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MChem Chemistry with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Properties of Medicines

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHAR10102
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Pharmacy
Available as a free choice unit? Yes







Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Fundamentals of Biochemistry BIOL10551 Pre-Requisite Recommended

A level chemistry or equivalent



1. Provide an introduction to the drug design process

2. Consider the basic pharmaceutical chemistry properties of drugs and their formulation

3. Discuss natural products as an inspiration for the development of medicines

4. Promote group-learning through an assessed drug report


Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

  • Appreciate the types of bonding between a drug and its receptor.
  • Identify functional groups in any low MW drug.
  • Recognise ionisable groups in any low MW drug and estimate their ionisation in the blood and stomach.
  • Predict the basic shape and conformation for any low MW drug.
  • Recall the importance of stereochemistry with regards to drug development.
  • Identify any potential stereoisomers of any low MW drug from its structure.
  • Appreciate that a drug is formulated into a medicine by the addition of excipients.
  • Recognise that a medicine is typically available as a range of formulations depending on the needs of the condition and/or patient.
  • Analyse and evaluate the literature on the pharmaceutical chemistry of a medicine, and write a report.
  • Working as a group.
  • Problem solve.
  • Complete database searching.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 75%
Report 25%

Feedback methods

  1. Group feedback will be given in the workshops throughout the module.
  2. Short answer questions will be circulated in advance and discussed in the workshops.
  3. Written feedback and grades will be provided on the drug reports typically within 3 teaching weeks after the deadline.
  4. Students are encouraged to individually discuss issues with academic staff before/after lectures/workshops.
  5. Students are encouraged to contact academic staff by email (,,,, to discuss issues and/or to arrange an appointment.

Recommended reading

  • Essentials of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (3rd ed) D. Cairns, Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2003. Chapters 1, 2,3,4,8. Available as an e-book on Myilibrary.
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Editors Jill Barber and Chris Rostron, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 18
Practical classes & workshops 6.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Leon Aarons Unit coordinator
Elena Bichenkova Unit coordinator
Sam Butterworth Unit coordinator
Richard Bryce Unit coordinator
Roger Whitehead Unit coordinator
Andrew Leach Unit coordinator
Jayne Lawrence Unit coordinator

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