Laboratory items and science background

BScPharmacology & Microbiology

Why this course?

This joint Honours degree course combines the study of pharmacology and microbiology.

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.

Microbiology is the study of the smallest living organisms (micro-organisms or microbes) and includes viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa. Microbes are a major cause of disease in humans but they can also be useful in industrial processes from pollution control to the production of important therapeutic compounds.

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 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 & immunity
  • nutritional biochemistry & metabolism
  • cell & molecular biology
  • human physiology

You'll 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 Pharmacology or Microbiology 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's prestigious High Flyer Programme. This allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four.

If you're 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.

Work placement

We offer opportunities for you to engage with research full time in the summer preceding your final year. Since 2010, 47 undergraduate students have benefited from summer internships, of which 27 were funded by external organisations (including the Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Carnegie Trust and professional societies) and others received internal funding (including the University's ResearchInterns@Strathclyde).

You'll receive in-depth training through the host lab as well as skills development workshops on public engagement, networking and poster/presentation preparation. Additionally there are opportunities for students to participate in the ERASMUS scheme. Students have worked in universities from Poland to Portugal, from the Czech Republic to Spain.

Major projects

You'll have the opportunity to take part in a Vertically Integrated Project – VIP@Strath. These projects give students from first year through to postgraduate level the opportunity to work with staff in multi-disciplinary teams on cutting-edge research and development projects.

By taking part in the VIP project, you'll be able to:

  • learn & practice many different professional skills
  • make substantial technical contributions to a project
  • experience many different roles on a large design team
  • interact & receive support from more senior students &, in some instances, receive mentoring from PhD students involved in the project
  • contribute to the completion of large-scale design projects that are of significant benefit to the research programmes of staff members

Postgraduate study

Students from these courses have gone on to Masters postgraduate studies including MSc in Biomedical Science, Industrial Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical Analysis and Forensic Science. A number of students have pursued PhDs at a number of universitities. Many students also go on to study for a PGDE in order to qualify as future science teachers.

Student competitions

Prizes for the best students are awarded each year by a number of societies including British Society of Immunology, British Physiological Society, the Institute of Biomedical Science and the Royal Society of Biology. Students are encouraged to enter a number of competitions such as Findacure Essay competition and Life Sciences CV Competition.

Course content

Year 1

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 1

This class aims to give students:

  • the foundation practical skills required for a biological biochemistry
  • the foundation practical skills based around 'health and the body'
  • foundation presentation skills
Cells & their molecules

The aims of this class are to:

  • provide Foundation level knowledge relating to basic functions of cells
  • set out principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • expose students to the basic suite of teaching, learning and assessment paradigms used throughout their degree with particular focus on oral communication and presentation
Organisms & Disease

From this class, students will gain:

  • foundation level knowledge relating to basic evolution, species diversity, development, homeostasis, and infectious disease
  • principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • learn about methods of teaching, learning and assessment used throughout the degree, with particular focus on finding, citing and using information, and teamwork
Bio-Organic Chemistry

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand nucleotide/nucleic acid molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of nucleic acid chemical and biological potential
  • understand amino acid/protein molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of protein chemical and biological potential
  • understand monosaccharide/polysaccharide molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of carbohydrate chemical and biological potential
  • understand the chemistry, stereochemistry and biological roles of polyketide/polyisoprene natural products and their biosynthetic origins

Year 2

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 2

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a biochemist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for an immunologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a microbiologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a pharmacologist
  • give students fundamental skills in presentation and teamwork
Introduction to Biochemistry

The aims of this class are:

  • to understand gene structure and function and the regulation of gene expression
  • to understand how human genetic variation arises and its uses in medicine and forensics
  • to understand the basic structure and function of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates
  • to appreciate the key metabolic pathways in the absorptive and post-absorptive states
  • to understand the pathways involved in cell growth and cell death
Introduction to Immunology

By studying this class, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of how immune cells recognise antigens
  • an understanding of key concepts in induction of acquired immunity
  • an understanding of effector mechanism of the immune system
  • an understanding of helpful immune responses
  • an understanding of harmful immune responses
Introduction to Microbiology

The aims of this class are to help students to:

  • understand the fundamental taxonomic grouping and evolutionary relationships of microbes
  • appreciate physiological, structural and molecular differences between different microorganisms
  • understand the role and control of microorganisms in disease
  • learn how organisms adapt to hostile environments and appreciate the biotechnological exploitation of extremophiles
Introduction to Pharmacology

This class aims to:

  • develop understanding of systems biology and homeostasis
  • develop understanding of the somatic, autonomic and central nervous systems
  • develop understanding of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • develop understanding of the hepatic and renal systems
  • develop understanding of the endocrine and reproductive systems

Year 3

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 3

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students generic practical skills in biomolecular science
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (A) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (B) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students presentation skills
Fundamental Microbiology

By studying this class, students will be able to:

  • understand the basis of gene regulation in microorganisms and how this influences bacterial physiology
  • describe the key mechanisms that drive evolution of microorganisms
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of mathematical modelling in predicting microbial growth and death
  • describe the basis of microbial form and function and how bioinformatics are fundamental to microbiology
Biomedical Microbiology

The aims of this class are to enable students to:

  • understand the difference between taxonomic and phylogenetic classification of microorganisms
  • understand the principles that underpin bacterial, fungal and viral identification
  • understand the structure, function and growth characteristics of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. Apply that knowledge to their role in disease development
  • describe the distinguishing features, pathogenic properties, epidemiology, treatment and control of medically important bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa
Fundamental Pharmacology

This aims of this class are to:

  • develop understanding of how drugs act at receptors and how these actions can be quantified
  • develop understanding of the major cell signalling mechanisms in cells
  • develop understanding of the properties and distribution of adrenoceptors and therapeutic uses of related drugs
  • develop understanding of the properties and functions of eicosanoids and autacoids and therapeutic uses of related drugs
  • develop understanding of the properties and distribution of GABA and glutamate receptors and therapeutic uses of related drugs
Biomedical Pharmacology

This class aims to give students:

  • an understanding of cardiovascular pathophysiology
  • an understanding of respiratory disease
  • an understanding of chronic inflammatory diseases
  • an understanding of liver and kidney dysfunction
  • an understanding of haematopoietic-linked diseases

Year 4

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 4

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students the opportunity to carry out original research
  • to provide students with the skills to critically interpret data and develop conclusions or hypotheses based upon their findings
  • to provide students with the skills to analyse and present their data
  • to provide knowledge in a key area that is relevant to the career aspirations of the student
Advanced Microbiology

The aims of this class are to enable students to:

  • understand how to analyse and interpret the genomes of microorganisms.
  • understand the mechanisms that permit bacteria to sense and interact with the environment
  • understand of the mechanisms of bacterial growth and development.
  • understand microbial populations through ‘omic analysis
Advanced Pharmacology

By studying this class, students will develop:

  • an understanding of advanced topics in pharmacology
  • an understanding of P2X and P2Y receptors as novel therapeutic targets
  • an understanding of models of stroke and therapeutic targets
  • an understanding of optogenetics
  • an understanding of the roles of sphingosine 1-phosphate in cancer
  • an understanding of the study of leukocytes in angioplasty

Optional classes

Choose one class from the following:

Clinical Microbiology

This class aims to provide students with an understanding of:

  • the principles of epidemiology in infectious diseases
  • the diagnosis of microbial identification using genotyping and viable and non-viable approaches
  • the mechanisms of antimicrobial agents and antimicrobial resistance as well as the significance of biofilms in antimicrobial resistance
  • the mechanisms and importance of infection control in the immune-compromised host
Applied Microbiology

This class aims to provide an understanding of:

  • the basics of fermentation technology and how microbes can be exploited for human benefit
  • the impact of modern molecular biology techniques on industrial biotechnology and how this can be employed in an industrial setting
  • the importance of bioprocess monitoring and downstream processing
  • how microbial processes affect our environment in beneficial and deleterious ways

Choose one class from the following:

Clinical Pharmacology

The aims of this class are to:

  • develop an understanding of neurodegenerative disorders and the common themes of protein aggregation and inflammation in the brain
  • develop an understanding of the pharmacological control of global activity within the nervous system: epilepsy, anaesthesia and analgesia, use of sedatives and hypnotics
  • develop an understanding of psychiatric disorders
  • develop an understanding of drug dependence
  • develop an understanding of endocrine disease and oral contraceptives
Applied Pharmacology

The aims of this class are to enable students to:

  • develop an understanding of adverse drug reactions
  • develop an understanding of cancer chemotherapy
  • develop an understanding of prevention and treatment of malaria
  • develop an understanding of bacterial and viral chemotherapy
  • develop an understanding of gastrointestinal disorders

Assessment

Knowledge and understanding are assessed by written exams, essays, presentations and computer-aided learning (CAL) exercises and quizzes, which are 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

As well as lectures and laboratories, we use a variety of workshop styles, tutorials, online activities and group work.

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

Highers

Year 1 entry: AABB/AAAC (two sciences – Biology/Human Biology B or Chemistry B; Chemistry (if not Higher) Nat 5 B/Int 2 B; Maths Nat 5 B/Int 2 B; English Nat 5 B/Int 2 B)

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: BB (Chemistry B, Biology/Human Biology B, plus Year 1 above)

A Levels

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

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

International Baccalaureate

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

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry: HNC, Graded Unit B

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

Year 3 entry: HND, Graded Units AB

English language requirement

A pass in an English language qualification is normally required from applicants outside the UK whose first language is not English. The following provides information on the main qualifications considered for entry to the Business School undergraduate degree courses.

IELTS: Minimum overall band score of 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5)

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 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, 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.

Scotland/EU

  • 2017/18 - £1,820

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £9,250

Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.

International

  • 2017/18 - £18,000

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.  

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Careers

Many of our graduates work in the development of drugs, food processing, protecting the environment, fighting disease or slowing the ageing process. They work in a variety of positions including:

  • research in academia
  • NHS & private sector laboratory technician
  • clinical support worker

We also have graduates working in areas such as medical writing, clinical drug trials, medical sales, and production control.

Institute of Biomedical Science accreditation of the BSc Honours in Biomedical Science ensures that this degree meets the academic requirements for registration as a biomedical scientist. This is required if you wish to obtain registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. Registration with the council is essential if you wish to pursue a career as a biomedical scientist in an NHS laboratory.

Skills you'll gain on this degree will also prepare you for careers in finance, management, marketing, sales, business and media.

Contact us

Apply

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 decision
    • 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

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