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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


Contact details

Admission and fees

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Course type

Single degree
Bachelor's entry-level honours

Standard duration

4 years FT, 8 years PT

Students have a maximum of eight years to complete this course including any periods of intermission.

Mode and location

On-campus (Parkville)

Students who choose formulation science as their specialisation are required to undertake an off-campus placement.


Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced (Honours)


This is an advanced version of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science that is designed for high-achieving students who expect to pursue honours studies and a career in pharmaceutical science: the science of medicines. A flexible course, it covers the multi-disciplinary chemical and biological science base used in researching and developing reliable, accessible and effective medicinal products.

A pharmaceutical scientist is trained to select new targets for drug therapy that arise from basic research. As a pharmaceutical scientist you will have the scientific and technical knowledge to translate new targets into reliable, accessible and effective treatments for patients.

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 of professional practices in the workplace and the laboratory. The course encourages the development of strong research, communication, life-long learning and team work skills and provides practical and theoretical training in planning, undertaking and documenting scientific research projects.

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 to our Shimadzu high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) laboratory, and will be well prepared for postgraduate study or for employment in the global pharmaceutical industry.


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 the 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 8, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 8, 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 in your specialisations. 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. 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, including 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.
  5. appreciate and respect the ethical, legal and social responsibilities of a scientist in an international context, including the basics of intellectual property.

Credit for prior studies

Maximum credit allowed

96 credit points


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


The course includes all the requirements of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science, developing through three themes. The first two, foundation science studies and pharmaceutical science studies, culminate in an honours research 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 studies

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. Honours research program

The studies in A. and B. culminate in an honours research program that will extend your discipline knowledge and provide you with a high level of expertise in critical writing, thinking and independent analysis and research.


The course comprises 192 points of Pharmaceutical science units.

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

To remain in the course you are required to achieve at least a distinction average (70%) across all units by the end of the third year of the degree.

In addition, in order to progress to the fourth year, you must normally complete 144 credit points. You must also achieve a minimum of a distinction average (70 per cent) in 24 credit points of level three units in the relevant pharmaceutical science specialisation.,

If you do not meet this standard you will be course completed with the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science

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 science studies

Students complete:

Part B. Pharmaceutical science studies

Students complete:

  • PSC1041 Scientific Inquiry
  • PSC1042 Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences

Specialist formulation science study (60 points)

Part B. Pharmaceutical science

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

Specialist medicinal chemistry study (60 points)

Part B. Pharmaceutical science

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

Specialist drug discovery biology study (60 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

Part C. Honours research program (60 points)

Students complete the pre honours research project (12 points) specified for their specialisation in semester 2 of their third year and the remaining units (48 points) in their final year.

Formulation science
  • PSC3532 Formulation science pre honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4211 Advanced formulation science (12 points)
  • PSC4212 Research in formulation science (36 points)
Medicinal chemistry
  • PSC3432 Medicinal chemistry pre honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4111 Advanced medicinal chemistry 12 points)
  • PSC4112 Research in medicinal chemistry (36 points)
Drug discovery biology
  • PSC3532 Drug discovery biology pre honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4311 Advanced drug discovery biology (12 points)
  • PSC4312 Research in drug discovery biology (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. The average is a cumulative course average. Should the WAM fall below the required standard students will be transferred to 2894 Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science.