MSc Pharmaceutical Industrial Advanced Training (PIAT) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Basic Principles (PIAT 1)

Unit code PHAR71010
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Offered by Pharmacy
Available as a free choice unit? No


This introductory module describes the properties of drugs in the solid state and in solution. The stability of drugs in solid and liquid dosage forms are discussed, and colloidal dispersions and interfacial phenomena are explained. 


The unit aims to ensure the student has the appropriate basic physicochemical knowledge to deal with the subsequent PIAT course unit (foundation knowledge). It aims at explaining and relating notions such as solubility, stability, solid state, interfacial phenomena and colloidal dispersions to real cases observed in the pharmaceutical industry.


Teaching and learning methods

The module is divided in 5 units (or chapters) provided to the student at the beginning of the study period and part of a distance learning programme (PIAT). It is expected that the student will spend between 60 and 80 hours to complete depending on background and experience; this translates in committing approximately 8 hours per week on this module.

The provided units contain the minimum knowledge but should be perceived as a working document not a reference. Each chapter has its own learning objectives and a right hand margin allocated for personal notes, queries and comments. In addition each unit contains a number of exercises for the student to do in order to reinforce the concepts (answers are provided at the end). Students are invited to show the exercises when attending the summer workshop and discuss these with their tutor.

To complete the information provided a list of books (some being available electronically with the University of Manchester library e.g. “Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy” by AT Florence and D Attwood) and the related chapters/sections are provided at the end of each unit.

As the unit may be challenging for certain students, they are encouraged to interact with the tutor (Skype video calls being the preferred option as unlike emails they allow for a real discussion) to ensure  learning is not hindered by difficult points.

Finally the PIAT summer workshop has a dedicated session for this module which focuses on aspects found difficult by the students and a preparation to typical exam questions.


Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to: 

Have an understanding of the physicochemical properties underlying pharmaceutical science.

Explain and relate notions such as solubility, stability, solid state, interfacial phenomena and colloidal dispersions to real cases observed in the pharmaceutical industry

Do simple calculations as exemplified in the module

Intellectual skills

Students should be able to: 

Refresh/gain knowledge in physical chemistry and basic pharmaceutical science

Practical skills

Students should be able to: 

Demonstrate IT skills; be able to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel; webmail.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should be able to: 

Problem solving

Develop students’ skills of self-management/time management

Develop communication skills especially written ones


Make appropriate use of resources. Identify situations when text books, journal papers or online sources may be most suitable

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)



3000 words

Feedback returned by email within 15 working days



2 hours

Mark sent after exam board



Recommended reading

Recommended books to complete knowledge/understanding:

-          “Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy” by AT Florence and D Attwood, 6th Edition, Pharmaceutical Press (available electronically),

-          “Aulton’s Pharmaceutics” Edited by ME Aulton and KMG Taylor, 4th Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier (electronically available),

-          “Martin’s Physical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences”, 5th Edition, Editor Patrick J Sinko, Lippcott, Williams and Wilkins,

“Remington: Essentials of Pharmaceutics” Edited by Linda Felton, Pharmaceutical Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 148

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alain Pluen Unit coordinator

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