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Department of Pharmacology


Welcome to the Part II and BBS Course Page

This page is a short summary of information regarding the Part II and BBS Courses. The key contacts are:

Course Organiser

Dr Catherine Wilson
Telephone: +44 (0)1233 3 34047 / Lab 3 34021

Undergraduate Administrator

Mrs Christine Roberts
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 334059

The Part II and BBS Course has a Moodle page here!

The handbooks can be downloaded from here.


Why choose Pharmacology

Ways to study Pharmacology in Part II

Research Projects


Applying for Pharmacology

About the course

Why choose Pharmacology?

Pharmacology underpins medicine, drug development and our understanding of biology. It is a very interdisciplinary course centred on a small and tight-knit Department.

Our previous students had some glowing reviews of the course! See what they had to say here:

Ways to study Pharmacology in Part II

There are two ways to study Pharmacology at Part II level. They share the same core teaching. The difference is that Part II Pharmacology includes a practical research project whereas Part II BBS (Biological and Biomedical Sciences) includes a dissertation and an additional single-paper Minor Subject chosen from a wide range.

Both courses are equally rewarding and equally demanding. However, if you are considering postgraduate laboratory-based research (PhD or MB/PhD), you are strongly advised to take Part II Pharmacology with its practical research project.

Research projects (Part II Pharmacology only)

Research projects are the best way to get a real taste of scientific research. Most of the projects are based in the research labs of the department, although a few projects are based elsewhere (e.g. Clinical Pharmacology). Example of recent research projects can be found here.

The research projects take place in Lent Term. You will spend approximately 3 days/weeks working in the lab on your project. The project is submitted as a written report and presented as a talk to the examiners in Easter Term. Our Part II students can become valued member of their lab and have a real impact on its research. It is not uncommon for work arising from a Part II project to be published or presented at a scientific meeting.

Dissertations (BBS only)

Dissertations provide an opportunity to explore an area of interest in considerable depth. You can choose a dissertation title from lists provided by either your Major of Minor Subjects. Most of our students choose a title from the pharmacology list (click here for examples of recently offered titles). Prospective supervisors will be available to discuss titles before you make your final decision.

Your supervisor will provide guidance on your dissertation topic throughout Lent Term.

Applying for Pharmacology

The maximum number of students allowed onto the Part II Pharmacology course is 30, and determined by the number of research projects available. There are up to 20 places for BBS Pharmacology. Our selection policy is to accept students with the best overall performance in Part IB examinations. Students from MVST and NST are treated identically.

There are no interviews and no application need be made other than on the list of Part II preferences submitted through your College. Prospective applicants are invited to contact Dr Wilson or any of the teaching staff if they have any queries about the courses.

The Pharmacology course

The course aims:

  • To provide a wide-ranging, balanced and critical treatment of pharmacology as it relates to understanding mechanisms of drug action
  • To equip you with a range of skills for your future career, whether it is in life sciences research, medicine, veterinary medicine, drug discovery, or other careers not directly related to pharmacology

By the end of the course, you can expect to be able to:

  • Think critically and with an appropriate level of knowledge across a wide range of pharmacological topics.
  • Find, critically assess and integrate information from the scientific literature.
  • Critically assess different methods to solve pharmacological problems.
  • Communicate effectively with a scientific audience in oral presentations, written reports or dissertations, and essays.

More information on course structure, lecture content etc. can be found in our Handbook