Pharmacology MBiol, BSc
Year of entry 2023
- UCAS code
- Start date
- September 2023
- Delivery type
- On campus
- 4 years full time
- Work placement
- Study abroad
- Typical A-level offer
- AAA (specific subject requirements)
- Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements
Do you want to learn how drugs work in the body, how they are discovered and developed for human use, and how they can sometimes have unwanted effects? Pharmacology is the scientific study of drugs or medicines and is therefore essential to all medical disciplines and the treatment of disease.
You’ll develop skills relevant to the pharmaceutical industry that will in-turn help to address global challenges, such as tackling antibiotic resistance. Alternatively, your interests may lie in discovering new drugs to treat Ebola and Covid-19; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; and diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In addition to being provided with a broad knowledge and understanding of the principal body systems, processes and functions in health and disease, you will have the opportunity to discover and explore individual areas of pharmacology in more depth such as psychopharmacology, antiviral therapy, cancer therapy and molecular pharmacology for example.
Our focus will be on making you workplace ready, equipped with the knowledge, skills and attributes required to succeed in whatever career you choose to go onto. To showcase your knowledge to potential employers, you will undertake a capstone or culminating research project, where you will bring together the knowledge, skills and attributes developed throughout your degree and apply it with ultimate aim of creating a solution to this problem.
You will be involved in active learning approaches including critical thinking, creative problem solving, team-working and mini-projects to progressively develop the key skills and attributes required by Pharmacology graduates.
This integrated Masters (MBiol) gives you an additional year of specialist training. You will study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project within one of the major research laboratories in the School of Biomedical Sciences or an appropriate period of work based practice. You may also choose to apply for our 3 year BSc and transfer to an MBiol up until the end of your second year, subject to suitable academic performance.
Designed to give a broad scientific foundation and key graduate skills for those interested in pharmacology.
Benefit from our pharmaceutical industry partnerships through guest lectures from international companies such as Labcorp and AstraZeneca.
Delivered using inspirational, engaging and inclusive approaches. Develop the key skills and attributes of a global graduate, able to contribute biomedical solutions to the global challenges facing humankind.
Develop experimental skills in specialised laboratories. Experimental skills modules throughout the first 2 years train you to identify problems, design and conduct experiments to find answers to key biomedical and pharmacological questions.
The opportunity to undertake an extended capstone research project under the supervision of a field-leading academic, further developing the key skills and attributes that will set you apart in the graduate job market and in application for postgraduate research degrees (e.g. PhD).
Pharmacology is a specialist degree within the School of Biomedical Sciences, which offers you flexibility throughout your time studying at Leeds.
Many of our School of Biomedical Sciences degree courses share the same set of compulsory modules in the first year. A key benefit of having a common first year is that at the end of year 1, there are opportunities to transfer onto degree courses in Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience and Human Physiology, Physical Activity and Health, subject to approval. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.
Here at the University of Leeds, we are acutely aware that teaching is only part of a healthy, engaging university lifestyle. Activities which contribute to your wellbeing are vital, and so we have created Wednesday Wellbeing Afternoons.
These afternoons are a period of time with as much teaching as possible removed to give you the chance to pursue your passions. This may be a competitive sport for the university, a social sporting activity, or indeed any activity which contributes to positive mental health. We want your degree to be as flexible as possible so that you can make the most of your time here with us.
Accredited by The Royal Society of Biology
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.
This accreditation is applicable to the following course variants: BSc Pharmacology (Industrial); MBiol Pharmacology; MBiol Pharmacology(Industrial); MBiol Pharmacology (International).
You will be introduced to a range of topics to commence your understanding of pharmacology and equip you with a broad knowledge across the biomedical sciences. This broad approach will develop many translatable key skills and attributes in the pharma-sector.
Topics will include essential anatomy and physiology of human systems, molecular biology and biochemistry of the cell, microbiology, neuroscience, as well as pharmacology. This is delivered in a structured and facilitated way to support your learning.
You’ll also develop the fundamental practical laboratory skills and techniques that will underpin the rest of your studies, and essential academic and professional skills to help you progress successfully through the course and into further study or employment.
There is the opportunity in year 1 to take optional modules to focus your pharmacology degree programme in the subject areas you are most interested in and across the biosciences.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure may offer you the opportunity to transfer onto other suitable, related degree courses.
Human systems and health (20 credits) – An introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the main human body systems and how we maintain health. This module will discuss topics such as the cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular systems. The module will include students working in teams to apply their knowledge to create solutions to problem-based case studies.
The basis of life (20 credits) – An understanding of the molecular basis of human life. This module will discuss molecular processes and cell structures, and their critical role in determining how humans function and survive. It will explore the biochemical basis of key physiological functions, for example, in muscles and how these change during physical activity.
Introductory concepts in biomedical sciences (20 credits) – To build a core knowledge of the biomedical sciences, key topics and concepts are covered including in pharmacology and neuroscience. These will include an understanding of key concepts in pharmacology, for example, how medicines work to overcome disease, and the development and functioning of the nervous system.
Practical research skills in pharmacology (20 credits) – Students will develop fundamental practical laboratory and associated skills. This module will cover the introductory laboratory and scientific skills that are essential for experimental design, execution and reporting of practical work in pharmacology. This module will equip students with a range of scientific research skills that will underpin their work in subsequent years.
Academic and professional skills addressing global challenges (20 credits) – Whilst focussing on addressing key challenges within Biomedical Sciences, students will develop essential academic and personal skills. Students will work as a team to research and create pharmacology solutions to a national or global challenge or problem. They will develop and apply important skills including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, team-working and communication skills
Gain a more detailed exposure to the systems, processes or functions of the body in areas of key research at Leeds through core and optional modules. These will include topics based on the drug treatment of various diseases affecting a broad range of bodily systems. This will include the actions of drugs used to treat cardiovascular and brain disorders. In year 2, there is more choice in the topics you choose within modules.
Modules are taught in an integrated way that brings together normal structure and function with changes in disease and treatment. Advanced pharmacology concept units include aspects of cardiovascular pharmacology, neuropharmacology and molecular pharmacology.
In year 2 the modules are taught in a way that balances facilitated and independent learning. You’ll have a range of optional modules to choose from, including chemotherapy, bioinformatics and human disease. Develop your understanding of research methods and your experimental skills. You will further develop your personal and professional skills including critical thinking, creative problem solving, team-working, critical reasoning skills, and gain further experience of applying your knowledge and skills to evaluate scientific evidence and creating solutions to biomedical problems.
At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.
Advanced pharmacology concept units I (20 credits) – Students can build subject specialist knowledge by choosing concept units they are most interested in studying further. This module builds on Year 1 and prepares students for Specialist Topic units in Year 3. Units may include, for example, cellular and molecular pharmacology or neuropharmacology
Advanced pharmacology concept units II (20 credits) – Students can build their subject specialist knowledge further by choosing concept units they are most interested in studying. This module builds on Year 1 and prepares students for Specialist Topic units in Year 3. Units may include, for example, the neuropharmacological basis of disease or chemotherapy.
Practical research skills in pharmacology (20 credits) – The opportunity to develop more complex practical skills to address research questions. Students will participate in practical activities and mini-projects, using key experimental approaches and methods used in pharmacology. They will develop key research skills including experimental design, and appropriate statistical and mathematical methods or approaches for analysing biomedical data and information.
Academic and professional skills addressing global challenges (20 credits) – Whilst focussing on addressing key complex global challenges related to UN sustainability goals (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) | Sustainability (leeds.ac.uk)) students will build their skills in knowledge application, a variety of methods of analysis, and the presentation of scientific data or information to different audiences. Students will work as a team to research and create pharmacology solutions to a global grand challenge or UN SDG. In this and other activities, students will develop and practice key academic and professional skills including the critical analysis of research papers and other sources of information, verbal, written and graphical communication, team-working, planning and organisation, and negotiation.
The focus of Year 3 of the Integrated Masters programme is to extend your understanding of key topics in the biomedical sciences right up to the very forefront of what is current in research. Using your knowledge gained during Levels 1 and 2 and your critical thinking and analytical skills, you will learn to interpret advanced research data, critically evaluate theories and make decisions about how to test new ideas.
Our Integrated Masters MBiol programme shares the same year 1 and 2 studying with our BSc programme, providing a broad foundation knowledge and skills. In year 3, the theory and skills modules are the same as for the BSc programme. However, the Capstone Research Project is replaced by a critical review project and experimental proposal and plan, linked to and to prepare you for your extended research project in year 4.
Alongside this, choose research-based topics that interested you in earlier years. Specialised topic modules allow you to choose from a menu of different research topics so you can focus more on your areas of interest. You can also choose other specialist modules such as autism, psychopharmacology, drug discovery, stem cells and many more.
Specialised topics in pharmacology I (20 credits) – Students have the opportunity to build their knowledge of research in specific topic areas led by active researchers in the field of study. It will introduce students to a range of research topics in pharmacology and the broader biomedical sciences, and develop their ability to collate, critically analyse, and describe scientific information. Topics covered will reflect current research interests of the School, and may include, for example, drug discovery and development or cancer biology.
Specialised topics in pharmacology II (20 credits) – Students have a further chance to build their knowledge of research specific topic areas led by active researchers in the field of study. It will introduce students to a range of research topics in pharmacology and the broader biomedical sciences and develop their ability to collate, critically analyse, and describe scientific information. Topics covered will reflect current research interests of the School, and may include, for example, psychopharmacology or pharmacogenomics.
Advanced skills (20 credits) – Students will attend a series of compulsory and optional units designed to provide scaffolding and support for their Capstone research experience. They will develop and utilise the research, employability and 4th Industrial Revolution skills required both for their capstone project and for the workplace. Students select the units which develop the key skills and attributes required for their individual capstone project and/or future employment. The assignments for this module provide further scaffolding and support for the creation of their capstone project.
Your extended research project or appropriate period of work-based practice (a project taken in the work place), will focus on an original, cutting-edge research topic specific to your area of interest that will equip you with the skills necessary for a career in research, in addition to ensuring you stand out in the graduate job market. These projects are often linked to the on-going research programmes of academics in our School, thus allowing students to actively contribute to the research of their groups.
Examples of previous research projects include:
Anti-cancer drugs cause dysfunction in adult cardiac cells.
The potential of biosensors as point-of-care diagnostic systems.
Expression of sorting receptors and their cargo protein.
The role of ion channels in Alzheimer’s disease-related cell dysfunction.
Producing receptor proteins for visualising through electron microscopy.
Investigating the mechanisms underlying neuroprotection against Alzheimer’s disease.
Advanced research topics (30 credits) – Students will focus on developing the research skills to support the laboratory or other research or enquiry-based activities that they will undertake in their extended research project and to prepare them for a career in a research environment. The module aims to develop students critical analysis of published research. It will also expose students to current research trends in the biosciences and to leading researchers in the field.
Extended research project (90 credits) – Students will choose an independent project of interest. They will be mentored by one of the world leading academics in their field and will conduct an individual extended research or enquiry-based project. This will also incorporate experience of working as part of a team in a research environment and interacting with research scientists.
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
You will experience a wide range of blended educational approaches and methods designed to enhance learning for all students. You will be involved in active learning approaches including creative problem solving, team-working and mini-projects. You will be provided with short pre-recorded screencasts to introduce key topics, enabling you to listen again and have flexible access to the resources, supported within the virtual learning environment. This will be combined with in person hands on practical classes, facilitated active learning sessions and small group workshops to develop and apply your knowledge and skills.
There will be plenty of opportunities to work with fellow students in team work problem solving exercises with input and feedback from academic staff. Your first and second year will focus on building your skills, understanding and knowledge. This will be initially fully facilitated, moving to a more independent approach across the first two years, in preparation for your final year where both the research project and topics, will see you take on independent research and learning, with the guidance and mentoring of leading experts.
A typical week in your first year may include nine to twelve hours of a combination of in person and online study, three to six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, regular personal tutorial sessions, plus private study.
Across all years, you will be required to undertake private study. You will also have regular meetings with a personal tutor who is there to advise and support you academically.
As independent study and research are also crucial to the course, we have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers comprehensive training.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
Assessment on the course in a varied mix of course work submitted during the teaching semester and online time limited assessment, both during the semester and in the exam periods (Jan and May each year). A portfolio of assessment approaches is used, the aim is for assessment is to be part of the learning journey of each module and the course as a whole, to use assessment for learning. A mixture of multiple-choice questions, short answer questions and longer essay questions are used in online time limited assessment.
Many modules adopt authentic assessment approaches where appropriate. These assessments aim to develop the personal and professional skills required in the workplace- to make you workplace ready, so for example, writing of laboratory or other reports, grant applications, presenting orally or delivering poster presentations as well as preparing reflective accounts and portfolios. Communicating science to a wider audience is also a key skill in which authentic assessment is used. In some circumstances there may be a choice of assessment piece to make it more relevant, meaningful and engaging for all students. Assessments in the school are prepared in a fair and inclusive manner adhering to relevant and up to date guidance.
Including biology or chemistry, plus another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
We accept the following:
Science: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, PE.
Science-related: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, psychology, statistics.
Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.
When an applicant is taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ) or Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate, this can be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you’re taking A-levels, this would be a 1 grade drop from the standard offer. For example A in one of the above qualifications with AAB at A-level (MBiol applicants).
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English. The Faculty of Biological Sciences will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.
D3/D3/M1 including D3 in biology or chemistry plus another science or science-related subject. Global Perspectives excluded.
D3/D3/D3 including D3 in biology or chemistry plus another science or science-related subject. Global Perspectives excluded.
When an applicant is taking Global Perspectives this can be considered alongside Pre-U subjects and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. This would be D3/M1/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (BSc applicants) or D3/D3/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (MBiol applicants).
BSc: 6,6,5 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science or science-related subject.
MBiol: 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science or science-related subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 in biology or chemistry, and another science or science-related subject at higher level.
H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including biology or chemistry, and another science or science-related at higher level.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AB in 2 Advanced Highers including biology or chemistry, plus another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including biology or chemistry, plus another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
We accept the following:
- Science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.
- Science-related subjects: geography, PE, psychology, use of maths and statistics.
Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Specific A Level subjects required – see entry requirement section above.
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.
Access to Leeds: Pass
International Foundation Year
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £27,500 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2022/23
For UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2022/23 the fee will be £9,250. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation and as permitted by law. Fees for UK undergraduate students are decided by the government and may vary if policy changes.
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students for 2023/24 have been agreed by the UK Government and will remain at the current fee level of £9,250. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation and as permitted by law. Fees for UK undergraduate students are decided by the government and may vary if policy changes.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 should be available on individual course pages from September 2022.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
We welcome applications from mature students. We welcome applications from mature students from all backgrounds onto both full-time and part-time programmes.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.
The Faculty of Biological Sciences may consider applications submitted after this date. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed by UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants
As per the information detailed in the corresponding section of the University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy the Faculty of Biological Sciences will consider prospective students via the Alternative Entry Scheme run by the Lifelong Learning where appropriate applicants will be referred to the Lifelong Learning Centre, who will advise the applicant further.
Except for those courses detailed below, interviews do not form part of the Faculty of Biological Sciences’ standard admissions process however, in some cases, an applicant may be invited for an interview if it will help inform whether or not an offer should be made.
We typically receive a high number of applications to our courses in the School of Biomedical Sciences. The number of applicants exceeds the number of places available and so, to ensure that we treat all applications fairly and equitably, we review applications until after the UCAS deadline before making a final decision.
This is a normal part of our process for these courses and may mean applicants have to wait longer than usual to hear from us. It takes time to thoroughly assess all applications, but we aim to make all decisions by the end of March.
Offer decisions are made based on an overall review of applications including predicted grades, breadth of knowledge demonstrated through qualifications, personal statement, extra-curricular and work experience, and contextual information.
University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023
This course is taught by
Faculty of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
As well as providing you with subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem solving.
Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the faculty student opportunity team, Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.
A degree in pharmacology could lead to a research career in drug discovery and development within the pharmaceutical industry or academia, along with a wide range of careers for example in healthcare and clinical science both in and out of a laboratory based environment.
Typical Graduate Careers include:
Clinical Research Associate
Regulatory Affairs Officer
Examples of recent graduate destinations include:
MSc Translational neuroscience
We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.
We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. These include our annual student-alumni networking event, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield NHS Ecological consultancies, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Study abroad and work placements
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.
Industrial placements are taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, the staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and recruitment process and provide details of organisations.
Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.
Combined study and working abroad
Our new module allows you to combine both a study abroad and industrial work placement into one additional year of study. Over the year you will study for a semester at one of our partner universities and complete an industrial work placement for 6 months abroad or in the UK.
Find out more about Combined study and work abroad.
Alumni profile: Luke Cunliffe
My work placement was at Pfizer, so after graduation, I started working there and now I am proud to be working on their COVID-19 vaccine programme.Find out more about Luke Cunliffe's time at Leeds