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UCC Postgraduate courses

Industrial Pharmaceutics (MRes)

Course Fact File
Duration12 Months Full-time; 24 Months Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
FeesSee Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date1 August 2024
Non-EU Closing Date30 June 2024
Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

The MRes in Industrial Pharmaceutics is a unique research programme that develops the critical skills required to work in the pharma and biopharma manufacturing industry in Ireland. The programme will develop competency in the design of experiments, data analysis, process development and analytical method development as well as in transversal skills such as scientific communication and technical writing.

This is the first research-intensive, industry-focussed MRes course of its kind in Ireland and is designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry for more specialist scientists with expertise in the analytical or process development space in Ireland and abroad.

The MRes Industrial Pharmaceutics is a 12-month full time (24 months part-time) research programme based within the School of Pharmacy and/or industry. The programme consists of an extensive research induction programme to develop basic pharma/biopharma process and analytical development skills.

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12-month full-time programme (24-months part-time), the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 20,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits. 

Modules (20 credits)

Core Module

  • PF6040 Pharmaceutics Research Skills (5 credits)

Elective Modules (15 credits from the following list)

  • PF6027 Pharmaceutical GxP and Regulatory Science (5 credits)
  • PF6028 Process Control and Validation for Pharmaceutical Processes (5 credits)
  • PF6033 Pharmaceutical Analysis and Analytics (5 credits)
  • PF6034 Pharmaceutical Operations (5 credits)
  • PF6035 Lean Six Sigma for (bio)Pharma (10 credits)
  • PF6037 Digital transformation and novel products in the (bio)pharma industry (10 credits)
  • PG6001 STEPS - Scientific Training for Enhanced Postgraduate Studies (5 credits)
  • PG6003 Teaching and Learning Module for Graduate Studies (5 credits)
  • PG6009 Graduate Information Literacy Skills (5 credits)
  • PG6015 An Introduction to Research Integrity, Ethics and Open Science (5 credits)
  • PG6021 English for Postgraduate Studies (Upper-Intermediate: B2+) (5 credits)
  • PG6022 English for Postgraduate Studies (Lower Advanced: C1) (5 credits)
  • PG6029 Skills in Public Engagement of Science (5 credits)
  • ST6013 Statistics and Data Analysis for Postgraduate Research Students (10 credits)
Research Thesis (70 credits)

You will undertake independent research towards the completion of a research thesis to a workload equivalent to 70 credits on a selected topic in industrial pharmaceutics. The project may be conducted in partnership with industry where a suitable industry project has been identified for the full-time MRes option. If you are working in industry and taking the course part-time you can propose an industry-based project.

Seminar Series: You will have the opportunity to regularly communicate your research findings through our monthly seminar series.

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for more information on the curriculum.


Course Practicalities

The MRes in Industrial Pharmaceutics full-time course will consist of 12 months of research on campus in the School of Pharmacy labs or an industry/research setting. The expected hours will be 9-5 from Monday to Friday.

The MRes in Industrial Pharmaceutics part-time course will consist of 24 months of research on campus in the School of Pharmacy labs and/or in an industrial/research environment as agreed between the academic and industry supervisor.

Human Capital Initiative

Development of this course has been supported by the Higher Education Authority under the Human Capital Initiative, Pillar 3. Grant agreement: 18351800 ‘The iEd Hub’.

Why Choose This Course

Our MRes is the only structured master's research programme in Ireland that specifically targets the biopharma and pharmaceutical industries.

Ireland has a significant biopharma manufacturing footprint with 9 out of the top 10 pharma companies globally based here. Completion of a research degree in pharma at a university with significant biopharma industry links (organic and via iEd Hub) will enable significant future employability both locally in Ireland and internationally as a process or analytical development scientist.

The School of Pharmacy in UCC is a top-100 Global School of Pharmacy; we have an extensive track record of industry-academic research collaboration and possess state-of-the-art pilot scale tabletting and aseptic manufacturing facilities as well as modern research labs. The majority of potential academic supervisors have worked in industry or have active industrial collaborations making the School of Pharmacy an excellent choice for starting your career in the pharma/biopharma industry. The careful selection of industry-relevant taught modules and industry-relevant research projects ensures that our graduates are highly employable in the pharma/biopharma industry at home and abroad.

This is an ideal postgraduate qualification for those of you wishing to work in pharmaceutical development and commercialisation roles or in extremely technical roles in the industry. In addition, the MRes programme allows our students to get an experience of academic research for those considering undertaking a PhD.

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between subjects such as pharmaceutical technology, regulatory science, ethics, statistics, and research practice.

Skills and Careers Information

As the global biopharmaceutical industry continues to expand it continues to experience a shortage of highly skilled staff so this is an ideal programme for those of you wishing to work in the Irish, or international, biopharmaceutical industry. In addition, the iEd Hub and School of Pharmacy will endeavor to work with the local biopharma industry to maximise employment opportunities for our research programme graduates.

Our MRes programme allows those of you without research & development experience to move into the area of process and analytical development earlier in your career – without needing the extensive industrial experience that is currently required for this sector. In addition, our MRes graduates can apply to undertake a PhD. See our School of Pharmacy research page for more information on our research options.
Career Pathways

Career pathways are varied and include the following:

  • Process Scientist
  • Analytical Development Scientist
  • Process Support Scientist/Engineer
  • Pharmaceutical Engineer
  • Technical Operations
  • Tech Transfer
  • Manufacturing Scientist
  • QC Technical Support


Applicants must have a Second-Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honour’s degree (NFQ, Level 8) in any of the following relevant subject areas: chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences or science, healthcare science, technology, or process engineering. Eligible applicants will be invited for an interview. Selection from among eligible applicants will be made according to the following criteria:

  • Performance in primary degree
  • Personal statement
  • References

Recognition of Prior Learning

Consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may also be given to applicants who do not meet the above entry requirements but who have relevant experience. To demonstrate relevant experience, applicants will be assessed by the programme team on the following criteria and an interview may also be required.

  • Academic achievement
  • Project proposal
  • Relevant industrial experience
  • Personal statement
  • Reference

Industry-based applicants

Applicants based in industry can apply to undertake a 2-year part-time MRes. The decision on entry to the programme will be assessed by the programme director and the Head of School, on a case-by-case basis. The decision on entry will include the proposed project compatibility, the applicant’s performance in their primary degree and an interview according to the following criteria: academic qualifications, research experience and focus, scientific understanding, personal statement and strong recommendations from an academic/industry referee.

English language requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. See our Postgraduate English Language Entry Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. See our Qualification Comparison by Country page for more information.


Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


How To Apply

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2024

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact