The Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes at UCL offers students the opportunity to follow an integrated course of research and interdisciplinary study. Students gain 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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
A minimum of an upper 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
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. International Preparation Courses
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.
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About this degree
The programme provides a thorough foundation in drug design, advanced organic synthesis and biological chemistry, together with modules on research techniques and professional development. Students will carry out a substantial research project on organic/medicinal chemistry or chemical biology over a seven-month period.
MRes students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of core modules to the value of 180 credits including a research project /dissertation worth 105 credits.
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MRes in Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery.
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 is subject to change.
Students take three compulsory modules, Drug Discovery Research Project, Advanced Synthetic Techniques, and Transferable Skills for Scientists. The remaining 45 credits will be selected from a variety of 'topics' aligned to the programme aims. These will include principals of drug design (if students have not already taken this), biological chemistry, spectroscopy and natural product chemistry.
- Drug Discovery Research Project (105 credits)
- Advanced Synthetic Techniques (15 credits)
- Transferable Skills for Scientists (15 credits)
Students take Principles of Drug Design (15 credits) plus Topics in Modern Chemistry (30 credits). If students have already taken Principles of Drug Design, they will take Topics in Modern Chemistry (45 credits). Within the Topics in Modern Chemistry modules, students select topics in consultation with the programme director. These are from a variety of 'topics' aligned to the course aims: biological chemistry, spectroscopy and natural product chemistry.
- Principles of Drug Design
- Topics in Modern Chemistry
At the end of the programme the student will produce a report of around 40 pages which combines a literature review produced in the first term, results of the docking and modelling studies and finally the synthetic results obtained in the laboratory.
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.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Students can be self-funded or find sponsorship from funding agencies such as research councils, the UCL scholarships and funding pages, 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.
- Applications for this scholarship are now closed for 2021/22
- Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
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 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 degree involves a cutting-edge research project under the supervision of a member of staff at UCL and industry experts. Students will initially learn about the drug design process via a number of taught courses and in silico docking studies. They will then progress to the synthetic laboratory where they will prepare the compounds that they have designed in order to evaluate them experimentally as potential drug candidates.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
Who can apply?
This MRes is aimed at students who wish to gain a detailed understanding of the context of organic chemistry research within the drug discovery setting. It is suitable for chemistry graduates with an interest in the drug discovery process wishing to enhance their research and synthetic skills. It is also suitable for those in industry wishing to expand their research experience. Applicants who have related degrees to chemistry will be considered on an individual basis.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
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.
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