Drug Discovery and Pharma Management MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc was introduced as a spin-off from the MSc Drug Discovery in response to the increasing opportunities which now exist for research scientists who can evaluate the business potential of their science as well as generate the science itself. The changing landscape of the Pharma world has increased the need for scientists with business knowledge.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or higher in a related subject such as pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, physiology, physical science, biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry, chemical engineering, genetics, material sciences, or a medical degree (MBBS), or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This MSc combines a full overview of the whole drug discovery and development process with the addition of a core module in pharma management and business development skills.

Who this course is for

This programme is designed for graduates in science-based subjects who wish to combine science with management and who are looking for a career in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, CRO or consulting industry.

What this course will give you

You will be exposed to modern platforms for drug discovery and methods of drug synthesis. The programme includes lectures and seminars from industry-based scientists and visits to industrial and biotechnological research laboratories. It covers marketing, licensing and the regulatory affairs that form an integral part of the development process.

You will investigate published case studies, research data and methodologies in drug discovery and development. 

The Pharma Management component is taught by many leading external industry and regulatory specialists. Career opportunities after this degree are vast and there are organised career days and Alumni networking events to help students become more aware of possible careers.

The foundation of your career

Recent graduates have found positions in areas such as clinical services, regulatory affairs, financial and data management, marketing, research and development. Many graduates are undertaking PhDs in leading universities. Others are working in research institutes or government agencies.


On completing the MSc Drug Discovery and Pharma Management programme, you will be prepared for careers in the various management and business aspects of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, CRO or consulting industries. You will be prepared for a higher level of study such as PhD.


Students have the opportunity to meet students and academic staff from across the School of Pharmacy and the wider UCL community. There are several events, lectures, and symposia held throughout the year. There may also be opportunities to attend conferences.

Teaching and learning

The programme will be delivered principally by lectures given by both internal academic staff and a number of external experts in the drug discovery field. The latter will be active researchers or professionals working in high-profile private or public institutions/industries or organisations. Students will be required to analyse data for their written coursework, and oral and poster presentations as part of the assignments for the different modules of the programme. This will include data generation through conducting hands-on exercises during laboratory and computational practicals and reviewing the current literature, while developing critical thinking and soft skills essential for a career in the pharmaceutical industry and academic environment. The coursework assignments will be done individually and/or in groups. Students will be required to instigate or contribute to original research studies, generate new data and report their work in a written dissertation and oral presentation. Students will also have the opportunity to explore conducting their final research project with relevant industrial partners where they can apply their skills and gain valuable experience.

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars. Assessment is through a combination of written examinations and coursework, including the dissertation

In term 1, students need to complete all the mandatory teaching linked to 2 mandatory 30-credit modules. There are typically around 15 hours per week of taught classes between both modules. During a 3 week period, the students will need to attend 3 workshop sessions (1 session per week) lasting 7 hours. There are also 2 laboratory sessions that will last from 9am to 4pm approximately.

In term 2, students will take 1 mandatory 30-credit module, plus 2 optional 15-credit modules, making a total of approximately 20 hours per week of taught classes.

In term 3, students will be working on the completion of their 60-credit module called Dissertation. Typically the students work on their project around 25-30 hours per week. This is a research project that will be conducted either in the School of Pharmacy or with industrial partners.


You will take compulsory modules in the Process of Drug Discovery, the Process of Drug Development and Modern Aspects of Drug Discovery. You will follow a specialist module in Pharma Management that gives a deeper insight into the regulatory and commercial aspects of management in the pharmaceutical industry. The specialist module covers topics such as Research and Clinical Development, Intellectual property, Commercial Teams, Global Regulatory Affairs, Agencies, Hearings and Approvals, Risk Management, Post Approval Obligations, Commercialisation, Product Design and Launch for Market, Pharma Company Structure, Industrial Relations, Investor Relations, Strategic Partnering and Business Development, Due Diligence, Financial Analysis, Business Case, Communication Skills and Sales and Marketing.

The programme covers marketing, licensing and regulatory affairs but specialises in management training and awareness and Strategic Partnering and Business Development skills. You will complete your studies with a research or business development project in one of these areas. MSc graduates from these UCL programmes are thus highly skilled scientists capable of taking important roles in the pharma industry.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Drug Discovery and Pharma Management.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific additional costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • How your academic and professional background meets the demands of Drug Discovery and Pharma Management
  • Why you want to study Drug Discovery and Pharma Management at graduate level
  • What particularly attracts you to this programme at the UCL School of Pharmacy
  • Where you would like to go professionally with your degree and how this programme meets these needs

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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