Undergraduate MChem

Medicinal Chemistry

School of Science, Engineering and Environment




With placement


Four year

Eight year

Five year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

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.

We pride ourselves on our research and have recently invested extensively in our facilities to ensure that you 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.

You will:
  • Study a range of subjects required to allow you to become a medicinal chemist
  • 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

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You have a strong interest in chemistry


You have a desire to operate in a cutting-edge research field


You want to combine the core areas of chemistry with key areas of biochemistry and biology

Course details

All about the course

Year one includes core modules in areas of organic, physical, inorganic and analytical chemistry, along with biochemistry and biology. In year two 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. The emphasis in the third year 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 one

Chemical Structure Determination

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.


Introduction to Organic 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.

Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Skills

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.

Introduction to Physical Chemistry

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.

Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry

In this module you will learn the principles of key areas of chemical analysis and inorganic chemistry such as electrochemistry, voltammetry and chromatography.

Introductory Biochemistry

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

Year two

Chemical and Biochemical Research Skills

The aim of this module is to help you understand how to conduct scientific research from basic principles and includes: critical searching, citation and evaluation of research-based literature, data interpretation, analysis and presentation, report writing and communication.

Core Organic Chemistry

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 three projects and taught modules.

Core Physical Chemistry

The aim of this module is to further develop knowledge of physical chemistry focusing upon topics such as quantum mechanics, spectroscopy and thermodynamics.

Bio-inorganic Chemistry

In this module you will learn the principles of inorganic chemistry and its applications to human health and to the environment.

Applied Chemical Skills

This module is designed to help you advance your laboratory techniques relevant to chemistry.


This module aims to introduce you to the general principles of pharmacological active ingredients and their effect upon the major organs. You will develop an understanding of techniques applicable to research in the field of pharmacology.

Year three

Research Project and Professional Skills

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.

Science and Industry BSc Hons

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 your employability after graduation.

Biochemistry of Drugs and Disease

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.

Advanced Organic Chemistry

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.

Applied Pharmacology

This module will enhance your understanding of pharmaceutical analysis and other aspects of drug development including pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Year four


Research Project and Scientific Writing

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 from

Advanced Synthesis

You will use synthetic case studies to gain an in-depth knowledge of modern synthetic methods.    


Advanced Spectroscopy and Spectrometry

You will use the most up to date methods and instrumentation to detect, identify and characterise molecules.   


Advanced Catalysis

You will become expert in the physical, inorganic and organic aspects of catalyst design and application.  


Case Studies in Drug Development

You will look at essential medicines right from their discovery/design through to clinical use.  


Modern Methods of Drug Design

You will study the latest techniques, computational and genomic used for drug discovery. 


Computational Chemistry Methods

This module will provide you with practical experience and a theoretical basis of computational chemistry.  


Advanced Materials Chemistry

You will learn about the synthesis, analysis and properties of modern materials

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


A variety of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment are combined to fit with the intended learning outcomes and level of study, including extended projects, site visits, workshops and seminars, group activities and laboratory activities.


Assessment throughout the course is by a combination of different forms of coursework and examination:

Year one:
  • 25% coursework
  • 75% examination
Year two and three:
  • 60% coursework
  • 40% examination
Year four:
  • 70% coursework  
  • 30% examination

School of Science, Engineering and Environment


Rising to the challenge of a rapidly changing world, our multi-disciplinary courses will shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Shaped by industry and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the skills to become unstoppable in your career. 



You will experience a modern learning environment, enriched with accessible lecture theatres and AV-equipped classrooms, computing suites and multimedia libraries, with access to industry journals, databases, and simulation software. 

As a chemistry student, you will have access to our state-of-the-art, integrated teaching laboratory known as the Bodmer Lab. The Bodmer Lab is a specialist, purpose-built facility and ensures our students benefit from the latest technologies to support their learning and remain on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?

This course will provide you with chemical and transferable skills which are highly regarded by employers from different sectors including Contact Research Organisations (CROs), small and large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The transferable skills learnt will allow you to seek work in areas such as research, development, quality assurance, legal cases, government roles and more.

Employers of graduates in this sector are showing 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 north west region. Graduates will be well-placed to take advantage of these opportunities through the programmes emphasis on employability in the Science & Industry module, placements and technical training.

A taste of what you could become

a Medicinal chemist

a Research technician

an Analytical chemist

a Chemistry teacher

And more...

Career Links


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.


What you need to know


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


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


Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.


Standard entry requirements


English and Maths at grade C/4 or above. Equivalents are accepted.

UCAS tariff points

128 UCAS points

A level

128 UCAS points including Chemistry grade C at A2 or equivalent. A Pass in the practical element of Science A levels must be achieved

BTEC National Diploma

DDM in a suitable science subject.

BTEC Higher National Diploma

Possible entry to year 3

Foundation Degree

Possible entry to year 3

Scottish Highers

128 points from Higher Level. To include specific subjects: Higher Level Chemistry

Irish Leaving Certificate

128 points from Higher Level. To include specific subjects: Higher Level Chemistry

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject

International Baccalaureate

31 points including grade 4 in Higher Level Biology

Access to HE

QAA Approved - Pass with 128 UCAS points. To include specific subjects: Suitable Science subject (Chemistry) Applicants holding Nursing/Midwifery/Health Access courses - refer to tutor

Alternative entry requirements

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.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,240per year
Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15600per year
Part-time 2021/22 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

All field trips are funded by the school but you may need to consider additional costs such as food and spending money. 

International field trips that are part of core modules are also funded by the school but you will need to pay towards international field trips that are part of optional modules (although these are subsidised by the school) and you will be made aware of these costs before selecting the module. 

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply?

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID F134

Institution S03

Interested in starting university in September 2021? Book your place on our next Open Day.