Pharmacology BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Pharmacology
Do you want to be at the forefront of pharmacological science, working in an industry that makes a positive impact to our society? Whether you want to develop and test new drugs or work on marketing strategies for the next advancement in medicine, this is the course for you.
We’ve been teaching this BSc (Hons) Pharmacology degree course for more than 40 years. You’ll graduate with the skills you need to get started in the ever-evolving pharmacology industry.
This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, which means your qualification is recognised in the industry. This gives you an edge over those who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.
You can also apply for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Biology when you complete the course. This gives you membership benefits including access to professional networks and conferences.
95% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE, 2017)
100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Use our pharmacology, chemistry and microbiology laboratories
- Explore new techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, such as DNA drugs, and investigate areas like how cells communicate with each other
- Use our specialist facilities, which include live cell imaging, spectroscopy equipment, chromatography instruments, molecular modelling facilities, chemical synthesis facilities, and confocal, electron and fluorescence microscopes
You can also:
- Join one of our internationally-recognised research groups
- Apply to the Erasmus+ exchange scheme, which involves a summer research placement at a European university
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our careers and employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work.
What can you do with a Pharmacology degree?
You’ll be able to start a career in all areas of the pharmaceutical industry, including:
- drug development and testing
- medical writing
- marketing and sales
- regulatory affairs
What jobs can you do with a Pharmacology degree?
Roles you could do include:
- clinical trial assistant/administrator
- pharmacovigilance officer
- R&D scientist/technician
- secondary school teacher (with additional training)
- regulatory executive
- operations scientist
- research associate
You can also continue your studies at postgraduate level, or set up a business with help and support from the University.
After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
The responsiveness of the professors to any questions is very helpful and their support has prepared me for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Pharmacology degree
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
Core modules in this year include:
- Cells to Systems
- Introduction to Formulation
- Introduction to Neuroscience and Pharmacology
- Key Skills
- Laboratory Skills and Analytical Techniques
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Biomedical Toolbox for Pharmacologists
- Immunology, Inflammatory Diseases & Infective Organisms
- Neuroscience, Endocrine and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology
- Pharmacokinetics & Data Analysis
- Respiratory, Renal & Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- Business for Biosciences
- Enzymes and Metabolism
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Antimicrobial and Antineoplastic Agents
- Cellular & Molecular Drug Targets
- Drug Development & Clinical Pharmacology
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- Erasmus+ Laboratory Based Work Experience
- Laboratory Based Work Experience
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Izzy took her BSc (Hons) Pharmacology degree studies abroad through our ERASMUS+ programme, find out what else she loves about University of Portsmouth.
Sophie is President of our Pharmaceutical society, and wants to eventually complete a PhD in the field. Find out why Sophie is thriving at the University of Portsmouth.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- diagnostic tests
- written assignments
- oral and poster presentations
- online tests
- group-based assessments
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities, including a summer research placement at a European university, that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.
Teaching activities on this course include:
- practical laboratory work
- guided reading
All of the modules you'll take are fully supported by online lecture and study materials, and our academic staff will share their expertise in practice and research.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your pharmacology degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, workshops and tutorials for about 13.5 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Extra learning support
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.
Learning support tutors
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
Academic skills support
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.
BSc (Hons) Pharmacology degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- CCC-BBB from A levels, or equivalent, to include Biology or Chemistry, plus a second pure Science subject or Mathematics. Applied Science not accepted. For A levels which include a separate science practical component, a pass is desirable and may strengthen an application.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
Tuition fees (2020 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £16,400 (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
You’ll get free safety equipment at the start of the course. However, you may have to pay a small amount to replace lost or damaged equipment.
If you take optional work-based learning units, you’ll need to pay for travel to and from placements, which normally costs around £50.
How to apply
To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – B210
- our institution code – P80
If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.