Pharmaceutical Chemistry

MChem, 4 years

This is for you if... you love chemistry and want to understand the way chemists develop new drugs, with a view to a career in that field, or a related PhD.

Course Description

The pharmaceutical industry needs scientists with a firm understanding of chemistry together with a knowledge of biochemistry, disease action, and drug behaviour. Our Pharmaceutical Chemistry degrees provide you with an excellent grounding in all these areas. They have been designed to cover all aspects of pharmaceutical drug development, from target selection, through to drug discovery and optimisation to clinical trials and marketing.

If you choose to study for a BSc or MChem degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry you will, on graduation, be equipped with the skills to work in the pharmaceutical industry or in the health and biomedical sectors. Pharmaceutical Chemists are at the forefront of drug development, design, synthesis, trials and marketing and as one of the largest employer sectors in the UK, a diverse range of careers will be open to you.

The Department of Chemistry at Leicester is one of the best in the UK for both teaching and research. We have a reputation as a friendly, supportive department that produces highly trained graduates with skills valued by employers. This is because we offer high quality courses that are designed to give you a wide range of employment opportunities, and are carefully structured to ensure you will cover all the relevant topics.

Whichever degree you study, you will always benefit from our excellent teaching, our well-equipped laboratories, our high-quality welfare provision and academic support. You will also reap the benefits of the cutting-edge research being carried out in the department by our academics – the same academics who teach you.

Our specialist research areas include atmospheric chemistry, chemical biology, materials and interfaces, spectroscopy and dynamics, and sustainable synthesis and catalysis. You can be sure of learning about the very latest breakthroughs in each area throughout your course. In your final year, you will carry out your own personal research project, working under one of our academic staff and applying the knowledge and practical skills which you have gained on the course – placing you at the cutting-edge of chemistry research.

What's the difference?

Study for a BSc and you will receive rigorous training in chemistry and related, transferable skills – which will put you in a strong position to apply for a range of different employment sectors. Or you may want to continue your studies by applying for a Masters degree (MSc).

If you specifically want to find work as a chemist, whether in industry or the public sector, you should consider an MChem. The extra depth of experience and knowledge you will gain is valued by prospective employers that use chemical processes, and will keep you competitive in the job market against graduates who may have studied for the longer degrees taught in some European countries. Alternatively, an MChem provides a solid basis for progressing to a PhD.

Each of our three MChem degrees share a common first two years with the respective BSc, during which you can switch between them (transfer from BSc to MChem is subject to satisfactory progress). Both the MChem and BSc degrees are taught and assessed to the same high standards. The difference is one of content, not quality.

Also please note that the Year in Industry and Year Abroad options are not available on our BSc degrees. (The MChem in Pharmaceutical Chemistry does not have a Year Abroad option.)

Key Facts
Typical offer
ABB-ABB
UCAS codes
F150, F153, F152
Start date
September 2017
Department
Chemistry
Contact

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281
seadmissions@le.ac.uk

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 2100
chemadmiss@le.ac.uk

Department of Chemistry website



View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

ChemSoc is our friendly student Chemistry Society, organising social events, sports fixtures and other activities.

You will benefit from our high teaching standards and our high-quality welfare provision and academic support. Our aim is make sure each student has a chance to reach their full potential.

Some of our previous students have had their final year research projects published in leading scientific journals. 

Equipment in our spacious teaching labs includes FTIR and UV/Visible spectrometers and gas/liquid chromatographs (GC, GC/MS and HPLC). Access to high-field NMR spectrometers, atomic force microscopes, high-resolution mass spectrometers, and an X-ray diffractometer is also available.

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1

During your first year you will be taught a range of fundamental chemistry theories and techniques. In addition to this, you will begin to look at the aspects of chemistry that form the foundations of pharmaceutical chemistry.

Modules

    This is the same as the first year of the BSc.

    NB. It is possible to switch at the end of your first year to a regular Chemistry degree, but not to a degree in Chemistry with Forensic Science because of the specialised modules taught on that course.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year 2

    Year 2

    You will learn more advanced practical techniques, increase the number of specialised pharmaceutical modules you are taking and begin to reflect on your career ambitions and how to go about realising them.

    Modules

    • Bifunctional Molecules
    • Bioanalytical Chemistry
    • Chemistry of Rings
    • Physical Chemistry of Colloids
    • Kinetics and Mechanisms
    • Organometallic Chemistry
    • Physiology and Pharmacology
    • Science Communication and Career Skills
    • Chemistry Practical Parts A and B

    This is the same as the second year of the BSc.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year 3

    Year 3

    You will spend your third year honing your practical skills and gaining a more complex understanding of chemistry, having acquired all the necessary skills and information to be able to pursue a research project of your own.

    On an MChem degree you have three options for your third year: a year abroad, an industrial placement, or further study in Leicester.

    Spend a year abroad

    If you choose to spend a year abroad, you will study relevant Chemistry modules at one of our partner universities and also undertake a research project there in one of the institution's research groups. Eligibility for the year abroad is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2.

    Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or are self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office

    The Department of Chemistry at Leicester has links with several European universities, administered through the European Erasmus scheme. If you attend one of these, you may be eligible for an Erasmus grant if you comply with European Commission rules and regulations. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them. During your second year at Leicester you will receive appropriate language training.

    • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite 

    We have links with the following universities:

    We also have links with some universities outside Europe. There is no monthly grant when you attend one of these universities, however if you are receiving financial assistance from Student Finance your support will continue and you may also be eligible to apply for additional travel grants or scholarships. We have links with the following universities:

    American universities

    Spend a year working

    You will carry out a year long project in the research and development section of your host company, such as developing new drugs or exploring new analytical techniques for testing the purity of petroleum products. You will also study some Year 3 Chemistry modules by distance learning.

    In addition to getting paid, throughout your industrial placement you will have all the same entitlements as other employees in the company. Salaries vary but the average is around £15,000-17,000 per year.

    Recent host employers include: GlaxoSmithKline, Astra Zeneca, 3M, BASF, the Ministry of Defence, Lubrizol and Reckitt Benckiser.

    Unsure whether to spend your third year working in industry or living abroad? You could enjoy both experiences by spending a year working for an overseas employer. If you need language training, this will be provided in Year 2.

    Stay in Leicester

    If you choose to stay in Leicester, in your third year you will continue with your studies, looking at advanced aspects of different areas of chemistry. You will also carry out more in-depth practical experiments to prepare you for your project in Year 4.

    Modules

    • Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
    • Advanced Chemistry Practical
    • Biological Chemistry
    • Metals in Organic Synthesis
    • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
    • Chemistry General Skills

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Final Year

    Final Year

    Your final year will introduce you to more specialist branches of Chemistry, such as Cancer Chemistry, and develop your existing skills to a standard suitable for professional research.

    Modules

    • Advanced Structure Determination
    • Advanced Synthetic Methods
    • Cancer Chemistry
    • Green Chemistry

    Plus your Research Project


     

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Additional Information

    Accreditation

    This degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching is a mixture of lectures, tutorials, exams, lab reports, essays, oral presentations, poster design and problem based learning. A typical week might include nine hours of lectures, seven hours of lab work, and two or three workshops or tutorials. You will also be expected to spend several hours each week on private study which might include answering problem sheets, preparing for tutorials or writing up lab reports.

    All of our courses are linked to Blackboard – a virtual learning environment that gives you access to lecture notes, self-test exercises, supplementary information and background literature about the course.

    We place a strong emphasis on small group tutorials, in which half a dozen students meet with a member of staff to discuss questions arising from the lectures. Often you will go over a set of problems handed out a few days earlier. Tutorials are also an ideal opportunity to discuss any aspects of the course that you don’t fully understand.

    Chemistry is, of course, a very practical subject, so strong emphasis is placed on the acquisition of laboratory skills. In Years 1 and 2 you will spend about four to six hours each week in the lab. In your third year, you will increase your lab time to about 10-12 hours per week. In your fourth year you will spend up to 24 hours a week in the lab carrying out your research project.

    You are assessed on your performance through exams at the end of the semester or at the end of the year and through continuous assessment throughout your modules.

    NB. All lab work is continually assessed - there are no practical exams.

    You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they are academic, financial, housing, career or social issues.

    Entry Requirements

    • A/AS-levels: AAB-ABB including Chemistry. (The lower offer is given to students studying two or more science subjects.) Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level.
    • EPQ with A-levels: ABB-BBB + EPQ at grade B.
    • GCSE: Grade A Maths (if Maths or Physics not held at A/AS-level)
    • Access to HE Diploma (Science): 60 credits overall with 45 credits at level 3, including some at distinction in relevant Chemistry modules. Must include at least 15 credits in Chemistry..
    • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 32 points (with grade 5 in Chemistry).
    • BTEC Nationals: BTEC Diploma in Applied Science with DDD, plus A-level Chemistry.

    Other national and international qualifications considered.

    If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year run by our dedicated International Study Centre. The ISC provides academic and English language support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester. 

    Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

    Selection Process

    Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the department.

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

    International Qualifications

    Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

    Countries list

    Fees and Funding

    • Starting in 2017

      • To be confirmed
      Find out more about scholarships and funding.
    • Starting in 2017

      • £18,855 in your first year
      • Year abroad: your fee will be 15% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year.
      • Year in industry: your fee will be 25% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year.

      After the 2017/18 academic year, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation (based on RPIX - a measure of inflation in the UK, equivalent to all items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments) and is subject to government regulations.

    Career Opportunities

    Many of our graduates seek employment in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which are the largest employers of scientists in the UK and are among the country’s leading manufacturing exporters.

    As well as gaining detailed knowledge of different aspects of chemistry you will gain a range of transferable skills from your degree in areas such as problem solving, data analysis, numeracy, computing and time management. This combination of chemistry knowledge and transferable skills means that after you graduate your job prospects are extremely good.

    Each of our Chemistry degrees includes a specialist module with guidance on searching and applying for jobs, and on writing CVs and application letters. Plus we have a dedicated Careers Tutor organising careers events throughout the academic year.

    Careers

    Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

    Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry MChem 4 years full-time F150 Apply Now
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry with a Year Abroad MChem 4 years full-time F153 Apply Now
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry with Year in Industry MChem 4 years full-time F152 Apply Now
    Course
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry
    Qualification
    MChem
    Duration
    4 years full-time
    UCAS Code
    F150
    Availability
    Course
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry with a Year Abroad
    Qualification
    MChem
    Duration
    4 years full-time
    UCAS Code
    F153
    Availability
    Course
    Pharmaceutical Chemistry with Year in Industry
    Qualification
    MChem
    Duration
    4 years full-time
    UCAS Code
    F152
    Availability

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