Undergraduate prospectus 2021


Medicinal Chemistry MSci

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.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2021
UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
Royal Society of Chemistry
Application deadline
15 January 2021
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics.
English Language at grade C or 5, plus Mathematics at grade B or 6. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

Contextual offer

AAB (more about contextual offers)
A in Chemistry plus A in one of Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics. Preference for third subject to also be one of these subejcts.
English Language at grade C or 5, plus Mathematics at grade B or 6. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

A score of 18 points in three higher level subjects including 6 in Chemistry and 6 in one of Biology (preferred), Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.

Contextual offer

36 (more about contextual offers)
A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects including 6 in Chemistry and 6 in one of 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:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with between a minimum of between 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Chemistry plus either one, or preferably two from Biology (preferred), Physics or Mathematics

AAA at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher). A in Chemistry and A in 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 including Chemistry and one of Biology (preferred), Physics or Mathematics.

International applications

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

UCL 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 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

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

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.

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 modules are applied.

  • UCL Chemistry is at the forefront of developments in chemical biology, enabling you to undertake highly relevant research projects both in UCL Chemistry and in associated UCL departments.


The Royal Society of Chemistry accreditation is a peer review process founded on the judgement of professional chemists. It provides a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and enhance the quality of degree programmes and demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Medicinal Chemistry 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 programme 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.

The Medicinal Chemistry programme consisits of a range of compulsory modules in years one, two and three that cover relevant topics in organic chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pharmacology, and physiology. You will have the opportunity to take optional modules in year three and undertake a literature project.

In your final year you will undertake a extended project in one of our world leading research groups. 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. You will also study advanced optional modules of your choosing.

Upon successful completion of 480 credits, you will be awarded a MSci (Hons) in Medicinal Chemistry.


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.

Compulsory module(s)

  • Basic Organic Chemistry
  • Basic Physical Chemistry
  • Chemical Foundations
  • Chemical Skills
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Cells and Development
  • Mammalian Physiology

Optional modules

All first year modules are compulsory.

Compulsory module(s)

  • Essential Molecular Biology
  • Basic Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry for Medicinal Chemistry and Life Sciences
  • Intermediate Pharmacology
  • Introductory Statistical Methods and Computing

Optional modules

All second year modules are compulsory.

Compulsory module(s)

  • Synthesis and Characterisation Techniques in Chemistry
  • Chemical Literature
  • Principles of Drug Design
  • Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry
  • Organic Photochemistry Radicals and Heterocycles
  • Molecular Pharmacology

Optional modules

You will select two other modules from a wide range of options in the life sciences, chemistry and other approved undergraduate courses. One of these modules must be either:

  • Receptor Mechanisms
  • Drug Design and Development

The reamining module can be selected from a wide range of advanced mathematics and chemistry options. Chemistry options include:

  • Inorganic Rings, Chains and Clusters
  • New Directions in Materials Chemistry
  • Scientific Programming

Compulsory module(s)

Advanced Chemical Research Project

Optional modules

You will select 4 modules from a wide range of advanced chemistry and other approved undergraduate options.

Chemistry options may include:

  • Intense Radiation Sources for Chemistry
  • Stereochemical Control in Asymmetric Total Synthesis
  • Numerical Methods in Chemistry
  • Synthesis and Biosynthesis of Natural Products
  • Frontiers of Experimental Physical Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • Structural Methods in Modern Chemistry
  • Advanced Topics in Environmental and Energy Materials
  • Biological Chemistry

Your learning

Your learning will combine lectures, practical classes and group workshops. In addition you will attend small group tutorials which provide specialised support for the core modules.


Your learning will be assessed using a variety of methods including end-of-year examinations, laboratory reports, problem sheets, essays, posters and presentations. In the final year your research project will be assessed by a combination of reports, presentation and oral examination.

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Medicinal Chemistry MSci.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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 in research 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.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2020/21 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2020/21 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2020/21)
Overseas students
£28,610 (2020/21)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

Students on this programme have free access to electronic copies of over 100 textbooks and free laboratory coats.

This programme does not have any additional costs outside of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).


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 which will be advertised on the departmental website as appropriate.

Departmental scholarships

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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

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.

Application deadline: 15 January 2021


Offer holders will be invited to attend an open day event at the Department of Chemistry where they will be able to meet staff and students, partake in learning activities and take a tour of the department.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 29 May 2020