Undergraduate prospectus 2022


Pharmacology BSc

The subject of pharmacology is immensely broad and covers areas of physiology, chemistry, neuroscience, biochemistry, and genetics. This flexible three-year programme offers a thorough training in the subject and students retain the option of applying to transfer to the MSci at the end of year two.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2022
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
26 January 2022
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Life and Health Sciences, Mathematics or Physics.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B or 6.

Contextual offer

ABB (more about contextual offers)
Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Life and Health Sciences, Mathematics or Physics.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B or 6.

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. For Mathematics, the programme will accept either 'Analysis and Approaches' or 'Applications and Interpretation' at higher level.

Contextual offer

34 (more about contextual offers)
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. For Mathematics, the programme will accept either 'Analysis and Approaches' or 'Applications and Interpretation' at higher level.

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

UCL 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: 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.

  • It is our aim to combine excellence in 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 team to carry out your own research project.

  • We offer modern, state-of-the-art 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).

In the first year, all modules are compulsory, giving you a solid foundation to draw on during years two and three. Year two mainly comprises compulsory work, including both practical classes and lectures, but you will have a choice for one of your modules. In your final year you have only one compulsory module, leaving you free to pursue your interests by choosing from a wide range of advanced, specialist options such as psychopharmacology and immunopharmacology.

Each year you will study modules worth a total of 120 credits.  Large modules, typically running over terms one and two, account for 30 credits while smaller modules account for 15 credits.

Many students undertake a nine-week laboratory research project in their final year. This provides an opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the most outstanding scientists in the field. 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 applying to take a year out in industry.  This is taken between years two and three, spending your time in the pharmaceutical industry or another pharmacology-related area. These placements are not guaranteed because they are offered by industry on a competitive basis, but contacts between our staff and colleagues in industry often open up many opportunities.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology.


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 is subject to change.

Compulsory module(s)

  • An Introduction to Mechanisms of Drug Action
  • Mammalian Physiology
  • Chemistry for Biologists
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Cells and Development
  • Statistics

Core foundational modules

All first year modules are compulsory.

Compulsory module(s)

  • General & Systematic Pharmacology
  • Experimental Pharmacology 
  • Structure and Function of the Nervous System 
  • Immunology
  • Essential Protein Structure and Function or Essential Molecular Biology 

Optional modules

Options may include:

  • Cellular Neurobiology
  • Essential Protein Structure and Function
  • Essential Molecular Biology
  • Languages (with Programme Tutor approval)

Compulsory module(s)

Molecular Pharmacology (15 credits)

Plus either:
Laboratory Research Project (45 credits)
Library Research Project (30 credits)

Optional modules

You will select either 60 or 75 credits from a wide range of optional modules, depending on which research project you choose. Options may include:

  • Drug Design and Development
  • Immunopharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Receptor Mechanisms
  • Synaptic Pharmacology: The Synapse, a Major Site of Disease and Drug Action

Your learning

Teaching is mainly conducted through lectures and laboratory classes together with regular 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.

Detailed module descriptions are available on the department website: Pharmacology BSc.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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, equipping you with a versatility that will be attractive to many employers.

As with any science degree, our graduates can move into many types of employment including financial and managerial professions, scientific publishing, teaching, law and health administration (e.g., the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency). Pharmacology also occupies a privileged position because there is a pharmaceutical industry involving drug safety, drug research, drug sales and patent law.

A number of our students also go on to further study.  For example, some go on to study medicine.  Others opt to take an MSc, often in some form of pharmaceutical management to complement their existing knowledge and to open up further career options in the pharmaceutical industry. 

UCL is committed 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 2022/23 academic year. The UK 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 2022/23 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK students
£9,250 (2022/23)
Overseas students
£29,400 (2022/23)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students will need to purchase a lab coat.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).


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

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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: 26 January 2022


Candidates who receive an offer (either conditional or unconditional) will be invited to attend an Offer Holder's Open Day at UCL. Attendance is optional, but the open day will provide you with further information about UCL and an opportunity to hear a research talk.  There will usually be tours of UCL as well and a visit to a laboratory facility. You can also meet and talk to the Admissions Tutor and some of our 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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 25 November 2021