Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (4 Years) [MChem]

Medicinal chemists contribute to finding out what happens to drugs in the body and modifying drugs to make them more effective. Natural extracts have been employed as medicines over several millennia (herbal remedies dating back to over 3000 BC have been recorded in China).

In modern times, we are increasingly able to understand the causes of diseases at the molecular level. Modern medicinal chemistry is central to the discovery and development of new drugs. Drug discovery is one of the main contributors to the dramatic impact on health and wellbeing seen particularly in the developed world over relatively few generations.

Of course, there is still much to do. In the developed world, diseases of ageing are becoming key targets for study, along with other viral diseases, such as Hepatitis C. In the developing world, malaria and HIV-1 remain all too prevalent. Perhaps more than in any other area, medicinal chemists are able to make a significant impact on the lives of the wider community.

Our Medicinal Chemistry course is delivered by lecturers from our School of Chemistry, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, AstraZeneca and the NHS.

Year 1 and 2 - the common core
Year 3
Year 4
  • In the first two years, you cover topics in all the major branches of chemistry and learn how they are interconnected. Laboratory classes in both years form an essential component of your training.

    First-year topics include: bonding in molecules; organic reaction mechanisms; natural product chemistry; s, p, and d block chemistry; thermodynamics; kinetics; and quantum mechanics.

    You will also attend course units that cover a range of presentational skills, information-retrieval techniques, mathematics and IT skills. Finally, you have the opportunity to study a subsidiary subject from another school.

    The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year. In addition to core chemistry you will take course units in on the fundamentals of drug discovery and the ‘big killer’ diseases.

    At the end of your second year, you can choose whether to study for a three-year BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry degree, or the four-year MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry course. Your eligibility for continuation on the MChem course is assessed at the end of each year and is at the discretion of the School of Chemistry. The assessment is based on your general performance and end-of-year mark.

  • Alongside core chemistry units, you will take advanced chemistry course units in various aspects of medicinal chemistry and bio-organic chemistry and units on advanced drug discovery and synthesis for drug discovery and development. Practical work in the third year consists of a group research project, which you will plan and design in collaboration with a member of academic staff. You will carry out a project with a team of other medicinal chemistry students and on a project with a biomedical/medicinal-chemistry target.

  • You carry out an extended project in organic/biological/medicinal chemistry (within the School/Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, in the labs of the research group supervising the project). You study course units from various areas of chemistry, biological chemistry and medicinal chemistry, including option course units from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and may attend specialist lectures chosen in consultation with your project supervisor.

Why Chemistry at Manchester?

  • PASS sessions, a scheme which we have found to be an immensely beneficial way of supporting student learning, means that third and fourth year students are on hand to aid first years.
  • Internationally renowned research covering the full spectrum of chemical activity, ensuring taught courses are based on the latest knowledge.
  • Wide portfolio of degrees, including options such as year-long industrial placements and study in Europe, North America or Singapore.
  • Our School has an impressive international standing: the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, places Manchester in the top four universities in the UK. It’s a similar picture to the 2016 Times Higher Education World Rankings, where Manchester is again the top English university outside ‘Oxbridge’ and the capital.
  • A range of scholarships and bursaries available for home and international students, including Entrance Scholarships, International Scholarships, Faculty International Excellence Undergraduate Scholarships and BP Scholarships.

What our students say

Rachael Dickman
Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (4 Years) [MChem]

"Manchester is one of the best universities in the country for chemistry, and we have access to brilliant teaching and resources."

Where are they now?

Matthew Wilding
Chemistry with Mecidinal Chemistry (4 Years) [MChem] and PhD in Biocatalysis

"I use so many of the skills I picked up in Manchester, but obviously there is a bias towards the lab skills in terms of significance. My education has served as a solid foundation for my early career."

Staff spotlight

Roger Whitehead
Course Director for Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry [MChem]

"The major benefit of the course is that material is presented by experts from a variety of areas – Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy, AstraZeneca, The Paterson Institute and the Manchester Royal Infirmary."

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