Chemistry - Medicinal Chemistry

Entry 2017: BBC / 112 UCAS points
Duration: 4 years
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: MChem
UCAS code: F157
Placement: Placement year not available
Suitable for international students
Faculty of Life Sciences
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The search for new medicines has always been an important role for graduate chemists. Traditionally, medicines have been based on relatively small molecules, and the job of the chemist was to use their knowledge of organic chemistry to synthesise potential drug candidates.

With recent advances in technology, the pharmaceutical industry is changing dramatically. This degree course has evolved to reflect this.  Areas such as cell therapy, biological drugs, advanced delivery, the use of computational tools are all pushing the industry forward.

A medicinal chemist cannot afford to just have expertise in the synthesis of molecules – many of the most important recent discoveries have been made at the interfaces of chemistry, and a good medicinal chemistry will require expertise across a range of subjects. In recognition of this, our course will equip you with the traditional tools of organic synthesis, for example, but will also give you hands-on experience of areas such as computational chemistry to solve medicinal chemistry problems.

The University of Bradford is home to the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics - one of only a few centres nationally that has all the necessary research tools and expertise in-house to progress anticancer medicines and biomarkers from concept to the clinic. As such you will be taught by scientists who are actively involved in discovering new drugs. One recent example is the ‘smart bomb’ colchicine prodrug which targets solid tumours without harming healthy tissue.  This is now moving towards Phase I clinical trials.

During the first two years of study you will develop a sound understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry, with core content delivered across the traditional areas of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. 

To give you an intellectually fulfilling experience our chemistry courses allow you to take 20 credits of elective modules in stages 1 and 2, with subjects offered from across the University’s teaching portfolio such as mathematics, engineering, economics and more.

The third year we will introduce you to specialist content in medicinal, materials and analytical chemistry. You will also have the opportunity to study a specific subject to a greater depth during an extended dissertation.

It is possible to exit after stage 3 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry.

In the Master's year you will develop a deeper understanding of the application of chemistry to solving real-world problems. Master's-level training focuses on deploying training in real-world settings. Academic research experience involves students working on their own project as part of a research team alongside postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers at the University. 

Professional Accreditation/Recognition

Students can apply for membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).


"Whether it's the lecturers, the facilities, the university as a whole, the social aspect, it's absolutely brilliant and I've enjoyed my time here."

Lauren Nelson
MChem Chemistry for Drug Discovery, 2016

Why Bradford?

The Chemistry programmes at the University of Bradford are designed around the premise of making knowledge work.

Our degrees will give you a solid background in the chemical sciences, but allow you to focus on the application of chemistry in specific areas of modern chemistry. These areas have been chosen to reflect the main employment destinations for 21st century chemistry graduates:

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry

You can join the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) as a student member during your studies and we are an active part of the local RSC section.


Entry requirements

Typical offer: BBC / 112 UCAS points

New UCAS tariff

We use the UCAS tariff system to help us compare different qualifications. For courses starting from September 2017 onwards, the way points are calculated is changing.

The number of points you get for each qualification and grade will be lower, for example, an A* grade at A level will be worth 56 points from 2017 onwards, instead of 140 in 2016. Despite the lower points, you will still need to achieve the same grades. The only exception to this is that AS Levels will now be worth 40% of an A Level, instead of 50%.

All qualifications that are currently on the UCAS Tariff will continue to attract points under the new system. More qualifications are also being brought into the UCAS tariff system for the first time, including Access to Higher Education courses.

Work out your UCAS tariff points using the UCAS Tariff Calculator (link opens in a new tab).

A levels:

To include A-level Chemistry minimum grade B.

Please note that where a science A-level is taken, the University will require applicants to pass the practical element (for A levels awarded from August 2017 onwards).

BTEC Extended Diploma:

DMM. Science subject required - must included a minimum of three Chemistry-related units.

Applicants on Access Programmes:

112 UCAS tariff points from an Access to Higher Education Diploma - Science subject required. Must include a minimum of 12 credits of Chemistry at minimum Distinction.

Plus minimum of:

GCSE English, Mathematics and a Science at grade C or 4 (equivalents accepted).

Additional entry requirements:

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry onto this course you may be interested in our International Certificate of Foundation Studies.

English language requirements:

Minimum IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.



Module name Type
Year 1
Inorganic Chemistry 1core
Organic Chemistry 1core
Physical Chemistry 1core
Practical Chemistry 1core
Year 2
Inorganic Chemistry 2core
Organic Chemistry 2core
Physical Chemistry 2core
Practical Chemistry 2core
Year 3
Bio-organic and Bio-inorganic Chemistrycore
Introduction to Polymer and Colloid Sciencecore
Molecular Analysiscore
Organic Chemistry 3core
Practical Chemistry 3core
Stage 3 Research Projectcore
Year 4
You must choose 2 of the 3 Advanced Topics in Chemistry modules
Computational Drug Designcore
Drug Discovery and Developmentcore
Stage 4 Research Projectcore
Synthetic Chemistry for Medicinal Chemistscore

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

You will have a mix of lectures, seminars, laboratory practicals, workshops, case studies and directed study.

Directed study will include directed reading of selected textbooks, specified source literature and open learning materials, directed Web-based materials, report writing and other assignments. There will also be an individual project/dissertation.

You will be assessed via written closed-book examinations using constructed (essays, short answers) and selected response (MCQ) questions and a variety of coursework assignments, including laboratory reports, oral presentations and dissertations.

Involvement in laboratory, small-group workshops, case-based work and projects (individual and small group) will also be part of your assessment.

You will be assessed by critical appraisal, case analysis and critique, case presentations, laboratory reports and dissertations.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Employment statistics

85% of our 2015 graduates in Chemistry and Forensic Sciences found employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating.

Career prospects

Chemists are attractive to employers both for the skills that they offer directly related to their specialism, and for the professional skills that they have developed through study of the discipline. The range of careers available to chemists is vast – take a look at the Royal Society of Chemistry careers guide to get some ideas.

Find out what graduates from our 2015 cohort are now doing.

Watch MChem graduate Freya Leask's graduation diary from December 2015:

Salary expectations

The average starting salary for our 2015 Chemistry and Forensic Science graduates was £21,419.


Research in Chemistry is broadly themed into Molecular Science and Materials Chemistry, comprising the development of synthetic, analytical and computational methods.

Read more on our school pages.

Celebrating 50 Years: 50 Stories

Professor Laurence Patterson talks about Bradford’s longstanding expertise in cancer medicines discovery and development, and explains how researchers are working hard to find novel cancer treatments:


Our multi-million pound Centre for Chemical and Structural Analysis houses excellent analytical instrumentation which you will use to gain genuine practical experience of research apparatus. You will use NMR, IR, Raman, Mass Spectrometry, HPLC and GC, and X-ray diffraction instruments throughout your course.

Click for more information

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £16,970

* Home/EU fees will be subject to an annual increase, set in line with government policy. A percentage of any additional higher fee income will be used to support student opportunity through increased expenditure on access, student success and progression activities.

See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

See our Fees and Financial Support website.

How do I find out more?

Got a question?

Fill in our form and our Enquiries team will answer it for you.

Enquiry form

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.