The development of new drugs to combat global health issues is one of modern society's most important challenges. The Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development gives you the tools needed to meet this challenge. As part of the programme, you will study medicinal chemistry, drug development in biological systems as well as pharmaceutical formulation and clinical trial design. This programme will provide you with the skills and know-how to make an impact on modern healthcare.
Why this programme?
The Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development is a two-year programme that gives you an in-depth knowledge of drug development, from idea to registered product. Drug development is a long and complicated process that requires expertise in several different areas. The programme prepares you to work with drug development in its various phases. It is possible to choose elective courses based on your own interest.
The programme will provide you with the high-level scientific skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies or the academic sector. The programme draws on the broad expertise within the well-renowned Faculty of Pharmacy at Uppsala University and is conducted in close collaboration with world-leading research groups. You can read more about ongoing research at our departments here:
The first year consists of compulsory course units and covers topics ranging from hit identification, drug formulation to clinical trial design. During the second year of the programme, you are given the opportunity to choose elective courses and a research project based on your own interest in, for example, the following subjects:
drug development in biological systems
drug formulation and delivery
Student profile You have ideally completed a Bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology or another related field and have some previous experience in pharmaceutical sciences. The programme is highly international and attracts students from Sweden and around the globe.
The programme leads to a Master of Pharmaceutical Science (120 credits) with Drug Discovery and Development as the main field of study.
How did you choose your programme?
From my work experience in the pharmaceutical industries in Sudan, I become so passionate about research and drug development. I found the drug discovery and development programme on the University admission website. Due to the diversity of the courses of the programme, I believe it could help the students to proceed with a career in both academics and international pharmaceutical industries.
What is it like to be an international student?
As a mother of three children, it was hard for me to leave my family in Sudan and come to Sweden, but I was very excited to get back to my studies in one of the top 100 international universities. I’ve become more confident to speak up and have a good discussion with the teachers and classmates. All Swedish people speak English, and I have not experienced any communication difficulties, but I started learning the Swedish language because it will give me more perspective into the Swedish culture.
Do you remember your first impression of Uppsala? Please tell!
My first visit to campus was in 2020, and it was almost empty due to the pandemic. My second visit was in November 2021 when I started my thesis project with the pharmacognosy group. I was not sure how social life would be on campus, but the first day in the lab was beyond my expectations. All the people were very welcoming, and always willing to help.
What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
The best thing about studying at Uppsala University is the world-class research environment and the up-to-date knowledge and expertise. The teaching environment encourages students to think independently and creatively. It equips the students with the critical thinking skills and the ability to develop their ideas and that helps the students to be prepared for their future careers.
Uppsala University has a very welcoming and inclusive environment for all students from different cultures. You’re provided with the opportunity to meet students from the whole world and that makes you feel as if you are on a journey around the world.
What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
I am so passionate about research and drug development, and I believe that the theoretical and practical knowledge that I gained at Uppsala University will open doors to both academic research and a career in the pharmaceuticals industry. My ultimate goal is to be a researcher in pharmacometrics, and after that I would like to open a training centre in Sudan. I hope that I can transfer my educational experience at Uppsala University to my motherland Sudan. I also would like to participate in changing the Bachelor of Pharmacy syllabus and introduce pharmacometrics as a basic course because I believe pharmacometrics is the new era of drug development.
What is your best experience so far?
Some courses have very exciting modules and the best one was the clinical study design and analysis module during the clinical PKPD course (Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics). Despite the multiple tasks we had and the deadlines, we enjoyed it, especially the final task (simulation) of the advisory board meeting for the approval of the investigational medicinal product. The best social experience I ever had was when I met my classmates for the first time and we went for a long walk in Uppsala and that was my first time visiting Linnaeus Garden.
Two quick questions What is your favourite place in Uppsala?
Linnaeus garden and Uppsala city centre.
Where is the best place to study?
My home, home sweet home.
The first year consists of compulsory courses with the aim to provide you with a broad knowledge of drug development. The programme commences with an introductory course to provide students with an excellent platform for the remainder of the programme. During the second year, you can choose courses either among recommended specialisations, or freely among elective courses. At the end of the programme, you will undertake a Master's degree project, worth either 30 or 45 credits.
Courses within the programme
Semester 1 Drug Discovery and Development, 7.5 credits Biologicals, 7.5 credits Molecular Imaging with Focus on PET, 7.5 credits Pharmacokinetics, 7.5 credits There are alternative courses if you already have taken corresponding courses as part of your Bachelor's education.
Semester 3 During the second year, the student chooses courses. Elective courses 15 credits and part of a Master's project 45 credits or elective courses 30 credits.
Semester 4 Master's project 30 credits or part of Master's project 45 credits.
Teaching is conducted in a range of formats including lectures, seminars, group assignments, laboratory sessions and independent project work. The programme is given full-time, during the daytime, with certain exceptions for the elective courses. The programme is delivered entirely in English.
At the beginning of each course, detailed instructions about teaching and examination are provided to students. Compulsory attendance is sometimes required, and this will be detailed in the respective course syllabus. Certain courses may also be given in parallel.
Due to Uppsala University's excellent international reputation, a Master's degree in Drug Development will open doors to both academic research and pharmaceutical industry career paths, anywhere in the world. Moreover the highly relevant subject matter will equip you with the skills needed to make an impact on global health issues.
The Pharmaceutical industry is in constant demand for new and enthusiastic graduates with an in-depth knowledge of the drug discovery and development process. This Master's Programme will provide you with an excellent platform to pursue a career in different kinds of industries and workplaces. This includes, but is not limited to:
Career support During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.
Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one or two programme-specific documents: 1. an Application Summary Sheet (click and download the form); 2. document(s) and/or letter(s) of recommendation certifying your previous experience (if applicable).
Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is 15 credits in pharmacology and physiology, as well as 15 credits in general and organic chemistry.
Language requirements Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.
Students are selected based on:
an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
a statement of purpose (1 page).
If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.