This MSc offers a comprehensive guide to all aspects of modern day drug design. It is taught by research scientists, clinicians and industry experts. Our graduates have progressed to undertake or obtain PhDs or medical studentships, or have found employment in both the private and public sector.
Modes and duration
Part-time is on-site for two years, while flexible study is distance learning only.
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £13,060 (FT)
- £24,860 (FT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of a lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
The programme covers all aspects of drug design, including genomics, bioinformatics, structural biology, cheminformatics, molecular modelling and fragment-based drug design, drug target selection, intellectual property and marketing. New therapies and research areas such as antibodies, siRNA, stem cells and high throughput screening are covered. Students will develop essential skills such as research methods and techniques of drug design.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of eight core modules (120 credits) and a research project (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is also offered
- Bioinformatics and Structural Biology
- Target Identification and High Throughput Screening
- Cheminformatics and Computer Drug Design
- Biological Molecules as Therapeutics - Antibodies, siRNA, and Stem Cells
- Biophysical Screening Methods, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
- Fragment Based Drug Design (FBDD)
- Target Selection - Scientific Grounds
- Target Selection - Commercial and Intellectual Property
There are no optional modules for this programme.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which can take the form of a wet lab or dry lab computational or modelling based project or an external project with an industrial sponsor.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, self study, practical sessions and discussion groups. The research project forms one third of the programme. Each of the taught modules is assessed by unseen written examination (50%) and coursework (50%). The research project is assessed by the dissertation and viva.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
The programme will provide a good background for students looking to establish a career in drug design/discovery and related industries (biotech, pharma, national research laboratories and NHS agencies), and for industry professionals seeking to gain a greater understanding of new methodology. The knowledge and transferable skills delivered will also be useful for those intent on further PhD or medical studies.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Clinical Research Assistant, King's College London
- Laboratory Analyst, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)
- Scientist, AstraZeneca
- PhD Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
- PhD Researcher (Molecular Biology), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
Graduates from this programme have progressed to PhD/medical studentships at different universities and research institutes around the world, including Oxford, UCL, Grenoble, EMBL, and in the USA and China. Many alumni have secured positions in research teaching and technical sales in the private and public sectors.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL is ranked 7th in the QS World University Rankings 2018 and is located in the centre of one of the world's finest cities. UCL is one of Europe's best and largest centres for biomedical research.
At the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, we have pioneered multidisciplinary research with a particular emphasis on translating that research into useful clinical benefit. Our research expertise includes: medicinal chemistry, computational drug design, neuronal development and signalling, cell cycle control, intensive care medicine, stem cells, mitochondrial biology and cancer.
Department: Division of Medicine
Student / staff numbers
› 411 staff
including 84 postdocs
› 133 taught students
› 193 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Medicine
80% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
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.
Application fee: There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. More details about the application fee can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
This MSc is suitable for life science graduates in biological sciences, chemical sciences and pharmacy who wish to obtain a broad understanding of the drug design process, either to establish a career in drug design and related industries, or to pursue further PhD or medical studies in this field.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
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 this programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this 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.