Postgraduate study

Medicinal & Biological Chemistry

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of Chemistry
  • Joseph Black Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JJ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Chemistry
  • Joseph Black Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JJ