Medicinal chemistry is concerned with the discovery, design and synthesis of new drugs for clinical use. This BSc includes modules in biochemistry, biology, physiology and pharmacology, along with the fundamentals of chemistry necessary to design and synthesise drugs. These provide an understanding of the link between chemical structure and clinical effectiveness.
- UCAS code
- 3 years
- Application deadline
- 15 January 2017
- Applications per place
- 7 (2015 entry)*
- Total intake
- 138 (2017 entry)*
- Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics.
- 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
- A score of 17-18 points in three higher level subjects including Chemistry and either Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of between 18 and 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.
D3,D3,D3 - D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Physics or Mathematics
AAA-AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher). Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Physics, Mathematics required at Advanced Higher
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-AAB. Subjects required include: Chemistry plus either one from Biology (preferred), Physics or Mathematics.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a twelve-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.
For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.
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. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
- 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.
- We offer access to state-of-the-art facilities, enhanced by our strong affiliation to other centres of excellence such as the London Centre for Nanotechnology.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
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: Chemistry.
- 94% 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.
A short video with more information.
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In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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).
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 modules are split equally between chemistry and the life sciences. You will take modules in all aspects of chemistry, but organic chemistry is developed to the greatest extent.
Specialist modules such as Principles of Drug Design, and Principles and Methods of Organic Synthesis are compulsory. Compulsory modules are also taken in a number of life sciences including biochemistry, biology, pharmacology, and physiology. You will have the opportunity to take optional modules in year three.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
Basic Organic Chemistry
Basic Physical Chemistry
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Introduction to Chemical Principles
All first year modules are compulsory.
Further Topics in Biochemistry
Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry
General and Systematic Pharmacology
Introductory Statistical Methods and Computing
Physical Chemistry for Medicinal Chemistry and Life Sciences
All second year modules are compulsory.
An Introduction to Research Methods for Medicinal Chemistry
Pathways, Intermediates and Function in Organic Chemistry
Principles of Drug Design
Principles and Methods of Organic Synthesis
Drug Design and Development
Plus a further 1.0 credits from a wide range of Chemistry and other approved undergraduate options.
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 modules.
Each module will usually involve at least two methods of assessment. These may include coursework (problem sheets, essays or poster presentations), an examination, or laboratory classes. We believe in providing feedback to students, such as face-to-face marking in laboratories. Your third-year project will be assessed through a written report.
Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Medicinal Chemistry BSc.
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.
Many recent graduates have continued as researchers at universities including PhDs at UCL, Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh, Harvard, Manchester and NUS Singapore.
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 (2012-2014) of UCL Chemistry programmes include:
- Data Analyst, Evalucom
- Full-time student, DPhil in Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford
- Junior Data Analyst, Hardy Underwriting Bermuda Limited
- Full-time student, Organic Chemistry and Drug Discovery
*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2016/17 academic year.
- UK/EU students
- £9,000 (2016/17)
- Overseas students
- £21,320 (2016/17)
Fees for students entering UCL in September 2017 (i.e. for the 2017/2018 academic year) will be set in the summer of 2016 and published on the UCL Current Students website. Fees advertised by UCL are for the first year of the programme. UK/EU undergraduate fees are capped, but fees for other students may be subject to increase in future years of study by between 3-5%.
Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.
UCL Chemistry offers a number of scholarships, including the Bader Bursaries, GSK Bursary, UCL Chemistry Entrance Scholarships and the Kathleen Lonsdale Bursary.
The scholarships listed below are for 2017 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2017 entry will be published when they are available.
- Up to £2,000
- UK, EU, Overseas
- Based on financial need
The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.
Application and next steps
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.
Application deadline: 15 January 2017
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, on concluding our discussion.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students