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    2023 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’ll discover about the science and application of products, oral drug delivery, the production of medicines and new technologies used in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical processes.

    You’ll also have the potential to help develop and discover better medicines that literally could change millions of lives. Unlike similar courses which deal with the chemistry part of pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, this course has been designed to imply the chemical engineering fundamentals which is more essential in real life experience.

    You’ll gain hands-on-experience with high value formulated products using our industrial scale continuous powder processing plant (ConsiGm 25). Situated in our state of the art teaching facility, The Diamond, the Pilot Plant will be the cornerstone of your study here at Sheffield.

    The skills also gained on this MSc in the field of particle technology will allow you to work in other sectors such as the detergent sector (such as Unilever or P&G), food products (such as Nestle), catalyst and fertiliser sectors.

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


    We are currently working towards accreditation of Pharmaceutical Engineering by the Institution of Chemical Engineers for 2023-24 entry.


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    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 Optimisation

    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.

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    1 year full-time


    Chemical engineers conceive and design processes to produce, transform and transport materials. Our courses help prepare you for a career in the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and pharmaceutical industries.

    Our first-class facilities include cutting-edge laboratories such as the Analytics Lab, Thermodynamics Lab and the Pilot Plant.

    The Pilot Plant is the cornerstone to educate our students and it features a continuous powder processing plant – the first of its kind in any UK University.

    We also have key relationships with major international companies involved with food, fuels, medicines, plastics, energy and high-technology industries.  Some of these include: Siemens, Petronas, Pfizer, Nestle, Lonza, Astrazeneca, Syngenta and Unilever. 

    Here at Sheffield you’ll become an innovative product developer, forward looking, a risk taker and a trail blazer. You’ll be proud of the manufacturing heritage of our university and of our city.

    Our intensive teaching, combined with practical experience in most of our courses, produces the kind of graduates employers want. 

    We’ll equip you with everything you need to deliver sustainable solutions to support an ever growing, global population – study at Sheffield and you could literally change millions of lives.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:2 undergraduate honours degree in a science, technology or engineering subject.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    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.

    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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