Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development

Academic year 2023/2024

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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.

The first year consists of compulsory course units and covers topics ranging from hit identification, and drug formulation to clinical trial design. During the second year of the programme, you are allowed to choose elective courses and a research project based on your own interest in, for example, the following subjects:

  • biopharmaceuticals
  • 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 or you may even have some previous experience in pharmaceutical sciences. The programme is highly international and attracts students from Sweden, EU and around the globe. The programme provides knowledge and skills for a continued career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry (both large and small companies), in governmental authorities or for further studies at postgraduate level.


The programme leads to a Master of Pharmaceutical Science (120 credits) with Drug Discovery and Development as the main field of study.

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Read the interview
Bild på student

Name: Samia Mahmoud Ibrahim Mohamed
From: Sudan

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.

Spring 2022.

Register your interest


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. The remainder of the first year will provide you with insight into a number of key topics ranging from biopharmaceuticals to drug formulation and clinical trial design.

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 2

Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics with Sequence Analysis, 7.5 credits

Molecular Biopharmaceutics, 7.5 credits

Clinical Trial Methodology, 7.5 credits

Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, 7.5 credits

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.

Learning experience

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 of 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:

  • pharmaceutical industry
  • biotechnology companies
  • public authorities
  • universities.

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 details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: an Application Summary Sheet (including your statement of purpose).

Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M3176 Application

Language of instruction: English


Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Also required is:

  • 90 credits in chemistry, biology, pharmacy or equivalent;
  • 7.5 credits of pharmacology; and
  • 15 credits of 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

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.

Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


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.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?

Read more about ongoing research at the Faculty and at our departments:


For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

For questions regarding admission, admission requirements, and general questions, please contact study counsellor Christina Ceder:

+46 18 471 44 36

For programme-specific information, please contact the programme coordinator, Luke Odell:

+46 18 471 42 97

Faculty of Pharmacy

BMC Husargatan 3

Box 256, 751 05 UPPSALA

Last modified: 2022-10-27