Next Generation Drug Discovery, M.Sc.

The pharmaceutical industry is in transition and this programme will provide you with the stimulus, guidance and knowledge to develop a career around new approaches to drug discovery. The Next Generation Drug Discovery programme is offered at The University of Edinburgh.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


The Next Generation Drug Discovery programme is offered at The University of Edinburgh.


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.

Career opportunities

Discover the career options that will be available to you.

Our distance learning programmes provide the discipline and focus to help you engage with new thinking, yet are structured to fit around busy working lives.

They are therefore suitable for those who wish to enter the drug development industry, and those already working in it who would like to enhance their qualifications.

Wide range of career prospects

You 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

Programme structure

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods, including online tuition, peer-to-peer discussion and individual study. You will take twelve taught courses followed by a research project leading to a dissertation in your final year.

Individual courses can be taken for Continuing Professional Development purposes or you can study for a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc.

We offer a fast-track option to complete the MSc in two years, or you can spread your programme over a maximum of six years, through intermittent study, allowing you to accommodate work and other commitments.

You can expect to spend seven to 13 hours a week on your studies, depending on your chosen schedule.


  • Professional Skills in Drug Discovery
  • Measuring Drug Binding
  • Chemistry for Drug Discovery
  • Structure Determination of Drug Targets
  • Druggable Systems
  • Introduction to Modelling Biological Systems
  • Molecular Modelling
  • High Throughput Drug Discovery
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Systems Approach to Modelling Cell Signal Transduction
  • In Silico Drug Discovery
  • Modelling Metabolic Pathways

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Study intensity Part-time
  • 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)
  • 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 93 International
  • GBP 93 EU/EEA
  • £930 per 10 credits for both EU and International students.


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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