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MSc Pharmaceutical Industry Advanced Training (PIAT) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Developed in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, our PGDip and MSc PIAT courses are postgraduate-level training designed for scientists and managers working in the pharmaceutical industry in the fields of product development, formulations, manufacturing and quality assurance.

Students without a first degree in science will be automatically registered on the CPD route in Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences. Students with a first degree in science may register on this CPD route or directly on an MSc or Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) route, by default, on the Industrial Pharmacy pathway; students who complete more than five 15-credit units of an MSc or PGDip in the Pharmaceutical Microbiology pathway may choose to take their award in the name of that pathway at the point of exit. Students who exit with a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) will do so in Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences. Units are subject to availability.


  • Industrial Pharmacy: This programme covers the industrial pharmacist role from formulation through to QA and QC, and also regulatory affairs and lean processes (including Six Sigma).
  • Pharmaceutical Microbiology: We work with the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Interest Group (PharMIG) on the content and curriculum of this programme, ensuring that it is recognised as a leader within the field.

You can also take individual units as standalone CPD courses. Please contact us for further information. 

Many of our units have been developed to support those seeking to build their QP portfolio and our team includes QPs who are willing to advise you on your development through this educational programme.

We offer a three-day annual school each year to allow you to meet fellow students and your tutors while attending workshops to support your learning and development in the units. You are strongly encouraged to participate in this event as a valuable face-to-face opportunity to engage with our team of expert tutors. It has been observed that those students who do engage with the event do better in their assessments in general.

Additional course information

Below are some links that may be useful if you're thinking about studying PIAT.

Coursework and assessment

Example dissertation titles

Below are examples of previous dissertations undertaken on the PIAT course.

  • 'Comparison of the Chemical and Physical Stability of Three Different Dry Powder Inhalers containing Salmeterol Xinafoate and Fluticasone Propionate' - Joanne Ridgway
  • 'Simulation of Modelling of Clinical and Pre-clinical Trial Supply Units' - Robert Jones
  • 'Evaluation of Inspection Efficiency in a Sterile Vial Manufacturing Process' - Julia Deacon
  • 'The Use of a Compaction Simulator in Preformulation' - Richard Iain Bell
  • 'An Evaluation of the Impact of the Environmental Protection Agency on the Irish Pharmaceutical Industry' - Michael G Bizzell
  • 'Physical Characterisation of a Multi-particulate Dosage Form using an Image Analysis System' - David K Brown
  • 'Commissioning and Validation of a Small-scale Manufacturing Facility for the Production of Aseptically-prepared Products and the Subsequent Validation for a Specific Product Line' - Sarah Dawson
  • 'Formulation of a Bioequivalent Immediate Release Tablet Preparation' - Roland T Green

Course unit details

The PIAT course currently has a broad selection of units within three pathways:

Industrial Pharmacy

  • Basic Principles - The physicochemical principles of dosage form design (PHAR71010)
  • Preformulation Studies 1 - Physicochemical aspects of drug substances and excipients (PHAR71020)
  • Oral Solid Dosage Forms - 1 (PHAR71040)
  • Oral Solid Dosage Forms -  2 (PHAR71070)
  • Liquid and Semisolid Dosage Forms - Formulation and process development (PHAR71050)
  • Management Tools (PHAR71060)
  • Lean Processes (PHAR71080)
  • Pharmaceutical packaging (PHAR71100)
  • Regulatory Affairs (PHAR71110)
  • Pharmaceutical Engineering (PHAR71120)
  • Quality Control Laboratory Testing (PHAR70130)
  • Safety, Health and Environment (PHAR70140)
  • Inhalation Dosage Forms (PHAR70150)
  • Product Development Management (PHAR70160)
  • Introduction to Clinical Trials (PHAR72010)
  • Scientific and Medical Writing (PHAR70710)
  • Clinical Trials for the NHS (PHAR72090)
  • Introduction to the Healthcare Industry (PHAR71400)
  • Research and Development and Manufacturing (PHAR71470)

Pharmaceutical Microbiology

  • Introduction to Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Technology (PHAR71300)
  • Water Aspects (PHAR71310)
  • Microbiological Environmental Monitoring & Control (PHAR71320)
  • Sterile Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (PHAR71330)
  • Quality Assurance in Microbiology Laboratories (PHAR71340)
  • Engineering Principles for Pharmaceutical Microbiologists (PHAR71350)
  • Application of Microbiology in Biopharmaceuticals (PHAR71360)
  • Antimicrobials (PHAR71370)

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Quality Control Laboratory Testing (PIAT 13) PHAR70130 15 Optional
Safety, Health and Environment (PIAT 14) PHAR70140 15 Optional
Inhalation Dosage Forms (PIAT 15) PHAR70150 15 Optional
Product Development Management (PIAT 16) PHAR70160 15 Optional
Scientific and Medical Writing PHAR70710 15 Optional
Basic Principles (PIAT 1) PHAR71010 15 Optional
Pre-formulation Studies 1 (PIAT 2) PHAR71020 15 Optional
Solid Oral Dosage Forms (PIAT 4) PHAR71040 15 Optional
Liquid and Semi-Solid Dosage Forms (PIAT 5) PHAR71050 15 Optional
Management Tools PHAR71060 15 Optional
Solid Oral Dosage Forms 2 (PIAT 7) PHAR71070 15 Optional
Lean Processes (PIAT 8) PHAR71080 15 Optional
Pharmaceutical Packaging (PIAT 10) PHAR71100 15 Optional
Regulatory Affairs (PIAT 11) PHAR71110 15 Optional
Pharmaceutical Engineering (PIAT 12) PHAR71120 15 Optional
Introduction to Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Technology (PMAT 1) PHAR71300 15 Optional
Water Aspects (PMAT 2) PHAR71310 15 Optional
Microbiological Environmental Monitoring & Control (PMAT 3) PHAR71320 15 Optional
Sterile Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (PMAT 4) PHAR71330 15 Optional
Quality Assurance in Microbiology Laboratories (PMAT 5) PHAR71340 15 Optional
Engineering Principles for Pharmaceutical Microbiologists (PMAT 6) PHAR71350 15 Optional
Application of Microbiology in Biopharmaceuticals (PMAT 7) PHAR71360 15 Optional
Antimicrobials (PMAT 8) PHAR71370 15 Optional
Introduction to the Healthcare Industry (PLG 1) PHAR71400 15 Optional
Negotiation & Interpersonal Skills (PLG 5) PHAR71440 15 Optional
Research & Development and Manufacturing (PLG 8) PHAR71470 15 Optional
Introduction to Clinical Trials (CT1) PHAR72010 15 Optional
Clinical Trials for the NHS PHAR72090 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units

What our students say

Charles Adesuyi (graduate 2019)

The PIAT programme broadened my scientific knowledge and has been invaluable in my career to date.

Prior to commencing the programme, I found that there were scientific terms bounced around by my colleagues that were unfamiliar to me. This prompted my search for a postgraduate course to improve my scientific knowledge. Colleagues from my previous employment had also undertaken the PIAT programme and found it beneficial, and so I enrolled.

The modules are taught by expert tutors and are relevant to the pharmaceutical industry. They were strongly applicable to my role as a formulation manager. I moved jobs whilst on the programme to a business role and had the opportunity to select business modules to support this role. My scientific knowledge increased, and the unfamiliar scientific terms became known and understood.    

I would recommend PIAT to scientists/managers. Though it is challenging and requires dedication, commitment, experience and completion of the eight units in addition to a master's thesis, the experience is rewarding and I found it a personal achievement.


You will be able to access the online library and a range of other facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

You can also take individual units as standalone CPD courses. Please contact us at for further details of the units that can be taken.