Pure and Applied Chemistry

MScPharmaceutical Analysis

Why this course?

This course gives you specialised knowledge of the analytical techniques used to detect, identify and quantitatively determine drugs and related substances.

You’re introduced to techniques for evaluating analytical data and validating analytical methods. You’ll also examine strategies for analytical research and development.

You’ll gain practical experience in a wide range of modern instrumentation and techniques.

You’ll study

The course consists of four theory and two practical modules running between October and April followed by examinations.

If you pass all exams and wish to proceed to MSc then you’ll undertake a 10-week research project. This will be in the University or at an external company or organisation. You’ll submit a thesis at the end of August.


The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) offers an excellent environment for research and teaching. It’s located in a new building with several laboratories. All are fitted with the latest equipment.

The course has access to the full range of analytical spectroscopic and chromatographic instrumentation including:

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
  • Ultra-Violet (UV)
  • Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR_FTIR)
  • Mass Spectrometry (MS)
  • High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Gas Chromatography (GC)
  • Liquid Chromatograph/Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC/GC-MS)

Teaching staff

Dr David Watson, Course Leader
Dr Watson’s general research interests include:

  • mass spectrometry-based metabolomics
  • mass spectrometry imaging
  • chromatographic retention mechanisms
  • chemical profile and biological properties of propolis

Dr Darren Edwards
Dr Edwards teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in analytical chemistry, specifically:

  • spectroscopy (UV/visible, AA, ICP, FP)
  • chromatography (HPLC/TLC)
  • bioanalysis and use of pharmacopeias

Dr Iain D H Oswald
Dr Oswald is part of the team that teaches spectroscopic methods such as IR, spectrofluorimetry and circular dichroism. His research focuses on materials at high pressure and he has a general interest in the solid-state and polymorphism/co-crystallisation of materials.

Dr Christine Dufes
Dr Dufes teaches Binding Assays on the MSc course. Her research interests are:

  • Design and development of novel tumour-targeted anti-cancer therapeutic systems
  • Design and development of novel therapeutic systems able to reach the brain after systemic administration, with the ultimate aim to facilitate drug delivery to brain tumours and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr RuAngelie Edrada-Ebel
Dr Edrada-Ebel teaches NMR spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry in Pharmaceutical Analysis. Her research focuses on natural products chemistry of macro-organisms and micro-organisms from both the marine and the terrestrial habitat.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Chemical & Statistical Analysis

The class aims to develop an integrated knowledge and ability to apply the principles of chemical (titrimetry), statistical and chemometric methods in the quantitative/qualitative analysis of drugs and related substances, including their effectiveness.

The class also aims to provide an understanding of:

  • the physicochemical properties of drug substances
  • the stability of drugs or formulations
  • the basic calculations used in the analysis of drugs
  • the principles and application of method validation in analytical procedures
Spectrophotometric & Spectroscopic Methods

The class aims to develop a detailed knowledge of a variety of spectrophotometric techniques used in the quantitative/qualitative analysis of drugs and related substances. The lectures are integrated with “real world” examples in the use of each technique in the quantitative/ qualitative analysis of pharmaceuticals/related substances to ensure you have the ability to apply learnt principles.

Techniques studied include:

  • UV/visible spectrophotometry
  • Fluorescence spectrophotometry
  • Infrared spectrophotometry
  • Near infrared spectrophotometry
  • Raman spectrophotometry
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry - lectures and workshops cover both electron impact and atmospheric ionisation techniques (electrospray and chemical ionisation)

The class also provides an understanding of the application of UV, IR, NMR and MS techniques in the structural elucidation of known (and new) drugs and/or chemical entities.


The class aims to develop an integrated knowledge and ability to apply the principles of separation (chromatographic) techniques and methods in the quantitative/qualitative analysis of drugs and related substances. Techniques studied include:

  • Thin Layer Chromatography
  • Gas Chromatography
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography
  • Capillary Electrophoresis
Bioanalysis, biotechnology & quality and management

This class aims to give you a thorough understanding of the procedures used to analyse drugs in biological matrices. You'll also obtain a thorough understanding of the procedures used to assure quality in both synthetic and biotechnologically produced drugs.

Chemical & Spectroscopic Methods

This class is laboratory based and is used to develop practical lab skills of relevance to current industrial and academic practice.

The aims of this class are to provide you with an appreciation and knowledge of the practical skills necessary when using chemical and spectroscopic techniques for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical substances and ingredients in formulations.

Chromatographic & Bioanalytical Methods

This class is laboratory based and is used to develop practical lab skills of relevance to current industrial and academic practice. It has been designed to enable you to develop an integrated knowledge base and critical understanding of the practical skills relating to the pharmaceutical analysis and quality control of medicinal products, as preparation for progress to practice as a pharmaceutical analyst.

The class provides an appreciation of chromatographic techniques used in the qualitative, quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical substances and ingredients in formulations. 

Research Project

Students who pass the necessary number of class passes are eligible to do a research project to gain the required number of credits for an MSc.

The research project takes place over ten weeks from May until the end of August. Projects can be internal (within SIPBS) or external.

We have external placements within pharmaceutical companies, other Universities, government/European bodies and other industries. We aim to place as many students as we can in external placements. Internal placements are conducted with members of staff from SIPBS, usually within an area of active research within the department. These internal projects are by no means inferior to external placements, and students regularly achieve their name on scientific publications from these projects.

Learning & teaching

The course is taught by experts based in SIPBS. There’s also specialised lectures from visiting professors and world-renowned scientists who are working in the pharmaceutical and analytical industries and legislative bodies, including the European Pharmacopoeia.

Teaching of theory and applications is through lectures, tutorials and web-based learning. The material is further reinforced with practical sessions which provide you with hands-on experience with a wide range of modern instrumental techniques.


Assessment is through written and practical examinations and submission of a thesis (MSc students only).

Entry requirements

MSc: applicants with a first or second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in an appropriate science.

English language requirements

English language minimum IELTS 6.5.

We offer a range of English Language course for students who wish to improve their English. Module 3 is free of charge to all applicants and we strongly recommend all international students to take advantage of this free course.

We also offer comprehensive English language pre-sessional and foundation courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.5.

For students with IELTS of 6.0, an offer can be made conditional on completing Modules 2 and 3 of Pre-sessional English.

For students with IELTS of 5.5, an offer can be made conditional on completing Modules 1, 2 and 3 of Pre-sessional English.

Please see ELTD for full details.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. 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.


  • 2017/18 - £5,000

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £6,000


  • 2017/18 - £18,000

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

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


Many of our graduates obtain positions in the pharmaceutical & chemical industries and some have continued into PhD research.

Previous graduates of the course include:

  • a number of world-renowned academics
  • the current Head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  • the previous Head of the European Pharmacopoeia Laboratory based in Strasbourg

Where are they now?

88.9% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

Job titles include:

  • Analyst of Pharmaceutical Products
  • Analytical Assistant
  • Lab Scientist

Employers include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Ministry of Health
  • Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd

**Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (2010/11 and 2011/12)

Contact us


Pharmaceutical Analysis

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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