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MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

I'm glad I chose to study medicinal chemistry!

Learning about drug development and interactions of drugs in bodily systems is really interesting and I hope to do something similar after my degree.

Gul Zahra / 2nd year, Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry

Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry is a highly flexible degree programme covering a wide range of courses taught by chemists, pharmacists, biologists and industrial medicinal chemists. It provides a strong foundation in core chemistry, supplemented by specialist knowledge of medicinal chemistry.

In addition to core chemistry units you take top-rated courses such as foundation biology, medicinal biochemistry and a number of courses on drug discovery and development from experts within chemistry and other Faculties.

Special features

Join Harry for a tour of the Chemistry labs.

MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry is aimed at students with a strong interest in the biological aspects of chemistry. As well as traditional chemistry topics you will take courses that cover biochemistry, medicines and drug discovery, and the major disease areas. Some of these courses are taught by academics from the top-rated School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences while others are taught by industrialists from major pharmaceutical companies. For full details of all the courses see below.

A range of study options

It's possible to broaden your degree by taking units from the University College , Business and Management for all Programmes in exchange for a few units from your degree.

Foundation Year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our foundation course first.

Flexibility to transfer between courses

It is generally possible to transfer between the various chemistry degrees we offer in years 1-3. This is subject to satisfactory academic performance and completion of the required pre-requisite modules.

Additional course information

Our student community

ChemSoc is a student-run society with the aim of giving chemistry students the complete experience whilst at The University of Manchester. The year begins with the infamous lab coat pub crawl and concludes with a fantastic annual ball! In between ChemSoc hosts socials alongside other societies, allowing your inner passion for your subject to come out and show everyone that chemistry is the best subject.

The society has two successful sports teams, football and netball, with the football team winning the league last year! Teams comprise of first years right through to PhD students, so you will be able to meet lots of new faces!

Besides the social side the society has reinvented its academic aspects; ChemSoc hosts research talks accessible to all students featuring our high level of research from Manchester. Finally, the society encourages students to think about their employability, and have worked closely with the Careers Service to run events throughout the year, such as a LinkedIn workshop.

Our blog

You can read about our students' experience in studying chemistry, work placement and study abroad diaries, as well as alumni profiles in our department blog .

Teaching and learning

Undergraduates have around 20 hours contact time per week and are expected to spend around 30 hours in private study. Your week will be made up of:

  • Lectures
  • Small group tutorials
  • Laboratory classes
  • Group work
  • Individual research projects
  • Computer-based tuition - A range of ancillary mathematics, data handling, presentation and IT skills, and computer based chemistry are taught on the dedicated computer cluster
  • Workshops
  • PASS session - student-led peer-assisted study sessions where second and third year students help you to develop learning strategies and techniques.

Personalised learning support

Chemistry at Manchester offers a high level of learning support. You will have weekly tutorials in small groups of no more than 6.

You'll have three Academic Tutors, one each for Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry. You'll also be allocated a Personal Tutor to oversee your personal welfare - reflect on your academic and personal development, discuss future goals and agree action plans.

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring

We are also proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support in the area of the current week's tutorial. It is entirely voluntary and second, third and fourth-year students help first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.

Additional Maths support

We offer additional Maths support to all our students. In Year 1 this is by means of a programme of online, self-directed study with weekly support clinics if you need additional support or advice.

Practical chemistry

Practical chemistry is important in all areas of the subject, and is a key part of all our programmes. Throughout your degree you'll carry out practical work in our modern well-equipped undergraduate laboratories, built to a high specification. Our practical courses are designed to provide experience of the wide range of chemical techniques for measurement and synthesis necessary for the study of modern chemistry. As well as providing the opportunity to do interesting chemistry our practical courses train students to work safely and effectively in the laboratory.

Year 4 research project

Your extended individual project will be based within one of the research groups in our Department or in the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry. This will give you the opportunity work on a current problem in your chosen area of research, under the supervision of a relevant member of academic staff.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, coursework, laboratory practical and workshops:

  • Lectures are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), which are held at the end of an academic semester.
  • Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam.
  • The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. Examinations take place in January and May each year, with around one third of the marks from continuous assessment. The first year is a simple pass/fail, but from then on a percentage of each year's assessment counts towards your final degree classification.

Course content for year 1

First-year topics include:

  • bonding in molecules
  • organic reaction mechanisms
  • natural product chemistry
  • s, p, and d block chemistry
  • thermodynamics
  • kinetics
  • quantum mechanics

You will also attend classes on foundation biology, medicinal biochemistry and the properties of medicines. In addition, you will attend courses covering presentational, computer and IT skills.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Fundamentals of Biochemistry BIOL10551 10 Mandatory
Introductory Chemistry CHEM10101 30 Mandatory
Energy and Change CHEM10212 10 Mandatory
Coordination Chemistry CHEM10312 10 Mandatory
Structure and Reactivity CHEM10412 10 Mandatory
Chemists' Toolkit CHEM10520 20 Mandatory
Practical Chemistry CHEM10600 20 Mandatory
Properties of Medicines PHAR10102 10 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas such as:

  • molecular spectroscopy
  • bonding and reactivity
  • surfaces and interfaces
  • chemistry of the heavier elements
  • molecular symmetry
  • metal-ligand bonding
  • polymer science
  • structure determination
  • stereochemistry and heterocyclic chemistry
  • plus additional course units involving polymer, materials and computational chemistry.

In addition, you will attend two courses, taught jointly with the School of Pharmacy , on drug discovery and the roles of medicinal chemistry in tackling major diseases from infections to cancer and heart disease.

Eligibility for continuation on this MChem programme is at our discretion, based on your general performance and your second year mark. If you are not eligible you will be transferred to the BSc programme.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Core Physical Chemistry CHEM20212 10 Mandatory
Group Theory: Fundamentals and Applications CHEM20311 10 Mandatory
Inorganic Chemistry CHEM20312 10 Mandatory
Organic Synthesis CHEM20411 10 Mandatory
Structure and reactivity of organic molecules CHEM20412 10 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Drug Discovery CHEM20421 10 Mandatory
Chemists' Toolkit II CHEM20500 10 Mandatory
Integrated Spectroscopy and Separations CHEM20611 10 Mandatory
Practical Chemistry CHEM22600 30 Mandatory
The Big Killers PHAR20302 10 Mandatory

Course content for year 3

You can choose from a wide range of course units made up of core and advanced chemistry units and also some units from outside chemistry. These include advanced course units in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry, as well as natural product and biological chemistry, contemporary drug discovery and synthesis for drug discovery and development.

In addition options are available from outside the Department, in Enterprise and the History of Science. Practical work in the third year takes the form of a group research project. You will work in a team with other medicinal chemistry students on a medicinal chemistry-specific project.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Core Chemistry 3 CHEM30211 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 2 CHEM30311 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 4 CHEM30312 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 1 CHEM30411 10 Mandatory
Advanced Drug Discovery CHEM30441 10 Mandatory
Synthesis for Drug Discovery and Development CHEM30442 10 Mandatory
Advanced Practical Training CHEM30620 40 Mandatory
Personalised Learning Unit 2 CHEM30112 10 Optional
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry CHEM30432 10 Optional
Environmental Challenges: Waste Disposal EART33102 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30011 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30012 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

In your fourth and final year you will carry out an extended project in Organic Chemistry or Pharmacy, in association with one of the Department's research groups , relevant to biomedical research.

You will study enhanced core course material and also choose from our extensive list of specialist optional course units, which cover cutting-edge developments in chemistry and are taught by world-leading scientists, giving you the opportunity to tailor your final year to the areas which most inspire you. You will also attend specialist lectures chosen in consultation with your project supervisor.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
MChem Yr4 Project Report CHEM41600 40 Mandatory
MChem Yr4 Project Execution CHEM42600 20 Mandatory
MChem Yr4 Project Presentation and Viva CHEM43600 10 Mandatory
MChem Project Planning & Literature Review CHEM44600 20 Mandatory
Medicines Design & Application PHAR41111 20 Mandatory
Personalised Learning Unit 1 CHEM40111 10 Optional
Advanced Analytical Chemistry CHEM40121 10 Optional
Computational Modelling Techniques CHEM40241 10 Optional
Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry CHEM40311 10 Optional
Advanced Organic Synthesis CHEM40411 10 Optional
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology CHEM40711 10 Optional
Advanced Bioorganic Chemistry CHEM41411 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 4

Scholarships and bursaries

For information about scholarships/bursaries/sponsorship please see our undergraduate fees pages and go to Department and university scholarships .


The University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.

Our modern teaching laboratories are equipped with a wide range of specialist facilities including:

  • State-of-the-art synthetic labs for project work.
  • Dedicated NMR spectrometer for exclusive use by undergraduates.
  • A suite of dedicated analytical instrumentation.
  • The undergraduate teaching labs also have 3 HPLC and one HPLC-MS instruments to help you learn the fundamentals and applications of measurement and of separation science.
  • Ten spectrophotometers and a suite of infra-red spectrometers for measuring solids, liquids and gases.

You will also have access to:

  • Open access research laboratories for Separations, EPR, NMR and Mass Spectrometry.
  • Cutting-edge X-ray diffractometers.
  • Research Computing Facility to support teaching & learning in computational and theoretical science.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: