UCL Division of Medicine


MRes Clinical Drug Development

The MRes in Clinical Drug Development offers specialist training in all aspects of drug development, from current innovations, to unmet clinical needs, with an emphasis on research skills. Students will be exposed to leading research scientists, biotechnologists and pharmaceutical companies. Students will be taught research methodology, including the translation of basic science research into novel therapies for human disease, and the philosophy, governance and social implications of health research.

Page Contents
1. What will I learn?
2. How does the MRes differ from the MSc?
3. What are you looking for in prospective students?
4. Where can this course lead me in terms of careers and employability?
5. Where does this course take place?
6. When does the course run?
7. How much does it cost?
8. How do I apply?


What will I learn?

Students must take modules to the value of 180 credits. The MRes programme consists of 75 credits of taught modules and a research project of 105 credits:

Core ModulesCredit ValueTerm
MEDC0047 Drug Discovery 1301
MEDC0046 Statistical Methods in Research151
MEDC0055 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
MEDC0073 Research Project1053
Optional Modules (choose one)Credit ValueTerm
MEDC0056 Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
MEDC0086 MultiOmics and Ethics151
*Module Availability - Modules offered on the programme may not run in every academic year. If there are any modules which are integral to your study you should check whether they are running in the relevant academic year.


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

All students must complete an independent research project, normally with a supervisor from the Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH or a NHS-funded research initiative run with conjunction with UCL. Some projects will be subject to ethical approval and CRB clearance, which should be discussed with your supervisor. Students should explore a research areas that interest them and make contact with the relevant departments to see if they can offer  an MSc project. Alternatively, students can explore research activities taking place across UCL via IRIS by using the search engine.

Recent Student Research Projects
Topic TitleSupervisor
Release of growth hormone from TIPS microparticles for sustained deliveryDr Richard Day
Economic evaluation alongside the CARDAMON trial: proposed analysisDr Rachael Hunter
Transnasal Humidified Rapid Insufflation Ventilatory Exchange Dr Anil Patel 
Cardiac MRIDr James Moon
Kinesin Kargo Transport in Health and DiseaseProf. Frank Kozielski
Development of inhibitors against the human kinesin Kif14, a potential target for drug development in cancer chemotherapyProf. Frank Kozielski
Vaccine fibres: developing new formulations for safe and effective inculcation of immunityDr 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 developmentDr 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 hypercholesterolemiaDr 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 disabilityDr Sarah Edwards
Generalisability (external validity) of RCTs for antiretroviral therapy strategies for the treatment of naïve and experienced HIV-positive patientsDr Alejandro Arenas-Pinto
Delineating a role for endothelium-derived C-type natriuretic peptide in the pathogenesis of septic shockProfessor Adrian Hobbs
Physicochemical properties and metabolic fate of tetrathiomolybdate (TTM), a copper chelator and sulphide donor.Dr Alex Dyson
Clinical Research Activity in the EUDr 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 expressionDr Andrew Williams
Cardiac MRIDr 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 TetrathiomolybdateProfessor Mervyn Singer
Development of a novel caspase 3-specific radiotracer for the detection of apoptosis in response to chemotherapyProfessor Barbara Pedley
Development of a Cardiac Patch Using the Novel Nanocomposite Polymer POSS-PCUProfessor Alexander Seifalian
Persisting blood propofol levels in the critically ill and levels of sedation following the termination of a long term (>72 hours) infusionProfessor Mervyn Singer
Klotho gene variants that can protect from adverse outcomes in CKDDr 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 strokeDr Daniel Stuckey
Research Departments

UCL has a vast number of research departments who may be able to offer a research project to our students:



How does the MRes differ from the MSc?

The Master of Research (MRes) programme, while containing some taught elements, focuses more on research skills. It will provide an excellent introduction to research methods and will provide a good preparation for post-doctoral study. MRes students will complete a 105 credit research project, while the MSc students will complete a 60 credit research project.


What are you looking for in prospective students?

This course requires a medical degree or a UK bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject (biological science, biomedicine, biophysics, chemistry, medicine), awarded with first or upper second-class honours. If you did not study your degree in the UK, please see our International Equivalences page.

If English is not your first language, you'll also have to provide evidence of your language ability, see more on our English Language Requirements page. This course requires "Standard". You may also wish to consider the UCL Pre-Master's in Biomedical and Medical Sciences, a preparation course for applicants with a conditional offer (based on English language) for this degree. 


Where can this course lead me in terms of careers and employability?

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:

The following students are alumni of this course:
"This programme extensively covered all aspects of drug development, from preclinical research to drug regulation and safety particularly focusing towards clinical pharmacology. Lecturers were experts from a wide range of backgrounds including academic staff, medics, scientists, marketing and legal professionals within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as from the regulatory authorities such as the MHRA. This allowed us to network with a variety of different people, which was particularly useful when exploring different career options and thesis opportunities. Course staff were easily accessible and this was beneficial throughout the whole course and for the final dissertation, where we were given huge flexibility in choosing our research topic." Giuseppe Pasculli, 2017-18
"My decision to study this course stemmed from my desire to gain significant practical experience as a scientific researcher. The programme offers taught modules in all aspects of drug development, clinical trial design and statistics by top academics and industry professionals that equip and prepare you to achieve most from your laboratory project. My laboratory project was based on developing novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques to help increase efficiency of preclinical drug development in rodent models of ischemic stroke. This project was a lot of hard work and I was rewarded with a nomination for the UCL Dean’s Research Award 2014 and also presented my work at an international MRI conference. I have now secured a doctoral position in medical imaging sciences looking at brain function in response to pharmacological substrates in Diabetic patients. I found that all the tutors and staff were dedicated to help us achieve and strongly suggest this course to anyone interested in understanding the drug industry."  Jed Wingrove, 2014-15


Where does this course take place?

The course is taught on campys in Bloomsbury, the heart of London. We do not offer any online or distance courses at this time.


When does the course run?

The term dates shown below are for 2021/22:

First term     Monday 27 September 2021 to Friday 17 December 2021
Second termMonday 10 January 2022 to Friday 25 March 2022
Third termMonday 25 April 2022 to Friday 10 June 2022

Students on full-time Masters programmes study for a full calendar year and students are expected to study beyond the end of the third term to prepare their dissertation in time for submission at the end of August.


How much does it cost?

The tuition fees shown below are for 2021/22*:

Fee StatusCost
* Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary.


Wondering how to fund your Master's at UCL? Watch a video on YouTube to learn about available funding options: How to fund your Master’s at UCL

Further information on fees can be viewed on the UCL Fees page. If you're unsure of your fee status, please see our Student Fee Status page and for funding opportunities visit our Scholarships and Funding page. Practical advice for prospective EU students concerning Brexit, as well as links to further information on the topic can be found here.

The Division of Medicine is offering bursaries of £5000 each to students on MRes Clinical Drug Development. 

For full information and to apply, please read and complete an application form and return to Nick Bone by 31st July 2021.

Download: bursaryapplicationform2021-22.doc



How do I apply?

Applications for 2021/22 will be open from 9th November 2020 until 30th July 2021.

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places and those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines. We also recommend students who would require a Tier 4 visa to apply early to avoid delay.

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