Bachelor of Science (Pharmaceutical Science)

FACT FILE

Qualification

Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science (Honours)

Duration

4-years, direct admission, direct honours

Key Features

  • A well-rounded programme that focuses on niche knowledge areas in the pharmaceutical business built on strong foundational sciences and topped with experiential learning.
  • Broad-based education with curriculum flexibility to pursue other academic interests.
  • Strong links with partner industries and overseas universities to gain practical and international experiences.
  • Outstanding faculty with involvement of Departments of Pharmacy, Life Science and Chemistry, as well as YLL School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Medical School.
  • Broad career prospects for direct entry into jobs in the pharmaceutical, biomedical, and consumer healthcare areas.

Course Places

30

Admissions

Very good H2 passes (or equivalent) in Chemistry and either Biology, Physics or Mathematics.

Ranking

9th in the World; 1st in Asia

(QS World Ranking 2016 ‘Pharmacy and Pharmacology’)

Department

Pharmacy

This exciting new undergraduate programme is designed to provide you with niche knowledge, skills and professional experience to build a career in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and consumer healthcare sectors. Ranked 9th in the world and 1st in Asia (QS World Rankings 2016 ‘Pharmacy and Pharmacology’), the Department of Pharmacy has an outstanding history of pharmaceutical science research and education. The course is delivered by experienced academics from Pharmacy with contributions from outstanding professional and industrial colleagues. For diversity of ideas, you will also learn from leading experts from Chemistry, Life Sciences and the Centre of Regulatory Excellence (Duke-NUS Medical School).

Pharmaceutical Science belongs to a branch of science that comprises a range of scientific subjects that deal with various aspects of pharmaceutical substances that are used to manufacture the medicinal products.

Therefore, Pharmaceutical Science forms the foundational scientific basis of the physical, chemical, biological and the biomedical aspects of drug properties and actions.

Some examples of subjects that are classified under Pharmaceutical Science include Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmacogenetics.

Advancements achieved in Pharmaceutical Science will impact drug discovery, drug formulation as well as the regulation and practice of Pharmacy.

Students joining this landmark programme would be trained in a range of foundational sciences that culminates towards an understanding of drug discovery and development, as well as a mastery of the regulatory and commercial environment in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Pharmaceutical Science (PHS) programme is designed to optimize a flexibility in curriculum to allow students to take up second majors, minors, undergraduate internships, research projects and overseas exchange programmes, along with a multitude of elective modules available for all NUS students.

With a small class size by intent, students will benefit from a blended learning experience with various web-based online learning tools while having greater face-to-face contact for problem-based learning and student-teacher interactions. Students will also actively engage in experiential learning with teaching conducted by industry experts as well as internship opportunities with pharmaceutical companies in Singapore.

The PHS programme will be offered as a direct admission course. Applicants to this programme must meet the entry requirements stipulated by the Office of Admissions.

 

Subject prerequisites for applicants holding:

  1. Singapore-Cambridge GCE-A Level:
    – A very good pass in H2 Chemistry and
    – A very good pass in either H2 Biology or H2 Physics or H2 Mathematics.
  2. International Baccalaureate:
    – A very good pass in HL Chemistry and
    – A very good pass in either HL Biology or HL Physics or HL Mathematics.
  3. National University of Singapore High School Diploma:
    – A very good major CAP of at least 4.0 in Chemistry and in either Biology or Physics or Mathematics.

 

For applicants holding Polytechnic Diploma:

Note:

  • Admission to NUS is based on academic merit as well as open competition among all eligible applicants. In addition to fulfilling admission requirements for the applicant category that the student belongs to, he/she should also ensure that he/she fulfils the subject prerequisites for the courses which he/she wish to be considered for.
    If you have a question about admissions, go to: http://www.askadmissions.nus.edu.sg/.

Year One and Two

The first two years of the course is focused on foundation studies in bioorganic and medicinal chemistry and human medical sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology), which will underpin studies in pharmaceutical sciences. Pharmaceutical sciences covering key aspects of the drug discovery and development process will be taught with core topics in pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis and formulation science. Students will also acquire quantitative and computational science knowledge in biostatistics and bioinformatics.

 

Year Three and Four

Core subjects are focused on research methodology, product quality and analysis and regulatory science. Students will develop breadth and/or depth with elective modules in specialized areas which address challenging and emerging areas in the pharmaceutical industry today. To integrate their learning, the final year culminates in a capstone research or industry project.

Course Structure

phs-curriculum-1

Course Curriculum

phs-curriculum-2

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROPS)

This programme allows undergraduates to participate in scientific research under the mentorship of academic staff members.

Pharmaceutical Science students who have completed two semesters of study with a CAP > 3.0 are eligible for UROPS. Modular credits obtained from UROPS will contribute towards the graduation requirement of 160 MC for Pharmaceutical Science major.

For more details on UROPS, please refer to the following link:
http://www.science.nus.edu.sg/undergraduate-studies/ugenh/urops-main

 

Undergraduate Professional Internship Programme (UPIP)

This programme allows undergraduates to undergo a structured internship to gain invaluable on-the-job training in the spirit of experiential learning.

Students who take part in UPIP can better understand available career options and match their interests with their long-term career goals. Upon successful completion of the internship, students will also be awarded with unrestricted modular credits that would count towards their graduation requirement of 160 MC for Pharmaceutical Science major.

For more details on UPIP, please refer to the following link:
http://www.science.nus.edu.sg/students/upip

This comprehensive programme will equip you with a broad range of technical knowledge and skills across the pharmaceutical sciences. You will have excellent career prospects in areas as diverse as research and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing, regulatory affairs, quality management and clinical trial management. Depending on your interests, you may also find employment in areas outside the pharmaceutical industry such as biotechnology, consumer healthcare, patenting and licensing, medical writing or be the next generation healthcare entrepreneurs.

Students interested to expand and deepen their knowledge beyond the undergraduate programme can also opt to pursue further postgraduate studies, such as a Masters in Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (MPST), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Postgraduate studies would further enhance critical thinking skills to work towards careers in academia, research or management.

1. What is Pharmaceutical Science?

  • Pharmaceutical Science belongs to a branch of science that comprises a range of scientific subjects dealing with various aspects of pharmaceutical substances that are used to manufacture the medicinal products.
  • Therefore, Pharmaceutical Science forms the foundational scientific basis of the physical, chemical, biological and the biomedical aspects of drug properties and actions.
  • Some examples of subjects that are classified under Pharmaceutical Science include Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmacogenetics.
  • Advancements achieved in Pharmaceutical Science will impact drug discovery, drug formulation as well as the regulation and practice of Pharmacy.

 

2. What is the role of Pharmaceutical Scientists?

  • A pharmaceutical scientist is a qualified expert in aspects of the science and technology of medical products.
  • This includes but is not limited to the discovery, development, manufacture, regulation, and utilisation of medical products.
  • They focus on how medicines work, how safe and effective products are brought to the market, their impact on the body and their effect on the prevention and treatment of disease.
  • Pharmaceutical scientists are hence equipped with specialized skills for jobs related in research and development, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, medical affairs, clinical trial management, quality control and assurance, sales and marketing, and entrepreneurship.

 

3. What is the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences?

  • Pharmacy involves the study of drug substances, medicinal products and the use of medicines in patients to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.
  • While there are some foundational pharmaceutical sciences covered in the Pharmacy programme, this programme is chiefly clinical in nature and leads to a professional healthcare degree and pharmacist licensing to support the handling and transactions of medications.
  • As license holder of medication, Pharmacists will be well-trained to advance patient-focused, medicine-centred healthcare practices.
  • This focus is in contrast to that of pharmaceutical scientists, who work towards the discovery, development, testing, manufacturing and understanding of the market and regulatory access of medicines.
  • The Pharmaceutical Sciences programme will cover a broad range of these disciplines in greater depth, but will not delve in clinical practice and does not lead to licensing like a pharmacist.

phs-vs-pharmacy-comparison-infographic

4. What are the pre-requisites for admission into Pharmaceutical Sciences?

  • Very good passes in Chemistry (H2) and in either Biology (H2) or Physics (H2) or Mathematics (H2) or Further Mathematics (H2) taken at the GCE ‘A’ Level Examinations or equivalent examinations.
  • There are no Indicative Grade Profiles or Course Places for Pharmaceutical Sciences as this will be the pilot year for the programme. However, the Indicative Grade Profile is expected to be similar as the Pharmacy Programme which can be found on http://www.nus.edu.sg/oam/gradeprofile/sprogramme-igp.html
  • For further information, please go to http://www.nus.edu.sg/oam/index.html and read the relevant application procedures for respective groups of applicants.

 

5. Is it possible to enter the Pharmaceutical Sciences program without A-level Biology?

  • Yes. ‘A’ Level Biology (H2) (or the equivalent) is not a compulsory subject pre-requisite for application to the Pharmaceutical Science programme in NUS.
  • However, ‘A’ Level Chemistry (H2) (or the equivalent) remains as the only compulsory pre-requisite subject for entry to Pharmaceutical Sciences.

 

6. What is the course duration?

  • The Pharmaceutical Sciences course is a 4-year degree programme.
  • Students are admitted directly into Pharmaceutical Science in the first year of study.
  • At the end of the 4 years, graduates are conferred the degree of Bachelor of Science (Pharmaceutical Science), while those who have demonstrated good academic performance over the 4 years will be awarded Bachelor of Science (Pharmaceutical Science) Hons degrees.

 

7. What is the overall course structure like?

  • The 4-year direct-honours degree course will feature a mixture of traditional lectures, tutorials and practicals, with blended as well as experiential learning.
  • Students will undertake core modules in foundational sciences (e.g. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology) before covering the full spectrum pharmaceutical sciences (e.g. drug discovery and development).
  • In the 3rd and 4th years, students are free to choose elective modules in more specialized areas of study (e.g. industrial pharmacy, pharmaceutical marketing, medicinal natural products).
  • The curriculum also provides flexibility to pursue a broad-based education to explore other interests such as taking up double majors or minor programmes, e.g. Minor in Forensic Science, Business or Analytical Chemistry.
  • The programme culminates in an individual Honours project in the final year with supervision by our department faculty or industry partners. This will allow students to explore interesting and novel scientific or real-world issues and gain invaluable research experience.
  • During the 4-year programme, students may concurrently participate in other academic programmes offered by the university or faculty, e.g. University Scholar Programme, University Town College Programme, NUS Overseas College Programme, as well as student exchange programmes etc.

 

8. What are the various opportunities that a Pharmaceutical Science undergraduate can expect, i.e., leadership building, research opportunities etc.?

  • There are abundant opportunities for undergraduate students to hone their talents and skills in NUS Pharmacy.
  • NUS Pharmaceutical Society (NUSPS), a student-led organisation, comprises several sub-committees (e.g. media resource team, international relations) that work closely together with the mission to engage and empower the student body. Students can be part of NUSPS by serving in the committees and in the process, develop inter-personal, leadership and networking skills amongst many others.
  • Students can also participate in other special activities/projects e.g. Pharmacy Youth Expedition Project (YEP), or spend a year at one of the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC), or participate in overseas exchange programmes. These experiences will definitely broaden their horizons.
  • Students who are interested in embarking on a research career can participate in Undergraduate Research Projects in Science (UROPS) under close supervision by experienced Pharmacy faculty. These research opportunities are open to the students as early as their 2nd year in the Pharmaceutical Science course.
  • In their final year, all students will undertake a compulsory final year research project. Students may have the opportunity to showcase and present their research work in local or even international conferences.

 

9. What are the career prospects for Pharmaceutical Science graduates?

  • Graduates from this degree program will be well-equipped to take up a wide variety of career choices in pharmaceutical industries and businesses.
  • Depending on your interests and capabilities, graduates can explore jobs in research and development, manufacturing operations, sales and marketing, regulatory affairs, quality management, pharmaceutical supply chain logistics, and clinical trial management.
  • By taking up a Double Major in Business or Minor in Management or Technopreneurship, we also envision our graduates with grounding in commercial knowledge to be the nations’ next generation pharmaceutical and healthcare entrepreneurs.

 

10. Will Pharmaceutical Science graduates be able to switch to a totally different career path should they decide to do so upon graduation?

  • Yes, graduates from NUS Pharmaceutical Sciences will be exposed to a rigorous academic programme that prepares an individual for self-directed and lifelong learning to adapt to alternative career paths.
  • The curriculum is designed to produce future-ready, well-rounded graduates with skill sets and knowledge that may also be useful in vocations that are not directly related to Pharmaceutical Science.
  • However, the Pharmaceutical Science programme does NOT lead to licensure and you will not be able to register or practise as a pharmacist. Consequently, a small number of industry jobs (e.g. regulatory) may still require employees to hold the pharmacist’s license and these jobs will only be available for licensed pharmacists.
  • For students interested in pursuing a career as an healthcare professional, they should consider applying for the BSc Pharmacy Programme.

 

11. Should I apply for the BSc in Pharmaceutical Science or the Minor in Pharmaceutical Sciences?

  • The BSc program covers a greater depth and breadth of knowledge compared to the Minor programme.
  • Minor students only read 6 pharmaceutical science modules to introduce some fundamental knowledge and relevant skill sets. This will allow Minor students to become more aware of how their domain knowledge from their respective Major programmes could be applied in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • On the other hand, by being part of the BSc Pharmaceutical Science program, you will be trained in a wide range of pharmaceutical sciences with greater breadth and depth. This will equip graduates to embark on diverse careers in the pharmaceutical industries.
  • Major students will also have opportunities to embark on exclusive overseas and internship opportunities that are not available for Minor students.
  • Moreover, students from the BSc Pharmaceutical Science program will also be members of NUSPS, our student society. You will have opportunities to take part or even organize various student-led activities, ranging from freshman orientation projects to welfare events. These experiences will give students a holistic university education with a vibrant university life.

 

12. How many students are accepted each year?

  • Approximately 30 students will matriculate into the programme starting from AY18/19.

Essential Modules

The below modules and descriptions are not intended to be relied upon as a definitive list of essential modules for this course. The exact modules and content may be subject to changes as the programme progresses.

Year One Modules

This module studies the fundamental physical & chemical principles that are important to the design and development of drugs. The major topics to be covered include: molecular properties, intermolecular forces, acidity & basicity, stereochemistry, tautomerism, mechanisms of action, biotransformation and some basics on UV-VIS and IR.

This module is aimed at providing fundamental biochemistry knowledge which is important and relevant for pharmacy students to relate the knowledge to drug discovery and development. The module will emphasise the relevance and application of biochemistry in pharmaceutical and pharmacy practices.

This module adopts a biological approach to explain and illustrate foundational pharmaceutical chemical principles that are essential for the understanding of pharmaceutical sciences related to drug synthesis, drug properties, drug analysis and preparation of biomaterials.

This is a team-taught module that aims to prepare pharmacy students with the fundamental principles in how drugs influence human body and how human body handles these agents. These principles are key to introducing system pharmacology here which includes major topics: autonomic, corticosteroid, steroid hormone and immune-pharmacology.

The module encompasses core material on aspects of human anantomy and physiology with reference to relevant clinical examples. Topics for the module include the following human systems: 1. Cell, Integumentary and Musculoskeletal, 2. Cardiovascular, 3. Haematology and Related Immunology, 4. Respiratory, and 5. Endocrine.

The module encompasses core material on aspects of human anatomy and physiology with reference to relevant clinical examples. Topics for the module include the following human systems: 1. Gastrointestinal, 2. Nervous, 3. Renal and Acid-Base, and 4. Reproductive.

This module introduces life science students to the basic principles and methods of biostatistics, and their applications and interpretation. A computer package is used to enhance learning and to enable students to analyze real life data sets. Topics include probability, probability distributions, sampling distributions, statistical inference for one and two sample problems, nonparametric tests, categorical data analysis, correlation and regression analysis, multi-sample inference.

Year Two Modules

This module studies the fundamental physical chemical principles which are important to the design and development of pharmaceutical formulations. The major topics to be covered include: phase diagrams; solutions; buffers & isotonicity; partition, diffusion & mass transfer; solubility & dissolution; reaction kinetics & drug product stability; physical properties of solids (crystallinity, polymorphism); interfacial phenomenon; colloidal systems.

This module provides the basic principles of drug design, with the emphasis on the relationship between structure, physicochemical properties and the molecular basis of drug action.

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of the various techniques in biotechnology and their applications in the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and biomedical research, the physicochemical properties, pharmacology and the formulation of commonly used biopharmaceuticals, as well as the principles of the mechanism of some biotechnologically derived diagnostic aids/tests. Major topics to be covered include biotechnologically derived therapeutics such as insulin, growth hormones, cytokines, enzymes, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, blood products, diagnostic aids/tests for urine analysis, plasma glucose, plasma lipids, HIV and pregnancy, gene therapy, transgenic technology and RNA interference technology.

This module aims to train students in the principles and practical capability of pharmacopeia assays and various analytical instruments for pharmaceutical analysis. In particular, students will apply the analytical techniques in the characterization of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), the quality assurance of dosage forms and the analysis of biological fluids, coupled with hands-on experience with instrumentation and real-life problem solving.

This module introduces the theory and practical applications of major tools and techniques used in the continuum of drug discovery and development. Factual knowledge in medicinal chemistry techniques, such as synthetic skills, lead optimization, molecular modelling; and in formulation science, such as rheological, dissolution testing, characterization of solid dosage forms, will be integrated with laboratory practice.

This module will provide the knowledge and understanding on the complete development plan ensuing successful lead identification in the drug discovery process, describing preclinical studies, formulation and product developments, clinical trials and post-marketing studies. The importance of quality, quality assurance and control and key global/regional regulatory frameworks and strategies for product development will be covered. Following post-marketing approval, upcoming innovative regulatory and marketing strategies for effective lifecycle management of a pharmaceutical such as improved patient compliance, revenue growth, expanded clinical benefits, cost advantages, life extension exclusivity etc. will also be introduced.

Students will be introduced to the concepts, tools and techniques of bioinformatics, a field of immense importance for understanding molecular evolution, individualized medicine, and data intensive biology. The module includes a conceptual framework for modern bioinformatics, an introduction to key bioinformatics topics such as databases and software, sequence analysis, pairwise alignment, multiple sequence alignment, sequence database searches, and profile-based methods, molecular phylogenetics, visualization and basic homology modelling of molecular structure, pathway analysis and personal genomics. Concepts emphasized in the lectures are complemented by hands-on use of bioinformatics tools in the practicals. Students will achieve highly valued skills as biological researchers with basic competence in computational and bioinformatics techniques, with proper foundation to learn more advanced skills in bioinformatics and biocomputing.

Year Three Modules

This module gives an insight into various liquid, semi-solid and solid dosage forms. The fundamental knowledge of the properties, formulation, manufacture, quality control and applications of these dosage forms will be discussed. The behaviour of materials and unit operations employed in the manufacture of the various dosage forms will also be emphasised.

This module provides students with a comprehensive understanding on the basic principles, concepts and methodology in clinical and pre-clinical research, including applying statistical knowledge in research design. Research examples are chosen to illustrate and facilitate the learning process. Major topics include: selection and formulation of research hypothesis, study designs used in pharmacy practice and clinical research, hierarchy of evidence, potential biases associated with various designs, data acquisition and handling approaches, statistical data analyses, pharmacoeconomics, outcomes research, general methodology in basic science research, and techniques in scientific communication.

This module provides students with the foundation in various aspects of good practices, regulation and accreditation standards in pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical industries. It serves to emphasize the pharmacist’s obligation to ensure consumer/patient safety in the supply and use of medicines and health products.

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the important guidelines, tools and practices of quality risk management that can be applied to all aspects of pharmaceutical quality including development, manufacturing, distribution, and the inspection and submission/review processes throughout the lifecycle of drug. The module will cover the history and philosophy of product quality management, the concept of quality by design, overview of major quality management systems such as “Six Sigma”, “Total Quality Management”, “Lean Management” etc. The module will also provide an overview of various types of audits and inspections that occur in the pharmaceutical industry.

Year Four Modules

The research project work is undertaken either in the first or second semester of the academic year and last for 12 weeks. Each candidate will be required to carry out an independent laboratory-based or literature-based project under the supervision of an academic staff. They will be assessed based on their ability to communicate their research findings via presentations and a formal written report in the form of a research paper.

As an alternative to PHS4199 Honours Project in Pharmaceutical Science that is similarly undertaken either in the first or second semester of the academic year and last for 12 weeks, this module serves as a platform to accommodate internship and professional placements in applied and industrial contexts, as well as projects that are of non‐basic/preclinical science research nature. Relevant projects of non‐academic research nature may be in the areas of, but not limited to, administration, management, marketing, business strategy and regulatory pertaining to the pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare industry.