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Medicinal and Biological Chemistry (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

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:

Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Chemical Biology
Medicinal Chemistry
Biophysical Chemistry

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.

Programme structure

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.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students should have developed a depth of comprehension and critique in the core elements of their subject area, including:

critical analysis and management of data;
judging the relationship between theory and methodology;
assessment of the appropriate methods of data collection/analysis to address the research question;
assessment of relevance of previous studies;
critical thinking.

Additionally they will have enhanced their professional/practical skills through:

experience of research design and management;
advanced instrumentation or techniques;
production of scientific reports.

Students will also have the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as:

written, visual and oral delivery and dissemination of research findings;
interpersonal and communication skills;
computing proficiency;
organisation skills.

Career opportunities

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.

Visit the Medicinal and Biological Chemistry (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Student Profiles

School of Chemistry - Tercentenary International Masters Scholarships 2011-12 - 3 Awards

In 2013, the School of Chemistry will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first chair in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. As part of these celebrations the School has introduced the Tercentenary International Scholarships Scheme.
The Tercentenary International Masters Scholarships Scheme helps outstanding postgraduate taught masters students from outside the United Kingdom and European Community to study in the School of Chemistry by providing for some of the costs of their training.A maximum of three scholarships worth £3,000 each will be available in session 2011-12. The awards will be used towards tuition fees and will be tenable for one academic session.
These awards cannot be held concurrently with fully-funded scholarships. They can, however, be combined with other partial funding.

The studentships will be awarded on the basis of academic merit with candidates requiring the equivalent of a first-class honours degree or upper second-class honours degree from a recognised university or institution. Non-native English Language speakers must meet the University entry requirements of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible to apply for a Tercentenary International Masters Scholarship, you must have applied to start a full-time MSc programme in the School of Chemistry in September 2011 on either the:MSc in Medicinal & Biological Chemistry (or)
MSc in Materials ChemistryApplicants must be liable for the overseas fee and must be of outstanding merit and academic potential.

Application Procedure

Applicants should apply online through EUCLID for admission to the University of Edinburgh by 1 April 2011. Applicants must also notify the School of Chemistry by emailing [email protected] of their intention to apply for a Tercentenary International Masters Scholarship, also by 1 April 2011. In this email, applicants should give full details of their EUCLID application and state why they would be excellent candidates for the scholarships in no more than 250 words. Applicants must also indicate how they will fund the difference between the value of the award and the actual annual cost of studying and living at the University of Edinburgh.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants should have at least a UK 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent if outside the UK in chemistry or a closely related discipline. Undergraduate degree should have included maths and biology.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh
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