Pharmacology is the study of drug actions on living systems; where they act, what they do, how they are metabolised, and how they exert toxic effects. Understanding all of this requires studying drug actions at levels ranging from the single molecule to the whole organism. Pharmacology is therefore a very broad discipline, taking in aspects of molecular biology, chemistry, physiology and neuroscience. This course examines both the actions of current drugs and the development of new drugs. You will spend your third year on a placement with one of our partner organisations in the UK or overseas.
Student satisfaction across the Faculty of Life Sciences is excellent - overall, our courses scored an average of 93% compared to the national average of 84%, but we work hard to continually improve the student experience in consultation with our students. We have recently implemented new initiatives which we are confident will have a direct positive impact on students studying Pharmacology. These include a refurbishment of the Faculty dissecting rooms, library and student common room, as well as a new electronic marking system to speed up both the quality and turnaround time on marking of written assignments.
The pharmaceutical industry is the UK's top research sector. One-quarter of the world's top medicines were developed in the UK. The pharmaceutical industry spends around £8.8 billion on UK research and development, and employs around 26,000 people. A further 250,000 people work in related industries, so all this adds up to a whole lot of career opportunities.
- You can transfer between most of our life sciences degree programmes at the end of your first year, and in some cases later.
- You can opt on, or off, the industrial/professional placement year.
- Foundation Year available.
For full details on the modules available please see the Course Modules
You will gain a broad introduction to the Life Sciences covering key concepts including; genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience. This year also provides an introduction to the essential data handling and laboratory skills required by all Life Scientists.
You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. You will undertake a dissertation. During the Research Skills unit, you have the opportunity to carry out techniques which are widely used in current Life Science research.
Spent on placement. We have over 200 partner organisations including pharmaceutical companies, research institutes and hospitals. Pharmacology students have recently had placements with organisations including Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH & Co KG in Germany and the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research. We have recently expanded our range of placements to reflect the growing range of science careers outside of the laboratory in science enterprise, education and communication:
- Industrial/professional research
- undertake a research project usually in an industrial or international research institution.
- undertake placements in at least two different educational environments gaining experience of teaching and learning in different age groups.
- spend a year working in a biotechnology start up or technology transfer company gaining valuable training, skills, experience and contacts.
- Science communication
- work in an organisation that communicates science such as a medical writing company, media office or museum.
The Faculty of Life Sciences is unique in providing such a range of placements to our students.
Spent on placement. More information on industrial/professional experience placements.
Final year topics reflect the current hotspots of bioscience endeavour and the research interests of staff and are therefore being constantly updated. You will undertake an independent in-depth research project - this may involve practical work in a research laboratory or you may choose to work on eLearning, educational, data-analysis, bioinformatics or enterprise topics:
Final year projects
Graduates from 'with industrial/professional experience' programmes are extremely desirable to employers who require significant relevant work experience. Many of our graduates secure jobs as researchers working in universities, pharmaceutical and bioscience companies and institutes. Some of our graduates progress into laboratory-based careers in clinical or technical roles which do not involve research. The transferable skills you will develop will also leave you well equipped for a wide range of careers outside the life sciences. The in-vivo training that these graduates have undertaken makes them especially attractive to pharmaceutical companies.Life Sciences roles of recent graduates included:
- Research co-ordinator for the NHS
- Research Assistant at biotechnology company
- Sales co-ordinator for pharmaceutical company
- Business Development co-ordinator for a biotechnology company
- Seed Technician for a biotechnology company
- Junior In Vivo Scientist at a pharmaceutical company
- Laboratory Assistant at a university
Non Life Sciences roles of recent graduates included:
- Volunteer Teacher in Africa
- Trainee Accountant
Pharmacology Graduate Profile: Annie, Management and Technology Analyst
For information on the range of career options available please see the Faculty of Life Sciences Careers page
The Pharmacology course definitely has the most interesting practicals! These range from testing to see how alcohol affects your ability to concentrate and your hand-eye coordination, to seeing the physical and mental affects of Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) ... all within a controlled environment!
For an in depth look at the course you can watch a Pharmacology student's video profie: Cath Eagle's video profile
Selected entry requirements
English language: Either GCSE grade C, IELTS 6.5 (with not less than 6.5 in any component) or an equivalent qualification.
- You must have a grade A in one of - Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths.
- Your subjects should include 2 `hard sciences' - Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths.
- If your grades are AAB or higher we will accept Geography, Psychology, Environmental Studies or PE in place of one of the hard sciences.
- General Studies is welcomed, but is not normally included as part of the offer.
AS-level: 2 AS levels are acceptable in place of the third non-science A-level.
Unit grade information: The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit grade information which, like all other available information, will inform the consideration of applications. Unit grades will not normally form part of offer conditions, except for Mathematics programmes.
GCSE: Minimum grade C in English Language and Mathematics.
Key Skills qualification: The University warmly welcomes applications from students studying the Key Skills qualification. However, as the opportunities to take these modules are not open to all applicants, currently this is not an essential requirement of the University.
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1, A1, A1, A1, B1 to A2, A2, A2, A2, B2. A's must be in Biology, Maths and Chemistry.
Scottish Highers: AAAAA - AAABB including 3 science subjects.
Scottish Advanced Highers: AAA-AAB including 2 science subjects, normally Biology and Chemistry.
Welsh Baccalaureate: AA - AB in 2 science subjects, normally Biology and Chemistry. Plus a pass in the core component.
European Baccalaureate: You will need an award of EB at 75%-80% or above overall, with a minimum of 7.5-8 in 3 written subjects including 2 science subjects. In addition all applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English Language. We accept a score of a minimum of 6 at Year 7 (or a miniumum of 7.5 at Year 6) in English Language in the EB or a separate English Language qualification.
AQA Baccalaureate: The University welcomes applications from students studying the AQA Baccalaureate qualification. As the qualification is not available to all applicants it is not currently an essential requirement of the University but, like all other available information, will inform the consideration of applications.
Other international entry requirements:
For country specific entry requirements for this course please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office within the Faculty of Life Sciences.
BTEC National Diploma: BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science or Applied Science (Medical Science) with Distinctions in 120 credits from the following units: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 43.
Access to HE Diploma: Overall 60 credits are required with 45 at level 3. The level 3 units must be made up of 15 credits in Biology with a Distinction grade, 15 credits in Chemistry with a Distinction grade and a further 15 credits with Distinction.
Advanced Placement tests: The University welcomes applicants with the AP qualification. Such applications will be considered on an individual basis.
Applicants are expected to achieve D3,D3,D3 to D3, M1, M1 in the Cambridge Pre-U.
The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Research (GPR) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. The qualification can form part of your offer condition when taken in combination with two science A'Levels or equivalent.
Diploma: The University of Manchester welcomes the introduction of the level 3 specialised diplomas. We look forward to providing guidance regarding progression opportunities and subject and grade requirements when further details on equivalences are published
Other entry requirements: Applications from mature applicants are welcomed and all such applications are considered on an individual basis.
Applications from the EU are considered on the basis of the UCAS form and then short-listed candidates are normally interviewed.
Applications from outside the EU are considered on the basis of the UCAS form, some candidates may be interviewed.
All Applicants who live in the EU are normally interviewed in person at the University. Applicants who live outside the EU will be interviewed either; in person at the University, by Skype or by telephone.
Applications for deferred entry are considered equally to other applications up to the point of confirmation. Deferred entry is granted on the discretion of admissions staff, and is normally granted for one year only and 2 years at the maximum. Some English Language test results, such as IELTS or TOEFL, are only valid for two years from the test date.
The University will consider applicants who have re-sat individual modules.If you have re-sat your final examinations we will consider your application but may require further information in order to make an informed academic judgement on your application.
If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.
We use a wide range of teaching methods to suit the content and aims of each course unit:
: Regular sessions with an advisor and small group of students develop your oral and written communication, IT, teamworking and problem-solving skills whilst exploring topics related to your degree discipline.
: Delivered to audiences ranging from 20 to 500 students using technology such as PowerPoint, video and interactive voting.
: Our virtual learning environment provides learning resources on demand (discussion boards, lecture podcasts, quizzes) to enhance and support your lecture based units.
: Undertake modern experimental techniques to develop laboratory, experimental design, and data analysis skills.
: Examine and debate topical areas of research to develop your critical thinking and communication skills.
: Carry out an independent research project which could be lab-based or in a number of other formats for example planning a new bioscience enterprise or an education project.
Download a typical first year timetable
The degree programme is modular. You will study compulsory course units and are able to choose some optional units. Most units are assigned 10 credits, you will take 120 credits each year, and an average mark is calculated from the percentage attained in each unit. The methods of assessment vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study.
- Lecture units are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based) which are held at the end of an academic semester in either January or May/June.
- Field courses are usually assessed via oral and written presentations, group-work and/or projects
- Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment.
- The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.
If you wish to continue on the 'with language' or 'industrial/professional experience' programme you must normally obtain a mean mark of at least 60% in your first year.
Lecture units are usually assessed by eLearning activities (during the unit) and multiple choice exams (at the end of the semester).
Lecture units usually assessed by essay based exam and your tutorial unit is assessed by a dissertation.
You will complete a scientific report and undergo an oral examination on your researcg that contributes 10% to your overall degree mark. You will be marked out of 110% for your whole degree.
Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam. Students also take two 'honours' papers; degree programme-specific examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems. A significant part of the year (accounting for one quarter of the overall degree mark) is the project, which is assessed by literature review and a written report.
Our modern teaching labs are equipped for a range of biological and biomedical techniques. The following are just a few of the techniques you could undertake during your degree:
- polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
- DNA sequencing
- gel electrophoresis
- dissection and histology
- electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG)
- immunofluorescence microscopy
Our computing facilities include access to over 200 PC's in dedicated clusters and eLearning tools including online lecture notes, discussion boards, lecture podcasts and quizzes.
Our experimental grounds include a variety of plants and controlled growing conditions used in research. These facilities complement resources at the Manchester Museum where you have access to important natural history collections
and a tropical frog conservation centre
As a final year student you have the opportunity to undertake a project in the labs of our world class life science researchers. To support our research we have extensive research facilities
which include state of the art equipment.
The John Rylands University Library
is one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the country, housing 4 million printed books and manuscripts, over 41,000 electronic journals and 500,000 electronic books.
Practical support and advice for current students and applicants from the Disability Support Office. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org