The UCL School of Pharmacy has an international reputation in natural drug discovery and the evaluation of drug leads from natural sources. This MSc has been designed in response to ever-increasing interest in the development and use of medicines derived from natural products.
This programme aims to train students in the methods used to analyse and characterise medicinal natural products, to examine the safety and efficacy of currently used herbal medicines, analytical and bioassay methods, and the ethnopharmaceutical uses of plants from traditional systems of medicines.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (120 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).
All students undertake a four-month research project in the third term which culminates in a dissertation. Topics range from natural product isolation and characterisation, synthesis, analysis, and a survey of medicinal products used in the community.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory-based practical classes. Assessment is through a combination of written examinations, coursework and practical assignments, and the research project and oral presentation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry MSc
Recent graduates of this programme have progressed to careers in herbal, phytopharmaceutical or health food sectors. Some are involved in drug discovery while others pursue a PhD in the UK or overseas.
The programme provides a broad overview of natural product science, the impact of natural products as medicines, their analysis and their place in various societies.
Specifically the programme covers herbal medicines in healthcare and their safety and efficacy, with examples of natural products as medicines. There will also be lectures on the analysis of natural products and their place in the drug discovery process.
A visit to an industrial manufacturer of herbal medicinal products will take place.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: School of Pharmacy
87% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.