Why study this course
Medicinal Chemistry is a forward-thinking degree course, considering the problems of the future, linking with industry and extending beyond the lab to cover areas such as business, marketing, and sustainability.
New for 2023
This exciting new course has just been launched.
A forward-thinking course providing future-proof training for a wide range of careers.
Gain skills society needs
Study important topics such as creating vaccines for current and future pandemics, and creating sustainable pharmaceuticals that are kind to the planet and affordable for all.
This three-year course provides a broad introduction to the main areas of chemistry in the first year then in subsequent years specialises in the chemistry and transferable skills needed in the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout your studies, you will spend many hours in our labs gaining hands-on experience in the techniques of drug synthesis and testing, and developing your research, mathematical and computational skills. You will also learn about leadership, management and project planning. In the final year, you will have the opportunity to specialise in an area that is interesting or important to you through an original project.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. If you are applying to study this course via Clearing, entry grade requirements may be higher than those advertised. Typical offers are as follows:
BBC. Must include Chemistry. You will need to pass the science practical element of the A-level if this is part of your programme of study.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
30 overall or 655 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 5 in HL Chemistry.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science.
Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
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 undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
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. You may be required to cover additional costs that are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves. This includes but is not limited to laptop computers, calculators, general stationery, textbooks (assumed to be available in the library), and basic copying/printing.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
The programme has three years, where each year is made up of two semesters comprising modules totalling 120 credits.
In year one you take compulsory chemistry modules worth 120 credits, including modules that introduce chemistry at university and the pharmaceutical industry, alongside 30 credits of practical work.
In year two you will take compulsory modules in chemistry, transferable skills, and a 30 credit practical module.
In year three you will undertake practical work in the autumn semester (20 credits) alongside modules in organic chemistry, statistics and data science. This is followed by a specialised original project in the spring semester (40 credits).
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
Our year one modules aim to stimulate your interest in the subject, whilst giving a solid knowledge base of chemistry and an overview of the pharmaceutical industry upon which to build in the following years. Core theory chemistry modules are supplemented with practical work and mathematical workshops.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Foundations of Physical Chemistry||CH5101||20 credits|
|Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry||CH5102||20 credits|
|Foundations of Organic Chemistry||CH5103||20 credits|
|Introduction to University Chemistry||CH5108||10 credits|
|Year 1 Chemistry Foundation Practical||CH5110||30 credits|
|Mathematical Methods for Chemistry||CH5116||10 credits|
|Introduction to Drug Development||CH5130||10 credits|
Year 2 builds upon the general chemistry skills of year 1 with modules in the areas of chemistry that are of most importance to medicinal chemists. These are complemented by a laboratory module that gives experience in the techniques of organic, biological and computational chemistry. Transferable skills modules will give you the skills in teamworking, leadership and project management that are valuable in an industry career.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Project Management (CHEMY)||CE5515||33 credits|
|Further Organic and Biological Chemistry||CH5203||20 credits|
|Introduction to the chemistry of life||CH5207||10 credits|
|Applications of Molecular Spectroscopy||CH5208||10 credits|
|Communicating Chemistry: Key Skills for Medicinal Chemists||CH5225||10 credits|
|Practical Skills in Medicinal Chemistry||CH5230||30 credits|
|Physical Chemistry in Drug Design||CH5231||10 credits|
|Enterprising Chemistry||CH5240||10 credits|
|Macromolecules as Drug Targets||CH5250||10 credits|
You will take theory modules in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, statistics and data science. In autumn semester there is a laboratory practical module and in spring a substantial original project is undertaken.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Advanced Synthetic Strategies||CH4303||10 credits|
|Advanced Practical Training for Medicinal Chemists||CH5301||20 credits|
|New Modalities in Drug Discovery||CH5306||10 credits|
|Computational Data Science||CMT309||20 credits|
|Foundations of Statistics and Data Science||MAT022||20 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
Teaching in the School of Chemistry is typically undertaken through a series of lectures, interactive problem-solving lectures, flipped lectures, small-group tutorials, workshops, practical classes involving either laboratory work or computational work, and a project. These are supported by material hosted on Learning Central, the University’s virtual learning environment, such as virtual laboratories and self-study quizzes.
One major element of teaching is through lectures, typically 10-12 per week of 50 minutes duration. Subject matter is supported in various ways depending on the topic. This can include slides, computer presentations and videos. Lectures are recorded and made available to watch again on-line.
Interactive problem-solving lectures
In interactive problem-solving lectures, you will practice how to solve problems (including exam-style problems) using material previously taught in a lecture. These lectures are often interactive but guided by the lecturer who engages the class in considering possible ways of solving a set problems.
Flipped lectures are very similar to interactive problem-solving lectures, with the difference that the material you need to know for the discussion session has been made available to you before the interactive lecture. This means that you are expected to have engaged in self-study before the lecture. Material for flipped lectures can be made available in various formats, but recorded short videos or text book sections on specific topics or theories are a popular format.
Workshops also involve in-class problem-solving exercises but typically involve less continuous guidance by the lecturer during the problem solving stage. Instead, a workshop often involves comparison of various proposed solutions instead. Workshops may involve group work.
The second part of teaching involves practical classes in the teaching laboratory. In year one the emphasis is on basic techniques in chemistry and simple but accurate recording of observations. More advanced techniques in organic and biological chemistry are covered in years 2 and 3. Skills are taught by hands-on laboratory experience with immediate feedback by demonstrators, using similar equipment to that found in industry. Laboratory work is supported by a range of e-learning resources giving the chance to correct mistakes before attending laboratory sessions.
Hands-on experience will be provided with industry-standard molecular modelling, chemical drawing, data processing and electronic notebook software.
Tutorial classes are given in year 1 and 2, allowing practice, discussion and analysis of the lecture material, as well as the development of communication skills. Sessions are delivered by staff who are specialists in the topic area of each tutorial.
Virtual laboratories and self-study quizzes
The teaching methods above are complemented with materials offered through our Virtual Learning Environment which includes virtual laboratories and online quizzes for self study.
In the final year you will work on a project and be allocated a topic to investigate or develop. Projects may involve a combination of laboratory, computational and literature research. Working under the guidance of an expert in the field, you will present results of your work orally and in writing.
How will I be supported?
All staff operate an open-door policy, meaning you can always approach staff with issues, academic or otherwise. Small group teaching takes place with members of staff, giving you an opportunity to bring your questions to subject-experts. You will also have a personal tutor who will act as a contact point on the academic staff who you will meet regularly throughout your degree to discuss your academic progress and career development. The School Education and Students Team provide support on course administration such as timetabling.
You will be given access to a comprehensive handbook appropriate to your year of study, containing details of the School’s procedures and policies.
We make extensive use of the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Learning Central) to share information, teaching materials and support your learning. The majority of assessments are submitted on-line, and feedback will be provided automatically for many assessments, whereas for others marking will be performed by staff and feedback given as written comments or as audio/video.
How will I be assessed?
Formative and summative assessments are carried out during each year of study. This gives a measure of performance to inform you, staff, and potential employers about your progress and achievement. It can also help the learning process by highlighting areas of success and areas needing more attention. Assessment involves a blend of methods that are selected to suit the particular outcomes of each module and the course as a whole. These methods include the following:
- Formal examinations and class tests with fixed time-limits for theory modules
- Reports and outputs (compounds, data, code) from laboratory and computational work to demonstrate mastery of practical skills and reporting to professional standards
- Planning, conducting and reporting of project work
- Essays for demonstrating searching, synthesis and evaluation of the literature
- Problem-solving as workshop assignments or on-line exercises that allow application of theory to practice
- Oral presentations
- Preparation and display of posters.
What skills will I practise and develop?
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will achieve by the end of your programme at Cardiff University and identify the knowledge and skills that you will develop. They will also help you to understand what is expected of you.
On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to
Knowledge & Understanding:
KU 1 Be conversant in chemical terminology, nomenclature, conventions and units.
KU 2 Recognise, explain and apply the major types of reaction in organic and biological chemistry as used in medicinal chemistry.
KU 3 Explain the physical principles and justify the choice of techniques for the analysis of drug candidates and the measurement/prediction of their biological activity.
KU 4 Describe and give examples of the targets and mode of action of major classes of drug.
KU 5 Explain the role of medicinal chemistry in drug discovery and how it interacts with the wider drug discovery enterprise and society.
IS 1 Recognise, analyse and solve problems by qualitative and quantitative application of subject knowledge and understanding.
IS 2 Interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements in terms of the theory underlying them and critically assess their significance.
IS 3 Apply theoretical models and associated computational methods for making predictions of the physical, chemical and biological properties of molecules.
IS 4 Construct synopses from information derived from multiple sources.
Professional Practical Skills:
PS 1 Plan and safely carry out standard laboratory procedures for preparation, purification, analysis and biological assays of drugs.
PS 2 Observe, monitor and record, in a systematic and reliable fashion, data relating to preparation, analysis and assay of drugs in a manner appropriate for a professional chemist working in an academic or industrial situation.
PS 3 Communicate scientific concepts, proposals and data orally and in writing to a range of audiences through media including journals, reports, seminars and colloquia.
PS 4 Perform computations, data-processing and electronic searching of databases relating to drugs and their interactions with biological systems.
PS 5 Act with scientific integrity and in an ethical manner with consideration for the social and environmental implications of the pharmaceutical industry.
KS 1 Employ information technology such as word processing, spreadsheets, data-logging and storage, web communication and drawing packages.
KS 2 Apply numeracy and mathematical skills including algebra, statistics and error analysis to data processing, interpretation and presentation.
KS 3 Plan and implement projects on-time while working as part of an interdisciplinary team.
KS 4 Reflect upon own learning and independently identify and undertake study needed for continuing professional development.
A BSc Medicinal Chemistry degree from Cardiff University will open many doors for you. Firstly, you’ll gain the skills that society needs to solve many key issues, for example; creating vaccines and medicines for current and future diseases, or creating eco-friendly pharmaceuticals that are kind to the planet and affordable for all. You will have experienced scaling up small experiments to full industrial level and have benefitted from real-world links to industries and companies. Your training will have extended beyond the lab, to project management, business, marketing, finance, strategy, sustainability and leadership, so you will be well prepared to enter a diverse range of careers.
Data from Discover Uni is not yet available for this course.
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.