MSc Pharmaceutical Industry Advanced Training (PIAT) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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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

Students are provided with the learning material in soft copy form. The learning material comprises 5 chapters covering the foundational areas of physical and physiochemical pharmacy. Each chapter contains a number of exercises together with suggested answers for students to check their learning as they progress through the unit. A reference list of further reading is provided for each chapter 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 annual workshop event explores key areas of the unit through a range of hands-on exercises and practical demonstrations.

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.


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 unit

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

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)



3000 words

Feedback returned by email within 15 working days



Feedback methods

Feedback returned by email within 15 working days.

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

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alain Pluen Unit coordinator

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