Medicinal Chemistry (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Medicinal chemistry is an exciting and rapidly developing science concerned with the chemistry underpinning the design, discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals.
Our research partners range from local and national SMEs to some of the world's largest multinationals.
The search for new drugs to combat serious illnesses is an important and exciting challenge at the forefront of medical research. As a medicinal chemist, you can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of people worldwide.
On the course, you will explore the wider context of drug discovery, business and healthcare, as well as developing the knowledge 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.
There are opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience within a medicinal chemistry team during your research project.
Typically, you will need to have either:
- a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacy, pharmacology and biochemistry, or an equivalent international degree
- or a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification.
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.
English Language requirements:
IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.
Other essential requirements:
Please include information on why you are interested in medicinal chemistry in your personal statement (do not exceed 500 words). 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.
We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.
We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to lab facilities including chemicals
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
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 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
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|
|Key Skills for Postgraduate Chemists||CHT232||10 credits|
|Drug Discovery Chemistry||CHT351||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|
|Practical Medicinal Chemistry||CHT356||10 credits|
|Research Project||CHT008||60 credits|
|Module title||Module code||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|
|Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products||CHT228||10 credits|
|Advanced Techniques in Organic and Biological Chemistry||CHT229||10 credits|
|Analytical and Structural Techniques in Chemical Biology||CHT235||10 credits|
|Bio-imaging Applications of Coordination Chemistry||CHT237||10 credits|
|Molecular Modelling||CHT313||10 credits|
|Molecular Modelling for Postgraduate Chemists||CHT317||10 credits|
|Engineering Biosynthesis||CHT327||10 credits|
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.
Learning and assessment
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
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.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
Careers and placements
Graduates are well suited to take up roles in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotech industries and in academia conducting research into new drugs. Our graduates pursue research-related roles within public and private research institutions, academic institutions, or hospital laboratories.
This course is also particularly suitable for those wishing to pursue further study at PhD level at Cardiff University and other top universities.
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.
Other course options
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.