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Drug Design - MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

This MSc offers a comprehensive guide to all aspects of modern day drug design. It is taught by research scientists, clinicians and industry experts. Our graduates have progressed to undertake or obtain PhDs or medical studentships, or have found employment in both the private and public sector.

Degree information

The programme covers all aspects of drug design, including genomics, bioinformatics, structural biology, cheminformatics, molecular modelling and fragment-based drug design, drug target selection, intellectual property and marketing. New therapies and research areas such as antibodies, siRNA, stem cells and high throughput screening are covered. Students will develop essential skills such as research methods and techniques of drug design.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of eight core modules (120 credits) and a research project (60 credits). A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered. A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is also offered. There are no optional modules for this programme.

Core modules
-Bioinformatics and Structural Biology
-Target Identification and High Throughput Screening
-Cheminformatics and Computer Drug Design
-Biological Molecules as Therapeutics - Antibodies, siRNA, and Stem Cells
-Biophysical Screening Methods, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
-Fragment Based Drug Design (FBDD)
-Target Selection - Scientific Grounds
-Target Selection - Commercial and Intellectual Property

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which can take the form of a literature project, wet lab/computer modelling based project or an external project with an industrial sponsor.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, self study, practical sessions and discussion groups. The research project forms one third of the programme. Each of the taught modules is assessed by unseen written examination (50%) and coursework (50%). The research project is assessed by the dissertation and viva.


The programme will provide a good background for students looking to establish a career in drug design/discovery and related industries (biotech, pharma, national research laboratories and NHS agencies), and for industry professionals seeking to gain a greater understanding of new methodology. The knowledge and transferable skills delivered will also be useful for those intent on further PhD or medical studies.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Industrial Chemistry, University of Oxford
-PhD Researcher (Molecular Biology), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
-Cancer Research, Imperial College London
-PhD Drug Design, University College London (UCL)
-PhD Oncology, Tianjin University

Graduates from this programme have progressed to PhD/medical studentships at different universities and research institutes around the world, including Oxford, UCL, Grenoble, EMBL, and in the USA and China. Many alumni have secured positions in research teaching and technical sales in the private and public sectors.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL is listed among the top five universities in the TImes Higher Education QS World University Rankings 2015/16 and is located in the centre of one of the world's finest cities. UCL is one of Europe's best and largest centres for biomedical research.

At the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, we have pioneered multidisciplinary research with a particular emphasis on translating that research into useful clinical benefit. Our research expertise includes: medicinal chemistry, computational drug design, neuronal development and signalling, cell cycle control, intensive care medicine, stem cells, mitochondrial biology and cancer.

Visit the Drug Design - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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