BSc.Hons Pharmacology 

The Department of Pharmacology offers the BSc.Hons Pharmacology degree with specialisation in one of three electives: Basic (Pre-Clinical), Clinical Trials or Regulatory Affairs Pharmacology. The degree is presented as a one year, full-time course from January to November to students who are in possession of a BSc degree with pharmacology as an undergraduate module, as well as others such as anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology or physiology. More information on the application process can be found here.

Entry requirements

To be eligible to apply for BSc.Hons Pharmacology, students should possess the following:

  • Undergraduate degree in a biological or scientific field.
  • Undergraduate degree grade-point average ≥60%.
  • Undergraduate pharmacology (FAR 381 and FAR 382, or equivalents thereof) average ≥60%.
    • ​In exceptional circumstances, applicants who are not in possession of such modules may take this during the honours year, however, this should not be seen as a guaranteed option​.​
  • ​International students must have qualifications verified by SAQA.
Course details

Duration of the course:

One year, full-time.

Core modules:

  • FAR 705: Pharmacology (year module).
  • MBS 700: Medical Biostatistics (first semester module).
  • TNM 700: Research Methodology (first quarter module).

Weekly expectations:

The degree schedule is published at the start of the course, however, students are expected to be present in the department full-day to attend lectures or conduct research for their projects. Additional learning opportunities may be added to the schedule based on the availability of guest lecturers or industry. Given the nature of the course, recess periods may be subject to change to allow for sufficient facilitation times. As such, students should not make holiday preparations prior to publication of the schedule for the year.

Theoretical lectures:

Students will receive theoretical lectures on pharmacological principles, treatment modalities, pharmaceutical law, associated aspects of drug development and research methodologies. Lectures are compulsory. 

Practical lectures:

Depending on which track is selected, specific practical lectures will be presented. More information can be found under each specific track.

Research project:

Students will be expected to complete a full research project in an area of focus of the department (see Research Focus Areas). Research projects will be done under the supervision of staff and/or senior postgraduate students. The project will require students to compile a research protocol, as well as collect, analyse and interpret all related data so that a final report can be delivered.

Specialisation in the Basic Pharmacology Elective

The area of basic pharmacology covers human and animal studies with respect to drug development, drug effects, toxicity or side effects, kinetics, mechanisms of action and the biochemistry behind a drug’s ability to exert an effect in living systems. These entail in vitro and/or in vivo studies, and is paramount to drug discovery and development. The Basic Pharmacology track focusses on providing the student with the skills needed to engage with pre-clinical drug development. Practical lectures will include background on the scientific principles used during laboratory experimentation, as well as the physical use of equipment within the departmental laboratory. Laboratory principles that will be addressed include: good laboratory principles, weighing, buffer preparation, cell culture, cytotoxicity assays, chemiluminescence, spectrophotometry, fluorometry, flow cytometry, chromatography and microbiology. 

For more information, please contact:

    Dr Brian Flepisi

    Tel: 012 319 2143
    E-mail[email protected]

    BMS Bulding 6-19, Prinshof Campus


Specialisation in the Clinical Trials Pharmacology Elective

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies may also show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making. Clinical trials are one of the stages of a long and careful research process. The process often begins in a laboratory , where scientists first develop and test new ideas. If an approach seems promising, the next step may involve animal testing. This shows how the approach affects a living body and whether it's harmful. However, an approach that works well in the laboratory or in animals doesn't always work well in people. Thus, research in humans is needed. For safety purposes, clinical trials start with small groups of patients to find out whether a new approach causes any harm. In later phases of clinical trials, researchers learn more about the new approach's risks and benefits. The Clinical Trials Pharmacology track focusses on providing the student with the skills needed to engage with clinical trials research. Students will take part in an industry block where they will get hands-on experiential learning by working in a clinical trials unit associated with the Department of Pharmacology. During practical training, students will gain insight into, among others, informed consent, good clinical practice, participation criteria, sponsorship, protocols, trial design and clinical trial phases.

Coordinator Clinical Trials Elective: Vacant

For more information, please contact: Course Coordinator Dr Machel Leuschner



Specialisation in the Regulatory Affairs Pharmacology Elective

Regulatory affairs is a relatively new profession which developed from the desire of governments to protect public health by controlling the safety and efficacy of products in areas including pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, medical devices, pesticides, agrochemicals, cosmetics and complementary medicines. The companies responsible for the discovery, testing, manufacture and marketing of these products also want to ensure that they supply products that are safe, and thus make a worthwhile contribution to public health and welfare. In response to the pharmaceutical companies, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has to approve each application and request for a new drug, or a generic formulation, to be used in South Africa, thereby complimenting governments’ statutory duty mentioned above. The Regulatory Affairs Pharmacology track focusses on providing the student with the skills needed to engage with drug regulatory affairs. Students will take part in an industry block where they will get hands-on experiential learning by working in a regulatory affairs office associated with the Department of Pharmacology. During practical training, students will gain insight into, among others, regulatory compliance and laws, scheduling of medicine and compilation of dockets.

For more information, please contact:

  Dr Machel Leuschner

  Tel: 012 319 2254
  E-mail: [email protected]

  BMS Bulding 6-9, Prinshof Campus



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. All applications must be accompanied by a short curriculum vitae, full academic record, motivation letter and selection of the elective you are applying for. After the application has been submitted, please send through your details to Ms Christa Swart ([email protected]) so that we may track your submission. It is up to the applicant to ensure that their details have been received by the department. Please note that the deadline for BSc.Hons Pharmacology is towards the end of August of each year. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

For those interested in the Clinical Trials Pharmacology track elective:

The procedure and online booking system for the Clinical Research Unit Shadowing Opportunities 2024.

Please click here to download the flyer




Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences