Master's Programme in Drug Discovery and Development

120 credits

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 it. 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 to make an impact on modern healthcare.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

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 the degree of Master of Pharmaceutical Science (120 credits) with Drug Discovery and Development as the main field of study.

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 have already 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.

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 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.