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Pharmacology

BSc (Hons)

Pharmacology is the study of how drugs, as chemical agents, affect body functions in health and disease.

It is therefore a very important biomedical discipline, with roots both in basic biology and chemistry, and plays a vital role in helping to safeguard our health and welfare.

Why study Pharmacology at Dundee?

Pharmacology is a biomedical science that studies how and where in the body drugs act to produce their effects, from the whole organism down to its individual cells. Most drugs produce their effects by interacting with particular molecular components (e.g. specific proteins) within cells. Pharmacology also considers the body's handling of drugs – how drugs are administered and absorbed, how they distribute within the body, and how they are eventually inactivated and/or excreted, often after being modified in chemical structure by the action of enzymes found in the body.

The term 'drug' encompasses not only the familiar idea of chemicals as medicines (e.g. aspirin, penicillin) or as legal or illegal ‘pleasure promoting’ agents (e.g. alcohol, cannabis) but also includes poisons such as environmental or industrial pollutants, toxins from snakes and other creatures, and agents (e.g. ‘nerve gases’) of potential use in chemical warfare. The study of pharmacology therefore has important links with a variety of factors affecting health and wellbeing in the modern world.

Pharmacology can be studied as a single Honours degree programme or can be combined with another discipline, e.g. physiological sciences, in a Biomedical Sciences degree.

What's so good about Pharmacology at Dundee?

Research-led teaching

Modules available at Levels 3 and 4 give progressively more specialisation in pharmacology, with units in Level 4 being taught by laboratory-based scientists who carry out pharmacology-related research at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, where the Level 4 sessions are held.

Clinical perspective

This location also enables medical colleagues, who are involved in treating patients, to be included in some Level 4 teaching units to provide a first-hand clinical perspective of the use and actions of drugs.

Andrew Holt, who graduated in 1989, says: "The project I chose, in enzyme pharmacology, has shaped my life, in that it led to PhD studies in the same field and, ultimately, a research career in that field. My first two publications came from that undergraduate research project, a source of great pride for me."

Degrees Available

  • BSc Pharmacology

The study of Pharmacology can be combined with other life science disciplines in a more broadly-based Biomedical Sciences degree:

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff based in the College of Life Sciences.

How you will be taught

We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use workshops, tutorials, computer-aided learning, and field excursions, as appropriate to each module.

What you will study

Typical Degree Programme

Levels 1 and 2

All Life Sciences degree programmes share common core modules at Level 1 that provide a general introduction to the life sciences through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, practical work and field excursions.

Please refer to the Biological/Biomedical Sciences degree structure and overview webpage for details of the common curriculum in Levels 1 and 2.

Level 3

At Level 3 you specialise in pharmacology, and choose additional subjects that interest you to study alongside your main subject. You will develop your knowledge and skills in the following aspects of pharmacology:

  • peripheral and central nervous system pharmacology
  • mechanisms of cell signalling
  • basic principles of drug-receptor interactions
  • aspects of molecular pharmacology

Summer work placements

Many students take advantage of opportunities for summer work placements, normally between Levels 3 and 4, which are available as externally-funded competitive placements, or as voluntary laboratory work.

Level 4

Your studies at Level 4 will be at the level of current research in your chosen subject area.

Advanced study of topics in pharmacology that currently include:

  • cardiovascular pharmacology
  • pharmacogenomics (improving drug therapy and safety)
  • modulating the immune response
  • molecular aspects of toxicology and carcinogenesis
  • targeted treatments of cancer
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • molecular mechanisms of learning and memory
  • psychobiology and treatment of mental illness
  • analgesics and anaesthetics

Your studies will involve extensive use of scientific literature and the opportunity to attend a regular programme of seminars given by invited speakers from Britain and abroad.

  • Research project - several formats are available including laboratory-based research under the supervision of a leading scientist, computer modelling, multimedia teaching packages, literature and electronic database review.

How you will be assessed

All modules are assessed by a combination of in-course and end-of-course procedures. Regular in-course assessments (e.g. practical reports, computer-based exercises, essays and data processing exercises) provide feedback on your progress and help you prepare for end-of-module examinations.

On-line assignments are used extensively at Levels 1 and 2, with access via a PC on or off campus. Peer assessment operates in many team projects.

Careers

Pharmacology graduates are employed in many areas of medical and veterinary research in universities, industry and government-financed institutions.

In addition, pharmacologists have not only played a pivotal role in the UK pharmaceutical industry with an excellent record of drug discovery and development, but their skills are also welcome in other fields such as clinical trials, drug regulation and pharmaceutical marketing.

Furthermore, a degree in Pharmacology can be used to apply for graduate entry to study medicine or dentistry. However, it does not provide the qualification to be a pharmacist in the UK, for which a degree in Pharmacy would be required.

Postgraduate Study

Some of our students proceed to higher degrees (MSc or PhD) and go on to undertake or supervise original research.

We offer a number of Masters level courses in addition to PhD research opportunities in the College of Life Sciences.

Andrew Holt graduated in 1989 with BSc (Hons) Pharmacology. Following graduation he studied for an MPhil then PhD at Cambridge. Since then he has worked in academia and in the private sector in Canada and is now Associate Professor in Pharmacology at the University of Alberta.

He says, "The real world is a very competitive place. Your time spent at Dundee is an opportunity to give yourself a significant competitive advantage - don't waste the opportunity!"

Entry Requirements

These are minimum indicative entry requirements, not a guaranteed entry level. You will get an individual offer from us following our review of your application. Please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2014

Your application for entry will be judged based on the highest level qualifications you have or are taking, e.g. students offering A-Levels or Scottish Baccalaureate will be made an offer based on entry to the 3 year Honours degree as this offers the best academic progression.

4 year Honours degree (Level 1 / SCQF 7 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Higher AABB
GCE A-Level not available
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (Higher, ILC Higher, IB Higher Level) plus
Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2 at C, ILC Ordinary Level at C or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

3 year Honours degree (Level 2 / SCQF 8 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (AH) + BB (H) in different subjects
GCE A-Level AAB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (AH or A-Level or IB Higher level) plus
Mathematics (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2 at C, GCSE at C, or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 (grade C) (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access to Science Programmes Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science modules (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry (level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry (level 2 entry)

Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

Courses starting September 2015

Your application for entry will be judged based on the highest level qualifications you have or are taking, e.g. students offering A-Levels or Scottish Baccalaureate will be made an offer based on entry to the 3 year Honours degree as this offers the best academic progression.

4 year Honours degree (Level 1 / SCQF 7 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Higher AABB
GCE A-Level not available
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (Higher, ILC Higher, IB Higher Level) plus
Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, ILC Ordinary Level at C or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

3 year Honours degree (Level 2 / SCQF 8 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (AH) + BB (H) in different subjects
GCE A-Level AAB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (AH or A-Level or IB Higher level) plus
Mathematics (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, GCSE at C, or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 (grade C) (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access to Science Programmes Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science modules (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry (level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry (level 2 entry)

Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee category Fees for students starting September 2014
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Students from the rest of the UK £9,000 per year for each year of the degree.
You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.
EU students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,500 per year of study.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Fee category Scholarships & Bursaries applicable
Scottish students
Students from the rest of the UK
EU students
Overseas students (non-EU)

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

All applications must be made through UCAS

UCAS Codes

Institution Code: D65

Degree UCAS Codes KIS data
BSc Pharmacology B210 View KIS data for this course

UCAS Application Process


International Applicants

We have information specifically for international applicants on our International website:

What skills, qualities and experience do I need?

Your personal statement should demonstrate an interest in the subject you are applying for and a commitment to the study of that subject. How did your interest in the subject arise, and do you have a particular career path in mind?

You should comment on your participation in both school/college/work and extracurricular activities and on the extent to which they have aided in your personal development and the acquisition of skills that will be of value to you as a life sciences student.

  • Do you have an enquiring mind?
  • Do you have good analytical skills and problem-solving ability?
  • Are you self-motivated and able to work independently?
  • Are you a good team player?
  • Do you have good communication skills?

If you are planning a gap year, comment on the intended activity and the benefits that you think you are likely to gain from the experience.

Tips for your application

Give careful consideration to both the style and content of your personal statement as it can be an indicator of your ability to communicate as well as providing an account of your personal achievements and skills.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in 3 years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Home / EU applicants

Undergraduate Admissions
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 384370/ 388074/ 388585 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384370/ 388074/ 388585 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us

International applicants

International Office
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 388 111 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 388 111 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us