Programme structure

The Master ́s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety takes two years of full-time studies to complete. The academic activities conducted based on a personal study plan sum 120 credits (ECTS). The curriculum of the programme includes advanced studies in Pharmacy(including Master’s thesis 30 ECTS). Optional studies in related disciplines can be included in a degree. It offers joint compulsory courses and optional courses from three focused study tracks. Students may also select studies on a cross-disciplinary basis, in case their interests require combining courses from different study tracks.

Please note that the following curriculum is only tentative, and is subject to changes.



Competence portfolio 0 ECTS

Fall semester:

Drug development and use 25 ECTS

Research orientation 5 ECTS

Selection of study track:

  1. Drug design and pharmacology
  2. Drug delivery and development
  3. Medication safety and effectiveness

Spring semester:

Methodological studies 10 ECTS

Literature review 9 ECTS

Research ethics 1 ECTS

Optional courses 10 ECTS

(according to the selected study track and the student’s background education)


Fall & Spring semesters:

Advanced studies 30 ECTS

Drug design and pharmacology

Drug delivery and development

Medication safety and effectiveness

Master’s thesis 30 ECTS


Detailed curriculum


1st year fall semester:

Master of Science competence Portfolio, 0 ECTS

Compulsory subject studies 30 ECTS

Drug development and use, 25 ECTS:

  • Drug development and preclinical evaluation, 11 ECTS
  • Development of pharmaceutical formulation and rational use of drugs, 11 ECTS
  • Statistical methods and reasoning in pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical health services research, 3 ECTS

Research orientation 5 ECTS

After the common studies of the first semester, each student continues their studies according to a personal study plan. The three study tracks are designed to assist in tailoring the optional study elements according to the specific interests of the student.

1st year spring semester:

Compulsory studies 20 ECTS

Literature review 9 ECTS (to be incorporated in the Master’s thesis)

Research ethics, 1 ECTS 

Compulsory methodological studies (according to the chosen study track):

  • For the students in Drug design and pharmacology and Drug delivery and development study tracks: Quantitative methods, 5 ECTS and Introduction to cell and molecular biology methods 5 ECTS
  • For the students in Medication safety and effectiveness study track: Introduction to Medication Safety and Effectiveness Research Methods 10 ECTS

Optional studies 10 ECTS

Courses on transferable professional skills:

  • Language studies (eg. Academic Writing in English, or of free choice)
  • Copyrights and industrial property rights   1 ECTS
  • Career planning and working life orientation 1 ECTS
  • Sustainability 3 ECTS

Examples of other optional courses:

  • Biopharmaceuticals 5 ECTS
  • Pharmacokinetics 5 ECTS
  • Neuropharmacology 5 ECTS
  • Selected topics on clinical pharmacology 5 ECTS
  • Molecular pharmacology 5 ECTS
  • Molecular Biology in Pharmacy 5 ECTS
  • Literature reviews in cell and molecular biology 5 ECTS


2nd study year Fall semester + Spring semester

Master´s thesis 30 ECTS (incl. 5 months research work and a final seminar)

Topic-specific advanced studies 30 ECTS. Examples of courses suitable for the study tracks (upon availability):

Drug design and pharmacology

  • The physiological and pathophysiological background of drug research 5 ECTS
  • Laboratory animal science 2-5 ECTS
  • Biological Drugs II 5 ECTS
  • Medicinal chemistry 5 ECTS
  • Computational methods in drug discovery 5 ECTS
  • Medicinal chemistry 5 ECTS 
  • Microbial lifestyles and drug discovery of antimicrobials 5 ECTS

Drug delivery and development

  • Introduction to molecular modelling for life science students 5 ECTS
  • Design of experiments 5 ECTS
  • Introduction to spectroscopy 5 ECTS
  • Controlled release drug delivery 5 ECTS
  • Pharmaceutical development II 5 ECTS
  • Advanced immunobiology 5 ECTS
  • Solid state analysis of pharmaceutics 5 ECTS
  • Excipients in Pharmaceutical Technology 5 ECTS
  • Introduction to nanoscience 5 ECTS
  • Microfluidics 5 ECTS
  • Physical Pharmacy 5 ECTS

Medication safety and effectiveness

  • Introduction to pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance 5 ETCS
  • Research seminars in medication safety and effectiveness 5 ECTS
  • Marketing authorization of drug products and pharmacovigilance, 5 ETCS
  • Basics of Clinical Trial Research, 3 ETCS
  • Literature review in medication safety and effectiveness 5-10 ETCS
  • Additional research internship 5-10 ETCS

Other advanced studies

Business collaboration project 5 ECTS

  • According to the student’s personal interests, it is possible to include up to 10 ECTS from other degree programmes within University of Helsinki into her/his personal study plan.