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Pharmacology (with foundation year) BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • Typical Offer: 72 UCAS tariff points
  • UCAS Code(s): B213 (full-time)
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • Duration: Four years full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus


You’ll develop core bioscience and study skills during your foundation year using an active and collaborative approach to your learning. This builds your confidence before you move onto BSc (Hons) Pharmacology in Year Two. You’ll learn the science of drugs and how they have an impact on living systems and help to fight and control disease. Through guest lectures and practical classes that mimic assays performed in the pharmaceutical industry, you’ll develop a deep understanding of the drug discovery process.

As well as giving you loads of practical experience, you’ll get an extra qualification recognised by industry and backed by the UK Government to address the shortage of pharmacological expertise.

If you change your mind at the end of your foundation year you can transfer onto one of our other BSc Bioscience courses at NTU.

Why study Pharmacology at NTU?

Develop your portfolio

While at NTU you’ll create a skills portfolio in which you’ll showcase evidence of techniques and skills you’ve mastered. This portfolio allows you to document the development of your skills throughout your degree. They are a valuable tool when you graduate too, as they can be used to show future employers you are ready to work in a professional pharmacology environment.

Research informed teaching

Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. During your final year research project you’ll get to work closely with a research-active member of staff. Your project will focus on a specific area within their research, so you’ll gain valuable experience. For example, Dr Zahraa Al-Ahmady has been working using nanoparticles to deliver vital drugs to the brains of stroke patients.

During your final year research project, you’ll work closely with a member of staff, either on an aspect of their research or in their general area. You may be asked to help develop a new idea that can be incorporated into future research or help with our teaching. You’ll be working on real-world problems and gaining valuable experience at the same time.

Get industry experience

Through group work and the Introduction to Pharmacology module, you’ll start designing your own experiments and trying things out. Developing problem-solving skills by testing and learning are valuable graduate-level skills and we make sure you get this experience right from the start of your degree. The course has been designed to comply with the British Pharmacological Society guidelines so you’ll be developing the right skills and learning the theory needed to work in the pharmaceutical industry or in pharmacology research.

We’ve also embedded employability skills in your degree course, so you are not only learning theory and skills, but you know where to find your dream job and how to apply for it.

Take a work placement

Placements tell future employers you know how to do it as well as why. Our industry connections as well as the support you'll get from our Employability team all add up to a valuable work placement experience.

In Year Three, you’ll be encouraged to take a year-long placement overseas, or in the UK. You'll be supported throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary during your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Meet our staff

Whether your interest is working in research or in the industry we have experienced teaching and technical staff who have close links with the pharmaceutical industry. This means you are learning the most relevant theory and techniques and their contacts help you find great placement opportunities and guest speakers. We also bring in guest lecturers (many of which are NTU Pharmacology graduates) to provide an industry perspective. They’ll be teaching you the latest thinking in pharmacology.

In your final year, you’ll work on an individual research project. You’ll work closely with a member of staff and your project will be linked to their research area. This means you’ll be getting a real experience of research in practice which will look great on your CV.

Course accreditation

Professional accreditation
The Royal Society of Biology has accredited this course. Accreditation is a seal of approval from professional bodies and our assurance to you that your degree is relevant and valued by industry.

  • Royal Society of Biology logo

What you’ll study

You’ll learn how medicines as diverse as aspirin and penicillin work to cure or relieve common illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, asthma and Alzheimer’s Disease. This will be put into context by comparing it to the normal physiology of the human body. Drugs of abuse, both legal (e.g. alcohol) and illegal (e.g. cocaine and amphetamines) and their effects are studied you’ll also consider the legislation in place to control these substances. All material studied in this course is designed to comply with the British Pharmacological Society guidelines.

Applied Biology

Using case studies, you’ll consider the science and ethical considerations in bioscience and medical fields, research and therapeutics as well as topical issues in environmental science. In addition to exploring a variety of topics in health and disease such as infectious diseases inherited and non-inheritable disorders, you will touch on therapeutic approaches.

Data Handling and Analysis

This module will use group work and problem-based learning to give you a strong base of mathematical skills can be applied in biosciences. You’ll learn concepts such as rearranging equations, concentration calculations, metric prefixes, probabilities and exponentials through the lens of real-world biology labs and data analysis of disease scenarios.

Introductory Science for Biologists

This module focuses on the key scientific principles of physics and chemistry that are vital to Bioscientists. In the physics part of the module you’ll be introduced to topics such as wave motion, vibration and methods of heat transfer. The Chemistry part of the module covers some inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, providing biochemical foundation knowledge.

Foundation Biology

You’ll be introduced to core concepts across different areas of biology to ensure you have a broad core biology knowledge. Practical classes in our labs put the theory you’ve learned into context and you’ll also learn good laboratory practice, basic laboratory skills and problem-solving.

Professional Practice and Skills

Bioscientists require an understanding, and in many cases experience, of working in a laboratory environment. This module give you a chance to evidence your practical skills as well as drawing on topics and techniques used in other modules. You’ll work on a group project that will give you experience of working on all elements of a project e.g. research , design, development, testing, evaluation and presentation.

Introduction to Biochemistry

Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.

Living Systems

Introduces levels of biological organisation from molecules to cells and ecosystems, providing a platform of knowledge and skills upon which other modules are developed.

Practical Techniques for Biology

Considers the principles of experimental design, data collection and analysis, including techniques in centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, microscopy and radiobiology.

Genetics and Immunology

Develops genetic concepts and introduces basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.

Human Physiology

Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and muscular) and examines the process of homeostasis.

Introduction to Pharmacology

Considers the principles of how drugs work, including factors that affect the magnitude of the response to drugs, specificity of drug action, drug interactions and side effects of drugs.

Core modules:

Drugs of Addiction and Abuse

Develop an understanding of the use of drugs for non-medical purposes, including effects other than those desired by the users. It also introduces legislation controlling the use of substances.


Considers disordered cellular and tissue physiology resulting from disease and drugs that can treat those diseases. You’ll develop an understanding of health and common illnesses.

Pathophysiology of Chronic Disease

You’ll look at the processes involved in maintaining normal physiology in renal, cardiovascular and nervous systems and how the same processes are affected by the disease.

Chemotherapy of Cancer and Infections

Explore the concept of selective toxicity as applicable to the treatment of cancer and infections. You’ll also consider the action of anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal drugs.

Professional Skills for Pharmacology

You’ll study, in detail the drug discovery process from identification and optimisation through to clinical development (trials) and regulatory approval. This will all be explored in the context of current trends in pharmacology such as genomics, ethics and immunotherapeutics.

One module from:


Explore the functions of the different brain regions and neuronal cell types, and relate these to higher brain activities and neuronal function.


Develop concepts of physiological control systems and discover the link between changes in cellular and systemic function.

Core Modules:

Clinical Pharmacology

Learn about drug development and the mode of action of selected drug types. You’ll also look at diseases of the human endocrine system and the advances in cellular and molecular techniques.

Current Topics in Pharmacology

Study recent advances and developments in pharmacology and the research techniques used to study molecular pharmacology.


Considers sources, types and mechanisms of action of selected natural and synthetic toxic chemicals. It also covers how toxicity can be assessed.

Project / Dissertation

You have the option of either completing a 40 credit point project / dissertation,


If your interests lie in a career in teaching or scientific journalism, you can take Communicating Science and Technology (which includes school placements) and a short dissertation.

One module from:

Current Topics in Neuroscience

Discusses current hot topics in molecular and cellular neuroscience, including learning and memory, stem cells, and the molecular basis of certain human neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

Current Topics in Physiology

Discuss advances in molecular, cellular and organ physiology and gain an appreciation of the research techniques used to study Physiology.

Video Gallery

Watch our facility tour video to get an insight into the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course.
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How you’re taught

You will typically study six modules in Year One and Two. Each module involves substantial amounts of practical work, in addition to around 20 one-hour lectures. In your final year, you’ll study five modules and a research project. You will also take part in regular seminars and tutorials to support you with your studies.

Hands-on learning

The course is very practical and you’ll be spending lots of time in our industry-standard laboratories. This is because we believe the amount of time you spend getting hands-on experience in a laboratory is very important to prepare you for the world of work.

You’ll get to use our industry-standard equipment, such as our ECG monitors, PCR machines and fluorescence microscopes, right from the very start of your course. You’ll get to know how a professional lab works and how to follow laboratory processes and protocols used in industry – all valuable skills to have before you graduate.

We have a focus on using digital skills to support you in your practical sessions. For example, you might do an online simulation of the experiment you are going to perform in the lab. This will get you familiar with the techniques and protocols so you can be confident and really make the most of your time in our labs.

Community and support

With support from your lecturers, personal tutors and technical staff, you can be sure we'll be here for you during your studies. Alongside your lectures and lab classes, you’ll also have tutorial sessions. These are a chance to regularly meet in small groups with your personal tutor and members of your course to discuss the topics you are studying.

Got any feedback on your course? You’ll have lots of opportunities to discuss your course, for example in your tutorial sessions, with your course leader and course reps and you even have the chance to feedback on every module you study with an end of module survey.  We love to hear your feedback and how we can make improvements. Following your feedback, we have recently added Professional Skills modules which are specific to the area of biosciences you are studying. We’ve also increased our support for your coursework assignments too, through drop-in sessions accessible when you need them most.

There’s support from your peers too. Our mentoring schemes give you support from other students on your course. Whether you need help with your studies or university life in general, they’ve been there and can give you a students’ perspective. Find out more about the support you’ll receive at NTU.

Research informed teaching

Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. It also informs the subjects you’ll be studying with us so you can be sure your knowledge will be cutting-edge in your field. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) - the UK's system for assessing the quality and impact of research in universities - we’re proud that 99% of NTU’s Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy submission was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study, you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Find out more about the ULP.

Staff Profiles

Sarah Rayment - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Dr Sarah Rayment, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Sciences in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Daniel Dimmock - Academic Associate

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Daniel Dimmock, Academic Associate in the Biosciences department at Nottingham Trent University.

Carl Nelson - Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Carl Nelson, Principal Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Chris Lloyd Mills - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Chris Lloyd Mills, Senior Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Chris Tinsley - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Chris Tinsley, Senior Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Rebecca Dumbell - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Dr Rebecca Dumbell, researcher, chartered scientist and senior lecturer in biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Zahraa Al-Ahmady - Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Dr Zahraa Al-Ahmady, Associate Professor in Advanced Therapy at NTU. Focusing on developing drug delivery systems for neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

Careers and employability

Your career development

Our graduates usually seek research and development positions in the pharmaceutical and related industries including universities and hospitals.

They also work in non-laboratory based activities such as:

  • clinical trials
  • regulatory affairs
  • marketing.

Many of our graduates also choose to study further on our Masters-level courses, MPhil and PhD research degrees.

Our recent graduates have secured roles at companies including:

  • Lloyds Pharmacy
  • Boots Plc
  • Medicine Evaluation Unit
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • ITH Pharma

They have gone into a wide variety of job roles including:

  • Clinical Trials Assistant
  • Laboratory Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Recruitment Consultant
  • Formulation Scientist
  • Assay Development Scientist

Excellent placement opportunities

Top 10 for the number of Pharmacology students on year-long placements (HESA 2021/22)

NTU is one of the most employment-focused universities. Increasingly, employers want to recruit graduates who have real-world work experience. That’s why all of our courses, across every subject area, offer you a work experience opportunity. Our experts help build and support your future with a range of career programmes and events.

On this course, after your second year, you will have the opportunity to take a year's work placement (sandwich placement). This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice. You're also twice as likely to secure a graduate job within six months if you take a work placement.

Our recent students have taken placements across a wide range of companies including Neuro-Bio, GlaxoSmithKline and Replimune. They secured varied roles such as Drug Discover and Biomarker Intern, Regulatory Affairs Intern and Assay Development Scientist.

You'll be supported and assessed throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary at the end of your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Find out more about work placements.

My studies greatly helped with my placement and vice versa. The experience I gained throughout the year has helped a great deal with my final year project.

Joanna Shaw, BSc (Hons) Pharmacology
Placement company – Pfizer

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Where will I study?

Teaching events are held across Clifton Campus and include interactive workshops in spaces specifically designed for collaborative, hands-on learning.

We have the stimulating and creative environment needed to equip students with the knowledge and transferable skills to put them ahead of the graduate crowd. We provide first class facilities that enhance the quality of our education and push the boundaries of our research, these include:

Rosalind Franklin Building

The Rosalind Franklin building provides some of the best laboratory teaching facilities for Bioscience and Chemistry in the UK. The large teaching laboratory space is equipped with modern IT facilities and equipment to ensure that our students get excellent training in practical laboratory techniques and modern analytical methods.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Facility

This facility supports the School's extensive biomedical research activities.

Natural Sciences Research Facility

Natural Sciences Research Facility This facility supports and enhances the School's research in physics, biosciences, chemistry, imaging, materials and sport.

Entry requirements

  • 72 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent
  • GCSE English and Maths grade C / 4

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.

Other qualifications and experience

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form

This course is not open to International applicants who require a Student Visa. For alternative courses please see Nottingham Trent International College.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential textbooks, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

A good supply of these essential textbooks is available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.


If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course.  If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for poster preparation in their final year - estimated costs of approximately £20 -£30.

Laboratory lockers

A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5).

This course is not open to International applicants who require a Student Visa. For alternative courses please see Nottingham Trent International College.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

This course is not open to International applicants who require a Student Visa. For alternative courses please see Nottingham Trent International College.

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