Medicinal chemists have been responsible for many of our modern medicines. Their central contribution to developing new therapeutic agents against microbial infections, cancer and heart disease has helped to significantly increase worldwide life-expectancy. They are experts - with extensive knowledge of molecular design, drug synthesis and the biological function of drugs.
Four-year MChem degrees and five-year MChem (with a Year in Industry) degrees are available for high-calibre students with the ability and aspiration to practice Medicinal Chemistry at the highest levels. BSc students with excellent performance may transfer to the MChem up to the end of Stage 3.
Medicinal Chemistry Degree highlights
Students on the Medicinal Chemistry programme at Queen’s receive a multidisciplinary training at the interface of chemistry and biology which covers the core divisions of chemistry as well as biochemistry, microbiology and drug design.
- This degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Chemistry in Ireland.
- A degree in Medicinal Chemistry comprehensively equips students to make a difference in drug discovery and other careers, as well as providing key skills for progression into scientific and technical leadership roles. The School has excellent contacts with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies, with Almac Discovery involved in delivering parts of Medicinal Chemistry course content.
World Class Facilities
- Significant investment has resulted in the installation and use of some of the most modern instrumentation available as well as a new state of the art digital learning platform.
- The School is targeting two of the biggest challenges of the 21st century – Sustainability and Healthcare. As the UK’s only combined Chemistry and Chemical Engineering School within the Russell group, we are expertly placed to equip the next generation of scientists to address these issues.
Introduction While providing dedicated subject-specific learning, our Chemistry degrees strongly emphasise opportunities to develop generic problem-solving and reflective-working practices applicable to a range of career paths and patterns of employability.
Many of the elements of the BSc are in common with the MChem programme, and allow students to transfer between the two pathways, subject to meeting the appropriate programme requirements.
All degrees are modular, with six modules each year. All provide a thorough training in the main subject areas (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry) through compulsory core modules which offer in-depth study of these areas.
Stage 1 In Stage 1 Medicinal Chemistry students start with introductory modules in Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, as well as Molecular Biology and Mathematics. They also take practical classes in Chemistry and Molecular Biology.
Stage 1 courses are outlined below:
Introductory Mathematics for Chemists and Engineers
Organic Chemistry Level 1
Inorganic Chemistry Level 1
Molecular Basis of Life for Medicinal Chemists
Stage 2 Students take more advanced modules to cover topics in Analytical, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, as well as Structural Chemistry, developing the practical and theoretical skills required to identify and interrogate the structure of molecules. A module in Industrial and Green Chemistry introduces students to key concepts in these areas and a core module in Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics exposes them to cutting edge techniques that are changing the face of modern medicine and drug-discovery.
Stage 2 courses are outlined below:
Organic Chemistry 2
Inorganic Chemistry 2
Industrial and Green Chemistry
Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics
Stage 3 In addition to advancing the main subject areas of analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, students can also select a number of applied options allowing opportunities to specialise. These include a double-weighted research project directly supervised by a member of staff which will help them experience the full breadth of key areas in Chemistry and acquire both subject-specific and generic skills to act as a springboard to a successful career. Within the Advanced Practical work all students carry out inorganic and organic project work - Medicinal chemistry students also carry out a specialised medicinal-based project.
Stage 3 courses are outlined below:
Advanced Practical Work in Medicinal Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry 3
Organic Chemistry 3
Advanced Chemistry Options (the section on Computational Chemistry in Drug Discovery and Design is compulsory for Medicinal Chemistry)
Different pathways offer opportunities to specialise. The specialist pathways available consist of additional elements which are detailed below:
BSc Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry:
Students spend their third year working in industry - subject to the availability of a suitable placement - then return to Queen's for a final year of study.
MChem Chemistry with Study Abroad:
Students spend their third year in an overseas academic institution then return to Queen's for a final year of study.
MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry:
Students spend their fourth year working in industry - subject to the availability of a suitable placement - then return to Queen's for a final year of study.
There are also BSc Chemistry with a Year in Industry, MChem Medicinal Chemistry and MChem Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry courses.
People teaching youDr Stephen Cochrane
Lecturer in Chemistry
Chemistry & Chem Engineering
Dr Cochrane is a Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry and is interested in the study of novel enzymatic processes, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms and the mechanism of action of antimicrobial and anticancer peptides.
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 7 (hours maximum)
7 hours of lectures or seminars
Medium Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of practical classes or workshops each week; laboratory hours will increase as more project work is undertaken at Levels 3-4 (as applicable)
Personal Study 24 (hours maximum)
22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial 2 (hours maximum)
2 hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high-quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BSc in Medicinal Chemistry we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society. We make use of innovative technologies and a world class library to enhance their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is typically communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. Opportunities to use IT programmes associated with data manipulation and presentation are embedded in the practicals and the project- based work.
Introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Personal Tutor
Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic and professional development through the discussion of selected topics
These are essential to the training in this laboratory-based subject area. You will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. Most of the core taught modules at Stages 1 and 2 have practical components associated with them, whilst stage 3 has a double weighted practical module. Typically at stage 1 you would be in the lab for two afternoons and in stages 2 to 3 it is two full days per week.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, preparation for seminars / tutorials, writing of laboratory reports can be completed. You are encouraged to undertake private reflection on feedback, and at the later stages undertake independent research using the primary literature to support project work and critically review taught course material.
Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 6-10 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups as well as using them as a route to provide individual feedback.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students through the VLE.
As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comments. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references
- Online or emailed comments.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comments and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Investment continues to be made in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering extending our range of facilities. The well-equipped research laboratories are augmented by excellent computational facilities and some of the most modern instrumentation available. The School has recently invested in a lab containing 18 brand new analytical instruments, from HPLC, GC and mass spectrometers, to FT-IR, UV-Vis and Fluorescence spectroscopy, dedicated to the training of analytical techniques.
In addition to an instrument pool containing a range of infrared and ultra violet / visible spectrometers, a circular dichroism spectrometer and polarimeter, major items of equipment possessed by the School include NMR spectrometers, powder X-ray diffractometer, Time of Flight Mass Spectrometers, GC / mass spectrometers, Elemental analyser, Thermal analysers F.T. infrared spectrometers, BET, Scanning electron microscope and a range of the most modern facilities for laser-based spectroscopy, including nanosecond pulsed system.
- E-Learning technologies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for BSc programmes in Chemistry offering A-level/BTEC Level 3 qualifications must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C/4 or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of the overall BTEC grade awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as relevant Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, will also be considered.
For applicants offering a relevant HNC, the current requirements for admission to Stage 1 are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits. For those offering a Higher National Diploma, there may be the possibility of advanced entry to Stage 2 depending on relevance of the HND and first year results (at least half of the first year units must be at Merit grade). Where offers are made for entry to Stage 2 students would be required to achieve 2 Distinctions (in specified units) and remainder Merits in all units assessed in final year. Those not eligible for entry to Stage 2 would be considered for entry to Stage 1 provided at least one first year unit is at Merit grade. Students would be required to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year. For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in Chemistry, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Studying for a Medicinal Chemistry degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from the chemistry degree programmes at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline, including medicinal chemistry.
The School has been awarded the prestigious Athena SWAN silver award for its work in promoting women in science.
Employment after the Course
Medicinal Chemistry graduates have entered careers in a wide variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industry, publishing, marketing and teaching. As regards the MChem Medicinal Chemistry and the MChem Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry it is anticipated that graduates will go on to study for a PhD in a variety of leading institutions or also take up a graduate grade position in the pharmaceutical industry.
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, Teva, Almac, and Seagate and also have an Industrial Advisory board for the course composed of experienced senior industrial members.
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:
Teva (Pharmaceuticals) Almac (Pharmaceuticals)
Norbrook (Veterinary pharmaceuticals) Randox (Medical diagnostics)
Boehringer Ingelheim (Pharmaceuticals)
Many of the research projects within the School have industrial input, and are in collaboration with a wide variety of companies operating in the chemical sector. Given the close working relationships, between industry and the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering new opportunities to expand placements, industrial contact and career opportunities are continually developing.
Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plus initiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast full Employability Statement for further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives
Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,630 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,630 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250 EU Other 3 £22,000 International £22,000
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
NI, GB and ROI fees for 2022 entry will be published soon. International fees for 2022 entry can be viewed here: www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-tuition-fees
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Medicinal Chemistry costs
Students are required to buy a laboratory coat in year 1 at a cost of approx. £15.
Students have the option to hire a locker each year, at a cost of approx. £10 per student per
year (refundable at end of the academic year).
Students have the option to join the Royal Society of Chemistry at a cost of approx. £20 per year.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2022 from 1 September 2021.
Advisory closing date: 26 January 2022 (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.
Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2022) subject to the availability of places.
Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen’s for entry to this course until 30 June 2022. If you apply for 2022 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2022.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS