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Pharmaceutical Discovery, Development and Use. (Joint PhD with the University of Sao Paulo)

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A 4 year joint PhD programme in pharmaceutical sciences is offered between the Institute of Pharmaceutical (IPS) Science at King’s and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCP) at the University of São Paulo leading to a joint qualifiaction from both universities. The joint PhD degree is designed to capture the broad sweep of research undertaken in the IPS ranging from pharmacological and chemical studies that can identify novel drug targets and new chemical entities, through formulation and drug development, to clinical trials and the use of medicines by patients. The FCP is considered the best academic teaching and research centre in pharmaceutical sciences in Latin America, with a particular strength in developing industrial processes to meet the market supply of medicines. The joint PhD programme will therefore have an all-embracing strategy allowing student exposure to all aspects of the medicines development pipeline, from the discovery and evaluation of novel medicines and new formulations, to the manufacture of these medicines that can be used by patients in the clinic.

Key information

Duration 4 year

Study mode Full-time

Further details

Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine



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Course detail


Opportunities are available for graduate research in a wide variety of pharmaceutical subjects ranging from the discovery, design, analysis and formulation of drugs to drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology as well as pharmacology, clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Pharmaceutical Discovery, Development and Use Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements  
  • Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent) in biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, genetics, pharmacy/pharmacology, applied biology (e.g. biotechnology, biomedical science, nutrition, psychology), chemistry or computational science/bioinformatics, although further graduate study or appropriate work experience may also be taken into account.
  • A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters degree with Merit or above. 
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Before submitting an application, the student must establish communication with a potential supervisor within the home institution to discuss their thesis proposal. They should also approach a potential supervisor within the partner institution, either independently or via support from the home institution supervisor/Admissions Tutor (where possible). For health faculty programmes, supervisors may already be attached to existing projects. Any agreement to act as supervisor at this stage is provisional. Travel plans (or Off-Campus Study forms) must be submitted as part of the application, either within the form itself or as a separate document.

Studentships will be advertised in New Scientist StudyNature Jobsfindaphd.com, the university’s Health Faculties Studentships website or on jobs.ac.uk

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed by a Joint Academic Committee (JAC) comprising at least two academics from the home institution and one from the partner institution. Proposed research projects must be approved by the School Postgraduate Research Committee before an offer can be made.

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document Checklist
Personal Statement Yes Please provide information on why you think you are best suited and can benefit from the joint PhD programme, information about your research experience and, for self-funded applicants, details of how you plan to fund yourself.
Research Proposal Yes The proposal should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page. Please provide your reasons for choosing your proposed PhD project and any other additional information in support of your application.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional  You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.
Travel plan Yes See below for details of the travel plan form that you will need to submit as part of your application.


Course intake

Per academic year: 1 student registered from the home institution and 1 student registered from the partner Institution

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a travel plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following October.

FAQs and the Travel Plan form: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/worldwide/opportunities/International-Dual-Degrees/PhD/PhDFAQs.aspx

Application closing date

The deadlines for applications are detailed below. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

  • June 2021 entry - 12th April 2021 for international and Home/EU applicants 
  • October 2021 entry – 30th July 2021 for international/EU applicants and 27th August 2021 for Home applicants 
  • February 2022 entry – 12th November 2021 for international/EU applicants and 6th December 2021 for Home applicants 
  • June 2022 entry – 1st April 2022 for international/EU applicants and 11th April 2022 for Home applicants 

Applications for 2022/23 academic year will open from October 2021. 

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

Important notice

An obligatory component of this programme is a 12-18 month research placement at the partner university. Full fees must continue to be paid by King’s home students during their placement at the University of São Paulo. When you submit your application, you must guarantee that full funding is secured for the entire duration of the proposed research and, that study abroad is permitted by your funding agency.

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees: £5,560 per year

International Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:  £24,570 per year               

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: £5,850 per year

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:  £25,800 per year        

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Graduating students will be in a unique position in having a PhD degree awarded by two of the most highly regarded centres in the World for postgraduate research training in pharmaceutical sciences. Career opportunities can, therefore, be open in many prized employment areas in the pharmaceutical industry, government and academia.


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