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Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry - MSc

Course Description

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.

Degree information

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). There are no optional modules for this programme.

Core modules
-Analytical Techniques in Phytochemistry
-Biodiversity and Medicines
-Medicinal Natural Products
-Natural Products Discovery
-Formulation of Natural Products and Cosmeceuticals

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.


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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

Visit the Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy or the pharmaceutical, chemical, biological or medical sciences, or a related field, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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