Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry MChem (Hons) 2020 entry

The MChem (Hons) in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry focuses on the important interface of chemistry with biology and medicine, and provides training in both core chemistry and biological and medicinal chemistry. During your degree, you will be provided with a broad base of chemical knowledge and understanding reinforced by extensive practical experience and familiarity with modern laboratory, instrumental and computational techniques.

The MChem allows you to study the subject at great depth with a significant emphasis on research, combined in a single five-year programme, graduating with a Masters degree. The course is designed to give you the best possible training for a career in chemistry and is tailored for those intending to enter the professional chemical sector or to carry out postgraduate study. 

Students can also take Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry as a standard four-year BSc degree

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UCAS code

F152 (MChem), F151 (MChem with external placement)

Course type

Master in Chemistry (Integrated Masters degree)

Course duration

Five years full time

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 June 2025

If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry MChem page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in Chemistry and an A in one other subject from the following:
      • Biology (or Human Biology)
      • Computing Science
      • Economics
      • Geography
      • Mathematics
      • Physics.  

    • Minimum entry grades: AABB, including A in Chemistry and an A in one other subject from the following:
      • Biology (or Human Biology)
      • Computing Science
      • Economics
      • Geography
      • Mathematics
      • Physics.  
    • Standard entry grades: AAA, including A in Chemistry.
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB, including A in Chemistry.
    • Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in Chemistry and HL6 in one of the following subjects:
      • Biology
      • Computer Science
      • Economics
      • Geography
      • Mathematics
      • Physics. 

    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in Chemistry and HL5 in one of the following subjects:
      • Biology
      • Computer Science
      • Economics
      • Geography
      • Mathematics
      • Physics. 

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.

Direct entry to second year

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Applicants must have studied Chemistry at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, or equivalent. Preference may be given to candidates offering strong science qualifications.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MChem in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry is a five-year Integrated Masters course run by the School of Chemistry. During the course, you will develop awareness and appreciation of the latest advances in Medicinal Chemistry in addition to the fundamentals of the subject. In addition, you will receive a high level of general intellectual and scientific training which allows many graduates to enter challenging careers in areas not directly related to chemistry.

In the first two years, you will take modules in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. The skills you gain in research and analysis during these years will prepare you to undertake more advanced and specialist modules during your final three years. These specialist subjects include (but are not limited to):

  • chemical biology
  • biosynthesis of natural products
  • supramolecular chemistry and molecular recognition
  • physical-organic chemistry
  • the chemistry of biomolecules.

Alongside Chemistry, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

In your fourth year, you will have the opportunity to apply for an external placement in a leading industrial laboratory either in the UK or overseas. The School of Chemistry will assist you in applying for a placement.

During your final year, you will carry out a research project in one of the School’s highly-rated research groups.

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry.

Students can also take Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry as a standard four-year BSc degree

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage

Find out more about studying Chemistry at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Chemistry alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one or two Chemistry modules per semester during your first two years, and four to six per semester during your third, fourth and fifth years (known as Honours).

Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the Periodic Table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
  • Inorganic and Physical Chemistry 1: covers bonding in simple molecules, inorganic solids, chemistry of the first row transition metals, properties of solids, states of matter and introductory spectroscopy.
  • Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: covers the structure, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Inorganic Chemistry 2: covers metal complexes and organometallics, descriptive transition-metal chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, solid-state chemistry and descriptive main-group chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry 2: covers carbon-carbon bond formation, interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy.
  • Physical Chemistry 2: covers quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry, kinetics, molecular spectroscopy and diffraction and mathematical tools for chemistry.

If you decide to take Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry in your third year, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from physical inorganic chemistry to quantum theory of atoms, molecules and solids.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Carbohydrate and Nucleic Acid Chemistry
  • Mechanism in Organic Chemistry
  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • Quantitative Aspects of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Synthetic Methodology.

During fourth year, you will have the opportunity to work on a placement outside St Andrews for a whole year. This is a great chance to gain experience in industry and to add value to your CV at the same time.

Typically, you may join a research and development group within a company and receive a salary for the duration of your placement. It is also possible for the placement to be carried out in an overseas academic institution.

The School will assist students in applying for an 8 to 13-month placement in a leading industrial research laboratory. The School has links with large and small companies of different types, including:

  • AstraZeneca (UK)
  • BP (UK)
  • DSM (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Helleday Laboratories (Stockholm, Sweeden)
  • Novartis (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Proctor and Gamble (UK)
  • Roche (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Syngenta (UK).

Alternatively, you have the choice to complete the MChem without doing an external placement, and will take lecture and practical modules during your fourth year Honours programme at St Andrews. 

During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality. Advanced modules offered in the past include:

  • Asymmetric Synthesis
  • Chemical Biology
  • Molecular Recognition
  • Natural Products, Biosynthesis and Enzyme Co-Factors
  • Reactive Intermediates.

Students will also undertake a substantial research project in their final year on a topic chosen in consultation with academic staff. The project aims to develop your skills in experimental design and problem-solving, the evaluation and interpretation of data, independent working, and communication skills.


The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Chemistry is taught through a combination of lectures (80 to 200 students) and labs (20 to 50 students), which are supplemented by small group tutorials (5 to 10 students). Class sizes decrease at Honours level.

All lecture courses have web-based support materials, and additional teaching support is given for selected topics, such as mathematics.

When not attending lectures, tutorials and labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in a laboratory
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Chemistry. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Chemistry staff on the School of Chemistry website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Chemistry, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.

Assessment

All sub-honours modules are assessed by 60% to 70% written examinations combined with 30% to 40% coursework covering laboratories, tutorials and transferable skills exercises.

For Honours modules, assessment is either by written examination for lecture-based modules, or by coursework (including written reports, oral presentations and oral examinations) for laboratory, workshop and research project modules.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale web page.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 1 April 2020
  • Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • Wednesday 15 April 2020

Fees

Tuition fees for 2020 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Rest of the UK Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Overseas £23,910

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Your future

Careers

St Andrews Chemistry graduates are in demand by both major and grassroots companies. Chemistry degrees provide a range of highly desirable skills, that are highly prized by employers including:

  • problem-solving
  • numeracy
  • data handling
  • teamwork.

St Andrews Chemistry graduates move into a wide range of employment both in the chemical industry and other non-physical science sectors. Many MChem graduates continue on to PhD-level degrees both in the UK and overseas.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

Chemistry students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in Chemistry, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Student life

The School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews offers a unique experience blending education in state-of-the-art science facilities while enjoying the traditions of an ancient university in a historic and picturesque setting.

The relatively small size of the School's undergraduate chemistry cohort results in a rather unique nurturing and nourishing environment where students have frequent contact with world-class academics. The School of Chemistry is ranked as one of the top Chemistry departments in the UK, and is known for the personal and flexible nature of its undergraduate Chemistry programmes.

The School is located in the Biomedical Sciences Building and the Purdie Building in the North Haugh on the western edge of town. These buildings offer recently upgraded lecture theatres and seminar rooms, as well as state-of-the-art teaching laboratories for chemistry. 

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh makes it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Chemistry
University of St Andrews
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3800
Email: chemistry@st-andrews.ac.uk

Chemistry website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).