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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.
Code
F111
Start
October 2021
Duration
3 years full-time
4 years with sandwich year
6 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£14,000 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Erika Loizidou

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. Access to the laboratory spaces at the Hendon Campus may be restricted in light of the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak, 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. Access to placements may also be impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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.


Find out 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 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak; 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

Modules

  • Year 1

    • Foundations of Practical Chemistry (30 credits) – Compulsory

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

    • Fundamentals of Chemistry (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This module provides you with the skills and knowledge of chemistry that will underpin your future studies in biochemistry. Emphasis is placed on building a knowledge base around key academic concepts in chemistry and biochemistry using examples from health and the environment to reinforce ideas. You will acquire a range of laboratory practical skills and learn how to analyse and interpret experimental results and put these into context with theoretical concepts.

    • Analytical Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      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. Those taking this module will have the opportunity to apply theoretical principles of analytical chemistry to other modules; Foundations of Practical Chemistry and Practical Chemistry.

    • Metabolic Biochemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      The main aim of this module is to introduce the key metabolic pathways of energy metabolism. This includes the study of photosynthesis, cellular respiration and bioenergetics and the structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and their derivatives.

    • Professional Development for Pharmaceutical Chemistry (30 credits) – Compulsory

      The analysis and communication of scientific knowledge is an integral component of chemistry and this module aims to provide a number of key skills used widely by chemists such as mathematics for chemists, communication skills and employability skills. The mathematics component of this module will give you the 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 will aim to develop communicational, organisational and interpersonal skills and promote career awareness in the field of the chemical sciences.

  • Year 2

    • Advanced Organic Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module builds upon the principles and concepts of inorganic and organic chemistry developed through previous modules. In this module, you will develop a more complete appreciation of the chemical reactions relevant to biochemistry with emphasis on common reactions in metabolic processes, integrating mechanisms and arrow pushing.

    • Pharmaceutical Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module provides an introduction into pharmaceutical chemistry. It examines the essential biochemistry on which understanding of medicinal chemistry is built and discusses strategies involved in developing an effective drug.

    • Practical Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

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

    • Research Methods and Professional Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

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

    • Applied Inorganic Chemistry (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module provides a comprehensive grounding in inorganic chemistry with reference to metal-based drugs. It builds on concepts learned in Year 1 in the Fundamentals of Chemistry module and further explores topics in basic inorganic and organometallic chemistry from a pharmaceutical or biological perspective.

    • Applied Physical Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      < This module provides a wide-ranging knowledge of physical chemistry with a view of providing insight into biochemical phenomena. It builds on concepts learned in Year 1 in the Fundamentals of Chemistry module and explores in more depth thermodynamics, molecular structure and kinetics from a biochemical perspective.

  • Placement year - Optional

    • Work Placement (120 credits) - Optional

      The placement aims to develop your employability skills by achieving the set of agreed learning outcomes in the Three Way Negotiated Learning Agreement and other skills learned in placement. This practical experience module provides the means for you to link academic work with a 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the meaning of theory in the wider world context. This module facilitates the embedding of transferable and graduate skills necessary for future career paths and employment. It is envisaged you will reflect upon areas of knowledge relevant to the placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through a review of your own learning. The placement learning experience provides the opportunity to enhance your skills of self-expression, communication, self-reliance and co-operation.

      The operation of placement learning is under the control of our external employer partners who may restrict access to placement learning during the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak. The year long placement will not take place in 2020/21.

  • Year 3 (changes for students in 2020)

    • Computational Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce the fundamental theory that underpins computational chemistry. It is designed to help students understand what molecular modelling programs do and how to interpret results from such experiments with an eye for providing insight to discovery chemistry. This is a practical module comprising of weekly workshops where you can learn and practice various methods of energy calculations along with workshops devoted to drug discovery tools.

    • Advanced Organic Chemistry II (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to provide an understanding of processes involved in regulation of gene expression and current laboratory methods available for investigation. It also aims to provide an understanding of how gene expression may be modulated according to changes in the cellular environment, how environmental conditions can trigger changes in these processes and how aberrations in gene expression can lead to disease.

    • Drug Development (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This module is designed to provide 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, from identifying a medical need to the discovery of a drug candidate. 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 external speakers covering specialist topics such as preclinical and human clinical trials, economics of drug discovery, regulatory controls, and manufacturing processes.

    • Organic Synthesis (15 credits) – Compulsory

      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.

    • Dissertation (30 credits) – Compulsory

      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.

    • Pharmacology and Toxicology (15 credits) – Optional

      This module discusses pharmacology, from a cellular and molecular perspective, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of drug action, clinical application, toxicology and pharmacokinetics.

    • Structural Methods in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (15 credits) - Optional

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

  • Year 3 (typical structure)

    • Computational Chemistry (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce the fundamental theory that underpins computational chemistry. It is designed to help students understand what molecular modelling programs do and how to interpret results from such experiments with an eye for providing insight to discovery chemistry. This is a practical module comprising of weekly workshops where you can learn and practice various methods of energy calculations along with workshops devoted to drug discovery tools.

    • Advanced Organic Chemistry II (15 credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to provide an understanding of processes involved in regulation of gene expression and current laboratory methods available for investigation. It also aims to provide an understanding of how gene expression may be modulated according to changes in the cellular environment, how environmental conditions can trigger changes in these processes and how aberrations in gene expression can lead to disease.

    • Drug Development (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This module is designed to provide 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, from identifying a medical need to the discovery of a drug candidate. 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 external speakers covering specialist topics such as preclinical and human clinical trials, economics of drug discovery, regulatory controls, and manufacturing processes.

    • Organic Synthesis (15 credits) – Compulsory

      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.

    • Dissertation (30 credits) – Compulsory

      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.

    • Natural Product Chemistry (15 credits) – Optional

      The primary aim of this module is to evaluate the principles of drug development from natural products (including plant species and microorganisms) and their derivatives. It also aims to evaluate the molecular mechanism of action of diverse groups of natural compounds in relation to their molecular features.

    • Pharmacology and Toxicology (15 credits) – Optional

      This module discusses pharmacology, from a cellular and molecular perspective, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of drug action, clinical application, toxicology and pharmacokinetics.

    • Structural Methods in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (15 credits) - Optional

      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 - changes for 2021 students
  3. Teaching and learning - typical structure
  4. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU / 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)

Academia

  • 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 Huw Jones
Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry

Dr Jones is a Fellow of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, where he is a leader in facilitating remediation/mitigation strategies for arsenic contamination in drinking water, a major public health issue in many countries. Dr Jones has worked in a range of environment and human health issues, specialising in applying his knowledge of chemistry and statistical analysis. Specific areas of interest include the biokinetics of aluminium and plutonium in the human body, analysis of constituents and contaminants of herbal medicines, the effects of heavy metals on nitrogen fixation in agricultural soils and the development of novel field biomonitoring and statistical techniques to assess the ecotoxicology of hydrocarbons in freshwater.



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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