MEngSc /PGDip (Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical)

MEngSc/PG Dip in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering

The enormous need for Engineers to work in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical devices industries has been well documented in recent years, most recently by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs:

The MEngSc/PG Dip in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering are part time modularized degrees which can be taken over 24 months (for award of a Postgraduate Diploma) to 60 months. In undertaking these programmes participants will have the opportunity to gain formal educational qualification in areas of particular concern to the bio/pharmaceutical industry that they may not have benefitted from before, including issues such as product containment, powder/particle technology, design of API and secondary production facilities, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), design of classified facilities, aseptic processing facility design and validation.

To download the course brochure, please click here: MEngSc Flyer

The PG Diploma is identical to Part I of the MEngSc; both offer 60 ECTS credits on Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering. The only difference between the two degrees is that the MEngSc involves an additional 30 credit minor thesis module to candidates who meet the required standards in Part I of the degree. Candidates of the MEngSc who choose not to proceed to Part II or who do not meet the required standards graduate with the PG Diploma.

 MEngSc in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering (CKR35) (for more details, see here)

The aim of this (NQAI level 9) programme is to fill a need for the Continuing Professional Development and Postgraduate Education of Engineers working in the Pharmaceutical Industry. To date many Engineering graduates (including Chemical & Process Engineering graduates) do not have formal educational qualifications relating specifically to the pharmaceutical industry. This is because many undergraduate Chemical Engineering courses, which are generally broad in nature, do not cover issues of particular concern to the pharmaceutical industry; issues such as product containment, powder/particle technology, design of API and secondary production facilities, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), design of classified facilities, aseptic processing facility design, validation, etc. This is the case to an even greater extent the case for graduates of other Engineering disciplines.

 PG Dip in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering (CKP08) (for more details, see here)

Many graduates working in the pharmaceutical industries with a scientific background find themselves working in areas which increasingly overlap with engineers and engineering. Many of them would like to develop an engineering based understanding of processes and production in a formal manner. This programme offers these graduates with significant benefits both to themselves and their companies by developing their skills set and employability across a wider range of roles through the enhanced continuing professional development that this programme offers. This programme also offers the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry with an opportunity to enable greater cohesion and understanding among inter and multi-disciplinary teams as graduates with science backgrounds receive a formal qualification in engineering.

Informal enquires are welcome and should be directed to Programme Manager, Ms. Anne-Marie McSweeney or Programme Director, Dr. Maria J. Sousa Gallagher (see below).


Programme Director:

Dr Maria J. Sousa Gallagher

School of Engineering – Process & Chemical Engineering, UCC

Food Science Building, Room 308

Tel: +353 21 4903594



Programme Manager:

Ms Anne-Marie McSweeney

School of Engineering – Process & Chemical Engineering, UCC

Food Science Building, Room 312

Tel: +353 21 4902389



Course Overview


Programme Learning Objectives

Successful graduates of the programme will have gained a formal education in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical engineering to augment their previous education and their practical industrial experience.

On successful completion of this programme, successful graduates of the programme should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an enhanced knowledge and understanding of the mathematics, sciences, engineering sciences and technologies underpinning pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical engineering.
  • Identify, formulate, analyse and solve problems related to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical engineering.
  • Design pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and processes, including unfamiliar, ill-defined scenarios, underpinned by a sustainability informed paradigm, taking account of environmental, health and safety and risk factors, and know how to apply relevant codes of practice, industry standards and emerging practices and technologies.
  • Gather experimental data, apply a range of standard and specialized research tools and techniques and conduct critical evaluation of results.
  • Reflect and act on social and ethical responsibilities in the practice of engineering, including the responsibilities towards developing sustainable processes and operations.
  • Work effectively as an individual and in teams in planning and carrying through on assignments and projects in a lifelong learning context.
  • Communicate effectively with the engineering community and with society at large.
  • Plan, research, execute and oversee a substantial research project, critically analyse and interpret data and effectively disseminate results.

Eligibility for Degree Award

A student who obtains an average mark of at least 50% across the taught modules at the first attempt will be permitted to proceed to Part II of the MEngSc (the Research Thesis). Students who have progressed to Part II must have achieved a pass mark of 40% in each individual module and at least 50% in the Research Thesis to be eligible for the award of the MEngSc (Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering) Degree. Students who pass but fail to achieve the requisite grade of 50% across the taught modules will be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering.

Transfer from the MEngSc to the Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering.

A candidate, who passes Part I of the programme and who does not wish to proceed to Part II, may opt to be conferred with a Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering. The marks gained in the MEngSc taught modules may be carried forward in satisfaction of the requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering.


The programme is modular: minimum of 2 years (24 months) (Postgraduate Diploma), maximum of 5 years (60 months) (Postgraduate Diploma/Masters)

Course Content

Course Content

The University Calendar, Part 2 contains all information concerning Postgraduate Studies in UCC. 

In Part I students take modules to the value of 60 credits.  Taught modules will be offered on a cyclical basis as detailed below. Part II consists of a Research Thesis to the value of 30 credits. The choice of modules is subject to the approval of the programme co-ordinator. 


Part I Modules to a total of 60 credits from the following:


Offered in 2018/19:

CM6010 Introductory Pharmaceutical Chemistry (5 credits)

PE6016 Pharmaceutical Industry; Manufacturing & Optimisation (5 credits)

PE6018 Pharmaceutical Process Validation & Quality (5 credits)

PE6022 Aseptic Manufacturing Design (5 credits)

PE6024 Advanced Process Design and Safety Engineering (5 credits)  

PE6025 Advanced Health & Safety Management (5 credits)

PE6026 Project Engineering - From Concept to Completion (5 credits)

PF6302 Introduction to Pharmaceutics: Formulation Science (5 credits)


Offered in 2019/20:

PE6010 Pharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)

PE6011 Biopharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)

PE6012 Pharmaceutical Process Equipment; Materials and Mechanical Design (5 credits)

PE6013 Powder & Particle Technology & Unit Operations (5 credits)

PE6015 Advanced Environmental Health and Safety Management  (5 credits)

PE6019 Process Analytical Technology (5 credits)

PE6023 Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Utilities (5 credits)

PE6027 Advanced Biopharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits) 


Part II (MEngSc Only): - PE6021 Research Thesis (30 credits)




Application & Fees

Fees and Applications Procedures

Entry Requirements for the MEngSc (CKR35)

Candidates must have achieved an Honours BE (Hons) or BEng (Hons) Degree or equivalent engineering qualification, with a minimum grade 2H2, or a level 8 BSc degree, with a minimum grade 2H2, where the BSc graduate has a recognised qualification in Process or Chemical Engineering (e.g. the Diploma in Process & Chemical Engineering at UCC or equivalent). However, candidates with equivalent academic qualifications and suitable experience may be accepted subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

Entry Requirements for the PG Diploma (CKP08)

Candidates must have achieved an NQAI level 8 degree in Engineering or equivalent, or an NQAI level 8 BSc degree or equivalent, ideally with some relevant industrial experience. In all cases, the course of study for each candidate must be approved by the Programme Director.

Number of Places

Annual intake of 15 on the course.


€4,500 per annum for full registration (6 modules). €1,000 per module, if spread over a longer period. €4,000 for registration for the part II Thesis module. Applications for the programme are made online via

Further details available from this site

Closing Date for EU Applications

PAC will re-open for applications on 1st November 2017 for the 2018-19 intake. Please apply early to avoid disappointment, as the programme fills very fast.

The Rounds closing dates for 2018 intake will be as follows:

For all completed applications received by January 15th 2018:      Offers will be made by January 29th 2018

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2018:           Offers will be made by March 15th 2018

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2018:              Offers will be made by May 15th 2018

For all completed applications received by July 2nd 2018:             Offer will be made by July 16th 2018


In the unlikely event that there are places left after July 1st 2018, offers will be made on a first come first served basis. Once full, we will close PAC for applications. Please apply early to avoid disappointment, as the programme fills very fast.

Duration & Organisation

Course Structure & Timetable

Assignment Submission Cover Sheet (54kB)    

Click to download




Features include:

  • Full set of comprehensive notes and assignments provided for each module.
  • 2 x 16 week (teaching & learning & assessment) periods per annum.
  • Choice of up to 4 x 5 credit modules covered per period.
  • 'Start up' sessions over 2 days (0.5 days per 5 credit module) (4 contact hours per 5 credit module) (Fridays and Saturdays in early September & early January).
  • Followed up by 'Tutorial Sessions' (every 2/3 weeks on Saturdays) on respective modules throughout term. Tutorial sessions will involve 6 contact hours.
  • Complemented by regular feedback available weekly on each module during teaching period. 
  • Assessment by Modules Assignments, Continuous Assessment and End of Period Exams.
Click to download

Contact Us

Contact Details

Programme Director:

Dr. Maria J. Sousa Gallagher, School of Engineering - Process & Chemical, UCC Tel: +353 21 4903594; E-mail:

Programme Manager:

Ms. Anne-Marie McSweeney, School of Engineering - Process & Chemical, UCC Tel: +353 21 4902389; Email: or

Feedback from Graduates

The following are comments from recent graduates of the programme, provided as part of the formal feedback process for the programme:

‘This course has an excellent structure allowing participants to carry out further education whilst still working full-time. The structure of this course should be used as a baseline for other educational institutions as an excellent means of providing further education for full time working professionals.’

 ‘Overall, enjoyed the course, found it relevant to my work in the pharm industry. Would recommend to colleagues.’

‘The organisation structure was good the time table, exams were properly laid and it suited me as working fulltime it’s really suited me to come down during weekend and study also the exams structure was good.’

‘I have recommended this course to colleagues and friends – I hold this course and its content in high regard’

'Prior to the job I am in now, my background was in production management in various other industries.  I chose this course as I felt I needed a formal pharmaceutical based qualification and a driver to learn in greater detail the technology I work with every day and the scientific principles behind it. Also, I wanted to have a better understanding of the other facets of this industry, which is difficult to achieve when you are pigeon holed in your own particular area. '

'The thesis element of the course I found the most satisfying as I chose a subject closely related to my work and as a result the level of understanding achieved will stand to me and be a source of encouragement/confidence to continue to learn long after the ink has dried on the parchment.'

Process and Chemical Engineering

Innealtóireacht Próiseas agus Cheimiceach

Room 312, 3rd floor, Food Science Building, University College Cork