MSc Pharmacology

This two-year full-time programme is offered to students who are in possession of an NQF level 8 degree in a relevant biological field, which includes a BPharm or BSc.Hons degree in Pharmacology, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physiology or other related scientific fields. Applicants who have not completed a prior qualification or module in pharmacology will be expected to do so if accepted into the programme. Additionally, applicants may be required to complete a training course in the laboratory depending on their research project.     

During the research programme, students will conduct a research project in any of the Departmental research areas of interest (see Research Focus Areas) under the tutelage of a supervisor, with assistance by senior students and technical staff. Students will be expected to perform independent research, and design and execute a research protocol, which will ultimately lead to scientific report and publication. Given the two-year timeline of the programme, projects will start in January, with examination of the dissertation the following year in August.

Information on the required modules for the programme can be found on the University of Pretoria’s yearbook page  (programme code: 10253053). Although no coursework is needed for FAR 890 module, students may be required to take TNM 800, MBS 800 and/or FAR 381 and FAR 382 depending on their prior qualifications. Additionally, students will need to attend scholarly meetings and research breakaways scheduled by the Department.

Entry requirements

To be eligible to apply for a position in MSc Pharmacology, students should possess the following:

  • A relevant NQF 8 level degree, such as an Honours degree in a biological or scientific field or a BPharm
  • A grade-point average ≥65% for the NQF level 8 degree
  • Undergraduate pharmacology (FAR 381 and FAR 382, or equivalents thereof) with an average ≥60%.
    • In exceptional circumstances, applicants who are not in possession of such modules may take this during their programme, however, this should not be seen as a guaranteed option
  • International students must have qualifications verified by SAQA.
Application procedure

Due to the intensive nature of the postgraduate studies, as well as supervisor and infrastructure availability, only a limited number of students can be accepted per year. Students need to apply using the online postgraduate application portal  of the University of Pretoria. A three-part selection process is followed:

  • Initial screening for eligibility;
  • Shortlisting of eligible candidates by potential supervisory teams; and
  • Final interviews of shortlisted candidates


  • Short curriculum vitae;
  • Full academic record;
  • Motivation letter (indicating the area in which you wish to conduct your research);
  • Summary of practical skillsets; and
  • A written report/manuscript to assess writing ability at the time of application.


After the application has been submitted, please send through your details to Ms Christa Swart ([email protected]) so that we may track your submission. Note that applications made through the postgraduate application portal may take between two to four weeks to process prior to being sent to the Department, and thus confirmation with Ms Swart is imperative. It is up to the applicant to ensure that their details have been received by the Department. Applications that are received after the deadline, or that are incomplete, will not be considered.

Candidates that are deemed eligible and that are shortlisted will be required to complete a set of instruments that will be used in conjunction to the interviews. These instruments will be completed at a specified time in the year under a time constraint, and thus are set to determine your immediate abilities. These include:

  • A writing instrument which will require you to read and interpret a specific article, after which you will need to write a short report on a few aspects thereof; and
  • (Only for those earmarked for laboratory-based research) A calculation instrument which will determine your ability to calculate relevant aspects of scientific principles, which includes dilutions, reagents preparation, and conversions of one unit to another.

Candidates from the Department of Pharmacology's postgraduate programmes will be admitted to an interview as a courtesy; however, this does not deem them eligible and/or guaranteed for acceptance.

Contact person

   Prof Werner Cordier

    012 319 2521
    [email protected]
    Room 6-8, Basic Medical Sciences Building

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