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Pharmaceutical Chemistry BSc

Learn about pharmaceutical chemistry and get the skills required to work in the research and development of new drugs.
Clearing is now open!
This course is available through Clearing

Apply now:

September 2023
3 years full-time
4 years with sandwich year
6 years part-time
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (INT) *
Course leader
Erika Loizidou

This course is now available in Clearing.
To find out the latest entry requirements, give us a call 0208 411 6565 or Live chat.

A pharmaceutical course designed with you in mind.

Combining chemistry with biochemistry, this course will give you a grounding in pharmaceutical chemistry and the skills needed to work in the field.

During the course you’ll cover all aspects of pharmaceutical drug development, such as target identification, synthesis, clinical testing and trials, alongside building your knowledge of the main branches of chemistry.

Our pharmaceutical chemistry course is designed to the standards of the Royal Society of Chemistry. During the course you’ll be taught by an academic team with links to the industry that include GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Johnson Matthey.

Building your chemistry skills in a lab environment

Divided into four broad themes, you’ll cover all aspects of chemistry including core chemistry knowledge, practical skills, pharmaceutical knowledge, and numeracy and computational skills. You’ll build your analytical and research skills so you can collect and interpret experimental data.

You’ll develop your chemistry skills in a high-tech laboratory. You will have access to a bioscience suite with a scanning electron microscope, microbiological and molecular equipment, as well as a host of other analytical technologies.

As part of the course you will also take part in a work placement, gaining valuable industry experience in an organisation or laboratory.

Supporting your career goals

You'll get the support you need to succeed. From your Personal Tutor to your Graduate Academic Assistant, each one has studied your subject and will provide the support you need based on their own experience. If you need a little help with writing, numeracy or library skills, we can help with that too.

A BSc in pharmaceutical chemistry prepares you for a range of opportunities in pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology companies. Previously, graduates have gone on to work with GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and more.

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What will you study on the BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry?

Our Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme is divided into four learning themes that are developed through the course of your study:

Core chemistry knowledge
Chemistry subjects are taught throughout the course of the programme with special emphasis given to organic and analytical chemistry. Year 1 begins with foundations of chemistry and analytical chemistry followed by applied physical and inorganic chemistry in year 2 as well as advanced organic chemistry which is further developed in year 3.

Practical skills
Laboratory work is an integral component in the career of a pharmaceutical chemist and therefore an integral component of your study. Year 1 begins with foundations of practical chemistry, followed by advanced practical chemistry in year 2, specialised organic synthesis techniques and a dissertation project in year 3. This element will be supported through a range of on campus laboratories where available. Virtual laboratories and pre-recorded demonstrations will also be made available so that the programme outcomes and your skills development can be achieved.

Pharmaceutical knowledge
Broad understanding of biological functions in diseases and how drugs work will be developed from year 1 with biochemistry, followed by pharmaceutical chemistry in year 2, pharmacology and toxicology in year 3 as well as a dedicated module on drug discovery.

Numeracy and computational skills
Numeracy is an essential skill in chemistry developed from year 1 through the professional development module followed by research methods and statistics in year 2. These modules also provide you with generic computational skills such as processing data, using spreadsheets, word-processing and internet communication. Specialised computational skills related to chemistry and drug discovery are developed in year 3 through the computational chemistry module.

What will you gain?

Upon completion of this course you will have gained the following experience and abilities:

  • Analytical instrumentation application
  • Synthetic organic chemistry skills
  • Compound purification and characterisation proficiency
  • Computational skills with drug discovery tools
  • Research methods and statistics
  • Collection and interpretation of experimental data
  • Enhanced teamwork and interpersonal capacities
  • Communication skills including advanced literacy and presentation skills
  • Problem solving capability
  • Independent thinking, creativity and innovation


  • Year 1 - Compulsory

    • Introduction to Biochemistry (30 credits)

      This module aims to provide you with an introduction to the biomolecules of life, including structure and function. This leads to an overview of molecular processes involved in disease and associated targets for therapeutic drugs.

    • Cell Biology (15 credits)

      This module explores the cellular structure and function and genetics of eukaryotes, bacteria, archaea and viruses. It will provide students with principles of genetics as well as a detailed understanding of the genetic processes that are operating at molecular, organism, population and species levels and that ultimately underlie adaptive change. Students will also be introduced to core theory and experimental techniques used to investigate physiology, growth and death of cells.

    • Professional Development for Pharmaceutical Chemistry (30 credits)

      The analysis and communication of scientific knowledge is an integral component of chemistry and this module aims to provide you with a number of key skills used widely by chemists. These include mathematics for chemists, communication skills and employability skills.

      The mathematics component of the module provides you with basic mathematical techniques needed to support your studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In addition to providing the necessary tools to solving quantitative problems in chemistry, it also helps you better understand chemical concepts such as, how and why reactions happen. The communication and employability skills component of this module aims to develop communicational, organisational and interpersonal skills and promote career awareness in the field of the chemical sciences.

    • Foundations of Practical Chemistry (30 credits)

      This module introduces you to the fundamental laboratory techniques that underpin the study of pharmaceutical chemistry. You will develop skills in practical chemistry and improve their knowledge and understanding of the core areas of chemistry. This module integrates learning from the first year Fundamentals of Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry modules.

    • Analytical Chemistry (15 credits)

      The aim of this module is to provide you with the theoretical knowledge that underpins fundamental concepts in analytical chemistry as well as the traditional and modern techniques that are used to analyse, separate, and characterise compounds. Emphasis is given to the chemical analysis of pharmaceutical materials and approaches used for green analytical chemistry. When you take this module you will have the opportunity to apply theoretical principles of analytical chemistry to the Foundations of Practical Chemistry or Practical Chemistry modules.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory

    • Research Methods and Professional Practice (30 credits)

      The module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to plan, implement, analyse and report project-based work with focus on preparation for your final year project module. The module also develops your core research skills fundamental to a scientific research design, irrespective of discipline. Specific research skills will be explored to meet your course requirements.

    • Practical Chemistry (30 credits)

      This module builds upon the practical skills acquired during your first year of studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. It aims to provide you with essential skills in experimental techniques in inorganic, physical and organic chemistry, as well as a variety of modern techniques in instrumental analysis.

    • Applied Physical Chemistry (15 credits)

      This module provides you with a wide-ranging knowledge of physical chemistry with a view of providing insight into biochemical phenomena. It builds on concepts learned in year one in Fundamentals of Chemistry and explores in more depth thermodynamics, molecular structure and kinetics from a biochemical perspective.

    • Applied Inorganic Chemistry (15 credits)

      The module provides you with a comprehensive grounding in inorganic chemistry with reference to metal-based drugs. It builds on concepts learned in year one in Fundamentals of Chemistry and further explores topics in basic inorganic and organometallic chemistry from a pharmaceutical or biological perspective.

  • Placement year - Optional

    • Work Placement (120 credits)

      The module considers current approaches to genetic manipulation and the widening fields of application. You will learn how to use vectors and tools for DNA/RNA manipulation for modification of prokaryotes and eukaryotes organisms for biotechnology, research and detection. Ethical issues and regulation of the field of gene technology will be explored.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory

    • Dissertation (30 credits)

      This module will build on the skills you have acquired in previous modules, and from the knowledge gained throughout the programme to date. Further development of analysis, critical thinking and scientific literary style will be promoted. You will be enabled to pursue areas of individual interest in the subject area appropriate to your target award and will have the opportunity of gaining increased theoretical and practical knowledge in a chosen specialist field. Individual research experience will be gained in an area that may provide future employment opportunities. Personal responsibility for own learning through self-directed study and supervised preparation will be fostered. It is an integral part of the degree programme, furthering the development of skills in critical analysis and reflection.

    • Drug Development (30 credits)

      This module is designed to provide you with knowledge of all the key processes involved in bringing a drug to the market and the associated challenges. The first part of the module focuses on the science and technology involved in the discovery process i.e. from identifying a medical need to the discovery of a drug candidate and the second part of the module focuses on the steps required to turn the drug candidate into a product on the market. This module is supported by online resources/videos and external speakers covering specialist topics to cover specialist topics such as, preclinical and human clinical trials, economics of drug discovery, regulatory controls and manufacturing processes.

    • Organic Synthesis (15 credits)

      Organic synthesis is a practical module that aims to provide you with advanced skills in a synthetic laboratory. You will apply a range of important organic reactions seen in Years 2 and 3 and thus strengthen your existing knowledge and understanding of organic chemical transformations.

  • Year 3 - Optional

    • Pharmaceutical Polymers (15 credits)
    • Structural Methods in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (15 credits)

      The module aims to extend the coverage of core inorganic and physical chemistry by expanding on topics.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry support your career?

Pharmaceutical chemistry provides the skills for a wide variety of lab opportunities in pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology companies. Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Astrazeneca, as well as small biotechnology companies and contract research firms are examples of potential employers. Specific roles within a variety of sectors could include:

Pharmaceutical industry

  • Research and development (drug design, synthesis and biological evaluation)
  • Drug formulation
  • Quality control and assurance (applicable to chemical industry as well)


  • Pursue a PhD in Pharmaceutical chemistry and related disciplines
  • Pursue industrial PhD in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company

Non-laboratory careers

  • Regulatory affairs e.g developing guidelines and reviewing new drug applications from pharmaceutical companies
  • Intellectual property (patent law)
  • Project management
  • Technology transfer
  • Science publications
  • Research officers
  • Science education
  • Other roles requiring strong analytical/quantitative skills

Dr Erika Loizidou
Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, Programme Leader of BSc/MSci Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Dr Loizidou supervises a wide range of research projects across both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, exploring questions that relate to drug development. She teaches across all three years of the BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry and all four years of the MSci Pharmaceutical Chemistry programmes.

Her current research interests are in the interface of chemistry and biology focusing on studies of bioactive molecules including, drug design, synthesis, interactions with biomolecules and drug delivery. She has experience in multi-step synthesis and molecular modelling techniques including docking, virtual screening and finite element analyses.

Dr Shaun Mutter
Lecturer in Chemistry

Dr Mutter’s current research interests are modelling how drugs and metals bind and interact with biomolecules. He has particular interests on the binding and effect of natural metals to proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, transition metal anti-cancer drugs, and simulations relating to distinguishing chiral compounds. He has expertise and experience in many areas of computational chemistry, including quantum chemical simulations, molecular dynamics, and calculation of molecular properties. Dr Mutter teaches across all three years of the BSc Pharmaceutical Chemistry and all four years of the MSci Pharmaceutical chemistry programmes

Dr Ajit Shah
Professor of Bioanalytical Sciences

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.

Dr Cristina Russo
Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Dr Russo became a lecturer at Middlesex University in February 2020 after completing a PhD and post-doc at Sheffield Hallam University. Her research is focused on drug absorption and metabolism, as well as biomarker discovery using proteomics strategies. It involves using a variety of analytical techniques, with a particular emphasis on the MALDI-MS technique, including imaging. Dr Russo currently teaches undergraduate students topics in analytical and pharmaceutical science.

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.

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