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Course content

The chemistry of biological processes is the basis of all life on planet Earth. On this course you will develop an understanding of the processes that are core to biological chemistry. We will explore aspects such as biosynthesis, retrosynthetic analysis, molecular biology and the principles of drug development. We will also look at the applications of biological chemistry in catalysts, synthetic methods and spectroscopy, giving our graduates an edge when looking for employment in academia or industry.

Distinctive features:

• Available on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis.

• Explore real life biological systems as well as applications of biological processes, for example in catalysis.

• Specialise in an area of interest to you with an end of course research project.

• Some overseas academic placements may be available for the research project.

Structure

This course may be taken on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis.

There are two parts to the degree. Part one comprises core and optional taught modules which you will take during the autumn and spring semesters. In these modules we will provide you with an understanding of the biological problems and processes at the interface of chemistry and biology. We will study real life systems and explore aspects such as natural product synthesis, biocatalysis, molecular biology, synthetic biology, enzymology, medicinal chemistry and molecular modelling.

Upon successful completion of part one of the degree you will progress to part two, the summer research project. We will make a range of project options available to you from the field of biological chemistry. For this project you may work with a research group in the School of Chemistry. You may also be able to complete this project with one of our academic partner institutions overseas.

If you are on the one year full-time degree option, you will undertake all modules and your research project in one year.

Core modules:

Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry
Biosynthetic Approach to Natural Products
Biocatalysis I - Modern Approaches to Biocatalysts
Colloquium
Biocatalysis II - Industrial Applications of Biocatalysis
Medicinal Chemistry
Bioinorganic Chemistry
Advanced Techniques in Organic and Biological Chemistry
Key Skills for Postgraduate Chemists
Practical Chemical Biology
Research Project

Optional modules:

Modelling of Biological Macromolecules
Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products
Analytical and Structural Techniques in Chemical Biology
Molecular Modelling

Teaching

The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, workshops, computational sessions, laboratory practicals and tutorials.

Your research project will be carried out in one of our laboratories under supervision of an academic member of staff with interests in a similar field, unless you choose to complete your project during a placement with one of our academic partner institutions overseas, depending on availability.

Modules relating to computing frequently take place in our computer rooms, while practical work will be undertaken in our laboratories. We frequently invite external academic speakers and industry experts to the School for seminars, which our postgraduate students are encouraged to attend.

Support

All of our students are allocated a personal tutor when they enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.

You will have access to the Science Library, which holds our collection of chemistry resources, as well as to the other Cardiff University Libraries.

Feedback:

We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are usually happy to give advice and guidance on your progress. We aim to provide you with regular feedback on your work after assessments have been submitted.

Assessment

Taught modules are assessed in a variety of ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use course work, assessed workshops, posters and oral presentations or a combination of these to assess your progress on the course.

Your research project at the end of the course will be assessed through a dissertation, a presentation, and an oral exam.

Career prospects

After completing this course there are usually two career streams open to graduates, research or industry. Within these two fields there are a variety of career options. For example, many of our graduates choose to follow up their MSc and decide to complete a PhD research degree with us. Those who have chosen not to continue in academia or teaching have gone on to a wide range of employment in private industries such as Kimberley-Clark group, Thales group, and Imanova Ltd.

Placements

For the end of course research project we may have some placements available with one of our academic partner institutions overseas. Please enquire early for further details

Visit the Biological Chemistry MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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