Pharmacology

Join Bristol's dynamic community to explore the actions and impacts of drugs, and learn how to design and develop new approaches to treating disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's.

Student satisfaction

95% of surveyed BSc Pharmacology students said they found the course intellectually stimulating (NSS 2020).

Become an expert

You'll work alongside leading researchers and be automatically enrolled as a British Pharmacological Society member.

Highly regarded

Bristol is in the UK's top 5 for Pharmacy and Pharmacology (Guardian University Guide 2021).

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Pharmacology at Bristol

Pharmacology is the study of the action of drugs in the widest possible sense. It encompasses many different types of chemicals that affect the functioning of the body, not just medicines.

Our research-driven degrees in Pharmacology bring together physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry and neuroscience. You will learn what drugs are, how they work and what they do. You will experience the approaches used to design and develop new drugs by investigating the effects of substances on single cells, organs and the whole body.

Pharmacology at Bristol will provide you with a broad foundation in pharmacology before focusing on our research strengths in the action of drugs on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. You will be taught by world-class academics in our excellent facilities. A dynamic online lab manual, eBiolabs, will enhance your practical experience.

The course structure allows me to pursue a year in industry to gain valuable work experience, which can help develop my career choices. There is also flexibility in the choice of optional units in the first two years, which lets me explore the biomedical field.

Tharienee, MSci Pharmacology

Career prospects

Pharmacology will help you develop skills valued by employers, such as data handling and communication skills.

A degree in pharmacology offers you a variety of rewarding career opportunities including pharmaceutical or biotech research, medical information, or medical sales.

Related careers and other popular routes include financial services, the civil service, the NHS, product management, marketing and finance or accountancy.

The majority of pharmacology graduates go on to further their education by studying medicine or completing a PhD, PGCE or MSc.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

For the first two years you will take core units in the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. You will study important concepts such as drug design and how drugs exert their effects on the body; these concepts will then be applied to different body systems and diseases. You will also learn how the body works by studying physiological processes, and you'll study data interpretation, analysis and presentation.

In years one and two, you will also have a wide choice of optional units in multidisciplinary sciences, such as biochemistry, molecular genetics, infection and immunity, cellular and molecular medicine, and mammalian physiology.

The final year of our courses is research driven and allows you to undertake a supervised research project with the expertise of our academic staff. You will also focus on current topics in pharmacology.

The fourth year of the MSci course will include an extended research project.

For students on MSci Pharmacology with Study in Industry, you will spend your third year on a placement with a major pharmaceutical or research organisation either in the UK or abroad. You will return to Bristol for your fourth year to complete a research grant proposal alongside final-year units.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of the action of drugs in the widest possible sense, encompassing many different types of chemicals that affect the functioning of the body, not just medicines.

Pharmacology at Bristol will provide you with a broad foundation in pharmacology before focusing on our research strengths in the action of drugs on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. You will be taught by world-class academics in our excellent facilities.

Why study Pharmacology at Bristol?

Pharmacology brings together physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry and neuroscience. You will learn what drugs are, how they work and what they do. You will experience the approaches used to design and develop new drugs by investigating the effects of substances on single cells, organs and the whole body.

A dynamic online lab manual, eBiolabs, will enhance your practical experience.

The final year of our pharmacology courses is research driven and allows you to undertake a supervised research project using the expertise of our academic staff.

The MSci Pharmacology with Study in Industry degree includes the opportunity for an assessed year of study in a major pharmaceutical or research organisation either in the UK or abroad.

Students on the MSci Pharmacology degree spend the majority of the fourth year focusing on an extended research proposal in a research laboratory environment while developing valuable science communication skills.

International students who are offered a place on courses within the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience may be eligible for an Undergraduate International Scholarship.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Pharmacology suits those with a keen interest in how drugs work and how they exert effects on cells and the body, as well as how we can develop novel treatments for diseases and disorders.

You will have, or want to develop, the ability to investigate aspects of pharmacology from literature and have an interest in developing skills in experimentation and the analysis of data.

How is this course taught and assessed?

For the first two years you will normally have nine lectures a week, supplemented by up to nine hours of practical work, depending on the units chosen.

You will have tutorials regularly, which provide guidance in communication skills and problem solving.

In the final year, formal lectures are replaced by seminars and you will spend approximately 30 days on a research project.

You will be assessed via coursework, including regular online assessments and written assignments, as well as end-of-unit exams.

What are my career prospects?

A degree in pharmacology offers you a variety of rewarding career opportunities. Pharmacology will help you develop skills valued by employers, such as data-handling and communication skills.

The majority of pharmacology graduates go on to further their education in PhD, Medicine, PGCE or MSc studies or enter employment in the pharmaceutical or similar industries to pursue research or related careers. Other popular routes include financial services, the civil service and the NHS.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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