Why this course?
This course is unique in Scotland. It trains a new generation of biologically and pharmaceutically-aware chemistry graduates whose mission is to invent better, safer drugs to fight and cure disease.
This Integrated Masters degree is taught in partnership with the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and is designed in consultation with the major UK drug manufacturers. Researchers at Strathclyde have made real and significant contributions to the fight against disease.
In this course, you’ll study core chemistry classes blended with specialist courses on disease targets, design of selectively-acting prototype drugs, synthetic and mimetic strategies in producing drug prototypes, and the refinement of promising compounds.
We have a strong relationship with GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, which improves job prospects after graduation.
Graduates of this course have excellent opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry as well as all the usual careers open to a professionally-accredited chemist.
You can study at a European university for one year of your degree. You can also spend your placement year abroad.
It’s possible to switch between the other MChem courses and also the following shorter BSc degrees within the first three years:
- BSc (Hons) Chemistry
- BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry
- BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Forensic Chemistry
- BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Drug Discovery
What you’ll study
You'll study foundation classes in Chemistry and Mathematics, and Physics or Biology at introductory or advanced level. You'll also attend specialist classes such as Use and Abuse of Drugs in Society and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Development.
In later years, you'll study subjects including Fundamental Inorganic, Organic and Biological and Physical Chemistry and laboratory work increases.
In Year 4, you'll undertake a paid 12-month industrial placement, normally in the pharmaceutical industry.
In Year 5, you'll specialise in the areas and applications that interest you most and undertake a research project.
You’ll normally undertake a paid 12-month placement in industry, normally in the pharmaceutical industry, either in the UK or abroad. Research and Knowledge Exchange placements are also available. The Strathclyde chemistry industrial placement scheme is one of the longest-running in the UK and more than 70 students are placed with companies each year.
High Flyer Programme
Well-qualified applicants with appropriate A Levels and Advanced Highers will be admitted to the Faculty of Science prestigious 'High Flyer' Programme, which allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four. If you are studying the relevant subjects you may receive a dual offer, specifying grades to direct entry to Year 2 as a High Flyer and also standard Year 1 entry.
Find out more about our High Flyer Programme.
You’ll complete a research project in one of our specialist research laboratories in your final year when you'll work with full-time researchers on real chemistry challenges.
Many graduates from this course go on to complete a PhD in chemistry at Strathclyde or elsewhere. This course equips you for life after graduation, be that employment or further study.
Strathclyde chemistry students also compete successfully for national awards. In recent years, our students have won:
- Salters’ Graduate prize (£1,000)
- Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award
- Carnegie Scholarship
- Most Meritorious Student award from the Forensic Science Society
The Dean of Science recognises exceptional performance each year through the Dean’s certificate for the best students in the Faculty. Students can also win prizes including:
- P&G Bursary (£1,000 a year plus a one-year paid Industrial Placement)
- Chemistry International Alumni Ambassadors UG award for overseas travel (£1,000)
- The RSC Prize in Analytical Chemistry
- Andersonian Centenary Medal Prize
- Beilby and Huddleston Prize
- ICI Chemical and Polymers Group Andersonian Centenary Prize
- GlaxoSmithKline Prize
- Syngenta Prize
- Group third-year Poster Competition sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline
Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Chemist.
Personal Development Planning (PDP)
You normally have the same Personal Development Adviser (PDA) throughout your degree. PDP is an important part of learning and personal development. It's not only associated with your university course, it allows you to plan for the future.
Chemistry: Principles & Practice 1 & 2
These lectures and tutorials cover all the broad areas of chemistry including: Analytical Chemistry, Structure & Bonding, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy.
Practical & Transferable Skills
All students have one laboratory class per week which runs in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.
Aims to give a basic understanding of mathematical functions, differentiation, integration, complex numbers, matrices and vectors.
Covers cellular structure and function and is concerned with the chemical basis of life and the fundamentals of cell biochemistry. The molecular basis of inheritance, human genetics, genes and the environment are also covered.
You can select elective classes freely from the University timetable subject to your possessing appropriate entrance qualifications, there being places available, and the times do not clash with compulsory chemistry classes.
Subjects are available in:
- Arts & Humanities
Chemistry students are provided with a list of classes where the timetable is suitable, although other options are also available. Students often choose a language class as an elective.
Aims to provide a broad knowledge of the important concepts in inorganic chemistry from which more specialist topics can be tackled. This includes investigation of the chemistry of the main group and transition metals and introduces topics at the forefront of inorganic and materials chemistry.
Fundamental Organic Chemistry
Covers the fundamental principles of infra-red, ultra-violet, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy; develops competence in the interpretation of spectra and the students’ awareness of the role of spectroscopic techniques. It will also develop knowledge of reactions, understanding of mechanisms and appreciation of the role of reactivity in organic chemistry.
Physical Chemistry 1
This class provides a broad knowledge of the important concepts in Thermodynamics, investigating the major features as applied to chemical systems. Topics include:
- the importance of reaction rates in chemical systems
- concepts of the electrode/solution interface
- equilibrium and electron transfer kinetics
- mass transport
- the composition and utilisation of fossil fuels with their environmental pollutants
- nuclear and renewable energy sources
This class provides an introduction to:
- thermodynamics, and its application to pharmaceutical systems
- chemical kinetics, and the stability of drug molecules
- the solid state, where a knowledge of crystal structure often explains drug properties
- dissolution and solubility, and their importance to drug absorption
- surface chemistry, and the role of surface-active compounds in formulation in the solubilisation of drug molecules
Physical Chemistry 2
Students have the option to spend third year studying abroad in a sister University in the European Union or the European Free Trade Area.
We're leading practitioners of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), designed to simplify and facilitate the planning and recognition of periods of study in other universities. Additional EU funding under the ERASMUS programme may be available to some students each year to supplement their SAAS grants.
There will also be opportunities to spend third year at one of the premier universities in the USA or in Canada, but you'll have to find some money towards the costs.
Practical Physical, Applied & Drug Discovery Chemistry
Provides an understanding of intermolecular forces and their importance in defining key aspects of chemical behaviour and molecular organisation. The class introduces:
- surface chemistry and the common systems in which it plays a major role
- the electronic structure of atoms and molecules through the prism of quantum chemistry
- group theory and how it can be applied to the determination of the symmetry of molecules and their properties
- the principles of bonding in molecules as described by valence bond and molecular orbital theories
Practical Organic & Inorganic Chemistry
Students conduct experiments in physical and applied chemistry and in chemistry relating to drug discovery, gaining practical experience of theoretic aspects of physical, applied and synthetic medicinal chemistry covered in lectures.
- laboratory skills
- skills in physical chemistry & analytical observation
- the use of statistical methods
- synthetic medicinal chemistry & analysis
- applications of spectroscopy & common instrumental techniques
- the writing of laboratory reports
You'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll develop basic laboratory skills in preparative chemistry and analysis, and gain experience in the applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques.
Intermediate Organic Chemistry & Spectroscopy
This course will provide a detailed overview on the structure, function and chemistry of biological macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates. Topics include:
- protein & nucleic acid folding
- energetics of macromolecular interactions (kinetics & thermodynamics)
- mechanistic enzymology
The overarching theme in this course is that structure and function are intimately linked.
Inorganic Chemistry, Structures & Spectroscopy
This class teaches modern NMR spectroscopy as it is applied to chemistry. It covers skills for handling and interpreting NMR data for the purposes of chemical structure elucidation.
The theoretical basis of the NMR experiment using the vector formalism. The reactivities of organic molecules. Organic syntheses using the disconnection approach. The synthesis and reactivities of electron-poor and electron-rich heterocyclic molecules. Also provides an insight into the role of computational chemistry in chemical research and training in the use of modern computational chemistry software.
This class provides a more advanced view of main group and transition metal coordination and organometallic chemistry. Themes covered include:
- ligands & their influence on complexes
- trends in structure & bonding, stereochemistry
- reactivity & the application of spectroscopic & other methods of identification
- modern spectroscopy as it is applied in chemistry
Core Chemistry for Drug Discovery
Information to follow.
Assessment methods include short answer class tests, multiple choice tests, end of year examinations, oral presentation and group project work. Good performance in chemistry classes in Year 1 leads to exemption from the final exam.
Learning & teaching
Each year contains compulsory classes and some years contain either optional classes, which relate to different areas of chemistry and/or elective classes from other subject areas in the University.
In Years 1 to 3, lectures give you the essential knowledge and understanding required by all chemistry graduates. This is supported by small and large group tutorials. Chemistry is a practical subject and you'll gain training in all branches of mainstream practical chemistry.
Your fourth year is a 12-month industrial placement. You’ll continue your studies through distance learning assignments.
In your final year, you’ll study advanced chemistry and complete an independent research project in your chosen field.
The Andersonian Chemical Society (the longest-running student organisation in the UK) organises guest speakers and other events, including very popular social events.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
Year 1 entry: AABB or AAAC (Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology/Human Biology, English preferred as fourth subject)
Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study
A Levels/Advanced Highers*
Year 2 entry: ABB (Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology/Human Biology)
Typical entry requirements: AAA
Year 2 entry: 34 (Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology/Human Biology all at HL)
Year 1 entry: possible with relevant HNC, A in Graded Unit
Year 2 entry: possible with relevant HND, AAA in Graded Units
*Those with A Levels, Advanced Highers or IB HL in only two of the preferred subjects will be considered for Year 1 entry
- Deferred entry accepted
- UCAS personal statements and references will also be taken into account
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.
You can also complete the online application form, or 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.
Rest of UK
Course materials & costs
Lab coats and safety goggles
Placement & field trips
MSc Forensic Science students have costs associated with the three-month placement project. Students are expected to meet all costs - that will include travel and accommodation.
Placement costs will vary - some with travel across Scotland at approximately £30 per week. Accommodation costs will be the same as during the academic year.
International students will complete placements in their home country. Flights will therefore be an expected cost with students returning home or finding accommodation nearby the placement host.
All students are responsible for printing dissertation and thesis with associated binding costs.
MSc Forensic Science students have a £1,500 bench fee - and are informed of this on offer of place.
We also strongly recommend MSc Forensic students get immunised against Hepatitis B - which will probably incur a cost.
Students working on projects externally will have to pay for the posting of material. Prices will be dependent on location.
There is a variety of information about the MSc Forensic placement on our website. Students are informed about costs etc in the information received prior to the course starting.
How can I fund my studies?
Some Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Please note that funding is not applicable to all courses. Please contact SAAS to confirm if your particular course is eligible.
Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.
The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees
This course maximises your opportunity of employment in the medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical industries.
The degree was designed with advice from pharmaceutical companies resulting in graduates who are knowledgeable and accomplished practical chemists with good team-work and communication skills.
There’s a continuous demand for chemistry graduates. Our graduates compete successfully for jobs in all branches of the chemical industry. These are well-rewarded careers that allow you to go on to supervisory or management roles. Your chances of employment are substantially increased by the industrial placement and training.
Your skills will also be in demand in other areas. A study of chemistry helps you develop logical thought and numerical skills and the ability to write accurate and concise reports. As a result, our chemists are in demand in national and local government, in hospitals and in education at all levels.
This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry and graduates are eligible to apply for the status of Chartered Chemist, the qualification recognised in the UK and EU for professional chemists.
How much will I earn?
The average salary for a research scientist working in drug discovery is £34,000.*
*Information is intended only as a guide.