Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2014 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2014 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Managing facultyPharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Abbreviated titleBPharmSciAdvHons
CRICOS code077237J
Total credit points required192
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Parkville)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Course coordinator


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • Students who choose formulation science as their major area of study are required to undertake an off-campus placement.


This course is a high-profile, flexible single-degree course which covers the multi-disciplinary chemical and biological science base used in researching and developing reliable, accessible and effective medicinal products.

This degree is carefully designed for high-achieving students who expect to pursue honours studies and a career in pharmaceutical science; the science of medicines. A pharmaceutical scientist is trained to select new targets for drug therapy which arise from basic research, and has the scientific and technical knowledge to translate new targets into reliable, accessible and effective treatments for patients.

The course encourages the development of strong research, communication, life-long learning and team work skills, and prepares graduates for postgraduate study or for employment in the global pharmaceutical industry.

The research elements will commence in first year, with the research project component formally commencing in 3rd year, and the honours project completed fourth year.

The course is research-focused from year one of the degree, with students expected to participate in unique all-encompassing tutorials, research seminars, meetings with an academic mentor and additional activities and opportunities that will expose them to research in the faculty, provide leadership skills and potential international experiences.

Students will participate in a 'research experience' in two areas across the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. They will be guaranteed a summer vacation research scholarship, will attend a series of research and leadership activities (e.g. faculty research seminars, conferences, ambassador program events, leadership dinner) have priority to go on a study exchange as well as the opportunity to complete their industry placement or research project overseas.

Students choose from three major areas of study:

  • drug discovery biology, which focuses on the biomedical science and pharmacology of drug discovery, with an understanding of biological drug targets, and their modulation by all types of active drug compounds
  • medicinal chemistry, which aims to produce graduates with an in-depth understanding of the intelligent design, synthetic chemical and analytical principles and techniques behind active drug discovery, synthesis and development
  • formulation science, which explores the transformation of the active drug compounds into a finished product, including design, generation and evaluation of new formulated effective, safe and stable pharmaceutical products and applications beyond, including foods and personal products.


Graduates will:

(1.) be leaders in the field of pharmaceutical science research, with advanced knowledge in pharmaceutical science and research methodology, with specialist knowledge of one of the course majors: drug discovery biology, medicinal chemistry, or formulation science

(2.) apply a problem-led approach to engage the subject at multidisciplinary, translational and vocational levels, being aware of technologies and developments shaping the pharmaceutical sciences to provide future higher degree candidates or leaders in industry

(3.) have technical discipline and practical skills as foundations for research. This includes research planning in conjunction with a project supervisor, experimental techniques, data analysis, scientific writing, competent use of analytical instrumentation, conducting experimental procedures and methodologies, data manipulation and analysis, and understanding the interpretation of data, plus an appreciation of innovation, creative thinking and disruptive processes.

(4.) possess professional and vocational skills for pharmaceutical and related industries, including communication skills, critical analysis, numeracy, information literacy, team and leadership skills. Graduates will also appreciate and respect the ethical, legal and social responsibilities of a scientist in an international context, including the basics of intellectual property.

Drug discovery biology major graduates will, in addition to outcomes 1-4:

  • appreciate the mechanisms of drug action based on interactions at molecular, cellular and organ level
  • identify the appropriate research methods required for the evaluation of new drug targets
  • evaluate candidate novel therapeutic agents based on affinity/efficacy profiles.

Medicinal chemistry major graduates will, in addition to outcomes 1-4:

  • understand and apply the principles of drug action
  • design and implement approaches to synthesising bioactive molecules
  • analyse chemical structures and interactions using computational, spectroscopic and analytical techniques.

Formulation science major graduates will, in addition to outcomes 1-4:

  • be capable of designing drug delivery systems for all types of active molecules, and understand processes that contribute to the product life cycle
  • possess analytical skills to assess the physical, and chemical properties of active molecules and delivery systems
  • have knowledge to evaluate the suitability of these formulations within the context of industrial and regulatory environments.

Credit for prior studies

Maximum credit allowed

96 credit points


In third year students who major in formulation science undertake a work placement in industry as part of the unit PSC3232 (Industry-linked research project).


This course consists of common units in first year and semester one of second year. In semester two of second year students select their major. In third year students undertake a pre-honours research project, and in fourth year they complete the honours research project.

All units are 6 points unless otherwise indicated.


First year

Semester one

  • PSC1011 Physiology I
  • PSC1021 Bioorganic and medicinal chemistry I
  • PSC1031 Physical chemistry I
  • PSC1041 Mathematics for pharmaceutical scientists

Semester two

  • PSC1012 Physiology II
  • PSC1022 Bioorganic and medicinal chemistry II
  • PSC1032 Physical chemistry II
  • PSC1042 Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences

Second year

Semester one


Students must complete the course in one of the following majors.

Drug discovery biology

Second year

Semester two

  • PSC2012 Molecular pharmacology
  • PSC2322 Molecular cell biology
  • PSC2332 Disease-focused pharmacology - peripheral

plus one elective from:

Third year

Semester one

  • PAC3191 Microbiology and immunology
  • PSC3321 Disease-focused pharmacology - CNS and cancer
  • PSC3111 Molecular basis of drug action
  • PSC3041 Applied analytical methods

Semester two

  • PSC3312 Chemical biology
  • PSC3322 Current aspects of cancer biology
  • PSC3132 Pre-honours research project (12 points)

Fourth year

  • PSC6311 Advanced drug discovery biology (12 points)
  • PSC6312 Research in drug discovery biology (36 points)

Formulation science

Semester two

plus one elective from:

  • PSC2122 Synthetic organic chemistry
  • PSC2132 Introduction to spectroscopy
  • PSC2142 Computational chemistry

Third year

Semester one

  • PSC3211 Industrial formulation
  • PSC3221 Biomolecule formulation and modified release technologies
  • PSC3231 Pharmaceutical product manufacture
  • PSC3041 Applied analytical methods

Semester two

  • PSC3212 Pharmaceutical regulatory affairs
  • PAC3222 Advanced Formulations and nanotechnologies
  • PSC3132 Industry linked research project (12 points)

Fourth year

  • PSC6211 Advanced drug delivery and lead optimisation (12 points)
  • PSC6212 Research in drug delivery and lead optimisation (36 points)

Medicinal chemistry

Second year

Semester two

Third year

Semester one

Semester two

  • PSC3112 Drug discovery and development
  • PSC3122 Synthetic medicinal chemistry
  • PSC3132 Pre-honours research project (12 points)

Fourth year

  • PSC6111 Advanced medicinal chemistry and drug action (12 points)
  • PSC6112 Research in medicinal chemistry and drug action (36 points)

Minimum grade for course completion

Students in this course are required to maintain at least a distinction average of 70 per cent or above as their weighted average mark (WAM) to remain in the course. Should the WAM fall below the required standard students will be transfered to 2894 Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science.


Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced with Honours