MSc Pharmaceutical Industry Advanced Training (PIAT) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Scientific and Medical Writing

Unit code PHAR70710
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 unit covers the development of scientific publications, including how to identify and assimilate source data, the approach to writing and reviewing scientific publications and the overall publication process including submission and post- submission. Participants will develop a range of publication types including abstracts, posters and manuscripts, based on a clinical trial report. The preparation of standard operating procedures relating to scientific publications will be covered. 


The unit aims to: introduce the student to and develop skills in medical writing by producing a range of scientific and clinical documents and publications. 

Teaching and learning methods

Students are provided with the learning material in soft copy form. The learning material comprises 13 chapters covering all the key stages in the process of writing scientific and medical texts for publication. Each chapter contains a number of exercises for students to check their learning as they progress through the unit. A reference list of further reading is provided allowing the student to investigate the subject area more deeply, and the unit tutor is available to answer queries and provide guidance as required. The face-to-face workshop at the online workshop event explores key areas of the unit through a range of hands-on exercises and practical demonstrations.

The unit comprises a series of practical tasks, which build on each other in terms of complexity and length. It is anticipated that students study each chapter of the unit and sequentially undertake each task. Each output should be returned to the course tutor for ongoing feedback, which will improve the quality of subsequent tasks.


Knowledge and understanding

Students will be able to:

• Know how to approach different writing types
• Understand how writing approach depends on the target audience and document type

Intellectual skills

Students will be able to: 

  • Assimilate and interpret relevant scientific data

Practical skills

Students will be able to: 

  • Undertake literature searches
  • Create well-formatted documents
  • Deliver different writing types and skills

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will be able to: 

  • Improve their written communication
  • Summarise relevant scientific studies
  • Plan how to approach writing from concept to delivery

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


Reading and understanding

Ongoing practical assignments

Not specified

Mainly 2-3 hours; maximum 1 day


Feedback provided on an individual basis if the assignments are returned



2 x end of module assignments

5 days (max)

3 days (max)

Feedback returned by email within 15 working days



Feedback methods

Feedback for coursework returned within 15 working days.

Recommended reading

• Eichele K, Rossi A. Results of the 2012 EMWA salary survey. Medical Writing 2013;22:194-8. 
• Woolley KL. Goodbye Ghostwriters! Chest 2006;130:921-923.
• Battisti WP, Wager E, Baltzer L, Bridges D, Cairns A, Carswell CI, et al. Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:461-464.
• Jacobs A, Wager E. European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines on the role of medical writers in developing peer-reviewed publications. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2005;21:317-321.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Julia Donnelly Unit coordinator

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