as they relate to our entry requirements and your personal statement.  
  • If we would like to consider your application further, you may or may not be sent an admissions questionnaire to fill in.  The questionnaire is fairly concise and straight forward and asks you to demonstrate your motivation and understanding of the subject area.  A decision will then be made on your application, using your questionnaire responses (if we have asked you to complete one) and your personal statement and reference.
  • Finally, if we wish to make you an offer, you will be invited to a post-application open day.  Open day attendance is optional but we strongly recommend you to visit to see the facilities and find out more from current students and staff.

Open Days
  • Open days will include UCL and subject talks, a research talk given by a lecturer at UCL, refreshments and tours with current UCL students and an opportunity to talk to members of staff who will answer any questions you may have.  Please note, attendance at the open day does not form part of our admissions selection process and is optional.
  • If you are yet to apply for our programme and would like to visit UCL, you can attend the annual UCL Open Day.  The next Open Day will take place on Friday 3rd July, Saturday 4th July and Saturday 12th September.

Funding and Scholarships
  • For further information on the UCL Scholarships and Funding available for undergraduate students, please see the UCL Fees and Finance page

 Contact Us
  • We hope that this site has provided you with all of the necessary information you may need if you are considering to apply for our programme.  Don't forget to check out our FAQs page on the next tab above.  However, if you would still like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the Division of Biosciences Admissions Office:

Contact: Marcella Baterip

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk, m.baterip@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44(0)207 679 7169

Modules for Year 1

1st year courses provide essential background knowledge for the subsequent years of study.

  • PHAR1001 An Introduction to Mechanisms of Drug Action
  • BIOC1001 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology A
  • CHEM1603 - Chemistry For Biology Students


  • STAT6101 Introduction To Statistical Methods And Computing


  • STAT6201 Statistical Methods And Computing

Modules for Year 2

  • PHAR2002 General and Systematic Pharmacology
  • PHOL2005 Structure And Function Of Nervous Systems



  • BIOC2003 Further Topics In Biochemistry

Plus a further 0.5 course unit from a wide range of options.

Modules for Year 3


  • PHAR3009 Library Research Project in Pharmacology


  • PHAR3010 Laboratory Research Project in Pharmacology

Plus a wide range of optional modules

Modules for Year 4 (MSci students only)

  • Advanced Laboratory Research Project

Plus a wide range of optional modules

These FAQs are specifically for the Pharmacology programme.  Please see Division of Biosciences Admissions FAQs for answers to general admissions queries.

1. How will I be taught?

A wide variety of teaching methods are used, including lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work. Each module will have its own set of teaching methods.

2. How will I be assessed?

A mixture of coursework, exams and practical work form the basis of assessment. The weighting varies depending on which modules you choose.

3. Is it possible to take modules in other departments?

It is possible to choose modules in other departments. You will receive advice from your personal and degree programme tutors on which modules are best for your chosen degree path.

4. What support is available during the Pharmacology degree?

All kinds of support are available to students, whether it academic, financial, welfare or career advice. You will also have a personal tutor and a dedicated teaching administrator throughout each year of your degree who will provide guidance.

5. Is there a recommended reading list?

Yes. This will be sent to students in the summer before the academic year in question.

6. What careers are suitable for Pharmacology graduates?

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.

7. How many places have you on offer?

The Pharmacology degree has approximately 35 places available each year.

8. How competitive are places for the Pharmacology course?

Competition for places is very strong, but all applications received before the deadline will be assessed by the same set of entry criteria. Only the best will be shortlisted so it is vital your personal statement and references are strong and demonstrate your strengths and character.

9. What work experience must I include on my application?

There is no absolute requirement for Pharmacology but any science related work experience included in your personal statement will be seen as very positive.

10. I would like to visit UCL and talk to the admissions tutor, when can I do that?

Information on our annual Open Day can be found on the UCL website. The UCL study information centre can provide information and a self-guided tour brochure.  It may be possible to arrange an appointment if you are unable to attend the open day. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

As part of the admission cycle we invite all short-listed UK students to an open day including a tour, meeting students and discussions with the admissions tutor.

11. I did not get the required grades to be admitted to your course, will you reconsider my application if I resit my examinations?

Re-sit applications are considered on an individual basis. 

12. I am applying to four medical schools and my personal statement reflects this. Do I need to supply a separate statement to cover my fifth choice for Pharmacology? 

No, we are happy to use your personal statement for Medicine, but if you wish to send us a separate statement please email it to the Admissions Office biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

13. Can I transfer to Medicine? 

Unfortunately you are unable to transfer to Medicine during the course.  If you finish the BSc degree and achieve a 2:1 or higher, you are normally eligible to apply for graduate-entry Medicine programmes around the UK (please check individual institutions for this).