students using science equipment in a lab

BScBiochemistry & Pharmacology

Why this course?

This joint Honours degree course combines the study of biochemistry with pharmacology.

Biochemistry is the study of the composition, metabolism and function of biological systems at molecular level. Biochemistry, and the related field of molecular biology, provide important advances in understanding the molecular basis of life and its role in the disease process.

Pharmacology is the study of how drugs and other chemicals affect the body in health and disease. This area explores the development of new and improved medicines and the treatment of disease.

The opportunity to choose specific degree combinations will allow you to go into specialist biomedical science areas such as neuroscience, cardiovascular research, immunopharmacology, industrial immunology, drug research, biochemistry, microbiology and bacteriology.

What you’ll study

Years 1 & 2

Students on all the biosciences degrees study the same classes in the first two years. This means you can defer your ultimate choice of degree until the end of Year 2.

Subjects include molecular bioscience, biology of organisms, chemistry for bioscience, an introduction to infection and immunity, nutritional biochemistry and metabolism, cell and molecular biology and human physiology.

You also choose two elective subjects from other departments across the University.

Years 3 & 4

You'll specialise in the area in which you plan to graduate. In the Honours year, you’ll carry out a research project in either subject and present a dissertation of your work. This could be lab-based research.

You can also take part in enterprise projects of commercial significance for a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company in the west of Scotland. Student exchange programmes offer the chance to study and take part in lab-based research abroad.

Transfer to the MSci Biochemistry or Innumology may be possible at the end of Year 4, subject to performance.

High Flyer Programme

Well-qualified applicants with appropriate A Levels and Advanced Highers will be admitted to the Faculty of Science prestigious 'High Flyer' Programme, which allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four. If you are studying the relevant subjects you may receive a dual offer, specifying grades to direct entry to Year 2 as a High Flyer and also standard Year 1 entry.

Find out more about our High Flyer Programme.


Accredited by the Society of Biology.

Course content

Years 1 and 2 follow a common core structure which includes bioscience, chemistry, maths, physics or biophysics, basic & clinical immunology, organic chemistry and physiological basis of drug action.

In Years 3 and 4 you'll take specialist classes along with a research project in biochemistry and pharmacology. In Year 4, you'll present a dissertation of your work.

Year 1

All full-time students will undertake all compulsory classes and one elective class.

Compulsory classes

Foundation Bioscience & Statistics

The aims of this class include:

  • introducing the process of scientific discovery through the analysis and retrieval and evaluation of information using appropriate search engines, and the synthesis of new ideas
  • developing a range of writing and presentation skills, which will benefit you, not only throughout University, but also in your future career
  • giving you an understanding of basic skills in statistical analysis of data
Molecular Bioscience

This class will familiarise you with the basic knowledge and concepts of cell structure and function. You'll also be introduced to the basic concepts underlying classical and molecular genetics, including techniques that form the basis for the study of molecular biology.

Biology of Organisms

The aims of this class include:

  • introducing you to the biology of microbes, plants and animals
  • introducing you to physiological systems
Practical Bioscience & Skills Development 1

This class will introduce you to laboratory-based practical bioscience. You'll be enabled to analyse your personal and key skills and plan your development.

Chemistry for Bioscience
To provide you with fundamental concepts of general chemistry.

Year 2

Compulsory classes

Introduction to Infection & Immunity

This class will provide you with an introduction to the diversity of infectious agents and how the immune response of the mammalian host attempts to clear infection.

Lectures will cover aspects of bacterial, parasitic, viral and fungal infections, describing pathogens, the diseases they cause and mechanisms of control. Lectures will also describe many of the key components of the immune system, before examining how these factors play a role in mediating defence against different infections.

Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism

The aims of this class are to:

  • To demonstrate the general principles of the design of metabolism, the way in which major pathways are integrated and regulated through signal transduction and the role of metabolism in nutrition
  • To provide a biochemical basis for understanding inborn errors of metabolism and metabolism in disease states 
  • To demonstrate the role of enzymes in controlling metabolic pathways
Cell & Molecular Biology

The aims of this class are:

  • To demonstrate the role of genetic analysis in the elucidation of the mechanisms of gene function
  • To provide an introduction to cytology and histology
  • To develop a deeper understanding of cellular compartments and structures and their functions 
Practical Bioscience & Skills Development 2

The aims of this class are:

  • To develop skills for laboratory work in Biomedical Sciences
  • To reinforce understanding of key principles of core subjects taught in 2nd year
  • To enable you to analyse your personal and key skills and plan your development
  • To introduce you to the type of analytic methods used in the different degree disciplines ie Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Forensic Biology, Immunology, Microbiology and Pharmacology
Human Physiology

This class will provide you with a working knowledge of normal human physiology in preparation for the study of human diseases and the uses of drugs in their treatment.

Bio-organic Chemistry

Year 3

Compulsory classes

Laboratory Methods & Skills Development

This class will familiarise you with the current laboratory methods utilised in biomedical science research by attending laboratory sessions intended to provide a wide range of generic skills expected of laboratory science.

You'll also be trained in data collation and presentation and be able to write reports in a coherent and scientific manner. It's also intended that you'll gain an understanding of the underlying design of experimental studies. 

Clinical Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics

With its distinct molecular and clinical components, the class has a broad scope that is united by its focus on our modern understanding of human genetic disorders and their diagnosis and treatment.

The study of diseases and disorders from both the frontiers of basic molecular, cellular and pre-clinical research as well as the ‘frontline’ of hospital diagnostic procedures gives you a feel for the breadth of biomedical research and practice.

The clinical biochemistry section also provides a detailed overview of the physiologies and pathologies of major organ diseases and disorders affecting Western populations in the 21st Century.

The exposure to clinical expertise from external Glasgow Royal Infirmary lecturers is an important feature.

Finally, as a complementary part of the Clinical Biochemistry section, the major biochemical steps in drug metabolism are described.

Proteins & Enzymes

This class will give you an appreciation of:

  • the key role of enzymes and other proteins in the living cell
  • how proteins work and how their function depends on their chemical structure and properties
Fundamentals of Pharmacology

This class is a mixture of lectures and CAL labs. It aims to develop skills that will form core learning for both pharmacology and experimental research in the subsequent years of the joint pharmacology degrees. Topics covered include:

  • an in introduction to the concepts of receptors agonists and antagonists, chemical transmission, selectivity of drug action
  • pharmacology of synaptic transmission
  • receptor-response coupling
  • drugs affecting synthesis, storage, release, uptake and metabolism of neurotransmitters
  • alpha and beta-adrenoceptors
  • GABA-receptors
  • glutamate receptors
  • drugs and ion channels
  • eicosanoids and autacoids
  • report writing - scientific writing skills, calculations from given experimental data, interpretation of experimental data
Drugs & Disease 1

This class has been designed to enable you to integrate your knowledge of various areas of pharmacology, develop detailed knowledge and have a critical understanding of current and future drug treatment of selected major diseases. In addition, you'll develop critical analytical skills in interpreting cardiovascular experimental data.

In particular, this class looks at:

  • health and illness
  • normal and abnormal body function
  • aetiology and epidemiology of major diseases and the principles of their drug treatment
  • symptoms recognition and management
  • molecular bases of drug action
  • therapeutic uses of drugs in man
  • prediction of drug properties, cell and molecular biology of relevance to pharmacy
  • biological methods of measuring drug activity


Year 4

All full-time students shall undertake the following compulsory classes along with a choice of elective classes.

Compulsory classes

Research in Biomedical Sciences

The aims of this class are:

  • to provide training in skills required for carrying out a research project
  • to develop an awareness of ethical issues in biomedical research
  • to develop higher order cognitive abilities of analysis, synthesis and evaluation
  • to develop personal skills
Honours Biochemistry 1

The aims of this class are:

  • to provide in-depth knowledge of four areas of biochemistry
  • to develop skills in critical analysis of primary scientific literature
Honours Biochemistry 2

The aims of this class are:

  • to provide you with an understanding of the molecular basis of selected human diseases
  • to demonstrate how knowledge of disease mechanisms can be used to develop diagnosis and treatment 
Honours Pharmacology 1

This class builds upon the previous learning in physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. The class will revise certain aspects of pathophysiology and pharmacology from previous levels.

You'll also gain knowledge of novel drugs that are in late pre-clinical or early clinical development or recent concepts that may lead to novel drug therapy. This will enable you to critically evaluate original research papers and improve your oral communication skills.

Honours Pharmacology 2

This class will give you a strong knowledge base in a number of areas of pharmacology. It will help you to understand the current and future drug treatments of a wide range of selected diseases. The class also contains elements designed to help you develop skills in interpreting pharmacological information and data.

Topics covered include:

  • an introduction to neuropathology
  • the actions, uses, mechanisms of action and side-effects of drugs used to treat anxiety disorders, affective disorders (mania and depression) epilepsy, schizophrenia, neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer's, Parkinsonism, Huntington's chorea)
  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • pain and analgesics
  • endocrine diseases and their treatment (adrenal cortical insufficiency, Cushing's disease, diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, menopausal syndrome)
  • therapeutic uses of glucocorticoids
  • antifertility agents
  • interpretation of pharmacological data
  • cancer chemotherapy
  • bacterial chemotherapy
  • adverse drug reactions
  • disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
  • malaria
  • introduction to central nervous system disorders and their treatment 


Knowledge and understanding are assessed by written examinations, essays, presentations and computer-aided learning (CAL) exercises and quizzes, available on our virtual learning environment, Myplace.

Competence is assessed through practical tests, practical write-ups, project reports and CAL exercises and quizzes.

Communication skills are assessed through essays and oral presentations.

Project work is assessed from project reports and oral presentations.

There’s an individual research project in the final year of the course where you’ll demonstrate research skills, problem-solving and a research approach.

Learning & teaching

You’ll gain knowledge and understanding through lectures, including review-type lectures, practical classes, tutorials and computer-aided learning.

To allow you to prepare, class handouts are available in advance from Myplace. Handouts will also be supported by essays, oral and tutorial/workshop presentations.

Quantitative skills are taught by the Department of Maths & Statistics, the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry as well as the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

Most laboratory classes, including the chemistry classes in Year 1, include number and numeracy and statistical skills that are used in the institute. Communication skills are taught throughout the course. Information retrieval, interpretation and research skills are gained through project work, which also develops team-working skills.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.


Year 1 entry: AABB or AAAC (two Sciences, including Higher Biology/Human Biology B or Chemistry B; Chemistry |(if not at Higher) National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B; Maths National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B; English National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B)

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: BB (Chemistry B and Biology/Human Biology B, in addition to requirements for Year 1 above)

A Levels

Year 1 entry: BBB (two Sciences, including Biology B or Chemistry B; Chemistry (if not at A Level) GCSE B, Maths GCSE B, GCSE English Language B or English Literature B

Typical entry requirements: ABB

Year 2 entry: ABB (Chemistry and Biology (AB/BA), Maths and English as for Year 1 entry)

Typical entry requirements: AAA

International Baccalaureate

32 (two sciences, Biology/Chemistry/Physics HL5; Maths SL5, English SL5)


Year 1 entry: relevant HNC, B in Graded Unit

Year 2 entry: relevant HNC, A in Graded Unit or relevant HND, BB in Graded Units

Year 3 entry: relevant HND, AB in Graded Units 

Additional information

  • Deferred entry is accepted

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.

You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2016/17 - £1,820

Rest of UK

  • 2016/17 - £9,000


  • 2016/17 - £17,500

Additional fees  

Course materials & costs 

Lab coats and safety goggles 

  • approx £25 

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) 

Masters of Pharmacy students must pay for a PVG certificate during their first semester at a cost of £57.  This is applicable across all schools of pharmacy.  

How can I fund my studies?

Some Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note that funding is not applicable to all courses. Please contact SAAS to confirm if your particular course is eligible.

Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.


The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees


You could be involved in the development of drugs, food processing, protecting the environment, fighting disease or even slowing down the ageing process.

Our graduates find jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical industries, hospitals and public service laboratories, environmental centres, analytical and forensic science labs, universities, the scientific civil service and teaching at all levels.

Many students also continue onto postgraduate studies and research.

The transferable skills you gain from this course will not only prepare you for a career in science but also in areas such as finance, management, marketing, sales, business and media.

Where are they now?

72.2% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

Recent job titles include:

  • Commercial Graduate
  • Deputy Manager
  • Key Account Manager
  • Laboratory Application Scientist
  • Technical Sales Specialist

Recent employers include:

  • Aldi Stores
  • Arrayjet Ltd
  • Ineos
  • Panasonic Biomedical
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific


**Based on the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2012/13, 2011/12 (aggregated data).

Contact us



How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of offer
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

Discover more about Strathclyde