School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences

Analytical Science – Drug Analysis and Toxicology

PgCert | PgDip | MSc

Applications Now Open

PgCert | PgDip | MSc Analytical Science – Drug Analysis and Toxicology
This course is designed for Scientists and Engineers who wish to develop their skills in drug analysis and toxicology. The course will enhance your career prospects and give you the confidence and competence to make a difference in this fascinating field.

You will benefit from the use of modern analytical equipment, and a real insight into the latest developments and challenges facing the industry. Your coursework will be underpinned by research, and industry-input, providing you with the best platform from which to deliver relevant and up-to-date analytical science services as a well-prepared graduate.

85% of MSc Analytical Sciences graduates have gone on to employment in analytical sciences and 12% have continued to PhD study (Business Gateway, 2017)

This course has multiple study options
View study options
Mode of Attendance
Mode of Study
Start Date
Course Length
Mode of Attendance
  • On Campus
Mode of Study
  • Full Time
Start Month
Course Length
1 year

Mode of Attendance
  • On Campus
Mode of Study
  • Part Time
Start Month
Course Length
2 years
semester 1

This course has a common first semester with the Analytical Science courses with other specialisms (Environmental Analysis, and Food Analysis, Authenticity and Safety).

However, the extensive laboratory module is tailored to emphasise analytical techniques most relevant to your chosen specialism of Drug Analysis and Toxicology.


You will take part in a group problem-solving mini-project within your discipline. This builds on semester one study and emphasises the groups' ability to correctly apply appropriate instrumental techniques and methodology to solve the analytical problem posed. 

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Ethics and Project Planning are introduced to the group and will provide you with valuable experience for your individual MSc Research Project Preparation which is carried out in the final 2-3 weeks of semester 2. 

The project titles are released at the beginning of semester two but not allocated until week 3 or 4. Allocation is often based on a competitive basis.


You will begin the MSc Research Project practical work where you will develop your skills in using initiative, innovation, interpersonal skills, and a high level of autonomy, critical judgement and the application of appropriate and relevant principles in order to produce your thesis.


Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed module information

A built-for-purpose learning environment fully supports your learning experience in analytical science. You are given extensive use of state-of-the-art analytical equipment, e.g. GC-MS, LC-MS, LC-MS-MS, ICP-AES, SEM-EDXA, CE, DSC, TGA, PCR, NMR and tuition from research active, expert staff. Much focus is placed upon developing you to work autonomously and problem-solve in analytical environments.

Our partners commonly provide industrial visits and guest lectures as well as external MSc projects. These relationships will allow you to gain a unique insight into the opportunities available within the analytical chemistry sector, as well as the challenges and opportunities you will face once in the workforce.

Activity Summary
  • Lectures - 20 students per group, 10 hours per week
  • Seminars - 20 students per group, 1 hours per week
  • Webinar - 20 students per group, # hours per week
  • Tutorial - 20 students per group, 2 hours per week
  • Project Supervision - 20 students per group, 5 hours per week
  • Demonstration - 20 students per group
  • Practical class or workshop - 20 students per group, 1 hour per week
  • Supervised time in studio / workshop - 20 students per group
  • Field Work - 20 students per group
  • External Visits -  students per group, 1 hour per week
  • Placement / Work Based Learning - 20 students per group
Independent Study

You will develop substantial initiative and autonomy through lectures, tutorials and laboratory exercises which will demand a significant amount of independent learning to complete coursework and assessments. The MSc project is a significant piece of self-directed work which tests your higher cognitive skills in problem-solving and analysis, synthesis, evaluation and selectivity and improves your ability to learn.


Typically students are assessed each year:

  • 1 written exam typically for 2.5 hours
  • 3 written assignments, including essays
  • 1 report
  • 1 dissertation
  • 14 set exercises
  • 4 oral assessments
  • 1 practical skills assessment

We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.

Staff Delivering on This Course

Our team features in the annual Support and Teaching staff with Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards voted by the students and organised by RGU:Union. 

Most of our staff members are research-active or have connections to industry. Professional involvement in the design of this course ensures its alignment with the requirements of the industry and increases your employability. Our school has a unique relationships with, for example, Aberdeen's environmental industries, Scottish Food and Drink producers and the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We also collaborate with the Scottish Police Authority on the profile analysis of seized and surrendered abused drugs.



The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Inclusion Centre


All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on-campus or by online distance learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.



The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support


Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.

University Library


Depending upon availability and academic performance, you may have the opportunity to undertake your MSc Research Project in an industrial setting. This may be in the Aberdeen area or further afield, e.g. other parts of Scotland, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, France etc. We have a dedicated Placement Office to support you to securing a placement, however most students achieve placement from their own independent networking. Please note that industry projects are limited and subject to availability.

Find out more about our placements

Study Abroad

Study Abroad is not technically an option for this course. However, the MSc project can be undertaken abroad in an EU country, which will enhance your learning experience and maximise your employment prospects.


Job Prospects

85% of MSc Analytical Sciences graduates have gone on to employment in analytical sciences and 12% have continued to PhD study (Business Gateway, 2017).

Graduates gain employment in a wide range of areas such as research, project management and analytical services associated with a range of industries including distillation, pharmaceutical, oilfield chemistry, food/drink analysis and environmental science.

Graduates may also go on to further their academic career by seeking doctoral studies either within Robert Gordon University, when funding and suitable vacancies are available, or the rest of the UK, EU or internationally.

Some of our graduates with the Drug Analysis and Toxicology specialism have gone on to undertake a variety of projects including tablet quality analysis at GSK, substances of abuse analysis for Police Scotland, and toxicology analysis at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Hospital.


  • Applicants normally hold a 2:2 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant science subject area and to include Chemistry including (but not restricted to) Analytical Chemistry, Forensic Science, Pharmacy, Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences or Life Sciences.
  • Applicants with a lower degree classification and / or relevant work experience will be considered on a case by case basis.
English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or an equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Pre-Sessional English Programme at RGU

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


Scottish/EU Students


  • £5,500 entire course


  • £2,750 for year 1
  • £2,750 for year 2

Rest of UK Students


  • £6,920 entire course


  • £3,460 for year 1
  • £3,460 for year 2

International Students


  • £16,440 entire course


  • £8,220 for year 1
  • £8,220 for year 2
For Academic Year 2019/2020

Scottish/EU Students


  • £5,500 entire course


  • £2,750 for year 1
  • £2,750 for year 2

Rest of UK Students


  • £6,750 entire course


  • £3,375 for year 1
  • £3,375 for year 2

International Students


  • £14,950 entire course


  • £7,475 for year 1
  • £7,475 for year 2
Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

Other Fees and Charges 

Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees.

There are a limited number of funded places on this course.

There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.

Postgraduate Students' Funding

Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.

Alumni Discount

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:



For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:



Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Team and we'll do our best to help.

+44 (0) 1224 262728

I found the course really enjoyable. In particular, I enjoyed the research project in a good friendly laboratory, dealing with new techniques like NMR, MS, FTIR, with constant support from staff. All this experience in the lab will really help me in my future job.
Pritesh Bhalgat, MSc Instrumental Analytical Science Drug Analysis and Toxicology

Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

University Wide Facilities


The university has moved to home teaching and working following official COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government. Our staff will continue to process applications and respond to enquiries about your course during this time.  

We’ve got a few options for applying to our postgraduate courses for UK, EU and international applicants.

All applicants to postgraduate courses can apply direct to the university using our online application form.

All applicants can apply direct to the University with our PDF form.

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