Biopharmaceutical Development (Industrial Placement) MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
20 months full time
48 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons)
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components
UK fees
£24,500 (Total)
International fees
£37,000 (Total)

Course overview

MSc Biopharmaceutical Development student, Beth Peacock conducting her research project at Covance in Harrogate

Do you want to develop the medicines of the future?

Be at the cutting edge of modern medicine, gain invaluable experience, make essential connections, and be paid for your efforts. This Biopharmaceutical Development with Industrial Placement Masters is your opportunity to develop and build the necessary skill-set needed to flourish within the field of biopharmaceutical discovery & development. What better way to start your career than with a paid 12-month placement, earning up to £20,000 whilst working with an industry leading company.

Biopharmaceutical drugs are completely revolutionising the way we treat patients and fight diseases such as cancer and arthritis. Because of this there has been an explosion of growth in the sector, creating a huge demand for talented, well-trained graduates.

Designed, developed and delivered in partnership with Labcorp Drug Development (formerly known as Covance), this programme provides you with a springboard into a career in this industry.

For more information on this ever increasing demand in the sector, please read our news article The Biopharmaceutical industry needs you!

Course highlights

  • This programme has been recognised for its industry relevant training, receiving the prestigious Princess Royal Training Award 2023.
  • Designed to fast-track you into the industry.
  • You’ll undertake a 12-month paid position in the industry as part of the course earning up to £20,000.
  • You will gain an integrated understanding of the full biological drug development pathway.
  • Accumulate a deep understanding of the regulatory framework.
  • Learn from world-leading tutors from academia and industry.
  • Learn how to operate in a corporate environment.

This course is 20-months long and includes a 12-month industrial placement. We also offer a 12-month long MSc Biopharmaceutical Development course which includes a research project.


The Course provides practical training using the latest research laboratory facilities many of which are within the Biomolecule Production/Purification facility of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, and site visits to industrial plants to see the scale up of manufacturing facilities and clinical trial facilities.

Application deadline: 31 August 2024

Course details

The course content focuses on the discovery and development of large molecule drugs: monoclonal antibodies , antibody-drug conjugates and gene therapies. Added to this is practical hands-on training in the technologies that underpin the discovery and development pathway. You’ll receive training in protein purification, characterisation, formulation and assessment of binding function and the use of cell-based assays to look at drug potency.

Semester 1

The course is 20-months long, with the first eight months on campus at the University of Leeds covering all aspects of biological drug discovery, development and commercialisation. This will give you an understanding of the many functions that contribute to a successful drug and how they are coordinated and integrated to bring new drugs to market in a timely and economic fashion.

The course is co-taught by academics and qualified industry professionals, both working at the forefront of their fields in the areas of science that support drug development. You’ll, therefore, be exposed to learning that emphasises how knowledge is being applied in an industrial context. You’ll have the opportunity to develop a strong skill set valued by industry and academia, including problem-solving, strong communication and teamwork skills delivered through novel learning and teaching modes such as team assignments delivering reports to clients, regulators and investors and the ability to conduct experimental research.

Semester 2

The second half of your programme is an industrial placement assignment. This is a 12-month guaranteed work and research experience in industry. In the unlikely event that a placement cannot be taken in industry, a placement hosted with the university research laboratories developed and co-supervised with industry. Students can expect to earn up to £20,000 over the duration of their placement.

The placements will all include a practical research project where you will gain in-depth practical experience of at least one technical function of the drug development process (discovery, manufacturing, pre-clinical testing, clinical safety and efficacy).

We are continuously growing our placement provider portfolio across the UK, previous placement opportunities have been held with:

  • Labcorp.
  • Abzena.
  • FujiFlim Diosynth Biotechnologies.
  • Ipsen.

You’ll commence your project in May, eight months after the start of the programme and will be completed by the following April making you available for employment upon completion.


The course information shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Pharmaceutical Science and Commerce 15
Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals 15
Integrated Drug Development Plan 15
Biopharmaceutical Development: Clinical 15
Practical Skills for a Regulatory Environment  30
Biopharmaceutical drug discovery and non-clinical testing 30
Industrial placement & Research project (FT) 60

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Industrial placement & Research project (FT) 60

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching on the course have been constructed to align with activities performed in industry, preparing you to be work-ready immediately after you finish.

This course will challenge you to think creatively, solve problems and develop strong communication and teamwork skills. You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods, including: formal lectures, interactive workshops, practical classes, tutorials, industry site visits and substantial team-based project development assignments

You’ll use authentic, industry-specific case studies to illustrate theoretical and practical concepts and will have multiple opportunities to work in teams, including the opportunity to lead a team.

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.


A variety of assessment types are used throughout this course, all of which resonate with the activities of professional scientists within the industry.

You will write reports and make presentations individually or as part of a team, and you will be cross examined following delivery of reports to expand, clarify and extend your description of a topic. Many of the assignments are interdisciplinary in nature and require clear and justified decision-making to form a coherent plan or proposal.

There are no written exams, all the assessment is performed by in-course assignments including a dissertation report arising from the research project work. A viva voce (on your experimental work) forms part of the practical skills module.


Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2:1 or equivalent in a Biological Sciences subject (with a substantial proportion of ‘molecular’ content), Bioprocessing or Biochemical Engineering, but relevant experience may be taken into account. In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate leadership potential, which might be evidenced from academic, sporting, volunteering or other professional experience.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Documents and information you’ll need:

  • Completed online application form (for Taught Postgraduate Study).
  • Completed supporting statement outlining your career intentions and state how your achievements/experiences set you up to excel on this course. Plus describe your leadership style and experiences and how you can become a future leader in biopharmaceutical development.
  • Full CV.
  • Transcript of degree examination marks achieved to date.
  • Copy of final degree certificate (if completed).
  • Evidence of English language qualification (non-native English speakers only).
  • Copy of passport (if you’re an overseas student).

Find out more about how to apply.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Applicants who require a student visa are not permitted to study our MSc in Biopharmaceutical Development (Industrial Placement), but are permitted to study our MSc Biopharmaceutical Development programme. This programme includes a mandatory work placement that consists of more than 50% of the total length of the course. The UKVI Home Office will not issue a visa if the duration exceeds 50%. Further information can be found here.

We’ll consider any international applicants that do not require a student visa. Please contact our taught postgraduate admissions team directly

Next steps

  • We process your application.
  • We inform you of our decision.
  • If we make you an offer, you respond by accepting or declining.

Taught postgraduate confirmation

Taught postgraduate applicants are required to submit their results for consideration as soon as possible. Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK are recommended to submit their results no later than 31 July, although they will still be considered if submitted after this date.


It is standard procedure to interview applicants, prior to making a decision on their application, for MRes Neuroscience, MRes Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, MSc Biopharmaceutical Development (Industrial Placement) and MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine. Interviews do not form part of the standard admissions process for other programmes in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Application deadline: 31 August 2024

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Contact us

Faculty of Biological Sciences postgraduate taught admissions team



UK: £24,500 (Total)

International: £37,000 (Total)

Home fees explained

Students who are self-funding will pay the tuition fee in 4 instalments across the duration of the course (September and February). If you are receiving a postgraduate student loan from Student Finance England you can set up an alternative instalment plan in line with your loan payments. In this case, you will pay the tuition fee in 6 instalments across the duration of the course (November, February and May).

Deferred fee structure

An alternative payment option is available to allow you to defer part of your fees until you start your paid placement. Please contact our admissions team to discuss these;

There are other general living costs which you will need to budget for. Read more about paying fees and charges.

International fees explained

Applicants who require a student visa are not permitted to study our MSc in Biopharmaceutical Development (Industrial Placement). This programme includes a mandatory work placement that consists of more than 50% of the total length of the course. The UKVI Home Office will not issue a visa if the duration exceeds 50%. Further information can be found here.

However, we have a 12-month Biopharmaceutical Development MSc programme variant suitable for international applicants requiring a student visa. This programme involves undertaking a substantial research project conducted within the research laboratories of the University of Leeds.

We will consider any international applicants that do not require a student visa. Please contact our taught postgraduate admissions team directly

Other sources of funding

Professional and Career Development Loans = between £300 and £10,000. Find out more.

You can also search our postgraduate scholarships database

You can also find information on MoneySavingExpert

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Scholarships for Faculty of Biological Sciences students

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offers a number of Masters scholarships to support and reward students from the UK and around the world. Don’t miss out on available support, visit our dedicated faculty scholarship page to check your eligibility.

Government-backed loan = If you are ordinarily resident in England or the Republic of Ireland and planning to start your first full-time, part-time or distance learning taught or research Masters course from September 2023 you may be eligible to apply for a UK government Postgraduate Masters Loan to help towards your study-related costs. Find out more.

Alumni bursary = If you are a former student of the University of Leeds you may be eligible for a 10% alumni tuition fee bursary

You can also search our postgraduate scholarships database or you can also find information on MoneySavingExpert

Career opportunities

Your first steps into an industrial career

This course is designed to train talented scientists wishing to pursue a career in drug development in the international biopharmaceutical industry.

This course will give you a high amount of exposure to senior industrialists working as tutors throughout the course: an ideal opportunity for you to obtain career advice. You’ll also work in industry full time for 12 months, which is an outstanding opportunity for you to gain experience and develop a competitive career plan.

On completion of the course, you’ll have the relevant knowledge and experience to fast-track your career as, for example: an analytical scientist, project manager, or coordinator, in areas such as research, quality control, manufacturing, non-clinical, clinical, and market access.

All graduates from our initial cohort went straight into full-time employment (or PhD training) in technical roles at the end of their course. Many have been recruited to positions more senior than is normally filled by a candidate with MSc level qualifications.

Some possible careers within the biopharmaceutical industry include:

  • Bioanalytical Scientist.
  • Bioinformatician.
  • Business Developer.
  • Cell Culture Technician.
  • Clinical Research Associate.
  • Clinical Research Co-ordination.
  • Downstream Processing Technician.
  • Medical Science Liaison.
  • Medical Writer.
  • Patent Attorney.
  • Regulatory Affairs Officer.
  • Research Scientist.
  • Translational Scientist.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

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 about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Students accepted onto this course will be awarded an industrial placement period of 12-months, provided they complete the necessary pre-requisites for that module. Placement positions have already been agreed with companies, these will be described to students in semester 1 (typically in November) and students will rank them in order of preference. A placement will be allocated to each student, and this will start upon completion of studies in semester 2, typically in May. A number of placements are local to Leeds, and can feasibly be reached by daily commute. Other placements are elsewhere in the UK and will require relocation to attend.

Student profile: Ashly Shagee

The opportunity to undertake a placement as part of the course and the fact that the course was taught by industry experts were key factors that made me decide to choose Leeds University.
Find out more about Ashly Shagee's time at Leeds