Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety

University of Helsinki
2 years
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
Inquire for more information
University of Helsinki

About this program

Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety

The Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety offers the opportunity to obtain a comprehensive overview of the life cycle of drugs and their use. The study program combines compulsory and optional courses with study tracks that focus on three possible subdisciplines: 1) drug discovery and pharmacology, 2) drug development and 3) medication safety and effectiveness. The programme combines research-oriented studies and high-quality pedagogical methods and integrates the perspective of Green and Sustainable Pharmacy into the curriculum, essential for managing the global sustainability challenge.

Upon graduating, you earn a degree in pharmaceutical sciences and gain expertise relevant to a wide range of careers in R&D and healthcare regulatory and management tasks in academia, pharmaceutical industry or the public sector (e.g. regulatory agencies). The programme is hosted by the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, an internationally recognised drug research institute.

Admission requirements

Master’s programme has its own criteria on what studies you must have completed previously. Your degree does not always necessarily be from the field of your prospective master’s programme, but you must have completed a sufficient amount of some relevant post-secondary level studies.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

Who should ap­ply?

Do you want to conduct multidisciplinary life science and health science studies as a member of a scientifically vibrant academic community? Do you have career goals e.g. in academia, the pharmaceutical industry or with public sector authorities? Are you interested in becoming a professional in the pharmaceutical sciences and seek for an education that is more research oriented than the Master of Pharmacy degree? Then this programme might be something for you. If you seek for an education yielding proficiency as a legalized healthcare professional, consider applying in Master in Pharmacy programme instead.

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Program content

1st year fall semester

Master of Science competence Portfolio

Drug development and use

  • Discovery and preclinical evaluation of drug candidates
  • Pharmaceutical product development and rational use of medicines
  • Statistical methods and reasoning in pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical health services research

Research orientation

1st year spring semester:

Compulsory methodological studies (according to the chosen study track)

  • Quantitative methods for pharmaceutical research
  • Introduction to research methods in drug discovery and development – theory
  • Introduction to Medication Safety and Effectiveness Research Methods

Literature review (will be incorporated in the Master’s thesis)

Research ethics

2nd study year Fall semester + Spring semester

  • Physical Pharmacy(highly recommended for study track 2)
  • Internship
  • Research seminars in medication safety and effectiveness
  • Literature Review in medication safety and effectiveness
  • Introduction to pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance
  • Drug metabolism
  • General methods in pharmacology, in vivo methods
  • Marketing authorization of drug products and pharmacovigilance
  • Molecular modelling for Life Science Students/Molecular Modelling
  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Selected topics on clinical pharmacology
  • Practicals on cell and molecular biology methods
  • Basics of Clinical Trial Research
  • Microfluidics and nanotechnology for pharmaceutical applications
  • Organic chemistry in molecular biosciences and pharmacy
  • Medicinal chemistry.

Scholarships & funding

Scholarships are intended for excellent students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland who want to complete a Master's program at the University of Helsinki.

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.


Tuition fee per year (only non-EU/EEA citizens): 18 000€


After completing the M.Sc. Degree in pharmaceutical research, development and safety, the students:


  • have a thorough understanding on the life cycle of drugs and can apply their knowledge as experts in  pharmaceutical research, development and use,
  • have a command on pharmaceutical research questions in theoretical and methodological level,
  • understand the roles of of different institutions and stakeholders in pharmaceutical development and pharmacotherapy,
  • understand the sustainability aspects of drugs and their use and can apply this knowledge in their work.


  • can formulate research questions and design ways to answer them in a scientifically solid manner,
  • have a command of key research methods as well as the research-based work method,
  • can conduct research work in an international and multidisciplinary environment,
  • are fluent in communicating the pharmaceutical research topics with both peer experts and public audience,
  • have developed a professional identity as experts in drug development and use and understand the potential of their expertise.

Career paths

The programme trains students for research and development (R&D) oriented positions and as professionals for healthcare regulatory, management, policy-making and pharmaceutical industry positions.

These may comprise e.g., positions in:

  • national and international regulatory agencies and policy-making organisations (e.g., EMA, Ministries for Health in different countries).
  • professional or public health organisations (e.g., WHO regional offices).
  • healthcare organisations (e.g., public or private hospitals).
  • marketing, pharmacovigilance and outcomes research in the pharmaceutical industry.

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About this institute

University of Helsinki

At the University of Helsinki, we believe that we can change the world. This is the foundation for both our research and education. By completing a degree from this top-ranked European university you become part of the university's almost 400...

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Contact info

University of Helsinki

Fabianinkatu 33
00170 Helsinki

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