Medicinal Chemistry
BSc (Hons)

Part-time study available
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Medicinal Chemistry at Salford


Our unique Science in Industry module offers you the chance to gain experience of business behind the science


Optional year-long placement, giving you the chance to graduate with professional experience


Contributions from expert external guest lecturers

Course Summary

Medicinal chemistry incorporates the design, development and monitoring of drugs which are essential to tackling new and existing diseases. This course integrates the range of subjects required to allow you to become a medicinal chemist. Subjects covered include both core areas of chemistry (organic, physical, inorganic and analytical) and key areas of biochemistry and biology relevant to the discipline. It is designed for students with a strong interest in chemistry and its applications to the treatment of diseases.

Course Details

Course Structure

Year 1 will include core modules in areas of organic, physical, inorganic and analytical chemistry, along with biochemistry and biology

In year 2 you will develop chemistry-based analytical skills. Modules taken at this level have integrated laboratory components embedded within them in order to give you the practical and theoretical training vital for a career in medicinal chemistry

In year 3 emphasis will be placed upon chemical research and highlighting new developments in the field of medicinal chemistry

At the end of year 2, you can decide to undertake an additional year away from University on an appropriate placement, which you arrange with our support and contributes towards the final degree classification as part of your year 2 mark. After the placement you return to take the final year, making a four year course overall. In some cases the placement may be a salaried position

You will benefit from this year by being able to apply what you have learned in a real-world situation to your academic studies in final year and you will gain experience that is highly valued by prospective employers.

Year 1

This module introduces the basics of molecular structure and spectroscopy, structure and function of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
This module is designed to help you facilitate and develop effective use of laboratory apparatus in the performance of basic techniques, and to develop practical laboratory skills relevant to biology and chemistry.
The aim of this module is to introduce organic chemistry through structure and mechanism. You will study organic reactions of key functional groups such as alkenes, carbonyl and aromatic compounds.
The aim of this module is to introduce physical chemistry through energy and chemical bonding. You will study topics such as reaction kinetics, chemical equilibria and atomic and molecular structure.
In this module you will learn the principles of key areas of chemical analysis and inorganic chemistry such as electrochemistry, voltammetry and chromatography.
In this module you will learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement, and develop practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during year 1 and beyond. You will also gain an appreciation of Personal Development Planning and effective data handling, calculation and numerical skills.

Year 2

The aim of this module is to help you understand how to conduct scientific research from basic principles, including: critical searching, citation and evaluation of research-based literature; data interpretation, analysis and presentation; report writing and communication.
The aim of this module is to build upon topics covered in the Organic Chemistry 1 module. You will study organic reactions in more detail and develop practical skills in organic chemistry. This module will also prepare you for year 3 projects and taught modules.
The aim of this module is to further develop knowledge of physical chemistry focusing upon topics such as quantum mechanics, spectroscopy and thermodynamics.
This module provides an appreciation of topics in molecular biology with an emphasis on genomics, proteomics and their underlying structural aspects.
This module introduces the subject of molecular characterisation and looks at the principles of spectroscopic analysis using ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy.
The aim of this module is to introduce the general principles of pharmaceutical sciences (such as drug discovery and drug modes of action) and to present the application of these principles in the context of drug classes used to combat particular types of diseases.

Year 3

This module introduces the concept of retrosynthetic analysis; develops an appreciation of the synthetic aspects of drug design and examines modern methods for drug synthesis.
This module focuses upon key areas of the scientific industry such as marketing, health and safety and legal issues. External contributions from industry experts will enhance your learning on this module. It is aimed at improving student employability.
Through this module you will develop an understanding of the physical and chemical principles underlying biological activity of selected chemotherapeutic agents and other drugs. You will investigate currently active research areas and present a coherent analysis of up-to-date knowledge.
In this module you will study more advanced topics in organic chemistry such as concepts and rules governing pericyclic reactions and designing stereoselective routes to chiral molecules.
An opportunity to work with a research group and contribute to original research in a relevant area of medicinal chemistry. The module also focuses upon key professional skills aimed at improving employability.

Please note, exact modules may vary in order to keep content current. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the modules you will study on or before the start of the programme.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
UCAS tariff points 104-120 points
GCE A level 104-120 points including chemistry at A2 or equivalent. A Pass in the Practical Element of Science A levels must be achieved.
GCE A level double award 104-120
BTEC National Diploma DMM in a suitable science subject
BTEC Higher National Diploma Possible entry to level 5
Scottish Highers 104 - 120 points including science
Irish Leaving Certificate 104-120 points from Higher level including science
International Baccalaureate 25 points with at least one science subject in group 4

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Please note that you should discuss the possibility of being considered for the scheme with the Admissions Tutor  before making an application. Please contact the Environment and Life Sciences school office to speak with the Admissions Tutor for this course: +44(0)161 295 4656

English Language Requirements

Applicant profile

We are looking for applicants with a strong interest in chemistry, and a desire to operate in a cutting-edge research field.


You will learn through a combination of:

  • Lectures
  • Laboratory classes
  • Small group tutorials
  • Research projects
  • Guided reading


Assessment throughout the course is by a combination of coursework and examination, with coursework accounting for around one third of the marks in years 1 and 2 and up to a half in year 3. Continuous assessment includes the research project, laboratory reports, essays, data analysis, and presentations.


Career Prospects

Potential employers of graduates in this sector show increased requirements for more highly skilled and qualified employees and there continues to be a demand from the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, which have a strong base in the Northwest region. Graduates will be well-placed to take advantage of these opportunities through the programme’s emphasis on employability in the Science & Industry module, placements and technical training.   

Other opportunities outside industry include: university, government, private or charity-funded research laboratories; research and development or sales and marketing for the healthcare industries. Students may also continue on to postgraduate study or choose a teaching career which currently offers attractive financial incentives.

Alumni Profile

Links with Industry

We encourage all of our students to take up an additional industrial placement year, which we will help to arrange, between years 2 and 3 of the full-time course, making a four-year course overall. In many cases this can be a salaried position with a major company or have financial support linked to a hospital. In our experience, final degree results and employability are enhanced for students who undertake a placement year. The placement also counts towards the final degree classification as part of the year 2 mark.

Placement Opportunities

You will arrange your placement with our support.

Further Study

Fees and Funding


We have newly refurbished and well-equipped teaching and research laboratories.  State-of-the-art instrumentation includes MALDI-TOF, LC and GC mass spectrometry, FTIR and FTNMR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.