Postgraduate study

Medicinal and Biological Chemistry MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

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.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScMedicinal and Biological Chemistry1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

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.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in chemistry, or a closely related discipline, with a strong chemistry component.

We may also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with relevant work experience and supportive references.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScMedicinal and Biological Chemistry1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • 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.

You must submit one 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