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MSc Drug Design

Course Description

The programme is designed for graduates with a biological background and builds on existing core biosciences modules in the area of applied biotechnology. It gives a grounding in the early stage drug discovery process for those interested in careers in biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry.

The MSc covers application of technologies to early stage drug discovery focusing on target identification, target validation, and lead discovery and design follow-up through understanding protein ligand interactions and biophysics at a molecular level in order to produce good drug candidate molecules via rational drug design.

The programme also includes site visits to biotechnology companies and industry, plus workshops/lectures from invited industrial experts.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/227/drug-design

About the School of Biosciences

The School of Biosciences is among the best-funded schools of its kind in the UK, with current support from the BBSRC, NERC, MRC, Wellcome Trust, EU, and industry. It has 36 academic staff, 56 research staff (facility managers, research fellows, postdoctoral researchers and technicians), approximately 100 postgraduate students and 20 key support staff. The school's vibrant atmosphere has expanded to become a flourishing environment to study for postgraduate degrees in a notably friendly and supportive teaching and research environment.

Research in the School of Biosciences revolves around understanding systems and processes in the living cell. It has a strong molecular focus with leading-edge activities that are synergistic with one another and complementary to the teaching provision. Our expertise in disciplines such as biochemistry, microbiology and biomedical science allows us to exploit technology and develop groundbreaking ideas in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, protein science and biophysics. Fields of enquiry encompass a range of molecular processes from cell division, transcription and translation through to molecular motors, molecular diagnostics and the production of biotherapeutics and bioenergy.

In addition to research degrees, our key research strengths underpin a range of unique and career-focused taught Master’s programmes that address key issues and challenges within the biosciences and pharmaceutical industries and prepare graduates for future employment.

Course structure

The MSc in Drug Design involves studying for 120 credits of taught modules, as indicated below. The taught component takes place during the autumn and spring terms, while a 60-credit research project take place over the summer months.

The programme is taught by staff from the Biosciences, Industrial Biotechnology Centre and industrial scientists who all have experience of working with the drug industry (both large pharma and biotech).

In additional to traditional scientific laboratory reports, experience is gained in a range of scientific writing styles relevant to future employment.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

BI827 - Advanced Drug Design (30 credits)
BI830 - Science at Work (30 credits)
BI836 - Practical and Applied Research Skills for Advanced Biologists (30 credits)
BI840 - Cancer Therapeutics: From the Laboratory to the Clinic (15 credits)
BI851 - Advanced Molecular Processing for Biotechnologists and Bioengineers (30 credits)
BI852 - Advanced Analytical and Emerging Technologies for Biotechnology and Bio (30 credits)
CB612 - New Enterprise Startup (15 credits)


Assessment is by coursework and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide students with an academic framework to underpin your career in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology industry or applied translational research in an academic environment

- give you an understanding of the process of academic investigation in a range of academic disciplines relevant to drug design

- provide a stimulating, research-active environment for teaching and learning in which you are supported and motivated to achieve your academic and personal potential

- facilitate a valuable learning experience through a variety of teaching and assessment methods that will promote the assimilation, comprehension, analysis application, synthesis and evaluation of the knowledge base

- give you the experience of undertaking an independent research project or dissertation

- prepare students for further training and employment both in science and non-science based careers by developing transferable and cognitive skills

- develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances

- provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable irrespective of race, background, gender or physical disability from both within the UK and from overseas.


A postgraduate degree in the School of Biosciences is designed to equip our graduates with transferable skills that are highly valued in the workplace. Our research-led ethos ensures that students explore the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and the intensive practical components provide rigorous training in cutting edge technical skills that are used in the modern biosciences while working in areas of world-leading expertise within the School.

Destinations for our graduates include the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies within the UK and leading research institutes both at home and abroad.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MSc Drug Design page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Minimum 2:1 honours degree in a biosciences-related subject. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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