BSc (Hons) Pharmacology

Pharmacologists play a vital role in the discovery & development of new medicines that benefit human & animal health. You will study how the body works, what goes wrong in disease & how drugs can be used to manage these diseased states.

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Course Details

BSc (Hons)
4 Years
Start Date
12 September 2016
Full Time
Subject Area
Biological and Biomedical Science
GCU Glasgow


Tuition fees need to be paid to the university however some students are eligible for tuition fee support. The fees and financial support that are relevant to you depend on where you lived before coming to university. A guide to fees at GCU.

Additional Costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

You will also have to think about accommodation, living costs, travel, books and socialising. To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this available at and

Minimum Entry Requirements

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.
Year 1
SQA Higher: BBBB including Chemistry plus Nat 5 Maths, English and Biology at B
A level: BCC including Chemistry plus GCSE Double Science, English and Maths at B
ILC Higher: B2 B2 B2 B2 including Chemistry plus Ordinary Level English, Maths and Biology at B
IB Diploma: 24 points including Chemistry and Biology
Btech Level 3 Extended Diploma: DMM in relevant subject including Chemistry
College: Access to Science or 12-credit HNC in a related subject (B in Graded Unit/s). Qualification must include sufficient coverage of chemistry.
Year 2
15 credit HNC in relevant sciencesubject (must include Genetics unit)with A in the Graded Unit
Year 3
HND in relevant subject with AB inthe Graded Units

Programme content and structure

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Download course content here. (PDF document)

Course Documents

Programme Description

This programme involves a high proportion of practical work, including a five-day practical molecular biology workshop that brings together theory and practice, to equip you with the laboratory skills employers need. You will gain an understanding of how the body works, what goes wrong in disease and how drugs can be used to manage these diseased states.

The successful UK drug industry employs 70,000 people and generates a further 250,000 jobs in related industries. In Scotland the expansion of health-related industries and the biotechnology sector means that demand for graduates in this area currently outstrips supply.

Why Choose This Programme?

Pharmacologists are responsible for the development of a wide range of drugs that are available for the management of human disease. Aspirin is a painkiller, but it is also used in the management of cardiovascular disease.

How does it work? How do inhalers relieve asthma attacks? What is a heart attack? How are drugs developed to prevent or minimise the effects of a heart attack?

The Pharmacology degree at Glasgow Caledonian has been developed from the long established and respected Applied Biosciences degree. The content of this programme has been designed to follow the guidelines set out by the British Pharmacological Society, the lead body for Pharmacology professionals. Our Pharmacology lecturing staff combine a depth of teaching experience with knowledge gained from cutting-edge research to provide you with an excellent learning environment and a broad education in Pharmacology. Moreover, this degree encompasses a large proportion of practical work, which ensures that our graduates develop the laboratory skills sought by employers.

A distinctive and important feature of our Pharmacology degree is that all students who successfully complete each year of the programme are eligible to proceed to the Honours degree, should they wish to, without further selection. The open door policy operated by staff is aimed at creating a friendly learning environment where support is always available.

Professional Accreditation

The programme follows the guidelines set out by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), the lead body for pharmacology professionals. Students are eligible for student membership of the BPS.

Career Opportunities

In Scotland, the expansion of health-related industries and the biotechnology sector means that demand for graduates in this area currently outstrips supply.

Career options include research in an academic environment, hospitals and government laboratories or in the pharmaceutical industry. Other career paths include teaching, management, medical sales, information science and the Forensic Science Service. Another option is to continue your studies to PhD level, opening up further career opportunities.

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods are designed to produce graduates with a balanced knowledge and understanding of all branches of the subject and to allow our students to become enquiring, independent learners exhibiting high levels of professionalism.

Half of our assessment is practically based, providing hands-on laboratory skills and experience of data handling and presentation which not only makes our programme distinctive but also attractive to employers seeking to find graduates with the necessary skills and competencies in the global marketplace.

Written exam
  • Year 1:  70% 
  • Year 2:  61% 
  • Year 3:  50% 
  • Year 4:  53% 
Coursework assessment
  • Year 1:  23% 
  • Year 2:  34% 
  • Year 3:  40% 
  • Year 4:  44% 
Practical exam
  • Year 1:  7% 
  • Year 2:  5% 
  • Year 3:  10% 
  • Year 4:  3% 

Teaching Methods

We adopt a wide range of learning and teaching methods to ensure not only that our students will gain the necessary knowledge and understanding of pharmacology but also develop their intellectual and personal skills.

Our programmes take a flexible approach, combining larger scale interactive lectures with small group sessions examining case studies and honing data analysis and presentation skills. Laboratory based practical classes are central to our teaching, allowing our students to gain exposure to the rigour and demands of scientific investigation.

Our Level 2 students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in our international exchange programme at various locations in the USA.

Our students focus on developing core laboratory skills as the basis of practical work in their initial two years, leading to more advanced practical laboratory skills training by Level Three. In their final year, our students undertake a specialist molecular biology workshop in addition to an individual lab based project. All of our laboratory work takes place in our recently refurbished suite of teaching and research laboratories.

Scheduled learning and teaching
  • Year 1:  27% 
  • Year 2:  27% 
  • Year 3:  25% 
  • Year 4:  25% 
Independent study
  • Year 1:  73% 
  • Year 2:  73% 
  • Year 3:  75% 
  • Year 4:  75% 
Placement study
  • Year 1:  0% 
  • Year 2:  0% 
  • Year 3:  0% 
  • Year 4:  0% 

Employment Details

This programme of study will furnish our students with the graduate attributes that will enhance their employment prospects, such as critical thinking and analytical capacities, self-confidence, creativity, project management and presentation skills. These attributes go beyond the professional knowledge and skills providing our graduates with a wide range of expertise, leading to a broad range of career options.

On graduation, or students could work as a pharmacologist or bio-scientist in a range of areas; from industry, as part of a research team
or in pharmaceutical development, biological product research or conducting research in government, health service and university laboratories. Laboratory based employment is also available in public health laboratories, hospital laboratories and in environmental management.

Other graduates have also found careers in coordinating clinical drugs trials
 and in scientific publishing. This degree can also lead to further postgraduate study or graduate entry into medicine or dentistry.

Scholarships and funding

Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the UK’s most dynamic and diverse higher education institutions, with a tradition of welcoming students from all walks of life. As such, the University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to ensure all students have an equal chance of success. The fees and funding that are relevant to you also depend on where you lived before coming to university.

To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this, including links to our award winning student support team, available at

Key Staff

Programme Leader
Adrian R Pierotti - BSc(Hons) PhD FRSB