Biopharmaceutical Development MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full 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 in any component
UK fees
£18,750 (Total)
International fees
£33,000 (Total)

Course overview

Female scientist in the lab

Do you want to develop the medicines of the future?

Biopharmaceutical drugs are transforming the way we treat patients and fight global disease. Treatments comprise the use of biologically manufactured drugs, namely hormones, monoclonal antibodies, gene therapies and cell therapies. On this course you will receive specialised industry-relevant experience in addition to theoretical knowledge and hands-on training. Many pharmaceutical companies are currently expanding their biopharmaceutical capability, creating a demand for talented, well-trained people with the right skill-set.

Designed, developed and delivered in partnership with Labcorp Drug Development (formerly known as Covance), this course will provide you with a springboard into a career in the biopharmaceutical industry or further research in an academic environment.

On this course you will obtain industry-relevant training designed to fast-track talented scientists into the industry in addition to an integrated understanding of the full biological drug development pathway. As you amass a deep understanding of the regulatory framework you’ll learn from world-leading tutors, have the chance to combine your theoretical knowledge with practical training, and undertake a substantial research project.

Why you should study this course?

  • This programme has received the prestigious Princess Royal Training Award 2023.
  • Designed to fast-track talented scientists into industry.
  • An integrated understanding of the full biological drug development pathway.
  • Focus on the discovery and development of large molecule drugs such as monoclonal antibodies, bio-similars, antibody-drug conjugates and gene therapies.
  • Gain extensive experience of team-based project planning.

Course details

The course content focuses on the discovery and development of large molecule drugs: monoclonal antibodies, biosimilars, 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.

The course is 12-months long, taught on campus at the University of Leeds. It aims to provide you with an understanding of the many functions that contribute to the discovery and development of a successful drug and how they are coordinated and integrated to bring new drugs to market in a timely and economic fashion.

You will be taught by academics and qualified industry professionals, with a strong emphasis on the integration of ideas, approaches and technologies in the development of a biological drug.

Semester 1

In the first semester, you will cover an introduction to the field, the management of intellectual property and its importance to the industry, the discovery, manufacturing and non-clinical testing of biopharmaceuticals. Across semesters 1 & 2 you will become familiar with the fundamentals of biopharmaceutical drug discovery and non-clinical testing, as well as receive practical laboratory training relevant to the industrial setting. This will combine hands-on training in protein purification, characterisation, formulation and assessment of binding function and the use of cell-based assays to look at drug potency with data analysis and reporting.

Semester 2

In the second semester, you will explore clinical trial design and develop an integrated drug development plan. Much of the learning is performed in teams, working on projects within each module, delivering project outputs authentic to the industry (reports to clients, submissions to regulators, papers for the Board, proposals for investment). You’ll be working at the forefront of your field in the areas of science that support drug development. You will therefore be exposed to learning that emphasises how knowledge is being applied in an industrial context. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop a strong skills-set valued by industry and academia, including problem-solving strong communication, teamwork and project management skills.

Semester 3

In the third semester, you will conduct a substantial research project. In this project, you’ll utilise the techniques and skills learned during your time at Leeds, which will culminate in you demonstrating your readiness for employment in the biopharmaceutical industry. Research areas could include

  • Engineering of biomolecules.
  • Developing of biopharmaceuticals.
  • Identification of druggable targets in human disease.
  • Biophysical properties of biopharmaceuticals.
  • Engineering effective gene therapies.
  • Gene editing as a therapeutic strategy.

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.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biopharmaceutical Development MSc in the course catalogue

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
Bioscience MSc Research Project 60

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching on the course have been constructed to prepare you to work in industry or academia.

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 and practical classes.

You’ll use authentic, industry and academic 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. This will include submissions to regulatory authorities, client reports and presentations to industry panel members.

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.

You will be able to choose your independent advanced research project from a wide list of topics, which are designed to offer you an immersive individual research experience, as well as the opportunity to contribute to science in an area you are passionate about.


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 in any component. 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).

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.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operates a scheme called the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS). If you are an international (non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen) applicant and require a student visa to study in the UK then you will need an ATAS certificate to study this course at the University of Leeds.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme details and the relevant Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and descriptor. For this course, the CAH code is: CAH10-01-09, and your supervisor will be Dr Dimitra Mitsa.

More information and details on how to apply for your ATAS certificate can be found at GOV.UK.

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.

International application deadline: July 31 2024

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.

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: £18,750 (Total)

International: £33,000 (Total)

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

This course will help give you the experience and skills to become highly employable. This course is designed to train talented scientists wishing to pursue a career in drug development in the international biopharmaceutical industry or undertake further research in an academic environment.

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. You’ll also be in a strong position to undertake further research at Leeds or elsewhere.

As a student on this course, you’ll also have a high amount of exposure to senior industrialists working as tutors throughout the course and can take this opportunity to obtain career advice.

For more information about the career opportunities that are available within the biopharmaceutical sector, please visit the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry careers website.

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.