UCL Division of Medicine


MSc Clinical Drug Development

Specialised training in all aspects of Drug Development from current innovations to unmet clinical needs. 

This course offers specialised training in biomedical science  with exposure to leading research scientists, biotechnologists  and the pharmaceutical industry. It provides a foundation for a  career in drug development and a comprehensive programme  in research methodology, the translation of basic research into  therapies into the clinic and the governance, ethical and social implications of health research. 

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Page Contents
1. What will I learn?
      a) MSc
      b) Postgraduate Diploma
      c) Postgraduate Certificate
2. Who is this course for?
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?


This is a full-time programme and students must take modules to the value of 180 credits: six core modules (120 credits) and a research project (60 credits). 

Core ModulesCredit ValueTerm
MEDC0047 Drug Discovery 1301
MEDC0046 Statistical Methods in Research151
MEDC0086 MultiOmics and Ethics151
MEDC0048 Drug Discovery 2302
MEDC0055 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
MEDC0056 Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
MEDC0072 Research Project603
*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 (http://iris.ucl.ac.uk/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



Postgraduate Diploma

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.

Core ModulesCredit ValueTerm
MEDC0047 Drug Discovery 1301
MEDC0046 Statistical Methods in Research151
MEDC0086 MultiOmics and Ethics151
MEDC0048 Drug Discovery 2302
MEDC0055 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
MEDC0056 Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics152
*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.


Postgraduate Certificate

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.

Core ModulesCredit ValueTerm
MEDC0047 Drug Discovery 1301
MEDC0048 Drug Discovery 2302
*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.


Who is this course for?

The programme is suitable for students who wish to gain the skills necessary for world-class healthcare research. Many of our students are doctors, allied health professionals or graduates in biomedical science who wish to pursue a lifelong career in academic health research.

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 this course include:

The following students are alumni of this course:

"During my work as a clinician I became aware about the numerous unmet needs in  medicine. New therapies are continuously designed to be applied to patients, however, no innovation or smart drug can reach clinical application without rationally designed drug development pathways. How do we translate basic science in clinical research? How do we define rational dosing regimens? How do we design efficient and safe clinical trials? Motivated to get involved and work in the field of drug development, I took a one-year break of clinical work on the aim to deepen my knowledge relevant to the science. I considered that following a one-year MSc programme, offered by a top ranked University, would benefit me a lot. The MSc programme in Clinical Drug Development offered by UCL, fulfilled all professional needs and expectations. The lectures were outstanding and provided me sound scientific knowledge in the field. In addition, the research opportunities were remarkable. I had the opportunity to lead a novel scientific project which was published the same year in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Following completion of my studies I started working as Medical Advisor in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Overall, the MSc Clinical Drug Development not only provided me with state of the art knowledge but also accelerated my career development."

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Orestis Briasoulis, 2015-16

"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, 2012-13

"Having completed my Foundation Training after Medical School I sought to build on my academic skills for my future career in Academic Medicine. I was attracted by the scope of the teaching modules related to drug development. I was familiar with prescribing drugs for every day clinical practice but wished to learn more about the process of development to better understand both the use and limitations of medications used in clinical practice. I was particularly impressed by the high standard of the lectures given. Each lecture was delivered by interested and knowledgeable faculty often with international renown. With a clinical  background I was initially daunted by the research project however as I completed the taught components of the MSc I felt thoroughly prepared to undertake a project. The statistical course has provided me with core skills to further pursue research. I am currently completing my Internal Medicine training and about to start Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at one of the leading academic Fellowship programs in the United States. During this training I will spend a year dedicated to clinical research and will further use the skills developed during my time at UCL."

Daniel Howell, 2016-17


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*:

Postgraduate Diploma£9,530£19,000
Postgraduate Certificate£4,770£9,500
* 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 MSc 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 31st May 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.

Apply Now