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Medicinal Chemistry

MChem (Hons)

School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Biomedical Science


Start Date(s): September


4 years full-time
5 years full-time with Professional Studies


UK - £9,250 per year

Part-time - Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • You will carry out two separate research projects at levels 6 and 7, preparing you for research and development roles or a PhD after graduation
  • All final year taught modules are optional giving you the opportunity to specialise in your preferred area of medicinal chemistry
  • There is an opportunity to work with experts during placement or projects in the Kidscan laboratories here at Salford
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

MChem Medicinal Chemistry is a four-year integrated Masters programme leading to a level 7 qualification. You will gain a thorough grounding in all aspects of medicinal chemistry and carry out two separate research projects in addition to a full training in modern laboratory methods. You can choose from a wide range of specialised optional modules in the fourth year.

Medicinal chemistry incorporates the design, development and monitoring of drugs which are essential in 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.  

At the University of Salford we pride ourselves on our research and have recently invested extensively in our facilities to ensure that our students are able to complete research projects that are exciting and inspiring, contributing useful findings to the field. Examples of research areas that you  can  explore  include:  nanotechnology, drug design and repurposing, cancer and antimicrobial research, natural products, biomarkers, analytical detection of volatiles, mass spectrometry, computational studies, skin modelling, environmental assessment, pollution and remediation, toxicology and much more.

We encourage all of our students to take up an additional industrial placement year, which you arrange with our support, between years two and three of the full-time course, making a four year course overall. 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 your final year as well as gaining experience that is highly valued by prospective employers.

Eva Rodger

BSc (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry student

Recently completed a placement at Harvard University, working alongside experts on pioneering research into Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Muscular Atrophy 

Whilst on my placement at Harvard, I was working in an academic laboratory making compounds for testing on Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This was really interesting, and was the first time I've ever done a full time job, so this definately helped me feel like a grown up! I was informed about the opportunity to go to America in my first year by my tutor, who did his PhD at Salford alongside Dr. Kevin Hodgetts, who works at Harvard and became my placement supervisor in America - a great example of the universities international research relationships.

Course Structure

Year 1 includes 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, and 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 your final year emphasis will be placed upon chemical research and highlighting new developments in the field of medicinal chemistry. In your final year, you can choose from a wide range of specialised optional modules.

Year 1                            

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.                  
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.                  
The aim of this module is to introduce principles of biochemistry. You will study biochemical pathways and organelles, relevant to cell biology.                  

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 Introduction to Organic Chemistry 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.                  
You will be able to demonstrate the principles and applications of EI and CI mass spectrometry, 1-H and 13-C NMR spectroscopy, IR and UV/Vis spectroscopy. You will demonstrate how spectroscopic and mass spectrometric techniques may be used to characterise and identify molecular structure.                  
In this module you will learn principles of drug fate, absorption, metabolism and behaviour in different organs.                  
You will demonstrate a broad knowledge of quantum mechanics and its application to atomic and molecular systems, be able to evaluate the significance of physical chemistry in modern day spectroscopy and reaction kinetics and explain the theory of electrochemistry and its relationship to thermodynamics            
This module provides an appreciation of topics in molecular biology with an emphasis on genomics, proteomics and their underlying structural aspects.                  

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.      

Year 4  

An intensive research project on a topic of your choosing, lasting from September to January and leading to an article in Salford’s own online journal      
Choose three optional modules:  
You will use synthetic case studies to gain an in-depth knowledge of modern synthetic methods.        
You will use the most up to date methods and instrumentation to detect, identify and characterise molecules.      
You will become expert in the physical, inorganic and organic aspects of catalyst design and application.          
You will look at essential medicines right from their discovery/design through to clinical use.      
You will study the latest techniques, computational and genomic used for drug discovery.          
This module will provide you with practical experience and a theoretical basis of computational chemistry.      
You will learn about the synthesis, analysis and properties of modern materials

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
European Baccalaureate Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
Minimum grade 5 in GCSE maths and English
UCAS tariff points 128 points
GCE A level 128 points including a biological or appropriate subject discipline and Chemistry at A2 or equivalent. A Pass in the practical element of Science A levels must be achieved.
BTEC National Diploma DDM; must include Biology and Chemistry
BTEC Higher National Diploma Possible entry to year 3
Foundation Degree Possible entry to year 3
Scottish Highers 128 points from Higher Level including appropriate science subjects (Biology and Chemistry)
Irish Leaving Certificate 128 points from Higher Level including a science subject (Biology and Chemistry)
International Baccalaureate 30 points with at least one science subject from 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

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You will have a strong grounding and a clear interest in chemistry either from an A-level background, a BTEC route or via our Medicinal Chemistry with Foundation Year programme.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year


Teaching, learning and assessment are inclusive, balanced and progressive to facilitate and encourage student independence and self-responsibility for learning during advancement through the programme.

A variety of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment are combined to fit with the intended learning outcomes and level of study, such as:

  • Two extended research projects providing opportunities to demonstrate depth of learning.
  • Project-based learning, providing the chance to manage your time and learning.
  • Workshops and seminars to give you the opportunity to improve your presentation and communication skills.
  • Group activities, giving you the chance to practice problem solving and its applications.
  • Contributions from industrial partners and external experts.
  • Individual and small-group oral and poster presentations to reflect on professional practice.
  • Laboratory activities, one of the key elements in science, to gain competencies in different methods.
  • Lectures to provide you with core knowledge and problem solving skills.
  • Small-group tutorials for pastoral support but also to develop those important scientific skills.


Assessment throughout the course is by a combination of different forms of coursework and examination and is broken down as follows:


  • 40% coursework
  • 60% examination

YEAR 2, 3 AND 4: 

  • 60% coursework  
  • 40% examination

Continuous formative and summative assessment include:

  • Research projects (2)  
  • Laboratory reports 
  • Essays
  • Data analysis 
  • Presentations (poster, project, talk)
  • Literature reviews
  • Exams (both closed and open book)


Career Prospects

Graduates from the programme will be highly skilled, particularly in research areas. The sector has highlighted the requirement for chemistry graduates with a knowledge of sustainability and green chemistry which this programme will provide. The number of job vacancies within the UK and North West for chemists increased in the five years to 2017 by 64% and 52% respectively. Potential employers of medicinal chemistry graduates include the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries but MChem graduates are also highly employable outside of their discipline. 

The University of Salford places emphasis on employability, placements and technical support meaning that Salford chemistry graduates are fully equipped to enter into industry or pursue further study.

Placement Opportunities

We encourage all of our students to take up an additional industrial placement year, which you arrange with our support, between years two and three of the full-time course making a four year course overall. 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 your final year as well as gaining experience that is highly valued by prospective employers.

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