PDF version of Medicinal Chemistry MSci


Admissions Tutor

Dr Dewi Lewis

Email: admissions.chem@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4650

Fees and Funding

UK & EU Fee

£9,000 (2013/14)

Overseas Fee

£19,500 (2013/14)

General Funding Notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Specific Funding Notes

The Chemistry Department offers a number of scholarships, including the Bader Bursaries, GSK Bursary, UCL Chemistry Entrance Scholarships and the Kathleen Lonsdale Bursary.

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

65% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Departmental website


More Information

Prospectus subject entry


Prospectus faculty entry

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Medicinal Chemistry MSci

UCAS Code: F153

This four-year programme offers an additional year on top of the Medicinal Chemistry BSc, in which students may undertake an advanced research project in fields such as drug design, chemical biology or organic chemistry.

Entry Requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA-ABB
Subjects Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics.
AS Levels A pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language at grade C plus Mathematics at grade B. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 34-38
Subjects A score of 16-18 points in three higher level subjects including Chemistry and either Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.

Other Qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International Qualifications

International Qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Selected country's equivalent grades will appear here

University Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The University Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree Summary

Degree Benefits

  • Consistently regarded as one of the best chemistry departments in the UK, we maintain a position of international excellence in teaching and research in medicinal chemistry.
  • Strong links have been developed with the pharmaceutical sector of the industry, and UCL's strength in medicine and life sciences has led to exciting new areas of research collaboration.
  • Life sciences are taught throughout the programme ensuring you build-up a broad understanding of biological systems to which the chemistry courses are applied.
  • UCL Chemistry is at the forefront of developments in Chemical Biology, enabling you to undertake highly relevant research projects both in the chemistry department and in associated UCL departments.

This programme is offered either as a three-year BSc or as a four-year MSci. The first two years of study are identical, so you can defer which to opt for until the end of your second year. We advise you to select the four-year MSci initially as this keeps more options open.

The Medicinal Chemistry programmes are quite different from the others offered by the department as the courses are split half and half between chemistry and the life sciences. You will take courses in all aspects of chemistry, but organic chemistry is developed to the greatest extent.

Specialist courses such as 'Principles of Drug Design' 'Biological Chemistry' and 'Principles and Methods of Organic Synthesis' are compulsory. Compulsory courses are also taken in a number of life sciences including biology, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. You will also take a literature project in year three.

The focus of your final year will be an extended research project. As a specialist in medicinal chemistry you will have access to cross-disciplinary projects in fields such as drug design, chemical biology and organic chemistry. Advanced taught courses are available in both Chemistry and allied life sciences.

Your Learning

Your learning will combine lectures, practical classes and group workshops. In addition you will attend tutorials in groups of four to six students which provide specialised support for the core courses.


Courses usually involve at least two methods of assessment; coursework (problem sheets, essays or poster presentations), an examination, or lab classes. Feedback, such as face-to-face marking in laboratories, is always provided. Your final year project will be assessed through a written report, a presentation and an oral examination.

Degree Structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Basic Organic Chemistry
Basic Physical Chemistry
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Introduction to Chemical Principles
Mammalian Physiology

Optional courses

All first year courses are compulsory.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Further Topics in Biochemistry
Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry
General and Systematic Pharmacology
Introductory Statistical Methods and Computing
Organic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry for Medicinal Chemistry and Life Sciences

Optional courses

All second year courses are compulsory.

Year Three

Compulsory courses

An Introduction to Research Methods for Medicinal Chemistry
Literature Project
Molecular Pharmacology
Pathways, Intermediates and Function in Organic Chemistry
Principles of Drug Design
Principles and Methods of Organic Synthesis

Optional courses

Drug Design and Development
Receptor Mechanisms

Plus 0.5 credits from a wide range of options. Options typically taken by chemistry students include:

Human Physiology
Introduction to Earth Sciences
Introduction to Management
Mathematics (further calculus)
Physics of the Universe

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Advanced Chemical Research Project

Optional courses

You will select 2.0 credits from a wide range of advanced chemistry options and other approved undergraduate options. Chemistry options may include:

Frontiers in Experimental Physical Chemistry
Inorganic Rings, Chains and Clusters
Intense Radiation Sources for Chemistry
Microstructural Control in Materials Science
New Directions in Materials Chemistry
Numerical and Analytical Methods
Organometallic Chemistry
Stereochemical Control in Asymmetric Total Synthesis
Structural Methods in Modern Chemistry
Synthesis and Biosynthesis of Natural Products
Topics in Quantum Mechanics

Further details available on degree page of subject website:

Your Career

As a UCL Chemistry graduate you will have developed both discipline-based and highly sought after analytical skills, for example in logical thought and numeracy.

On completion of your degree you will have the obvious option of pursuing a career within the chemical industry. This is recognised as one of the most exciting and successful contributors to the UK economy, for example in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and nanotechnology sectors.

After further study, some graduates continue as researchers at universities or government laboratories around the world, often becoming leading figures in their fields of interest.

Our graduates are in great demand in many other fields such as management, the financial sector, information technology, scientific journalism, patent law, the scientific Civil Service, and in education.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2009-2011) of UCL Chemistry programmes include:

  • Patent Analyst, Work Patent Seekers (2011)
  • Deployment Chemist, Shell Infineum (2011)
  • Tax Associate, Deloitte (2010)
  • Full-time student, PhD in Drug Discovery at UCL (2010)
  • Consultant, Simon Kucher and Partners (2009)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:


Your Application

Together with essential academic requirements, we are looking for strong evidence in your personal statement of your interest in the subject and your understanding of it. These requirements may be evidenced by examples of project work, relevant work experience or, perhaps, through your knowledge of current events involving chemistry. We also look for your ability to communicate clearly in English.

How to Apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


UK-based applicants who demonstrate their potential to meet our academic requirements will be invited to visit UCL for a day. The day will include talks, the opportunity to meet current students and a tour of the department and UCL. You will also attend a university-level lecture.

You will also have a 20-minute discussion with one of our academic staff in order to explore what studying at UCL will be like. This discussion will form part of our decision making process.

If you are based overseas, attendance at a visit day is impractical. Instead, you will be sent a presentation of the material that is covered with UK-based students. You will also be sent a series of chemistry questions for discussion by email or telephone.

We aim to contact you about the outcome of your application within 48 hours of your interview or, if overseas, of concluding our discussion.

Page last modified on 19 mar 14 15:02