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Students who commenced study in 2016 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.

Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2016 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.

Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Course code


Credit points


Abbreviated title




Managing faculty

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Admission and fees

Find a CourseFind a Course (

Course type

Single degree

Standard duration

3 years FT, 6 years PT

Full-time study only. Students have a maximum of eight years to complete this course including any periods of intermission.

Mode and location

On-campus (Parkville)


Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science


In this course you will learn about the chemistry, biology and technology of medicines and other chemical formulations and how to improve human health and well-being by researching and developing more reliable, accessible and effective treatments and products. You will develop the knowledge and practical skills critical to the discovery and development of new drugs and therapies leading to exciting careers in research and industry.

During the first 18 months you will develop your understanding of the foundations of pharmaceutical science and of the relationships between the different disciplines and their distinct roles in drug discovery and development. This will prepare you to choose your specialisation from one of the following fields:

  • Formulation science: the invention, manufacture and testing of new products such as pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics
  • Medicinal chemistry: the principles and techniques behind drug discovery and development
  • Drug discovery biology: the discovery and understanding of biological drug targets, and their modulation by chemicals and other substances

You will then develop specialist knowledge and techniques and your understanding of the application of pharmaceutical methods and professional practices required in the workplace. You will study with one of largest and most productive group of pharmaceutical researchers in Australia, the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and you will graduate having worked in industry-standard facilities, such as our Shimadzu high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) lab.

In your final year you will gain practical skills through a major research project or industry placement and be ready for a career in pharmaceutical research, the biomedical industry and many other fields that require advanced chemical-formulation skills. Formulation Science will prepare you for a range of careers in developing pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, agricultural chemicals, veterinary products, paints and inks and many other consumer goods; Medicinal Chemistry will prepare you for a range of industrial, academic and commercial career paths; and Drug Discovery Biology will prepare you for a career in translating the information and outcomes of drug development studies into pharmaceutical products.

Double degrees

The Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science course, with the Formulation science specialisation, can be taken in combination with the following course:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (only with the specialisation of Chemical Engineering)

This will lead to the award of two degrees, the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science and the Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. The requirements for the award of each of the degrees will be fulfilled in part by cross crediting of units required in the separate courses. Students should refer to the course entry for the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) for the requirements for the Chemical Engineering specialisation.


Formulation science

This field involves formulating, designing and evaluating pharmaceuticals and other products and explores the transformation of the active drug compounds into a finished product. This includes design, generation and evaluation of new pharmaceutical products and applications beyond, such as foods and personal products.

Medicinal chemistry

This field is at the intersection of biology and chemistry and involves the study of how drugs work and how they are designed and made. Medicinal chemistry applies the principles and techniques of chemistry to discover and develop compounds that prevent, treat or cure disease. It's a feedback process of design, synthesis and biological testing to optimise the potency, selectivity and absorption in the body of a compound, while minimising side effects.

Drug discovery biology

This field 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. It explores the biotechnological aspects of drug design and evaluation, including discovering and evaluating new targets for testing drugs; the biological effects of drug candidates, and translating outcomes into pharmaceutical products


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that you will:

  1. have acquired broad theoretical knowledge of pharmaceutical sciences and advanced knowledge of one of the specialisations: Drug discovery biology, Formulation science or Medicinal chemistry. In particular,
    • Drug discovery biology specialists will 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, and evaluate candidate novel therapeutic agents based on affinity/efficacy profiles.
    • Medicinal chemistry specialists will understand and apply the principles of drug action, design and implement approaches to synthesising bioactive molecules, and analyse chemical structures and interactions using computational, spectroscopic and analytical techniques.
    • Formulation science specialists will be capable of designing drug delivery systems for all types of active molecules, 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, and have knowledge to evaluate the suitability of these formulations within the context of industrial and regulatory environments.
  2. be able to solve problems by applying appropriate experimental design, scientific thinking, evidence-based approaches and data analysis
  3. have mastered the range of practical and analytical skills and techniques relevant to modern research and industrial laboratory environments
  4. be aware of technologies and developments shaping the pharmaceutical sciences
  5. possess vocational skills for professional practice within the pharmaceutical and related industries
  6. be equipped to participate in lifelong learning
  7. be able to demonstrate critical analysis, numeracy, information literacy, leadership skills and communication of, and about, science
  8. be able to appreciate and respect the ethical, legal and social responsibilities of a scientist in an international context.


The course develops through three themes. The first two, foundation science studies and pharmaceutical science studies culminate in an applied project.

Part A. Foundation science studies

Foundation studies in bioorganic and medicinal chemistry, physical chemistry and physiology will underpin further studies in your chosen specialisation. It will also provide an introduction to the key areas of scientific communication and practice and scientific research methodology.

Part B. Pharmaceutical science

This will provide you with practical and theoretical skills and knowledge of your specialisation. You will learn to develop, apply and communicate the concepts and theoretical frameworks that constitute the knowledge base of your chosen discipline.

Part C. Applied project

The studies in parts A. and B. culminate in a major research project (medicinal chemistry; drug discovery biology) or industry placement (formulation science).


The course comprises 144 points of pharmaceutical science study.

The course develops through theme studies in: A. Foundation science, B. Pharmaceutical science and C. Applied project.

The course progression mapcourse progression map ( will assist you to plan to meet the course requirements, and guidance on unit enrolment for each semester of study.

Units are six credit points unless otherwise stated.

Common first three semesters (72 points)

Part A. Foundation sciences

Students complete:

* Students in the double degree course with Chemical Engineering do not complete these units since Engineering studies provide the knowledge and skills.

Part B. Pharmaceutical science

Students complete:

  • PSC1041 Scientific Inquiry
  • PSC1042 Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences

Specialist formulation science study (72 points)

Part B./C. Pharmaceutical science and applied project

Student complete:

One of the following units:

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

Plus the following units:

  • PSC3211 Industrial formulation
  • PSC3221 Biomolecule formulation and modified release technology*
  • PSC3231 Pharmaceutical product manufacture
  • PSC3041 Applied analytical methods
  • PSC3212 Product Commercialisation*
  • PSC3222 Advanced formulations and nanotechnologies

One of the following units:*

  • PSC3322 Current aspects of cancer biology
  • PSC3112 Drug discovery and development
  • PSC3142 Computational drug design

Plus the following unit:

* Students in the double degree course with chemical engineering do not complete these units since engineering studies provide the knowledge and skills.

Specialist medicinal chemistry study (72 points)

Part B./C. Pharmaceutical science and applied project

Student complete:

  • PSC2012 Molecular pharmacology
  • PSC2122 Synthetic organic chemistry
  • PSC2132 Introduction to spectroscopy
  • PSC2142 Computational chemistry
  • PSC3111 Molecular basis of drug action
  • PSC3121 Advanced synthetic chemistry
  • PSC3131 Medicinal analysis of drug receptor interactions
  • PSC3041 Applied analytical methods
  • PSC3112 Drug discovery and development
  • PSC3122 Synthetic medicinal chemistry
  • PSC3142 Computational drug design
  • PSC3132 Medicinal chemistry research project

Specialist drug discovery biology study (72 points)

Part B./C. Pharmaceutical science and applied project

Student complete:

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

One of the following units:

Plus the following units:

  • PSC3311 Microbiology and immunology
  • PSC3321 Disease focused pharmacology - CNS
  • PSC3111 Molecular basis of drug action
  • PSC3041 Applied analytical methods
  • PSC3112 Drug discovery and development
  • PSC3322 Current aspects of cancer biology
  • PAC3512 Current aspects of pharmaceutical research
  • PSC3332 Drug delivery research project

Progression to further studies

Students successfully completing the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science may proceed to a one year honours program leading to the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (Honours). To be eligible to apply for entry into the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science (Honours), students must achieve an overall distinction grade average (70 percent) or higher in the final year of the course.