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 and chemical biology.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£8,225 (FT) £N/A (PT)
£22,180 (FT) £N/A (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

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.

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.

International students

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:

Degree Information

The programme provides a thorough foundation in drug design, advanced organic synthesis and molecular modelling, together with modules on research techniques, professional development and entrepreneurship. Students will carry out a substantial research project on organic/medicinal chemistry or chemical biology over a ten-month period.

MRes students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two modules from the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research (30 credits), one Master's level Chemistry module (15 credits) two transferable/research skills modules (30 credits) and the research 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:
  • Principles of Drug Design
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Stereochemical Control in Asymmetric Synthesis
  • Synthesis and Biosynthesis of Natural Products
  • Organometallics and Catalysis
  • Structural Methods in Modern Chemistry


Students will undertake a laboratory-based research project lasting ten months. An interim report is submitted after five months, and at the end of the project each student writes a dissertation, gives a short presentation and has a viva voce examination.

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.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes


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 relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


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.

Our recent graduates have taken up PhD positions, are working in industry and have entered teacher training.

Why 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.

Student / staff ratios › 53 staff › 50 taught students › 163 research students

Department: Chemistry

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.

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

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 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.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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