2022 start September 

Pharmaceutical Engineering

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Our MSc gives you hands-on experience of an industrial-scale continuous powder processing plant and develops the knowledge and skills you need to stand out in the global pharma market.
Students in the Pilot Plant

Course description

This programme has been developed taking into consideration the requirements of the global pharmaceutical industry. You will learn about:  

  • the science and application of products
  • oral drug delivery 
  • the production of medicines and new technologies 

You will gain hands-on experience with high-value formulated products using our industrial-scale continuous powder processing plant. 

At Sheffield you’ll be taught by the very best. The department works closely with some of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies (eg Pfizer, AstraZeneca and GSK). Graduates of this course will be highly sought after in the global pharma market. 

Apply now


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Science of Formulated Products

The module aims to cover various topics in particle technology including micromeritics, particle motion, particle microstructure and deformation mechanism. The module will also introduce the engineering concepts of various particle processing systems such as powder flow, mixing, granulation, fluidised bed drying and tableting. This introduction will include a demonstration of a pilot scale pharmaceutical plant. The module will additionally introduce the concept of material science, microstructure and particle design as it pertains to the food industry and its products.

15 credits
Continuous Manufacturing Technology: PAT and Process Optimization

The module will cover the recent Process Analytical Technology (PAT) used in continuous manufacturing in terms of selecting the suitable PAT tool, PAT data interpretation. Additionally, the module will discuss different approaches used in in process control and optimisation.

15 credits
The Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industry

This practical module will teach students how to perform small molecule and functional genetic screens, focused on human disease. Emphasis will be placed on how to select the right off-the-shelf assay and if one is not available how to build a new assay specific for their study. Students will take part in experimental screens of small molecules and genetic knock-down screens. Examples of screening methods that will be covered include traditional small molecule screens, modern functional genomics and high throughput phenotypic screens. The emphasis will be to appreciate every step that is involved in this process, from laboratory automation to analysis. Finally, the students will collect and handle data from their screens and visualize the results using modern methods.

15 credits
Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing

The module aims to provide an understanding of the key unit operations used in manufacturing biopharmaceutical products including vaccines, therapeutic proteins, and cell/gene therapies. The module will cover fermentation, extraction technologies and purification operations. The module will describe the design and application of each unit of operations, and introduce key associated topics including process engineering, analytical technologies, automation, quality by design, and regulatory issues. The module will have a particular focus on the latest industrial trends, and current and future challenges in biopharmaceutical manufacturing will be studied in-depth.

15 credits
Biopharmaceutical Engineering

This module will equip you with a comprehensive understanding of technologies that contribute to the production of complex biological products by engineered cells. An emphasis will be placed on (a) core design principles and tools that underpin engineering of genetic vectors, cells and biopharmaceutical products (e.g. proteins, vaccines, gene therapeutics) and (b) bioproduction process design and optimisation. Case histories and exemplars will be provided by invited external experts from bioindustry to reinforce your understanding of core principles.

15 credits
Particle Design and Processing

This module will give an introduction to particulate products. An overview of particle and powder characterisation will be given, and particle property distributions and how these change over time will be covered. Particle design (production of new particles with specific attributes) and production methods will be included (e.g. crystallisation and precipitation, granulation, jet break up and spray drying, aerosol processes, chemical vapour deposition, suspension polymerisation and grinding).

15 credits
Process Safety in the Chemical, Pharma and Fine Chemicals Industry

This module addresses process safety in the chemical, pharma and fine chemical industry. It is one of a series of modules which address hazards and risks in specific industries. A wide range of chemical hazards are examined including flammability, toxicity, chemical reactivity and environmental impact. Tools and techniques for identifying hazards and reducing risk are described and practical experience in their use is provided in the form of workshop activities. The module will describe how to prepare a "basis for safety" for a process.

15 credits
Strategic Engineering Management and Business Practices

This module aims to provide fundamentals of what strategy is and distinguish it from activities, tactics and goals of an organisation. It explains its important role in the continual success of organisations. It also introduces how strategy can be translated into business practices, methods, procedures to achieve the goals of an organisation's strategy.

The module is designed to develop your analytical and critical skills in the strategic management issues facing engineering organisations in today's fast-changing environment. It is a unique opportunity for you to equip yourself with the essential industry-relevant skills to excel as a future leader.

15 credits
Research Project

The application of scientific and engineering principles to a solution of practical problems of engineering systems and processes is developed throughout the course and demonstrated in particular by the research projects. Each student registered for the Masters degree in 'Pharmaceutical Engineering' must complete a research-based portfolio. The project is 60 credits. It is the most important individual module in the course. The topic for study is selected in consultation with appropriate members of the teaching staff. You will choose a research project which best fits your interests and undertakes a unique and original project on that area. Projects vary from industrially-based problem solving to laboratory-based research and development of new processes or ideas. The research portfolio is a major part of the degree and you will be allocated an academic supervisor who provides advice and guidance throughout the period of study. Opportunities exist for research studies to be carried out in collaboration with other university research centres as well as industrial organisations. You will present your project as a portfolio consisting of a Technical Review (5,000 words) and a Dissertation (10-15,000 words) and also must present the work as a poster and oral presentation during the academic year. A marking scheme is provided at the start of the project and each research project report is marked using a mark sheet which gives weightings to different parts.

60 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in science, technology or engineering.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

+44 114 222 7500

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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