Innovations in Drug Discovery and Development helps improve human and animal health by creating new and effective drugs and medicines. Hence, it is not surprising that many universities offers this course but what is interesting to see is the range of specializations and focus varying across universities.

Some universities emphasize on the design of drugs such as Georgetown University, which offers Master of Science in Drug Design and Discovery, imparts learning for the “processes involved in the use of technology and bioinformatics to design drugs”. (https://biotechnology.georgetown.edu/academics/drugdesign/) The University of Aberdeen has a Masters by Research (MRes) in Drug Discovery, which aims to develop student’s research skills and provides the information of drug discovery process from “both a scientific and commercial (bio-business) view.” (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/degree-programmes/54/drug-discovery/).

Whereas some universities combine pharmaceutical science in learning such as Coventry University has an MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery, which conglomerates “pharmacological, molecular, biochemical, cell biological and genetic techniques” altogether to deliver the learning. (https://www.coventry.ac.uk/course-structure/pg/2020-21/hls/pharmacology-and-drug-discovery-msc/) Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Safety teaches “the interaction between molecules and human body from a range of perspectives” such as “chemical, medical, toxicological, pharmacological and genetic”. (https://masters.vu.nl/en/programmes/drug-discovery-safety/index.aspx). University of Nottingham’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences provides “in – depth knowledge of all aspects of drug discovery, integrating teaching in chemistry and biology” (https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/courses/pharmacy/drug-discovery-and-pharmaceutical-sciences-msc.aspx). In addition to pharmaceutics, De Montfort University Leicester’s MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology covers topics “relating to DNA and protein-based medicines’. (https://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduate-courses/pharmaceutical-biotechnology-mscpg-dippg-cert/pharmaceutical-biotechnology.aspx)

Few universities have taken the aspect of toxicology into consideration such as University of Hertfordshire’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Toxicology, offers a problem based learning to develop high – level critical analysis skills and substantial exposure to practical techniques in drug discovery and toxicology.” (https://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-masters/msc-drug-discovery-and-toxicology) The University of Aberdeen offers an MSc in Drug Discovery and Development, which provides an information on “drug metabolism and toxicology, small molecule drug discovery, biologic drug discovery.” (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/degree-programmes/55/drug-discovery-and-development/).

Students may opt for variations in specializations while studying drug discovery, offered by universities such as University of Bath which offers an MSc in Drug Discovery focusing on “concepts and research techniques in drug discovery including target identification and validation, screening platforms, optimisation of small molecule drugs and biotherapeutics, and the importance of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.”(https://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-2020/taught-postgraduate-courses/msc-drug-discovery/) King’s College London runs MSc in Drug Discovery Skills in which students can “study a range of modules that include core skills and case histories in drug discovery.” (https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/drug-discovery-skills-msc.aspx).

Pharmaceutical aspects are also included by some universities while teaching drug discovery such as University of Sunderland, which has an MSc in Drug Discovery and Development, which “covers advanced pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical analysis, drug design, pharmacology, proteomics and pharmacogenomics.” (https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/study/pharmacy-pharmaceutical-and-cosmetic-sciences/msc-drug-discovery-development/#course-structure).  Drexel University, College of Medicine’s Masters of Science degree program in Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) helps students to “gain comprehensive knowledge of pharmacology, physiology, pharmacoepidemiology, translational medicine, and pharmacogenomics” (https://drexel.edu/medicine/academics/graduate-school/drug-discovery-development/curriculum/). The University of Sheffield’s MSc in Genomic Approaches to Drug Discovery provides an education in “drug screening and gene discovery, using the latest genomic techniques.” (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/bms/study/masters/gadd).

While a few others cover biological and biomedical aspects in drug discovery such as Edinburgh Napier University which runs an Msc in Drug Design and Biomedical Science, conveys knowledge in the creation and development of effective drugs from concept to clinic using theory and practical applications of “chemical drug design and immunology, pharmacology and molecular biology”. (https://www.napier.ac.uk/courses/msc-drug-design-and-biomedical-science-postgraduate-fulltime) University of Patras’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Development, integrates new fields of Pharmaceutical Sciences, which includes all stages from the discovery and strategies of a new bioactive compound till the release of the drug. (https://www.upatras.gr/en/node/7840) University of Gothenburg offers a Master’s degree in Drug Development. The course “gives an orientation about concepts, working methods and strategies in modern drug development, with emphasis on the early part (“drug discovery”) and covers topics such as: Identification and validation of new cellular target molecules, bioinformatics, genetic model organisms, and methods for high-throughput screening.” (https://utbildning.gu.se/education/courses-and-programmes/course_detail?courseid=BIO523).

Some universities have included chemistry aspect in their learning such as The University of Birmingham offers a Masters in Drug Discovery and Medicinal Chemistry, which includes “multidisciplinary modules ranging from chemical synthesis and molecular modelling to pharmacokinetics, toxicology and drug delivery.” (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/eps/news/schools/medicinal-chemistry.aspx). University of Leeds offers an MSc in Chemical Biology and Drug Design, which focuses on “synthesis of biologically active molecules, medicinal chemistry, protein engineering, biophysical chemistry, and chemical proteomics”. (https://courses.leeds.ac.uk/f985/chemical-biology-and-drug-design-msc) The Innovation University, Stevens Institute of Technology runs a Master’s program in Computational and Medicinal Chemistry, which imparts learning in “innovation in drug discovery and clinical care”. The program combines “chemistry, biology, computer science, life sciences, medicine, clinical applications, bioethics” together and focuses on “protein structure and property interaction, ligand and receptor interactions and modification of ligands and compounds to better-fit receptors and other targets”. (https://www.stevens.edu/schaefer-school-engineering-science/departments/chemistry-chemical-biology/graduate-programs/computational-and-medicinal-chemistry-masters-degree) Victoria University of Wellington runs a Master of Drug Discovery and Development (MDDD). The course studies combines “biological sciences with chemistry” and provides ability “to target, design, synthesise, create and assess new drugs” (https://www.victoria.ac.nz/explore/postgraduate-programmes/master-of-drug-discovery-and-development/overview). University of Lincoln runs an M.Chem. in Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development which imparts learning in “synthetic chemistry and develop experience in drug formulation and manufacture within the regulatory context of the pharmaceutical industry.” (https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/course/chmdrgum/) The University College London, School of Pharmacy’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Development provides “hands-on experience of molecular modelling and computer-based drug design and analytical and synthetic techniques and be exposed to modern platforms for drug discovery and methods of drug synthesis.” (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pharmacy/study/msc-drug-discovery-and-development). Newcastle University’s MSc in Drug Chemistry mixes chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences and gives learning in “drug design, metabolism, toxicology, synthetic organic chemistry” and focuses on topics related to “bio-imaging, modern approaches to chemotherapy”. (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/degrees/drug-chemistry-msc/#profile)

A few universities concentrate on natural product based drug discovery program such as The University of Edinburgh which has an MSc in Drug Discovery and Translational Biology, which combines “structural biology, bioinformatics, chemistry and pharmacology” and explores new techniques and methods for “developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants”.


Salford University’s Master’s in Drug Design and Discovery integrates “classical natural products-based drug discovery methods, involving extraction, assay-based functional fractionation, isolation, characterisation, and target validation.” The course syllabus not only focuses on the “discovery of antimicrobials against multidrug resistant strains of bacteria” but also “molecular target-based drug discovery and molecular modelling.” (https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/drug-design-and-discovery) University of Bordeaux offers a Master’s in Analytical Chemistry for Drugs and Natural Products, which concentrates on “analytical control of plant-based drugs and health products”. (https://www.u-bordeaux.com/Education/Study-offer/Masters-in-English/Analytical-Chemistry-for-Drugs-and-Natural-Products) University of East Anglia offers an MSc in Natural Product Drug Discovery, which focuses on “nutriceuticals and herbal extracts, antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance and the major human diseases” and teaches the “science of natural product discovery, from microorganisms to plants and animals”. (https://www.uea.ac.uk/course/postgraduate/msc-natural-product-drug-discovery)

Some target cancer related drugs such University of Bradford’s MSc in Cancer Drug Discovery. According to the University “Drug discovery combines the expertise of medicinal chemists required in translating the understanding of the molecular aspects of disease progression to the identification of suitable chemical entities, and the process of optimisation that ultimately leads to the discovery of new medicines.” (https://www.bradford.ac.uk/courses/pg/cancer-drug-discovery/). Queen’s University Belfast runs an MSc (Res) in Oncology Drug Discovery, which reveals “how existing and future drug targets are identified from biological samples isolated from the cancer clinics”. (https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-taught/2020/oncology-drug-discovery-msc(res)/) Leiden University has an MSc in Drug Discovery and Safety, which provides a research-based knowledge “into the discovery of new drug targets and safe and effective lead molecules, particularly in the field of cancer, through a combination of advanced imaging techniques (‘systems microscopy’), in vitro and in vivo model systems, organic synthesis, molecular biology and pharmacology, and computational approaches.” (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/education/study-programmes/master/bio-pharmaceutical-sciences/drug-discovery-and-safety).

Whereas the Maastricht University has a Master’s in Drug Development and Neurohealth, which provides “theoretical background and practical experience in pharmaceutical drug research and development, medicinal nutrition and personalised healthcare.” (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/education/master/research-master-cognitive-and-clinical-neuroscience-specialisation-drug-development)

University of Kent offers an MSc in Applied Drug Discovery, which emphasizes on “how fundamental science is applied to the discovery and development of medicines.” (https://www.msp.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/msc-applied-drug-discovery/index.html). Liverpool John Moores University’s MSc in Drug Discovery and Design targets “molecular chemists with a passion for drug creation and offers an integrated, stimulating and challenging programme of study, informed by contemporary research and responsive to the changing nature of the pharmaceutical industry.” (https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduates/drug-discovery-and-design). Imperial College London offers an MRes in Drug Discovery and Development. According to the university, a “Multidisciplinary Science for Next Generation Therapeutics” provides “an understanding of the current global state of drug discovery together with radical insights into future directions from leaders in the field.” (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/chemistry/drug-discovery-development/). University of Turku has an MSc in Drug Discovery and Development, which provides “knowledge of technological innovations as well as methods of clinical drug research and development phases, clinical trial design, study planning and biostatistics.” (https://info.finlanduniversity.com/masters-degrees/programmes/drug-discovery-and-development).

Few universities focus on drug development such as The University of Manchester’s MSc in Model – based Drug Development “focuses on the modelling and simulation skills that are currently transforming the drug development industry”. (https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/08749/msc-model-based-drug-development/course-details/#course-profile). KU Leuven’s Master of Drug Development focuses on “properties of drugs and biological systems they affect, drug development, production and analysis, the pharmaceutical work field and pharmaceutical care”. (https://onderwijsaanbod.kuleuven.be/opleidingen/v/e/CQ_50268794.htm) University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy runs an MS in Management of Drug Development. The course “brings together chemical evolution, implementation of quality systems and testing in animals and people”. (https://pharmacyschool.usc.edu/programs/rs/msdd/). Queen Mary, University of London runs an MSc in Clinical Drug Development, which integrates learnings in “drug development process provides a detailed picture of the complex and highly interrelated activities required for the development cycle for drugs and biologics, from the process of discovery to successful commercialisation.


Some universities concern for drug safety such as King’s College London offers an MSc in Drug Development Science and delivers “expertise and skills in all aspects of clinical research, drug regulation and drug safety.” (https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/drug-development-science-msc-pg-dip-pg-cert.aspx). University of Wisconsin – Madison has a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Applied Drug Development, which concentrates on “drug development, manufacturing, and ongoing safety management”. (https://pdc.wisc.edu/degrees/pharmaceutical-applied-drug-development/) The Centre for Drug Discovery Development and Production (CDDDP), University of Ibadan, Nijeria – a Regional Centre of Regulatory Excellence (RCOREs) offers a Master’s degree program in Drug Development and Regulatory Pharmacy (MDDRP), which imparts learning in industrial and regulatory pharmacy. (https://cdddp.ui.edu.ng/master%E2%80%99s-degree-programme-drug-development-and-regulatory-pharmacy-mddrp). University of Barcelona’s Master’s degree in Drug Research, Development and Control is suitable for those who wishes to learn stages of drug development, drug analysis and control.  (https://www.ub.edu/web/ub/en/estudis/oferta_formativa/master_universitari/fitxa/D/M0B08/index.html) Uppasala University, offers a Master’s programme in Drug Discovery and Development. “The course deals with different phases in drug development; Identification and validation of target molecule (the target), identification and optimisation of active substance, ADME-Tox profiling, in-vivo and in-vitro pharmacology, formulation, discovery and biomarkers and disease models, clinical trials, registration and commercialisation.” (http://www.uu.se/en/admissions/master/selma/Kurser/?kKod=3FK229&typ=1).