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Medicinal Chemistry (MSc)

By understanding the mechanisms of drugs action, new molecules can be developed with improved pharmacological properties and reduced side effects.

The field of medicinal chemistry is becoming increasingly important as we continue to push the boundaries in the discovery of new drugs and applications in healthcare. This MSc in Medicinal Chemistry will allow you to specialise in this area and explore the wider context of drug discovery, business and healthcare.

On the course, you will develop the specific technical knowledge, understanding and laboratory skills needed to design drugs. You will also investigate the relationship between medicinal chemists and drug discovery companies with stakeholders such as patients, investors and governments.

Distinctive features

  • Available on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis.
  • Explore medicinal chemistry in a wider industrial context, including how businesses interact with patients and investors.
  • Specialise in an area of interest to you with an end of course research project.
  • Some industrial and academic placements are available in the UK or abroad for the research project.
  • Network and build contacts with industry professionals who are frequently invited to present guest seminars.
Manita Kalsey, MSc Medicinal Chemistry

Cardiff University has been an amazing experience for me so far. I got married and moved here, and my husband has studied in the same university, which is how I ended up choosing to study here too. Medicinal Chemistry has always been something I've wanted to study and I was so excited to see that it was being offered this year. The programme has been very involving and interesting and the lecturers have all been brilliant. They've been very supportive and patient and they have always made time to see me when I've needed help. I've made a lot of friends and I've loved every minute of being here.

Manita Kalsey, MSc Medicinal Chemistry

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration1 year
QualificationMSc
ModeFull-time
Other ways to study this course
AccreditationsRoyal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
Contact

Admissions criteria

We invite applications from graduates in chemistry or a related discipline, such as chemical engineering, pharmacy, pharmacology and biochemistry, with a minimum 2:2 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.

Entry to courses in chemistry will be subject to the University requirements for English language.

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.

Applicants should submit an application via the Online Application Service.

We will make a decision on the basis of your written application and the references received on a continuous basis throughout the year.

When you are applying for this course, please include information on why you are interested in medicinal 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 is comprised of core and optional taught modules which you will take during the autumn and spring semesters. In these modules we will provide you with a foundation in the skills required by contemporary medicinal chemists, such as the techniques and trends in modern drug discovery. We will also look in more detail at the modelling of biological macromolecules and drug targets. We will then follow the process of drug development through from laboratory to clinic.

Upon successful completion of part one, 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 medicinal chemistry. For this project, depending on the subject you choose, you may work with a research group in the School of Chemistry or our partner, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Studies. You may, if available, also be able to complete this project with one of our industrial partners or within another academic institution in the UK or abroad.

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.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

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, case studies, computer-aided sessions, 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. You may have the opportunity to complete your project during a placement in industry or 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 will also invite industry experts for seminars with our students within one of the core modules. Students will also benefit of the weekly seminars organized by the School of Chemistry, where leading experts in various scientific fields are invited to present their work.

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.

Feedback

We will provide regular feedback on your workload, written and oral 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 happy to give advice and guidance on your progress. We aim to provide you with feedback within two weeks of you submitting an assessment.

How will I be assessed?

Taught modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use coursework, assessed workshops and 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, information handling and presentation skills. In detail you should be able to:

  • Understand the theory, application, preparation and analysis of drug molecules to a level that is appropriate for graduates in chemistry or pharmaceutical sciences wishing to pursue a career in academia or industry.
  • Apply modern laboratory methods to the preparation, purification, evolution and application of drug molecules.
  • Understand the mechanism of action of a variety of molecules as therapeutic agents and apply this knowledge to unseen problems.
  • Use molecular modelling to implement drug design.
  • Critically evaluate novel drug targeting strategies and industry trends.
  • Describe how new technologies are being employed to increase productivity in drug discovery.
  • Describe and explain trends in drug approvals and drugs currently in the pipeline.
  • Understand where medicinal chemistry fits within the context of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Work within a team to research solutions to unsolved problems in medicinal chemistry.
  • Present research work to peers in both oral and written format.
Xu

The main reason I chose to study at Cardiff University is because it is well known for its quality of research in Chemistry and Pharmacy. My bachelor degree is in pharmaceutical sciences, so I already have a good knowledge of chemistry. My aim is to develop new drugs and medicines. My educational background and career aims made the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry a perfect choice. The tuition on the programme is at the forefront of where medicinal science is today.

Xu, 2017

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. Employment opportunities for successful graduates include the expanding worldwide pharmaceutical industry, where many choose to specialise in the research and development of new drugs. Research-related jobs usually require a PhD, for which this programme provides an ideal preparation.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,700None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£21,950£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Additional costs

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?

You will need safety glasses and a lab coat to work in our laboratories, which will be provided by the School of Chemistry. We will provide any other 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, on-line library resources and study spaces across campus.

For the end of course research project we may have some placements available with one of our industrial partners or at another UK or overseas academic institution that we have an agreement with. Please enquire for further details.