BSc/BSc (Hons) Applied Pharmacology

Applied pharmacology is the study of how drugs and medications affect how our body works. Drugs can be used both to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and treat or cure disease.


Applied pharmacology is the study of how drugs and medications affect how our body works. Drugs can be used both to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and treat or cure disease.

This flexible course opens up a wealth of both scientific and health-related career opportunities. There is the opportunity* to study abroad for one semester.



Why QMU?

  • Significant elements of the first two years of this course are shared with our BSc/ BSc (Hons) Human Biology, BSc/ BSc (Hons) Nutrition and BSc/ BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science courses – this means that you have the opportunity to change your degree any time up to the end of Year Two.
  • Aside from just focusing on drugs, this course uniquely integrates a focus on nutritional factors which also impact on individuals’ health.
  • From day one on the course, students are eligible to apply for student membership of the British Pharmalogical Society.


About the course

Applied pharmacology is the study of how drugs and medications affect how our body works. Drugs can be used both to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and treat or cure disease.

This course will provide you with the skills to work in a variety of areas related to the pharmaceutical industry and the broader area of research.

In the first two years, you will gain a grounding in the core areas of the biological sciences. During this time you will study a range of modules and there is a significant practical element where you will develop laboratory skills, such as pipetting, microscopy, blood pressure recording and respiratory performance.

In Year Three, you will begin to focus on a range of specific areas of pharmacology, such as the effects of drugs on the brain, treatments for cancer, and the use of drugs to treat arthritis. Within some of the modules, there is an opportunity to select areas which are of personal interest with the hope of allowing you to determine the area in which you want to focus your career.

In Year Four, the majority of your time will be spent on your honours research project which will involve you carrying out a personal experimental research project. This will enhance the skills and knowledge that will be required in the workplace. In addition to this, further modules will enhance your understanding and critical evaluation of pharmacology.

Most modules involve student-centred learning, as well as tutor-led lectures, tutorials, labs and workshops.



You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined.


Teaching, learning and assessment

The information on teaching, learning and assessment for entry in 2019 is not yet available, but will be accessible from here.

The information below is for entry in 2018 and will give you an idea of what to expect.

>>Click for more information on 'Learning, Teaching and Assessment'


Year One modules

  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology and Ageing
  • Genetics/ Cell Biology and Human Physiology
  • Integrating Module 1
  • Introduction to Neuroscience
  • Key Investigative Skills 1
  • Microbiology
  • Introduction to Health & Society
  • Contemporary Issues in Biological Sciences

Year Two modules

  • Immunology
  • Integrating Module 2
  • Key Investigative Skills 2
  • Laboratory Investigative Procedures
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition: Energy and Macronutrients
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional Development in Scientific Analysis
  • Systems Biology

Year Three modules

  • Clinical Sciences
  • Dissertation (choice of topic)
  • Drug Abuse and Addiction
  • Integrating Module 3
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Advanced Neuroscience
  • Professional Module
  • Scientific Enquiry and Evaluation

Year Four modules

  • Advanced Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Advanced Molecular Pharmacology
  • Current Issues in Cancer
  • Current Issues in Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Current Issues in Health
  • Honours Project (research)
  • Performance Enhancing Drugs
  • Research Communication
  • Research Process

The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2018) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2019. Please check the website for any updates.



There are no formal placements.


Exchange opportunities*

In Years Two or Three, you have the opportunity to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/international-students/exchanges-and-study-abroad/

*subject to availability



You can enter a variety of scientific and health-related careers in the public and private sectors, such as: research; pharmaceutical industries; contract research organisations (CROs); product development; and study for a higher degree (MSc, MPhil or PhD.

 Further information on careers can be found on the British Pharmacological Society’s website at http://www.bps.ac.uk/.

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: BBB

A Level: BB

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H3

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required subjects: Chem or Biol and preferably one other science (may include Maths or Home Economics) at Higher/A Level or equivalent AND Chem, Biol Maths and Eng at S/Int2/N5/GCSE level

Mature/Access: See related Access courses. We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications in biology and chemistry and/or experience.

Direct Entry:

Year Two - HNC in a related subject with B in the graded unit

Year Three - HND in a related subject with CB in the graded units

For details of related HNC and HND courses, see www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications.

Other: You may be requested to be immunised against Hepatitis B.

Associate student places

You can study this course as an associate student completing your first year at West Lothian College. For more information, see www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/access-to-higher-education/associate-student-scheme/

Professional registration/ accreditation


Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

For more information, please see ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

Awarding body

QMU. For more information, please see ‘External Review’ section on the ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’ page.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2019/20 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

 Special Information for EU Applicants The Scottish Government has confirmed that undergraduate EU students enrolling in the 2019/20 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland for the duration of their course. Those assessed as eligible will remain so for the duration of their course. You must apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding. For guidance on eligibility and funding please visit the SAAS website



Course Overview

3/4 years
Start Date
September 2019
On campus
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

Engage with the Team

A Student Story - more at foot of page

Natasha Mains, BSc Applied Pharmacology 'You learn about different kinds of drugs and what their mechanism of action is within the human body as well as the interaction between different kinds' Read my story ...