UCC Postgraduate courses

Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences, Operations & Management

Course Fact File
Duration12 Months
Teaching ModeFull-time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateWe are now closed for applications for this course.
Non-EU Closing DateClosed for Non-EU Applications
Start Date2 September 2024

Course Outline

The MSc in Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences, Operations and Management is a unique postgraduate qualification designed to maximise graduate employability in the biopharma and pharma industries. The programme is designed by industry for industry to ensure graduate success in the marketplace and will be delivered by the School of Pharmacy and Cork University Business School. The programme covers the technical, regulatory, operations and management aspects required in the biopharma & pharma industry. In addition, we cover digital transformation, the Pharma 4.0 operating model and lean six sigma, thereby future-proofing students for the factory of the future.

We place a major focus on experiential learning through an 8-month paid industry placement (from January to August) and the use of state-of-the-art pilot scale biopharma & pharma manufacturing facilities in the School of Pharmacy and digital simulation facilities in the UCC Assert Centre, as well as the Cork Enterprise Training Board Life Sciences Facility in Carrigaline.

You will learn the fundamentals through extensive simulation in practical laboratory work and workshops using real-world equipment and scenarios. There will be a significant element of learning through the use of case studies, with industry-based guest lectures delivering content across many modules. In addition, core technical, regulatory and operations modules will be delivered by lecturers with significant industry experience.

On this programme, you will undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12-month programme as follows: 

Core Modules (50 credits) 

  • PF6026 Pharmaceutical Technology & Unit Operations (5 credits)
  • PF6027 Pharmaceutical GxP & Regulatory Science (5 credits)
  • PF6028 Process Control & Validation for Pharmaceutical Processes (5 credits)
  • PF6032 Bioprocessing Unit Operations (5 credits)
  • PF6033 Pharmaceutical Analysis & Analytics (5 credits)
  • PF6034 Pharmaceutical Operations (5 credits)
  • BU6514 Business Case for Analytics (5 credits)
  • MG6024 Developing Management & Leadership Skills for Organisational Effectiveness (10 credits)
  • MG6025 Project Management (5 credits)

Elective Modules (10 credits)

  • PF6035 Lean Six Sigma for Biopharma (10 credits) or
  • PF6037 Digital Transformation & Novel Products in the (Bio)Pharma Industry (10 credits)

Project (30 credits)

  • PF6036 Industry-based Dissertation & Placement (30 credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The MSc in Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences, Operations and Management is an intensive 12-month full-time programme, with semester 1 based on campus with lectures, workshops, and practical labs taking place between Monday to Friday 10am-6pm, with occasional evening online lectures. Full attendance at lectures, workshops and practical labs is required. The programme timetable will be favourable to those commuting significant distances.

Students undertake their industry-based placement in semesters 2 and 3. This will comprise approximately 4 days a week, with two days per month based on campus for in-person workshops. Lectures in semester 2 will be delivered asynchronously and live synchronously. 

Students on international placement will be fully supported to ensure participation in all teaching activities while on placement through live streaming, recording etc of any in-person lectures and workshops. Any mandatory on-campus dates in semesters 2 & 3 will be communicated in semester 1.

Continuous assessment is the sole form of module assessment and will be performed through MCQs, assignments, group projects and presentations.

Note: Fees include all bench fees, equipment costs and field trips.

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

In my experience as HR Manager for the past 15 years ... at a multinational biopharma company, there is an ever-increasing need for graduates of this type in the sector...

Tony Daly PhD, HR Manager Pfizer, Ringaskiddy, Cork

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At Janssen, we highly value experiential learning and prior industrial experience and were delighted to hear that this MSc ... will provide students with an extended industrial placement...

Claire Daly, Training Manager, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, Ringaskiddy, Cork

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The Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences, Operations & Management MSc programme is the only one of its kind in Ireland that incorporates Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences and Management targeted at the biopharma & pharma manufacturing industry. The programme has a number of benefits:

  • An 8-month industry placement
  • A multi-disciplinary programme designed with industry
  • Practical & applied industry focus with 60 hours of hands-on practicals
  • Industry experienced lecturers
  • Guest industry lectures across all modules

Prior industrial experience is considered the most relevant factor in determining employability for new graduates in the marketplace so as part of this programme you will undertake an industrial placement providing you with invaluable experience when applying for graduate roles in the biopharma and pharma industry.

On this programme, you will take over 60 hours of training in hands-on simulated manufacturing environments in state-of-the-art teaching facilities at UCC. We are the only higher education provider nationally that boasts such on-site facilities. You will also have access to the ASSERT Centre, a nationally recognised leader in medical simulation training, which will also be used to deliver course content ensuring that our students are trained using cutting-edge, best-practice digital teaching technologies including virtual reality. These facilities combined with industry-based lecturers will give you a unique educational experience and enable high employability upon graduation.

We have designed this programme in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy, the Cork University Business School (CUBS) and the educational consortium iEd Hub. The unique combination between the School of Pharmacy and CUBS will provide our graduates with both technical and transversal skills to be successful in a wide range of positions in the biopharma & pharma industry.

IEd Hub features the Cork region’s universities, enterprise stakeholders, and leading industries in the Health and Life Sciences sector. Our focus is to deliver a suite of programmes that provide a holistic education - featuring both technical and non-technical skill sets, with students spending their time between industry sites and academic campuses. iEd graduates are embedded with the skills and values needed to forge the future in the Irish Industry. 


Placement or Study Abroad Information

All our MSc students will undergo an 8-month industrial placement* with a major pharma or biopharma industry partner or in an academic research setting. The majority of placements will be based in Ireland and the Munster region. Some placements may be international in nature. A dedicated placement coordinator and the programme team will manage the securing of placements and preparing students for interviews and entering the workplace on placement. In exceptional circumstances, it may be required for students to conduct their placement and project on campus, which may not be paid.

*Note for International Applicants: This is subject to visa requirements. Currently, international students can take placements for up to six months.

Skills and Careers Information

Due to the unique and broad nature of the programme, our graduates will have a wide range of roles open to them both in the short-term post-graduation and also in the longer term. Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences, Operations & Management graduates will have the technical knowledge to work both in large (biopharma) and small molecule (pharma) manufacturing environments. Graduates will also have the competencies to embark on a management career pathway in the longer term with the programme focus on management and transversal skills.

Potential roles open to our graduates include:

  • Analytical development scientist
  • BioPharma project/programme management
  • BioPharma supervisory/management
  • Manufacturing scientist
  • Operations/production staff
  • Pharmaceutical engineer
  • Process scientist
  • Process support scientists/engineer
  • QC technical support
  • Quality assurance/quality systems specialist
  • Regulatory affairs scientist/officer
  • Tech Transfer
  • Technical operations
  • Validation scientist/engineer


Applicants must have at least Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours’ 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 may also be invited for an interview. Selection from among eligible applicants will be made according to the following criteria:

• Performance in their primary degree
• Personal statement

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 professional experience in a suitable field. To demonstrate relevant professional experience, applicants will be assessed on the following criteria and an interview may also be required.

• Academic achievement
• Relevant industry experience
• Personal statement
• Reference

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements 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.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Closed for Non-EU Applications

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact