Undergraduate Laboratory Teaching 3

Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes

The Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes at UCL offers students the opportunity to follow an integrated course of research and interdisciplinary study. Students gain an outstanding training in synthetic organic chemistry applied to drug design, together with a breadth of experience in several areas of synthetic methodology.

What will I learn?

The programme provides a thorough foundation in drug design, advanced organic synthesis and molecular modelling. Students will carry out two synthetic organic chemistry rotation projects, each lasting five months.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

This programme is taught in collaboration with the Wolfson Institute of Biomedical Research (WIBR) which brings together scientists and clinicians from both academic and pharmaceutical industry backgrounds. The Institute's strength is in its multi-disciplinary approach to research, with the goal of identifying novel targets for drug development.

MRes students undertake courses to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of two modules from the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research (30 credits), one M level Chemistry module (15 credits) two transferable skills modules (30 credits) and the research rotation project (105 credits).

Core Modules

  • Research Skills
  • Scientific Literature
  • Research Rotation Project (see below)

Optional Modules

  • Select two modules from the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research:
  • Bioinformatics
  • Target Identification
  • Cheminformatics
  • Biological Molecules
  • Biophysical Screening
  • Fragment Based Drug Design
  • Target Selection (Scientific)
  • Target Selection (Commercial)

  • Plus one M level Chemistry module:
  • Organometallics and Catalysis
  • Structural Methods in Modern Chemistry
  • Stereochemical Control in Asymmetric Synthesis
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Synthesis and Biosynthesis of Natural Products


Students will undertake two five-month laboratory based research project rotations which will be written up separately (after each five-month rotation) but submitted as a single portfolio at the end of the course.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, problem classes, workshops and projects. Assessment is through unseen written examination, coursework, project reports and presentations.


The MRes has been developed in response to the needs of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors for highly qualified students as leaders in the discovery of new medicines. The pharmaceutical sector is a major employer in the UK and high-quality graduates with an understanding of the sector are always in demand.

The first cohort of students graduated in 2013. Of the students responding, two are undertaking doctoral studies at UCL, one is seeking a doctoral position elsewhere and one embarked on a career in teaching.

Tuition fees (2015/16)

  • UK/EU Full-time: £7,985
  • Overseas Full-time: £21,530


Students can be self-funded or find sponsorship from funding agencies such as research councils, the European Union, industry or charities.

There are also a number of Graduate School Scholarships and departmental bursaries and prizes available.

Scholarships available for this department

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

This award is based on financial need.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website:

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2015.

Who can apply?

This MRes is aimed at students who wish to gain a detailed understanding of the context of organic chemistry research. It is also suitable for professionals working in industry who wish to develop their research skills.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Organic Chemistry and Drug Discovery at graduate level. Please elaborate on the motivational factors that have drawn you to our subject. Our experience is that applicants from many different first-degree backgrounds participate in the programme and you should explain how your own background leads you to this MRes
  • why you want to study Organic Chemistry and Drug Discovery at UCL. Tell us how UCL can help to improve your career path and what you can bring to the programme
  • how your academic background meets the demands of this challenging programme. The MRes is a broadening degree which will lead you into areas that lie outside your first-degree subject. How comfortable are you with that?
  • what would you like to be able to do following your MRes?
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to elaborate on your reasons for applying to this programme and how your interests match what the programme will deliver.

Next steps


Ms Mary Lou Jabore

T: +44 (0)20 7679 4650



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Faculty overview

Mathematical and Physical Sciences