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Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University of Wellington logo

Postgraduate Certificate in Drug Discovery and Development

This course is available


Level of Study

Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma


60 credit hours

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


Victoria University of Wellington


Build on your science degree and get a broad knowledge of the processes involved in drug discovery, design and development.

Gain the skills required to generate therapeutics for improving human or animal health with this intensive one-year taught programme, unique in New Zealand. Your studies will combine the biological sciences with chemistry, giving you the skills to target, design, synthesise, create, and assess new drugs. Learn how to identify drug targets and develop these into new therapeutics. Develop skills to protect intellectual property, assess the financial viability of drugs, and consider the path to pre-clinical and clinical trial processes.

Tailor your studies to your strengths, interests, and career goals. You'll learn a mix of academic and practical skills that are closely aligned with the needs of industry.

Drugs in the real world

Learn about the real-world issues facing pharmaceutical development. Make the most of the hard-earned experiences of staff who have worked in the local and international biotech industry. Learn how to handle chemicals on a large scale in a way that is safe, reliable, and robust.


Develop the broad skills you need to work in drug discovery in companies, universities, research institutes, or with drug regulatory authorities. Graduates from this programme have enjoyed success with commercial pharmaceutical drug development, veterinary therapeutics, patent assessment, further research undertaking PhD studies, and activities across government, research, and commercial organisations.

Workload and duration

You can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of your studies.

The MDDD can be completed in 12 months full time, or in two years of part-time study but you'll need to discuss this option with the programme director first. The Diploma will take you two trimesters and the Certificate one trimester.


Study at Wellington's Kelburn campus, where you will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities. Students completing a research programme will also work in partnership the world-renowned Ferrier Research Institute in Lower Hutt.

Entry criteria

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet:

A Bachelor's degree in Chemistry or relevant life-science subjects such as Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy or Pharmacology, with an average grade of B+

To be accepted by the programme director as capable of proceeding with the proposed course of study

Proof of English proficiency

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet one of the following:

IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0

TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing

Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 58 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50)

EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5

Application Deadlines - Trimester 1: 1 Dec and Trimester 2: 1 May.

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