The modern pharmaceutical industry encompasses the development of “biologics”, for example antibodies and protein hormones, as much as it does traditional small-molecule drug discovery. The Drug Discovery and Protein Biotechnology programme is offered at The University of Edinburgh.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


The MSc in Drug Discovery and Protein Biotechnology is offered by The University of Edinburgh.This programme will cover the design and potential uses of different families of proteins.

Topics include:

  • appreciating the architecture and design of biologics
  • understanding and critically appreciating issues of stability
  • bioavailability and the role of post translational modifications
  • appreciation of production and biochemical/biophysical characterisation of biologics.


Our programme aims to:

  • Develop research skills in authentic drug discovery skills.
  • Build awareness of unresolved issues and unanswered questions in the area of drug discovery.
  • Teach experimental methods used in the field, including analysing experimental investigations and drawing quantitative conclusions from experimental data.
  • Develop an understanding that will allow engagement in debates on current topics in a broader context.

Learning outcomes

Graduates from our programme have:

  • A strong background in the science underlying emerging fields of drug discovery.
  • An understanding of how next generational drug discovery can be applied to real-world problems and create new growth industries.
  • Relevant skills and approaches in biological research, achieved through a combination of solving realistic problems, research projects and group work.
  • An understanding of scientific method and the ability to think critically and construct alternative arguments and hypotheses.
  • A range of transferable skills and graduate attributes in addition to specialised knowledge.


Wide range of career prospectsY

ou will achieve a highly-respected masters degree from a world-class University; distance learning is not distinguished on the degree certificate because we consider our degrees to be of equal value to a campus-based programme.

The benefits of these programmes include:
  • access to new academic thinking, including new computational and systems biology approaches to drug discovery
  • a range of transferable skills including team work, critical and reflective thinking, and an appreciation of how the industry works
  • insight from successful entrepreneurs
  • the chance to network with peers across the globe
  • increased expertise in online communication in an international context.

Programme Structure

Year one (Certificate year)

Year one of the programme will involve six taught courses. Each course is five weeks in duration.

Compulsory courses
  • Professional Skills in Drug Discovery
  • Measuring Drug Binding
  • Chemistry for Drug Discovery
  • Structure Determination of Drug Targets
  • Druggable Systems
  • Introduction to Modelling Biological Systems
Year two (Diploma year)

All courses offered in year two of the programme are compulsory. Each course is five weeks in duration.

  • Systems Approach to Modelling Cell Signal Transduction
  • In Silico Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Modelling
  • High Throughput Drug Discovery
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Study intensity Part-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration part-time 24 months

      Our programmes are normally completed in three years but the timescale is flexible. You can complete an MSc within two years, but you may take up to six years to finish your studies.

  • Credits
    120 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
      Fully structured
    • Attendance
      No Attendance
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request
    • Student interaction
      Individual work/assignments (with online group discussions), Online group works/assignments
  • More information Go To The Course Website
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You will need at least the equivalent of a UK 2:1 honours degree at undergraduate level in a biological subject. Other scientific backgrounds are considered on a case-by-case basis. You may also need proven proficiency in English.

Degree requirements

You will need at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its equivalent, in one or more of the following areas:

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Molecular biology
  • Pharmacology

Alternative backgrounds

University level maths is required. If you have a background in physics, mathematics or other related sciences you may also be considered.

We encourage applications from people who haven’t formally studied in a while, and particularly people on career breaks. These applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, and courses have been designed to provide self-study material to bring all students up to the level of each course.

If you’re not sure whether you have the required background, please send details of your qualifications and a copy of your transcript to our Recruitment and Admissions team before applying so we can assess your suitability.

Tuition Fee Per Credit

  • GBP 930 International
  • GBP 930 EU/EEA

£930 per 10 credits for both EU and International students.


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