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Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

We welcome applications from students interested in researching for a PhD within our diverse research portfolio. We focus on the discovery, development and optimised use of medicines and therapeutics to tackle some of the world’s most debilitating and life-threatening diseases and improving patient health outcomes.

The excellence of our pharmaceutical sciences and health related research and teaching is recognised internationally. We rank joint first as a School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UK for our research and teaching excellence according the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Our research spans the continuum from basic to applied, translational science and clinical practice. It encompasses the discovery, development and usage of medicines and therapeutics across a spectrum of diseases including cancer, infection, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and neurodegenerative disorders.

Our research includes all aspects of the study of drugs, including:

  • the discovery of new potential drug entities using synthetic chemistry
  • formulation of drugs to achieve targeted responses
  • pharmacological studies of mechanisms of drug action
  • medicines management to pharmaceutical practice and education.

The applied and multidisciplinary nature of our work benefits from worldwide scientific collaborations and strategic relationships with global businesses and public sector bodies that enable us to see the real-world impact of our research.

You will be fully integrated into our research and academic community. You will be provided with the tools, support, and opportunity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and generate impact in your chosen research discipline.

You will study and work in a self-contained multi-disciplinary School, with opportunities for collaboration with related departments in our College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, or with the University’s Schools of Chemistry or Engineering.

We welcome applications from students interested in researching for a PhD in a specialist area within our diverse research portfolio.

I was fully funded by Cancer Research Wales. My previous degree was on a similar project to my current one. However, doing a PhD is completely different from doing a master’s degree. A PhD student feels more mature to undertake responsibilities and face challenges. Also, in this level of study a student has an active role and sometimes is the one who runs the show.

Dionysia, Former PhD Student Pharmacy

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil, MD
Full-time duration PhD 3 years, MPhil 1 year, MD 2 years
Part-time duration PhD 5 years, MPhil 2 years, MD 3 years
Start dates January, April, July, October

Our PhD Programme in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences over three years, full time.


Undertaking a PhD can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity to explore a topic in depth, amongst field-leading researchers with truly first-class facilities. Candidates are required to make an original contribution to knowledge by conducting an independent research project.


MPhil research offers a shorter and more focused project than studying for a PhD. An MPhil degree offers students an opportunity to build on previous academic and professional experience to develop research skills. MPhil students are actively involved in work at the cutting edge of all research activities.


The School offers laboratory-based or clinical research degrees to recognised graduates of Medicine that focus on a specific clinical research topic to make an original contribution to medical knowledge. As an MD student, you will receive a high level of supervision and access to specialist research skills training.


A list of academic staff that can provide supervision relating to your area of research interest can be found on the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences website under our overarching research theme.


Students will be assessed via Thesis (80,000 words for PhD, 60,000 words for MD, and 50,000 words for MPhil) and viva voce examination.

Our research is interdisciplinary and expressed within two overlapping and overarching themes

Research themes

Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics (DDPSET)

Basic and clinical research at the interface of medical, biochemical, biophysical and bio-engineering sciences toward the understanding of diseases and the identification of new and improved therapies and diagnostics.

Medicines Optimisation and Healthcare Outcomes (MOHO)

Research at the patient interface toward an evidence-base for the safe, effective and optimised use of medicines leading to improvements in the health and well-being outcomes of patients.

Postgraduate research

Our research degrees give you the freedom to investigate some of these overarching research themes and their diverse range of discipline areas in depth, with support from leading researchers making use of first-class research facilities.

The research areas within which you can focus your studies as part of our Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences research programmes include:

Discipline areas available for PhD and MPhil degrees

Our aim is to offer knowledge and expertise for a career in the pharmaceutical industry, academia or in primary/secondary care.

Dependent on your chosen field, our PhD programme will prepare you for a career as a leading academic scholar, to excel as a researcher or practitioner, or to pursue a career as a senior healthcare policy decision maker.

Close collaboration between school and industry is a major reason why many of our higher graduates enjoy successful careers within the pharmaceutical industry.

Following successful completion of your PhD, we welcome talented Early Career Researchers to join our growing research community via a range of Fellowship opportunities.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


We conduct and attract large research grants from a variety of sources. At any one time, we have around 60 students studying for postgraduate research qualification.


Each year a range of funded PhD studentships are available via the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (UK/EU students only), Cardiff University, and a range of external sponsors.

Funded projects are advertised throughout the year.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applications can be made at any time, but in addition there will be specific calls, which have associated instructions and deadlines.

When you have an idea of what you would like to research, we recommend that you take a look at our academic staff research profiles (which you will find under our two overarching research themes), to see which staff member(s) have similar research interests to you. You can then contact them and give them a brief idea of what you would like to research.

Decisions will be made on the basis of your written application and the references received, and potential students will be interviewed as part of the admissions process.

After your application

Applications will be vetted by the Research Office and reviewed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Applications from candidates who meet the entry requirements will be shared with potential supervisors at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and other relevant academics.   Once supervisors express interest towards a candidate, an informal discussion may take place to identify the project interests and an interview panel is formed to conduct an interview. Should a formal offer be issued following interview, applicants will be notified on any funding opportunity at this stage.

Applicants should possess a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree, master's degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to have reached a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with no subscore less than 6.5). Copies of appropriate English language certificates must be supplied with your application. Please read our English language requirements for more details.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

Mrs Wendy Davies

Postgraduate Research Administrator


Apply now
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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