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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 focal point for year 3 is an independent capstone research project that you’ll carry out under the supervision of a field-leading academic. Here you will be able to select from a wide range of project types, enabling you to focus on a subject of specific interest, developing the skills required for your future career.
Examples of previous projects include:
Pharmacology of ‘legal highs’.
Structural characterisation of the equilibrative nucleoside transporter, a cancer drug target.
G-protein-coupled receptors, pharmacology, drug discovery.
Designing patient information leaflets to promote use of statins.
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 – 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 – 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 – 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.
Capstone research project – Students will design and undertake, either individually or as part of a team, an extended enquiry-based project in an area or topic relevant to Pharmacology. This project could be one of many formats including scientific research, public engagement, grand challenges report or the development of educational resources. Students will apply knowledge and skills gained in earlier years of their programme, acquire new knowledge and understanding, and develop new research and employability skills. On completion, they will communicate the outcomes or outputs of their project in different ways to a variety of audiences. Students may choose the capstone project or format of interest to them, being mentored by one of the world leading academics in that field of study.
Integrated Masters (MBiol)
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.
Year 4 (MBiol)
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 – 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 – 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.