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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Pharmaceutical Analysis

Gain advanced laboratory skills and academic knowledge required to analyse samples relevant to the drug development process, in accordance with strict industry regulations.

Course length 12-24 Month(s)
Location City Campus

Course description

Gain the knowledge and practical skills needed to develop methods to determine the levels of active ingredients and contaminants in pharmaceutical preparations.

You learn the skills of an analyst and become familiar with the principles of modern instrumental analytical techniques, analytical methods and statistics. You learn how to conduct your tests according to regulations which demand that you work under a strict quality assurance and quality control regime.

Because we have designed the course in close consultation with the pharmaceutical industry, your training is excellent preparation for a career in the industry. In addition to giving input on course structure, industrial practitioners deliver lectures on a variety of topics which relate to industry. You can take modules individually for continuing professional development.

Your laboratory work is carried out in our teaching laboratories which are extensively equipped with the latest models of analytical instruments such as HPLCs and GCs. We also have excellent research facilities where you have access to more sophisticated equipment, such as NMR and a suite of various types of mass spectrometers, which are used in taught modules and research projects.

As a student, you
• gain knowledge and practical skills to operate commonly used analytical laboratory instruments
• become familiar with automated approaches to analysis and process analytical technology
• apply good experimental design techniques and use statistical methods for data evaluation
• develop your knowledge of validated analysis methods for determining chemical compounds and elements in a range of sample types
• understand the principles and practice of laboratory quality systems
• interpret mass spectra and nuclear magnetic resonance data.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You need

• a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in biosciences or physical sciences

• other qualifications such as HND, HNC or unclassified degree in a chemical subject, plus significant relevant work experience

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. If your level of English language is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider an appropriate Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve the required level of English.

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Full time – September start – typically 12 months

Full time – January start – typically 12 months

Part time – September start – typically 24 months

Part time – January start – typically 24 months

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

Core modules

Quality issues, laboratory accreditation and the analytical approach (15 credits)
You study the stages in the selection, development and application of an analytical method, from initial identification of need to eventual
routine use, with emphasis on the quality of data produced.

Separation, detection and online techniques (15 credits)
This module introduces the theoretical basis and practical applications of separation, molecular spectrometric and mass spectrometric

Pharmaceutical drug development (15 credits)
This module examines the different types of pharmaceutical dose forms in use, how they are manufactured, and procedures and techniques
for the analysis of formulated dosage forms. It also explores the range of oral, topical and parenteral medicines, principles of pharmaceutical
microbiology and the production of sterile medicines.

Drug detection and analysis (15 credits)
This module is aimed at those with an analytical chemistry background and looks at some of the specific analytical methods employed for
screening and detection of drugs, both in bulk materials and biological specimens.

Methods for analysis of molecular structure (15 credits)
This module extends your knowledge and skills to advanced organic mass spectrometry, NMR, and inductively coupled plasma-atomic
emission and mass spectrometry.

Process analytical technology (15 credits)
You examine the key features of designing, analysing and controlling manufacturing processes. You also look at some of the elements of
chemical, physical, microbiological and mathematical analysis, which are essential components of process analytical technology.

Professional development (15 credits)
This module aims to extend your professional skills and improve your career prospects. It involves sessions on essential practical skills and
problem solving, communication of scientific information and IT skills. Assessment includes a personal and professional development
portfolio plus reflective self-evaluation of your progress on the course.

Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
You develop the skills needed to formulate, execute and report on a research or development project. These skills include creativity or
invention as well as more formal skills such as application of knowledge and searching the literature. Statistical analysis of experimental
results and database searches also form an important part of this module.

Research project (60 credits)
During this module you work with an individual tutor to design and carry out a research project. This includes a critical review of the
literature, considerable laboratory work, analysis of data and an appreciation of the meaning and application of your work.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.

Assessment Mostly by coursework including
  • problem solving exercises
  • case studies
  • practical laboratory work
  • written examinations.
Research project assessment includes a written report and viva voce.


You improve your career prospects in areas such as • pharmaceutical research and drug development • medical research in universities and hospitals • care products • biotechnology companies • government research agencies.

It also offers you the training and knowledge to go on to research at PhD level in pharmacology, biotechnology pharmaceutical and analytical science.

How we support your career

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to the employability of its students. That’s why we design so many of our courses with employers. Find out how we can support your career.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,300

Part-time – typically £2,100 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,400

Part-time – typically £2,135 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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