Masters degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry equip postgraduates with the techniques to study drug design, function and development.
Taught MSc courses are typical in this field, though research-oriented MRes and MPhil programmes may also be available. Entry requirements normally include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Chemistry, Biochemistry or Chemical Engineering
In understanding the design of drugs and medicines, you will learn to analyse pharmaceutical compounds, their properties and synthesis (bonds / reactions). You will also explore pharmacokinetics (the movement of drugs in the body) and drug metabolism.
Training is provided in analytical instrumental techniques, particularly separation science, sensors, spectroscopy (electromagnetic radiation) and chemometrics (measuring chemical data). Research experience is refined through individual projects, and sometimes through opportunities for industrial placements.
Careers in this field are highly varied, as the expertise you will gain is highly transferrable. Traditional roles may include drug screening in large pharmaceutical laboratories, or the design of patents and product registration.
Your knowledge would also make you a suitable candidate for legislative roles within government agencies, policy-making for ethical and effective manufacturing practise.
Students who have completed our BSc Pharmaceutical Science degree will follow Route A; all other students will follow Route B.
The MSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry course is delivered primarily in block mode. A blended learning and teaching approach is used to provide you with key and subject specific skills. Typically all modules will consist of a mix of lectures, tutorials, and workshops/practical laboratory sessions. Students are provided with numerous learning activities including written coursework; project work; group work; practicals (with group sizes tailored to the activity); problem solving sessions; self-study assignments; oral and poster presentations; independent study; work related learning and on-line self assessments.
The pharmaceutical chemistry course is full time for one year, and each module is generally around 48 hours of contact spread over two to three weeks. The first term is spent doing mainly taught modules, the second term is for the work placement/project.
Assessments are undertaken on an individual, pair or small group basis, and include:
The MSc Pharmaceutical Science programme was developed in response to the need for enhanced skills by employees within pharmaceutical research, development or manufacturing.
The programme will generate graduates with in-depth theoretical knowledge and extensive laboratory skills, allowing students to be involved in many disciplines of pharmaceutical science from drug discovery and medicinal chemistry through to product development and manufacture and including pharmaceutical analysis, quality control and quality assurance.
Delivery on this programme involves a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and lab-based exercises. Many of the lectures on this programme are delivered by leading industrial experts. Problem-based learning and case studies will provide students with experience of team-working that simulates an industrial setting. Students will develop team-working, critical thinking and analytical problem solving abilities which are important in the modern pharmaceutical industry.
The main part of the programme is a research project that runs over the whole academic year and gives students the opportunity to work with modern research equipment to carry out novel research. Project work will help students enhance practical skills, analytical thinking, time management, communication skills and independence.
The aims of the programme are to:
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are assessed through examinations, coursework and a dissertation.
Graduates from this programme can pursue careers in the NHS, the pharmaceutical industry or industries manufacturing other health care products.
Developed in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, the four pathways of our MSc in Pharmaceutical Industrial Advanced Training (PIAT) are postgraduate-level training programmes designed for scientists and managers working in the pharmaceutical industry and NHS in the fields of product development, manufacturing and quality assurance.
Many of our units have been developed to support those seeking to build their QP portfolio and our team includes QPs who are willing to support your development through this pathway.
You can also take individual units as standalone CPD courses. Please contact us for further details of the units that can be taken.
We offer a three-day summer school each year to allow you to meet fellow students and your tutors while attending workshops to support your learning and development in the units.
For our Business Development and Licensing pathway, we offer a two-day winter school held in London that covers the units within this key course for business development executives.
Below are some links that may be useful if you're thinking about studying PIAT.
Example dissertation titles
Below are examples of previous dissertations undertaken on the PIAT course.
All units commence in April and October. You can see a list of units in the table below, or view units specific to each of the four pathways:
Our alumni have used the learning and opportunities gained from this course to advance their careers in a range of roles and areas.
Some have moved to management positions, while others have taken on roles with more responsibility, becoming team leaders, heads of projects or responsible for new and larger areas, regions or territories.
As part of the course, our students build networks of contacts and join a growing community of leaders within the industry.
Chemists have always been in demand worldwide with pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, fine chemicals, and within research laboratories across the globe. The programme at Aberdeen is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Aberdeen is noted for Nobel prizes within Chemistry which include the invention of modern chromatography (Synge 1952) and the discovery of a new element - protactinium (Soddy 1921). Teaching at Aberdeen is informed by world class research within food security. Class sizes are kept small to enable you to have strong teaching interaction and support in your studies. You will be taught by many staff in the environment group (TESLA) and (MBC)
The programme focuses on specialised modern analytical methodology. The range of industries or institutes where these skills are asked for includes the pharmaceutical industry, environmental institutions, research institutes and also the oil & gas industry. There are many new innovations which require chemists with advanced skills to analyse and test new methods of providing health via IOT devices, smart phones and small sensors deployed throughout the body to quickly provide analysis and customised recommendations.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees:
Find out more from the programme page
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
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Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs
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The Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes at UCL offers students the opportunity to follow an integrated course of research and interdisciplinary study. Students gain outstanding training in synthetic organic chemistry applied to drug design, together with a breadth of experience in several areas of synthetic methodology and chemical biology.
The programme provides a thorough foundation in drug design, advanced organic synthesis and biological chemistry, together with modules on research techniques, professional development and entrepreneurship. Students will carry out a substantial research project on organic/medicinal chemistry or chemical biology over a ten-month period.
MRes students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits) and a research project /dissertation (105 credits).
Students take five 15-credit modules including two Master's-level chemistry modules, one transferable/research skills module, one analytical chemistry module, and one professional development module.
There are no optional modules for this programme.
Students will undertake a laboratory-based research project lasting 10months. An interim report is submitted after five months, and at the end of the project each student writes a dissertation, gives a short presentation and has a viva voce examination.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, problem classes, workshops and projects. Assessment is through unseen written examination, coursework, project reports and presentations.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery MRes
Students can be self-funded or find sponsorship from funding agencies such as research councils, the European Union, industry or charities.
There are also a number of Graduate School Scholarships and departmental bursaries and prizes available.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
The MRes has been developed in response to the needs of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors for highly qualified students as leaders in the discovery of new medicines. The pharmaceutical sector is a major employer in the UK and high-quality graduates with an understanding of the sector are always in demand. Our recent graduates have taken up PhD positions, are working in industry and have entered teacher training.
This degree involves a cutting-edge research project in the laboratory a member of research staff at UCL Chemistry. This is one of the leading research departments in the UK with staff undertaking world-leading research in all areas of chemistry and chemical biology.
Medicinal and Biological Chemistry requires a thorough understanding of molecules, their structures, properties and synthesis, but it also demands the chemical understanding of the nature of biological structures, from macromolecules to cells, the design of pharmaceutical materials in the laboratory and their function in clinical settings.
The knowledge and skills acquired in the course will leave graduates well equipped to compete for positions related to 'drug discovery' in chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies.
The degree consists of advanced lecture courses in:
These are studied concurrently with a predominantly practical based course offering an introduction to research methods.
Students then proceed to a period of full-time research project work, leading to the submission of their Masters dissertation.
Lectures are given by leading researchers in the area of medicinal and biological chemistry.
The lecture courses are supported by tutorial sessions and assessed by examination in May.
The Introduction to Research Methods course includes an exciting problem solving exercise where you learn important skills such as Communicating Science, Innovation, Dealing with Intellectual Property and Grant Application Writing, together with a literature survey and written report, defining the scope of the subsequent individual research project work.
On completion of the course, students should have developed a depth of comprehension and critique in the core elements of their subject area, including:
Additionally they will have enhanced their professional/practical skills through:
Students will also have the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as:
Graduates are well suited to take up roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, either in research and development or sales and marketing. You will gain valuable work experience in a real-life research environment.
Alternatively, a Masters degree is a precursor to a PhD degree.
Our courses teach students the valuable skills they need to also move into other areas outside chemistry. Careers in IT, management or finance are possibilities after completing your degree.
This analytical chemistry masters is structured around a solid core comprised of the three main analytical techniques – Mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Each of these techniques contains a number of key common themes (data collection, analysis and management). Supporting modules feature further analytical techniques and serve to embed themes of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), facility management and enterprise into the programme. A group analytical project develops interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team and will be the first opportunity for students to independently fully exercise some of the components of the course taught in the first semester. The integral research project provides an opportunity to explore any of the main themes directly or as part of a collaborative synthetic/analytical investigation.
Analytical Chemistry is the largest employment area for the chemical sciences. The Instrumental Analytical Chemistry MSc gives you a boost to your bachelor’s degree that significantly increases your employability. We offer an advanced, instrumentation-driven postgraduate education in modern analytical chemistry with some elements in combination with one or more specialist research areas such as synthesis or data science.
You will receive comprehensive, hands-on, training with state-of-the-art research-led instrumentation in the techniques and provision of Mass Spectrometry, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction. This training will then be used in your research project, which focuses on the application of these techniques to most areas of mainstream chemistry.
The MSc masters in analytical chemistry programme will provide you with knowledge, understanding and strong practical skills in:
¹ Analytical science currently defined by the EPSRC as principally consisting of mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction
With a masters in analytical chemistry you could find employment with: