Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (4 years) [MChem]
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Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry is a highly flexible degree programme covering a wide range of courses taught by chemists, pharmacists, biologists and industrial medicinal chemists. It provides a strong foundation in core chemistry, supplemented by specialist knowledge of medicinal chemistry. In addition to core chemistry units you take top-rated courses such as foundation biology, medicinal biochemistry and a number of courses on drug discovery and development from experts within chemistry and other Faculties.
- We take good care of our students and have multiple tutors to oversee the process. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is in overall charge, and you will have Academic Tutors in all branches of the subject, a Programme Director for the F152 course, and a Personal Tutor.
- MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry is aimed at students with a strong interest in the biological aspects of chemistry. As well as traditional chemistry topics you will take courses that cover biochemistry, medicines and drug discovery, and the major disease areas. Some of these courses are taught by academics from the top-rated School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences while others are taught by industrialists from major pharmaceutical companies. For full details of all the courses see below.
- We are also proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support in the area of the current week's tutorial. It is entirely voluntary and third and fourth year students help first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.
Teaching is delivered by a mixture of the following:
- Traditional lectures
- Small group tutorials
- Laboratory classes
- Group work
- Individual research projects
- Computer-based tuition
A range of ancillary mathematics, data handling, presentation and IT skills, and computer based chemistry are taught on the dedicated computer cluster. There are also some group-based activities.
The School offers a high level of learning support. You will have weekly tutorials in small groups of no more than 6. Each student has three academic tutors, one each for Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry. You will have your own Personal Tutor to oversee your personal welfare - each member of staff has no more than six personal tutees per year.
Practical chemistry is important in all areas of the subject, and is a key part of all our programmes. In Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 students carry out practical work in our modern well-equipped undergraduate laboratories, built to a high specification. Our practical courses are designed to provide experience of the wide range of chemical techniques for measurement and synthesis necessary for the study of modern chemistry. An important requirement for a chemist in the laboratory is the ability to work safely with a wide range of chemicals and equipment. As well as providing the opportunity to do interesting chemistry our practical courses train students to work safely and effectively in the laboratory.
Finally we have the innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) which meet weekly in Years 1 and 2.
Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, coursework, laboratory practicals and workshops. Examinations take place in January and May each year, with around one third of the marks from continuous assessment. The first year is a simple pass/fail, but from then on a percentage of each year's assessment counts towards your final degree classification.
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 classes on foundation biology, medicinal biochemistry and the properties of medicines. In addition, you will attend courses covering presentational, computer and IT skills.
The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas such as molecular spectroscopy, bonding and reactivity, surfaces and interfaces, chemistry of the heavier elements, molecular symmetry, metal-ligand bonding, polymer science, structure determination, stereochemistry and heterocyclic chemistry, plus additional course units involving polymer, materials and computational chemistry. In addition, you will attend two courses, taught jointly with the School of Pharmacy, on drug discovery and the roles of medicinal chemistry in tackling major diseases from infections to cancer and heart disease. Eligibility for continuation on this MChem programme is at our discretion, based on your general performance and your second year mark. If you are not eligible you will be transferred to the BSc programme.
You can choose from a wide range of course units made up of core and advanced chemistry units and also some units from outside chemistry. These include advanced course units in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry, as well as natural product and biological chemistry, contemporary drug discovery and synthesis for drug discovery and development. In addition options are available from outside the School in Enterprise and the History of Science. Practical work in the third year takes the form of a group research project. You will work in a team with other medicinal chemistry students on a medicinal chemistry-specific project.
In the fourth and final year, you carry out an extended project in Organic Chemistry or Pharmacy (in association with one of the Schools' research groups) relevant to biomedical research. You study specialist courses in chemistry and medicinal chemistry, and attend specialist lectures chosen in consultation with your project supervisor.