Chemistry with Biological and Medicinal Chemistry


UCAS Code: C720
Typical offer:
Four years

International students
Don't meet our
entry requirements? 
Foundation Years at our International College

Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

How to apply for this course

Other chemistry degrees:

About the course

I chose to study biological chemistry owing to my fascination for the power of drug compounds on the organism. However, I felt medicine wasn't the right degree for me. Studying biological chemistry has provided me with a better grasp of the science which surrounds drug action and drug discovery than that which I would have gained had I done either chemistry or biochemistry on their own. It does make for hard work, but for the committed student this pays off!

Victor do Nascimento, MChem Chemistry with Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

This specialist course has been designed to equip graduates with the growing demands of the healthcare sector and pharmaceutical industry. Employers need chemists with the ability to work with complex genome datasets and meet challenges such as antibiotic resistance. As well as essential chemistry topics, you'll study areas of biology and medicine that are at the heart of cutting-edge scientific research and potential medical treatments. Some of the biological subjects you'll cover are set out in the 'Course structure' tab.

The fourth year has more freedom to specialise, with a range of advanced lecture modules in biological and medicinal chemistry to choose from, covering topics including chemoinformatics, drug design, simulating drug-target interactions and pharmacokinetcs. You'll learn to use industry standard commercial software and run an even bigger biological and medicinal chemistry research project.

This degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, which means that the first three years also cover all of the topics and training that you need to graduate into a professional chemistry career. We structure the essential chemistry course content around three areas: organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Some of the chemistry subjects you'll cover are set out in the 'Course structure' tab.

At the start of your first year, you will be given a laboratory resource pack, including a lab coat, safety glasses and safety gloves, so you can start practical work right away. There are also maths classes, and a physics course for students who don't have an A level in physics. You'll do more practical work as the course progresses and by third year, you'll be able to handle sensitive chemicals and conduct experiments over multiple days. At the same time, our focused careers module will help equip you for whatever you want to do after your degree.

Fourth year
The fourth year has the most practical work. You'll run your own in-depth research project over six months, working with professional scientists in Sheffield's world-class chemistry and biology research groups. This can lead to your work being published in respected scientific journals before you've even graduated.

Course structure

Biomed structure

Below are some examples of topics covered in this degree from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

Biology and medicine

  • First year: biochemistry, biomolecular structures, metabolic pathways, cellular signalling, biomembranes, molecular basis of cancer, human physiology, effects of disease and drugs
  • Second year: drug discovery, molecular design and analysis, chemoinformatics, protein-ligand interactions, computer-aided drug design, bioscience commercialisation
  • Third year: synthesis and evaluation of drug and biological molecules, biological and medicinal chemistry research project

Organic chemistry

  • First year: functional groups and their reactivity, reaction mechanisms
  • Second year: stereochemistry, designing syntheses of complex target molecules
  • Third year: retro-synthetic analysis, Pd-catalysed cross coupling reactions, elucidation of reaction mechanisms

Inorganic chemistry

  • First year: structure and bonding of main group and transition metal compounds
  • Second year: solid state materials, environmental chemistry
  • Third year: organometallic chemistry, coordination chemistry, crystallography

Physical chemistry

  • First year: electronic structure of molecules, kinetics, thermodynamics
  • Second year: electrochemistry, elementary quantum mechanics
  • Third year: polymers, catalysis, statistical thermodynamics

Fourth year
You'll do a major research project in your fourth year, working with professional researchers in one of our research labs. You'll also have a range of advanced lecture modules to choose from. Current options include:

  • Metals in Medicine
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Mechanism and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
  • Quantum Chemistry
  • Advanced Spectroscopy and Theory
  • Stereoselective Synthesis
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Chemistry in Space
  • Metals in Organic Synthesis
  • Photochemistry and Molecular Photonics
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Enzyme Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry of the Main Group Elements
  • Nanochemistry
  • Biomimetic Nanoparticle Synthesis
  • Chemistry of High Energy Materials

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers.