Drug Discovery Science
Department of Chemistry,
Faculty of Science
This course covers the drug discovery and design techniques used in the pharmaceutical industry. You’ll study topics such as pharmacology, toxicology and genomics as you learn how target molecules to treat specific diseases are identified, characterised and optimised for potential clinical trials.
Your training will cover the fundamental chemistry and biology of protein interactions, their role in disease and how drugs affect the human body. You’ll learn about computer-aided drug design techniques that are used to predict how well a potential drug might work and screening technologies that are used to test a drug’s effect on its molecular targets.
The course is taught by world-leading scientists from across chemistry, biology, engineering and medicine and gives you access to state-of-the-art screening and analysis facilities.
We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School's website.
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 Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn.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. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
- Laboratory practicals
- Individual research projects
- Literature review
- Dissertation and viva
1 year full-time
Graduates from this course are well trained for roles working on drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry and graduates from the department regularly find jobs at major pharmaceutical companies such as GSK, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The course also gives you excellent foundations for a PhD in medicinal science.
You'll have access to expertise and equipment in the state-of-art research facilities and centres, including:
- Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility, where researchers can perform whole-genome screening experiments using Drosophila cells
- Centre for Stem Cell Biology, where scientists are using pluripotent stem cells as a route to new drugs and treatments
- Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, which has a dedicated Drug Discovery Suite and new technologies based on robotics and AI
- Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility, with equipment and expertise in proteomics, metabolomics and isotope ratio analysis
- Wolfson Light Microscopy Facility, which has confocal, widefield, light-sheet fluorescence and super-resolution light microscopy systems
You'll benefit directly from the expertise of our partners in the drug discovery industry. Computer-aided drug design training is provided by LifeArc, a drug discovery company and charity organisation. Schrodinger, a computer-aided drug design software company, provides introductory teaching and software licenses for our students.
The minimum entry requirement is a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent, in chemistry, biology, pharmacy or another relevant subject. Applicants with relevant work experience and good academic potential are also encouraged to apply.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 (0)114 22 29500
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.