Drug Design MRes

London, Bloomsbury

This one-year, campus-based MRes Drug Design is offered by the internationally renowned UCL Division of Medicine, with support from the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research. You will learn from a team conducting cutting-edge research within the drug industries and UCL's academic group and have opportunities for networking and future career development.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Drug design is an integral part of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology 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, as a graduate of this programme, you will be well placed to explore roles in these areas.

The UCL Division of Medicine and Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research are experts in training the next generation of drug discovery biologists and chemists in the field, especially in drug discovery projects. The programme is particularly suited to research-oriented students who want to understand the drug design process, to establish a career in drug discovery or undertake further research.

You will study the latest methodologies and approaches to all aspects of drug design. These include drug discovery, computational and structural biology, screening, assay development, medicinal chemistry, and most importantly the industrial practices involved in modern drug design technology. Alongside this, you will develop your skills in translational research and apply these to your own research project for six months.

Who this course is for

This MRes is ideal if you are a graduate wanting to gain a broad understanding of the drug design process, either to establish a career in drug discovery or undertake further research. It is also suitable if you are an industry professional looking to refresh your knowledge and skills and become familiar with cutting-edge drug design developments.

What this course will give you

This programme offers you the following benefits and opportunities.

  • A research-focused programme that will deepen your knowledge of the latest drug design methodologies and industrial practices.
  • Access to research groups in the areas of medicine, pharmaceutical research, cell cycle, neurobiology, mitochondrial function, stem cells and cancer. 
  • The chance to be part of a medicinal chemistry group that conducts research where chemistry and biology intersect, using the latest techniques and developing new ones for studying biological systems.
  • Opportunities to conduct translational research that has a globally-significant  impact on drug discovery.
  • The chance to learn from industry and academic collaborations focused on developing biological tools and therapeutic agents.

The foundation of your career

This MRes will give you advanced knowledge of drug design and a research-focused skillset that will enhance your employment prospects in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industries.


Graduates go on to take leading roles in drug discovery and development worldwide or go onto further PhD-level research within drug development.

Drug design is integral to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, which are currently spreading their research and development to the East, notably China and India. As a graduate of this programme, you will be well placed to explore roles in these areas and benefit from global opportunities.


On this programme, there are many opportunities to network through our cross-disciplinary departments and research centres. In addition, you have chances to speak to our many external and expert speakers from industry after lectures. We encourage students to broaden their networks by attending special career workshops. Each year, students are also encouraged to join online seminars / workshops organised by industrial sectors to expand their skills.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem classes, critical journal clubs and a research project.

Each of the taught modules is assessed on a 50/50 split of unseen written examinations and coursework, such as written essays, practicals and laboratory work.

The research project is assessed by dissertation, oral presentation and an interdisciplinary three-minute video project.

Your weekly schedule will be made up of six contact hours and 20 hours of independent learning during term.


In this one-year programme, you will complete five taught modules and a dissertation/report.

During terms one and two, you will take three elective modules from the eight compulsory taught modules on UCL's MSc Drug Design, plus two translational research modules from the UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching. The research modules run in terms one to three, alongside the taught elements.

On your three MSc modules, you will learn the essential concepts, theory and practices of drug design and discovery. You will also develop transferable skills through individual and group activities, such as oral and poster presentation, literature review, essay writing, attending conferences and scientific talks.

Your research project can be wet laboratory or computer/informatics based and lasts for six months.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MRes in Drug Design.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Virtual Event for MSc Advanced Biomedical Imaging, MSc/MRes Clinical Drug Development, MSc/MRes Drug Design and MSc Precision Medicine

The UCL Division of Medicine Team hosts a virtual event where they give a short presentation about the programmes, details on different modules, and what teaching will look like in 2020.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Respiratory Clinical Science MSc (Q&A Session)

This MSc focuses on the study of the scientific and clinical basis of respiratory diseases with all courses and modules directed towards understanding disease and the effects on patients. It will provide you with the tools to develop further careers in the area and create opportunities to interact with researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical experts in respiratory medicine. Please join us to ask your questions about this exciting programme. Speaker - Dr Vitor Teixeira

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £17,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

All students on this programme are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000.

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Bursaries are available for several Division of Medicine programmes. Find out if this course is eligible.

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

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Deadline: 14 December 2023
Value: Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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