MSc MIPS (current programme)

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Medicinal and Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences

Important Notice

This programme started in the autumn semester 2016 the last time.

The programme is currently being reformed and the new programme will start in autum 2017 under the name "MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences".  

This Master programme focuses strongly on industrial and regulatory competencies. A number of courses focus on the progression of medicinal research and product development from an industrial and regulatory perspective. These courses are provided by industrial and regulatory pharmacists. Incidentally, the programme does not lead to the Swiss Federal Diploma and does not include any internship in public or hospital pharmacies. The entire Master curriculum is taught in English.

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The ETH Zürich offers a curriculum in Pharmaceutical Sciences based on the „Bologna Model“. The first study grade leads to a Bachelor degree, the second to a Master degree either in Pharmaceutical Sciences or in Medicinal and Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Graduate education leading to the Master degree in Medicinal and Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) provides a specialized pharmaceutical training with a focus on the various aspects of safe medicinal products development, starting from drug discovery through all stages to market introduction including life-cycle management.

Graduates are especially qualified to work in pharmaceutical research in academia or in the pharmaceutical industry in a leading position, in private organizations dealing with clinical trials or registration documentation, as well as in regulatory authorities to ensure the safe use of medicinal products and medical devices.

The purpose of this Master degree program is to provide graduate level education in the most relevant interacting areas of medicinal and industrial pharmaceutical sciences. The teaching is aimed at covering the most important aspects from conception to safe use of new medicinal products and medical devices.

Upon completion, graduates will have acquired:

Industrial pharmaceutical knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • diseases and potential targets
  • drug discovery and biopharmaceutical aspects
  • pre-formulation and formulation development
  • preclinical and clinical research and development
  • prerequisites for production, distribution  & quality management
  • patents and proprietary issues
  • regulatory affairs and pharmacovigilance for drug products, vaccines and medical devices
  • pharmacoeconomics, health technology assessment (HTA), and marketing before and after marketing authorization

Hands-on experience in pharmaceutical project management and communication comprising the following aspects:

  • professional communication with adequate technical vocabulary and respecting cultural and gender differences
  • information and documentation progression on national and global level
  • ethical issues


General selection criteria

The Master programme MIPS is reserved for students who have the intention to engage in a professional career in academia, industry, clinical research organizations or with regulatory authorities. Candidates must not only be able to demonstrate solid knowledge and competences in the most relevant subjects of the Bachelor study in Pharmaceutical Sciences, but also be able to define a career strategy. Candidates must also be able to highlight their scientific and technical aptitude.

Candidates will be admitted on the basis of their application documentation, which must include: (i) lists of attended and successfully completed courses including the achieved marks in related examinations or performance assessments; (ii) a personal statement outlining the particular interest and qualification for this program; (iii) a recommendation letter of a Professor who was involved in a teaching or tutoring relationship with the student.

The programme is based on a Bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. It is adequate for students with a Bachelor or equivalent degree from a recognized university. Qualifying disciplines are

- Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Pharmacy
- Pharmaceutical Technologies
- Pharmaceutical Engineering
and similar pharmaceutical disciplines. Degrees in Biology, Chemistry or Medicine do not qualify for the programme.

ETH students enrolled in the Bachelor programme of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Students have to apply for admission.

If they fulfill the admission requirements, they can enrol for the programme provided they have earned at least 172 credit points in the ETH Bachelor programme in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Students enrolled in the Bachelor programme in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Basel or at the Ecole de Pharmacie Genève-Lausanne

Students have to apply for admission.

If they are admitted, they must hold the Bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the start of the Master programme.

Other students possessing a BSc degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences or related disciplines

Students have to apply for admission.

Students must hold a Bachelor or equivalent degree in their discipline from a recognized University and fulfill the admission criteria to a consecutive Master study at the home University. If the programme of their university is not quite conforming with the ETH programme, a limited number of courses can be imposed by the admission committee. The additional courses must be completed before the start of the Master programme.

Profile of requirements for the MSc MIPS (PDF, 106 KB)

Credit system

Credit points are awarded under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Credits are a measure for the total time and effort required from the students to reach the educational goal. Calculations are based on a total of 1500 to 1800 working hours per year, equivalent to 60 credits. Therefore, 1 credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of total work. 

Credits are only awarded after the successful completion of the corresponding performance assessments.

Programme structure

The programme is designed for full-time students and can be completed within 1.5 years. The total number of 90 credits necessary to obtain the Master degree must be acquired within maximally 3 years. For each category, a specific number of credit points must be reached. 

Core subjects: 40 credit points

Core subjects include a broad spectrum of advanced topics in medicinal and industrial pharmaceutical sciences (lectures, seminars, exercises, site visits). The core subjects are compulsory for every student. A minimum of 35 credit points must be obtained in this category, 5 credit points can be maximally compensated, if an examination is not passed twice.

Optional subjects: minimal 8 credit points

Optional subjects include a broad spectrum of advanced topics in medicinal and industrial pharmaceutical sciences, as well as topics from related areas. The Department publishes a list of courses offered in this category. Other courses need the authorisation of the Director of Studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Compensatory subjects

A maximum of 5 credit points of the core subjects can be compensated, if an examination is not passed twice. For this category, the optional courses are eligible.

Research Project: 10 credit points

Students have to perform one research project under the supervision of an elected professor in the core or elective subject areas of this Master programme (the Director of Studies can authorize exemptions).

Electives in humanities, social and political sciences (GESS): 2 credit points

All students must collect credit points in courses offered by the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences.

Master thesis: 30 credit points

The Master thesis is carried out in the core or elective subject areas of this Master programme under the supervision of an elected Professor (the Director of Studies can grant exemptions). The Master thesis may be conducted within or outside of ETH provided an elected Professor takes over the supervision of the thesis. The time frame for this thesis is about 22 weeks (fixed for every term).  

Admission to performance assessments

Students admitted to the MSc programme are also admitted to the performance assessments.

Students admitted to the MSc programme with additional courses must pass the exams of the additional courses before they are allowed to start with the MSc programme.

Students of the BSc of Pharmaceutical Sciences ETH Zurich may begin the Research Project when they have completed the first two years of the programme (60 cp first year, 21 cp Practical Courses 2nd year, 34 cp Core Subjects 2nd year).

Before the beginning of the Master Thesis, the Bachelor must be completed and the Research Project successfully performed.


The actual list of courses with schedule, information on contents and goals, lecturers, credit points and mode of performance assessment is published in the course catalogue at

Credit points (CP) are issued only for successfully completed performance assess-ments. An assessment that is not passed can be repeated once. Assessments are in the form of examinations, presentations, reports, exercises, and other suitable forms. An assessment can take place during the semester, at the end of the semester or in the ETH examination session. 

Download Courses (PDF, 53 KB)

Research Project and Master's Thesis

Time Frame
The Research Project is part of the course schedule of the first semester. Other arrangements are possible. If performed fulltime, it lasts 7 weeks.

The Master's Thesis is performed fulltime and lasts 22 weeks. The start date is defined individually.

Research Project: At least 36 credits in the category "Core subjects of the 2nd year" must be earned in the programme BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Master's Thesis: The Research Project must be completed. Any exams of additional courses must be passed.

Supervisors are generally professors of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Information about research topics and available places
An information event takes place in the Spring semester. The groups of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences present their research topics and opportunities for students. External research groups describe offers for Research Projects and Master's Theses on a paper which is published on Sharepoint: link

Students apply directly to the research group of their desire.

Registration in myStudies
Registration under "projects/papers/theses" is necessary. It is possible as soon as the resgistration for the semester is open.

Master's Degree

Students apply for their Master degree after having acquired the minimal number of credit points for every category:

Subjects Credits
Core subjects (at least 35) and compensatory subjects 40 CP  
8 CP
Research project   10 CP
Electives GESS 2 CP
Master's Thesis 30 CP


Study revision in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Based on the partial revision of the Federal Law on Medical Professions (MedBG) that entered into force in March 2015, the accredited ETH master’s degree programme in „Pharmaceutical Sciences“ needs to be reformed. The new master’s programme will put more emphasis on diagnostic and therapeutic competences.

In parallel to the MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences, i.e. the qualification for medical personnel, the second master programme, the MSc in Medicinal and Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) will also be revised. The BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences will only undergo minor changes.

The new programmes will start in autumn 2017.

Project team

In autumn 2015 the rector of the ETH, Prof. Sarah Springman, the ETH department for educational development and technology (LET) and the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPW) appointed a project team headed by the study director Prof. C. Halin to plan and implement the revision of the degree programmes.

Prof. C. Halin

Prof. C. Halin

Director of Studies
Project leader

PD Dr. V. Otto

PD Dr. V. Otto

Lecturer at the IPW
Responsible person for Swiss Federal Exams in pharmacy at ETH Zurich

Dr. A. Küng

Dr. A. Küng

Guest speaker in 2nd year of MSc programme
Programme development specialist

S. Erni

S. Erni

Lecturer and coordinator of 2nd year of
MSc programme

Prof. B. Gander

Prof. B. Gander

Professor at the IPW
Coordinator of MIPS programme

The project team is advised by a commission consisting of graduates working at community and hospital pharmacies or in the pharmaceutical industry and of professors of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the ETH department „Health Sciences and Technology“. In addition, the project is supported by various experts of the LET.

time line mile stones

Winter- autumn 2016

creating new qualification profiles, curricula and programme regulations

autumn 2016

ETH internal approval process of new degree programmes

autumn 2016 - autumn 2017

Detailed planning of course units

autumn 2017

Start of revised degree programmes

autumn 2017 - autumn 2018

Support and evaluation of revised degree programmes

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