Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced (Honours) - 2018

Honours - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2018 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Other commencement years for this course: 2017, 2016 and 2015

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


Course progression map

P3002 (pdf)

Course type


Standard duration

4 years FT, 8 years PT

You have a maximum of 8 years to complete this course including any periods of intermission and suspension, and must be continuously enrolled throughout.

Mode and location

On-campus (Parkville)


Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced (Honours)

Alternative exits

Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science

Refer to 'Alternative exits' entry below for further requirements and details.


This advanced version of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science 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 two years 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:

  • Drug discovery biology: the discovery and understanding of biological drug targets, and their modulation by chemicals and other substances
  • 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.

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 the largest and most productive groups 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.


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.

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.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 8 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 8 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

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

  1. demonstrate well-developed knowledge of pharmaceutical science, and advanced knowledge of a specialised discipline within the field 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
    • 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
    • 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
  2. demonstrate advanced skills in the methods and processes in one or more areas of pharmaceutical science
  3. make valid judgements through critical thinking, and synthesise information from a range of sources to provide innovative solutions to scientific problems
  4. communicate effectively in a variety of modes, to informed professional audiences and for a range of purposes
  5. think globally and consider pharmaceutical issues from a variety of perspectives, and apply international standards for research practices in pharmaceutical sciences
  6. demonstrate initiative and intellectual independence, and collaborate effectively in a multi-disciplinary team
  7. demonstrate leadership, and professional and ethical behaviour.

Credit for prior studies

Maximum credit allowed

96 credit points


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: Part A. Foundation science studies (72 points), Part B. Pharmaceutical science studies (60 points) and Part C. Honours research project (60 points).

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

Units are 6 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Common first four semesters (96 points)

Part A. Foundation science studies

You must complete:

  • BPS1011 Human physiology I: Cells to systems
  • BPS1021 Medicinal chemistry I: Structure
  • BPS1031 Physical chemistry I: Equilibria and change
  • BPS1012 Human physiology II: Body systems
  • BPS1022 Medicinal chemistry II: Reactivity and biomolecules
  • BPS1032 Physical chemistry II: Solutions, surfaces and solids
  • BPS2011 Pharmacology I: Biochemical signalling
  • BPS2021 Synthetic chemistry I
  • BPS2031 Analytical methods I: Principles and applications
  • BPS2041 Drug delivery: Absorption pathways
  • BPS2012 Pharmacology II: Drug action
  • BPS2032 Analytical methods II: Investigation design

Part B. Pharmaceutical science studies

You must complete:

  • BPS1041 Scientific inquiry
  • BPS1042 Pharmaceutical science in context
  • BPS2022 Drug discovery and design
  • BPS2042 Drug development

Specialist study (36 points)

Part B. Pharmaceutical science

Drug discovery biology

You must complete:

  • BPS3111 Pharmacology III: Advanced concepts
  • BPS3121 Disease focused pharmacology - peripheral
  • BPS3131 Microbiology and immunology
  • BPS3122 Disease focused pharmacology - CNS
  • BPS3132 Toxicology

and one of the following units:

  • BPS3211 Computational drug design
  • BPS3321 Biotechnology products
  • BPS3311 Applied pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • BPS3711 Analysis of drug-receptor interactions
Formulation science

You must complete:

  • BPS3311 Applied pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • BPS3321 Biotechnology products
  • BPS3331 Pharmaceutical product development and manufacture
  • BPS3312 Professional experience in formulation science
  • BPS3322 Drug delivery nanotechnology
  • BPS3332 Industrial formulation

and one of the following units:

  • BPS3121 Disease focused pharmacology - peripheral
  • BPS3131 Microbiology and immunology
  • BPS3211 Computational drug design
  • BPS3711 Analysis of drug-receptor interactions
Medicinal chemistry

You must complete:

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

Part C. Honours research program (60 points)

You must complete the pre-honours research project (12 points) specified for your specialisation in semester 2 of your third year and the remaining units (48 points) in your final year. The final year advanced and research units can be chosen from any one of the three specialisations.

Drug discovery biology

  • BPS3412 Drug discovery biology pre-honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4311 Advanced drug discovery biology (12 points)
  • PSC4312 Research in drug discovery biology (36 points)

Formulation science

  • BPS3612 Formulation science pre honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4211 Advanced formulation science (12 points)
  • PSC4212 Research in formulation science (36 points)

Medicinal chemistry

  • BPS3512 Medicinal chemistry pre honours research project (12 points)
  • PSC4111 Advanced medicinal chemistry (12 points)
  • PSC4112 Research in medicinal chemistry (36 points)

Minimum grade for course completion

To remain in the course you are required to achieve at least a distinction average (70 per cent) 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 exit the course with the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree.

Alternative exits

You may be eligible to exit the course and graduate with a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree after three years and completion of 144 credit points of study, provided you have satisfied the award requirements of that course.