The College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS) is a three-year Bachelor programme in Drug Development, in which you will be trained how new drugs for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s can be discovered and developed.

Contribute to society

There is a great medical need for new drugs. Is it your dream to contribute to the development of these new medicines that could improve the health of many people? Do you like having the freedom to choose your own approach when presented with an assignment? Do you thrive whilst studying in small groups together with other motivated students from different nationalities? If so, studying CPS might be just perfect for you!

Drug development

The College of Pharmaceutical Sciences is an international bachelor's programme in drug development. At the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, you’ll learn what’s needed to develop new drugs. You’ll need to consider the possible target for the drug in the body, the active ingredient structure, as well as the best route of administration of the medicine and how the effectiveness and safety of the new drug should be tested on the patient. To develop a new drug many disciplines come together, such as biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry and biology.

As a drug designer you need more than theoretical knowledge. You must also be skilled in the lab, as well as have the ability to define a research question and design a plan to respond to it. In addition, you’ll need to collaborate with a variety of professionals and present your results in a scientific journal, or sometimes at an international conference. For this reason each course also involves a group project, in which you’ll work with fellow students on real-life biomedical problems. As such, you’ll learn to apply the theory of pharmaceutical science to creatively solve these problems. CPS is fully taught in English. As a result, approximately one-third of the students on the programme are international (non-Dutch).

Educational schedule

The programme consists of four compulsory courses in the first year and three in the second year. The elective courses are planned within the second and third year. During the final semester of the programme, you’ll perform an undergraduate drug related research project. For more information on the courses, visit the programme curriculum page.

Why Utrecht University?
The College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS) has a unique combination of content and educational approach:


  • Drug innovation – from unraveling the disease mechanisms and designing drug molecules, to testing new medicines on patients and everything in between.
  • Multidisciplinary – combination of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry, biology and medicine.

Educational Approach

  • Projects on real-life biomedical or pharmaceutical problems
  • Freedom to pursue your personal interests
  • Research environment – many lab sessions, education by top scientists and visits to research institutes and companies
  • Small-scale education
  • Taught fully in English – open to international students


At the start of your study you’ll be assigned a personal tutor to guide you throughout the programme, helping you to make choices for your studies. For possible personal matters, you can also visit your tutor or the study advisor. Furthermore, due to the small scale of the programme and tight community with a maximum of 50 students, you’re also likely to receive additional support and motivation from other CPS students and peers.

Study abroad

In the second and third year of your bachelor, you can follow elective courses outside the Netherlands. In case you decide to continue your post graduate education at Utrecht University, you can also take on an internship outside the Netherlands during your Master’s.

Outstanding University

Studying at Utrecht University means studying at one of the world's best universities. Utrecht University is the best research university in the Netherlands according to the prestigious annual Academic Ranking of World Universities by the University of Shanghai (ARWU). This year (Shanghai Ranking, 2016) Utrecht University is placed 21st in Europe and 65th worldwide. Utrecht University has been the best ranking Dutch university since the first ARWU ranking was published in 2003. 

Career opportunities

CPS graduates have many career perspectives, either in the Netherlands or abroad. Examples of future employers can be:

  • Universities and academic hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical or biomedical research institutes, such as Lygature and the Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry
  • Major pharmaceutical companies such as Hoffmann-La Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck, Pfizer, etc.

To obtain a doctorate

Once you’ve graduated from your Master’s and would like to continue as a researcher, many students decide to study towards a PhD. These students make an important contribution to the research of Utrecht University. A PhD project lasts four years and during this period you’ll receive a salary.

Possible careers

Possible career opportunities after completing the CPS bachelor programme followed by a Master’s degree (possibly combined with a doctorate) are:

  • Biomedical or Pharmaceutical Researcher
  • Medicinal Chemist
  • (Pharmaco)-Epidemiologist
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Medicines Regulator
  • Science-related professions: Teacher, Journalist, Manager, Administrator

Contact person:
For questions about the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences:
     Contact the Study Advisor, Carmen Jansen


The small scale of the CPS study programme creates a real community of enthusiastic and driven students who push one another to a higher level.
Eline Giraud, CPS student


Mode of study:
Language of instruction:
3 years
Tuition fee:
  • Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee 2017-18, full-time): € 2,006
  • Institutional fee 2017-2018: € 17,993 (EU/EEA), € 20,223 (non-EU/EEA)
Offered by:
Degree: This Bachelor's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
BSc (Bachelor of Science)
Croho code:
  • Eline Giraud, CPS student
    'It’s about trial and error and implementing your own ideas.'
  • Rob Ruijtenbeek
    'To develop an idea asks for perseverance and hard work, but in the end it is fantastic.'