Biological Chemistry (MSc)
By studying aspects such as biosynthesis, retrosynthetic analysis, molecular biology and the principles of drug development, this course will develop an understanding of the pathways that are core to chemical biology.
The chemistry of biological processes is the basis of all life on planet Earth. On this course you will develop an understanding of the processes that are core to biological chemistry. We will explore aspects such as biosynthesis, retrosynthetic analysis, molecular biology and the principles of drug development. We will also look at the applications of biological chemistry in catalysts, synthetic methods and spectroscopy, giving our graduates an edge when looking for employment in academia or industry.
- Available on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis.
- Explore real life biological systems as well as applications of biological processes, for example in catalysis.
- Specialise in an area of interest to you with an end of course research project.
- Some overseas academic placements may be available for the research project.
|Next intake||September 2020|
|Other ways to study this course|
|Accreditations||Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)|
We invite applications from graduates in chemistry or a related discipline, such as chemical engineering, pharmacy, pharmacology and biochemistry, with a first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent. Applicants with a degree in a subject other than chemistry will be required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key chemical topics prior to an offer being made.
Please note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
Please include in your personal statement why you are applying for this course, with specific details such as what your future aspirations are, how your educational or professional background makes you a suitable applicant and what interests you about the course. Generic statements will not be accepted.
When you are applying for this course, please include information on why you are interested in biological chemistry in your personal statement. Specific details such as your future aspirations, and how your educational or professional background makes you a suitable applicant are welcomed. We do not accept generic statements.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements
This course may be taken on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis.
There are two parts to the degree. Part one comprises core and optional taught modules which you will take during the autumn and spring semesters. In these modules we will provide you with an understanding of the biological problems and processes at the interface of chemistry and biology. We will study real life systems and explore aspects such as natural product synthesis, biocatalysis, molecular biology, synthetic biology, enzymology, medicinal chemistry and molecular modelling.
Upon successful completion of part one of the degree you will progress to part two, the summer research project. We will make a range of project options available to you from the field of biological chemistry. For this project you may work with a research group in the School of Chemistry. You may also be able to complete this project with one of our academic partner institutions overseas.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.
If you are on the one year full-time degree option, you will undertake all modules and your research project in one year.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Research Project||CHT008||60 credits|
|Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry||CHT206||10 credits|
|Biocatalysis I: Modern Approaches to Biocatalysts||CHT214||10 credits|
|Biocatalysis II: Industrial Applications of Biocatalysis||CHT223||10 credits|
|Bioinorganic Chemistry||CHT226||10 credits|
|Advanced Techniques in Organic and Biological Chemistry||CHT229||10 credits|
|Key Skills for Postgraduate Chemists||CHT232||10 credits|
|Practical Chemical Biology||CHT234||10 credits|
|Engineering Biosynthesis||CHT327||10 credits|
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products||CHT228||10 credits|
|Analytical and Structural Techniques in Chemical Biology||CHT235||10 credits|
|Molecular Modelling||CHT313||10 credits|
|Molecular Modelling for Postgraduate Chemists||CHT317||10 credits|
|Techniques in Drug Discovery||CHT352||10 credits|
|Drug Targets||CHT353||10 credits|
|Drug Development from Laboratory to Clinic||CHT354||10 credits|
|Trends in Drug Discovery||CHT355||10 credits|
How will I be taught?
The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, workshops, computational sessions, laboratory practicals and tutorials.
Your research project will be carried out in one of our laboratories under supervision of an academic member of staff with interests in a similar field, unless you choose to complete your project during a placement with one of our academic partner institutions overseas, depending on availability.
Modules relating to computing frequently take place in our computer rooms, while practical work will be undertaken in our laboratories. We frequently invite external academic speakers and industry experts to the School for seminars, which our postgraduate students are encouraged to attend.
How will I be supported?
All of our students are allocated a personal tutor when they enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.
You will have access to the Science Library, which holds our collection of chemistry resources, as well as to the other Cardiff University Libraries.
We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are usually happy to give advice and guidance on your progress. We aim to provide you with regular feedback on your work after assessments have been submitted.
How will I be assessed?
Taught modules are assessed in a variety of ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use course work, assessed workshops, posters and oral presentations or a combination of these to assess your progress on the course.
Your research project at the end of the course will be assessed through a dissertation, a presentation, and an oral exam.
What skills will I practise and develop?
On completing the course you will have developed key skills which can be applied to a variety of industrial and academic working environments. You will have gained learning skills including:
- Knowledge of the fundamental molecules of living systems, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates and their importance.
- Mechanistic aspects of biological catalysis.
- Methods and techniques involved in the preparation and purification of biological macromolecules.
- Modern techniques for the assay of biocatalysed reactions and measuring protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interaction.
- Application of biological catalysts to industrial problems.
- Molecular biology, synthesis and handling of DNA, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), insertion into vectors and mutation of DNA using site directed mutagenesis, error prone PCR and directed evolution.
- Practical techniques in various areas of biological chemistry including a wide variety of analytical techniques, e.g. NMR spectroscopy, UV-vis and CD spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, electrophoresis.
- Computational modelling of biological systems including enzyme active sites.
- A broad knowledge of medicinal chemistry from the lab to the marketplace.
- Information handling, report preparation and presentation skills.
After completing this course there are usually two career streams open to graduates, research or industry. Within these two fields there are a variety of career options. For example, many of our graduates choose to follow up their MSc and decide to complete a PhD research degree with us. Those who have chosen not to continue in academia or teaching have gone on to a wide range of employment in private industries such as Kimberley-Clark group, Thales group, and Imanova Ltd.
UK and EU students (2020/21)
Fees for entry 2020/21 are not yet available.
Students from outside the EU (2020/21)
Fees for entry 2020/21 are not yet available.
The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?
We will provide all specialised equipment that is essential to the course. However, we recommend that you bring a laptop computer with appropriate software (e.g. word processing), USB or a hard drive, general stationary and some basic drawing equipment.
The chemical drawing software used in our teaching (ChemDraw) is available on university networked computers, and will be made available to you for download free of charge.
During the course, you will have access to the Science Library, and other University libraries, and study spaces across campus. Within the School, you may work in our laboratories and computing suites. We have a University-wide unlimited license for the ACS Scifinder Scholar database as well as other online literature search databases.
For the end of course research project we may have some placements available with one of our academic partner institutions overseas. Please enquire early for further details.