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MScMedicinal Chemistry

Why this course?

This course gives you the practical skills and knowledge to design and synthesise molecules that have therapeutic actions within the body.

The ultimate aim is to invent more selective and safer drugs to fight and cure disease. We also want to fully exploit the opportunities from identification of genes associated with a range of cancers, inherited disorders and agents of disease.

Specialist classes focus on:

  • disease targets
  • design of selectively-acting prototype drugs
  • synthetic and mimetic strategies in producing drug prototypes
  • the refinement of activity when a promising compound is identified

Case studies of well-known drugs are used to illustrate the principles.

You’ll study

The course consists of three theory and three practical modules running between October and April. These are followed by exams. If you pass all exams and want to proceed to MSc you’ll undertake a 10-week research project and submit a thesis at the end of August.


The Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry carries out world-leading research with modern state-of-the-art facilities. You’ll have access to the full range of analytical instrumentation used in the pharmaceutical industry:

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
  • Ultra-Violet (UV)
  • Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR_FTIR)
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Gas Chromatography (GC)
  • Liquid Chromatograph/Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC/GC-MS)
  • X-ray crystallography

Teaching staff

Course material is taught by experts based in the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry and the Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

There’s additional specialised lectures from visiting professors and world-renowned scientists who are working in the pharmaceutical industry.

Course content

Advanced Organic Chemistry

This class aims to develop abilities to establish an appreciation of a range of distinct reagents and techniques that have the abilities to perform similar synthetic transformations and, by taking an overview, to develop the abilities to discern the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the individual reagents and techniques.

Ultimately, this class will provide the ability to apply knowledge and understanding gained in the course to the solution of problems and to the prediction of chemical properties of previously unseen compounds or reactions.

Chemical Biology

This class aims to introduce you to modern methods of analysing biomolecules by concentrating on the use and outcomes of the various techniques. This will cover a broad range of techniques, which will be taught in context with examples from real life problems and using, where possible, modern software. Additionally, the course will examine aspects of DNA damage and repair, the role of post-translational modifications together with modern concepts in target validation.

Principles of Modern Medicinal Chemistry

The course will focus on the principles and practice of modern medicinal chemistry, with particular emphasis on worked examples, including an industry-led full day workshop. Specific focus on the gene family approach will be made, highlighting the key role of these receptors and enzymes in regulating cell signalling. Allied to the medicinal chemistry aspects of the class, modern synthetic chemistry techniques spanning the rubric of organic synthesis are also discussed in depth.

Advanced Biochemical Methods

This class aims to provide you with an overview of many commonly used techniques across the spectrum of biological and biomedical sciences. The main deliverable from the course will be to enable you to apply specific techniques to address problems in biosciences.

Project & Dissertation

This class addresses the rationale and methodology behind conducting a research project in medicinal chemistry. The class will require you to produce a research plan, develop the plan to conduct a specific research study supported by relevant literature and finally to produce a thesis for assessment.

Learning & teaching

Teaching of theory and applications is through lectures and tutorials. The material is further reinforced with practical sessions, which provide hands-on experience with a wide range of modern instrumental techniques.


Assessment is through both written and practical exams and submission of a thesis (MSc students only).

Entry requirements


A first or upper or lower second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in chemistry or a related discipline.

English language requirements

English language minimum IELTS 6.5.

We offer a range of English Language course for students who wish to improve their English. Module 3 is free of charge to all applicants and we strongly recommend all international students to take advantage of this free course. This is an excellent way to not only improve your English but to get to know Glasgow and the University and make new friends.

We also offer comprehensive English Language pre-sessional and Foundation courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.5.

For students with IELTS of 6.0, an offer can be made conditional on completing Modules 2 and 3 of Pre-sessional English.

For students with IELTS of 5.5, an offer can be made conditional on completing Modules 1, 2 and 3 of Pre-sessional English.

Please see ELT for full details.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £5,000

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £6,000


  • 2017/18 - £18,000

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Graduates from this course will be ideal for positions in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries or may continue their studies into PhD research.

Contact us


Medicinal Chemistry

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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