Drug Design MRes

Drug design is an integral part of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and the UCL Division of Medicine and Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research are particularly well equipped to train the next generation of drug discovery biologists and chemists in the field, especially in deep research. This new programme complements UCL’s existing Drug Design MSc and is designed for the more research-oriented student.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
  • Overseas Full-time: £21,700

Application date

  • All applicants: 15 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

This new programme teaches students the latest methodologies and approaches and covers all aspects of drug design – drug discovery, computational and structural biology, screening, assay development, medicinal chemistry, and most importantly the industrial practices involved in modern drug design technology.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The division hosts a diversity of research groups in the areas of medicine, pharmaceutical research, cell cycle, neurobiology, mitochondrial function, stem cells and cancer. Underpinning the translational aspects of the biomedical research, we have a medicinal chemistry group which conducts research where chemistry and biology intersect, using the latest techniques and developing new ones for the study of biological systems.

The division also collaborates extensively within industry and academia to develop biological tools and therapeutic agents. There are plenty of opportunities to conduct translational research that has an impact on drug discovery.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, well established in the West, have been transferring their research and development to the East. Given these substantial developments, particularly in China and India, the programme will have a broad international appeal.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of five taught modules (75 credits), and a dissertation/report (105 credits).

Core Modules

  • Students will select three from the following Drug Design MSc modules:
  • Bioinformatics and Structural Biology as applied to Drug Design
  • Biological Molecules as Therapeutics
  • Biophysical Screening Methods, X-ray Crystallography, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
  • Cheminformatics and Modelling for Drug Design
  • Fragment-based Drug Design
  • Target Selection – Commercial and Intellectual Property Aspects
  • Target Selection – Scientific Grounds
  • Plus two taught transferable skills modules delivered by CALT (UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching):
  • Investigating Research; Researcher Professional Development


  • There are no optional modules for this programme.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 to 20,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem classes, critical journal clubs and a research project. Assessment is through coursework, practicals, laboratory work, examination, dissertation and oral presentation.

Further details available on subject website:

Scholarships available for this department

Division of Medicine MSc Bursaries

The purpose is to encourage a greater up-take from Home/EU students – in general applications from Home/EU students for our courses. The scheme will assist promising students to undertake our courses, who would not otherwise be able to do so due to financial constraints and who may, for this reason, select to take courses at competitor institutions.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject (for example, life sciences, medicine, chemistry) or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or an appropriate professional qualification, or a minimum of three years’ relevant work experience.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 15 August 2014.

Who can apply?

This MRes is ideal for suitably qualified graduates who wish to obtain a broad understanding of the drug design process, either to establish a career in drug discovery, or to undertake further research in this field. It is also suitable for industry professionals wishing to refresh their existing knowledge and skills and become familiar with cutting-edge research and developments.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Drug Design at graduate level
  • why you want to study Drug Design at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


The first cohort of students on the Drug Design MRes are due to graduate in 2015, therefore no information on graduate destinations is currently available. However, as an indication, graduates of the Drug Design MSc have been accepted for PhD study as well as finding jobs in industry. We expect students graduating from this programme to take leading roles in drug discovery and development worldwide or to undertake further PhD-level research.


The advanced knowledge and skill set acquired by taking this programme will enable students to find employment in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in a global market.

Next steps


Dr Edith Chan

T: +44 (0)20 7679 6710


Division of Medicine

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