Logo close icon
Section navigation
Main Baner Image

Drug Design and Discovery MSc

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Erika Loizidou

The Drug Design and Discovery course is designed for those seeking to broaden their knowledge in the process of drug discovery and work in a related field.

Our course is flexible and offers a variety of optional modules to ensure the programme is accessible to a large audience of a broad scientific background e.g pharmacy, chemistry, biology, biomedical sciences etc and at the same time provide advanced knowledge to subject specific areas.

Why study MSc Drug Design and Discovery at Middlesex University?

This programme will allow you to develop your knowledge and understanding of how drugs are made as well as offering you advanced knowledge of computational analytical and/or synthetic techniques.

Course highlights

You will be taught by academics who have strong links and long experience in the pharmaceutical industry and acquire essential knowledge and laboratory skills for pursuing a range of career pathways within the field of drug discovery.

You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge to practice in our newly renovated laboratories that are equipped with modern instrumentation in chemical, analytical and biological analyses. These include:

  • analytical laboratory with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI- Tof MS), liquid and gas chromatography
  • biomedical laboratory with conventional and quantitative PCR, flow cytometry
  • histopathology laboratory and tissue culture facilities
  • chemistry laboratory with fume cabinets, a 60Hz benchtop nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and infrared (FTIR) spectrometers
  • specialised microscopes including confocal and scanning electron microscope (SEM)

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on MSc Drug Design and Discovery?

The main areas covered in the MSc are:

  • Current topics in drug discovery including, computer aided drug design, immunotherapy and nanotechnology.
  • Research, management, and leadership.
  • Ethics and intellectual property.
  • Advanced laboratory techniques.

What skills will you gain?

  • Knowledge and understanding of the principles of the drug discovery process as well as advanced topics such as, nanotechnology and/or cheminformatics.
  • Experience of analytical or synthetic techniques used in diagnostic and/or pharmaceutical research.
  • High level of research and problem-solving skills.
  • Creativity, innovation or business acumen.
  • Modules - Compulsory

    • Current Trends in Drug Design and Discovery (15 credits)

      The module provides students an insight into the science involved in the discovery of new drugs and the opportunity to develop in depth knowledge in the science involved within their selected topic. Further to this, students gain an appreciation of the role played by key stakeholders such, as companies, consumers, research institutions and governments in the wider health system.

    • Cheminformatics (15 credits)

      Computer-aided drug design has become an important element in the drug discovery and development process and an indispensable tool in the pharmaceutical industry. This module provides students the opportunity to use computational techniques most frequently used by the pharmaceutical industry for the purposes of discovering and optimising biologically active molecules.

    • Experimental Design and Statistics (15 credits)

      The module aims to provide students with the tools required to design effective and efficient experiments and to test scientific hypotheses. The module will also equip students with the tools necessary for statistical analysis in a hypothesis testing context.

    • Bioethics (15 credits)

      The module aims to provide insight into a range of ethical issues that relate to professional practice, to research with humans, animals, embryos and stem cells, and to human reproduction, particularly various forms of reproductive technology. The module will further explore the ethical issues present in the rapidly developing area of genetic technology, including genetic testing and selection, genetic engineering, and the concept of genetic disease.

    • Leadership and Management (15 credits)

      The module aims to provide students with the knowledge of current theories and approaches to leading and managing people so that they can bring about a positive change in their team or organisation.

    • Research Project (60 credits)

      The module aims to develop student’s skills in planning and execution of an analytical study and critical evaluation of real research results drawing on their acquired knowledge from other modules. In addition, the module aims to develop student’s communication skills to enable them to communicate their findings in written and oral form.

  • Modules - Optional

    • Advanced Bioanalytical Techniques (15 credits)

      The module aims to examine advanced bioanalytical techniques that are used in biomedical research, for the analysis of products, for improving diseases understanding and for the analysis of disease biomarkers. It also provides a detailed understanding of the principles, theory and practice of bioanalytical techniques, including safety, instrumentation, sample preparation techniques together with analysis and interpretation of analytical data.

    • Advanced Organic Synthesis Techniques (15 credits)

      This module builds upon the skills acquired in BMS3726 Organic Synthesis or an equivalent module and aims to provide a framework where students can apply existing and new knowledge of chemical transformations to the design and execution of a multistep synthesis of an organic molecule. Students are exposed to modern synthetic techniques and advanced chromatography and spectroscopy such as, 2D NMR.

    • Immunotherapeutics and Immunoassays (15 credits)

      This module aims to provide students with a sound knowledge of how immunoassays may be used in the diagnosis of disease. Students will also learn how current immunological methods such as vaccination and development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies have evolved and how they may be adapted for use in the clinical setting.

    • Nanotechnology (15 credits)

      This module aims to provide an overview of the applications of nanotechnology in drug discovery. Emphasis will be given on the design and characterisation of nanocarriers and their applications in overcoming biological barriers and drug delivery.

    • Intellectual Property and the Generics Industry (15 credits)

      This module introduces students to the basic concepts of intellectual property relevant to medical research and development, pharmaceuticals, medical technology and public health.

Module and programme information may be subject to change.

How is MSc Drug Design and Discovery taught?

This programme is delivered in a blended learning format comprising of both on campus sessions (this includes all practical laboratory sessions, computer workshops as well as some lectures and seminars) and online sessions delivered via a number of learning platforms e.g. Kaltura Newrow, Adobe Connect or Zoom. The online sessions will be recorded so that you can return to this learning in your own time and study at your own pace. Learning may be supplemented by demonstration of laboratory techniques or data analysis activities where you can access the information at any point.

You will take part in online problem-solving discussions, critical discussions, critical debates and exercises, online workshops, and in-class activities. You will supplement all this with your own guided and independent reading. The mix of delivery modes will be varied and suitable to the content being delivered.


Your knowledge and understanding is assessed by both summative and formative assessments. Examples of assessment include:

  • Presentations
  • laboratory reports
  • case studies
  • coursework
  • research project report and thesis defence
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the Drug Design and Discovery MSc support your career?

The MSc Drug Design and Discovery provides a broad overview of the drug discovery and development process and is designed for graduates in science-based subjects as preparation for either PhD-level research or a career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Potential employers include pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Astrazeneca, as well as contract research organisations. Students can also pursue non-laboratory careers such as, with a government regulatory body, science education, project management, intellectual property (patent law).

Prof Ajit Shah

Dr Shah's research interests involve the development of platforms for metabolomics and applications of analytical techniques for measuring molecules in biological matrices. Professor Shah has over 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry during which he held various positions in GlaxoSmithKline as a Senior Scientist within Drug Discovery and received a number of awards including an exceptional science award for his work in the area of Neuroscience.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Back to top