MChem (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry

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Attend an open day How to apply


The MChem (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry is an integrated four-year undergraduate Masters degree providing an excellent grounding in the skills and knowledge vital to a future as a pharmaceutical chemist working in drug discovery.

Throughout the programme, you’ll study a wide range of subjects, both to gain a good understanding of the wider subject and to develop the specialist skills central to pharmaceutical chemistry. So, while you’ll study general chemistry, research methods and professional laboratory techniques, your programme will also focus on more specialist areas like drug testing, drug efficacy, computer-based drug design and the quality control of pharmaceuticals.

The programme includes a research project unit, where you spend a year focusing on a major independent project in pharmaceutical chemistry that you design, carry out and present, alongside your other areas of study.

Features and Benefits

  • This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, reflecting our professional standards and standing within the discipline of chemistry.

  • We’ve invested over a million pounds in upgrading our synthetic chemistry and materials laboratories.

  • Our teaching is supported by a range of technological innovations including videos to support the learning of key concepts and problem-solving practice.

  • Apply for the BSc (Hons) course now and you can choose the MChem later, at the end of Year 2. As long as you’re working to a high enough standard, you can then switch over to the MChem route.

"Teaching is consolidated with lab work which I've really enjoyed as it gave me the opportunity to put what I've learnt into practice. We're also trained to use high tech equipment from the first year so you can get hands-on experience." Isobel Roland, MChem (Hons) Chemistry

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

"My undergraduate studies have made me realise how broad the discipline of chemistry really is. The course gives you lots of experience and the skills you need to develop into a self-sufficient researcher.” 

Thomas Robertson, MChem (Hons) Chemistry

Career Prospects

Chemistry graduates may be employed in the chemical, pharmaceutical, materials, food and drink, utility, healthcare, aerospace, automotive, information technology and telecommunications industries.

A chemistry degree will also equip you with a wide variety of transferable skills that can be applied to non-subject specific career pathways such as local government, teaching, law, journalism, business, finance, IT and retail. Career opportunities for chemists are excellent and graduates can expect to obtain competitive salaries.

Learn more about graduate careers


of Science and the Environment graduates are employed/in further education six months after graduating.*

*DLHE survey 2017

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


A levels ­– BBB, to include Chemistry (including a Pass in A level Chemistry Practical).

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (1080) in Applied Science – DDM, to include four units at merit or above from the following units:

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 13, 14, 19

Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science (QCF) – DDM, to include 60 level 3 credits at distinction from the following units:

01, 03, 04, 06, 07, 08, 10, 13, 14, 19, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 45, 48, 52

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ) at grade C or above. Other AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or Level 2 Functional Skills English


GCSE grade C/4 in Mathematics or Level 2 Functional Skills Mathematics


GCSE grade C/4 in Science or BTEC Level 2 in Applied Science with grade merit

The level 2 requirements may also be met through the level 3 course requirements for the course; please contact the University directly if you require further information.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in Science with a minimum score of 122 UCAS Tariff points

International Baccalaureate points

26 IB Diploma Points including HL 5 in Chemistry

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5  

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

Chemistry is often called the ‘central science’ because its applications form the basis for so many different scientific disciplines. The same applies to your future. Study chemistry with us now and you’ll open up a vast range of pathways and possibilities. Whether you’re looking ahead to a career in the pharmaceutical, materials, food and drink, utility, healthcare, aerospace, automotive or telecommunications industries – to name just a few – you can make your start with us.

As a physical science, chemistry considers the origins, behaviour and properties of materials from the atomic level to the macro scale, and how they affect our daily lives, from health and wellbeing to the material world. Ultimately, chemistry tells us how the material world works – so studying it will give you the power to understand and engage with its processes to improve the world around us.

We offer a selection of different chemistry degrees, offering the chance to focus on areas like medicinal, biological or pharmaceutical chemistry, or to concentrate on the core elements of the discipline. All are designed and led by research-active staff, in fully-equipped specialist labs – because we believe that learning skills first-hand is the best way to help you prepare for a range of rewarding careers.

In Year 1 of our MChem (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree, you will gain a firm grounding in core principles of chemistry, including fundamental chemistry concepts and introduction to chemical analysis.

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Laboratory Techniques 1

This unit provides an introduction to basic laboratory techniques and associated practical and analytical skills for interpreting data in inorganic, organic, physical, analytical and computational chemistry.

Inorganic and Organic Chemistry

You will be introduced to atoms, molecules, bonding, structure and periodicity. Identification of functional groups, isomerism and stereochemistry, reaction intermediates, basic reactions and mechanisms, IR and 13C-NMR spectroscopy.

Chemical Equilibrium and Mathematical Methods

This unit covers key physical chemistry concepts underpinning the behaviour of acids, bases and electrochemistry, alongside the mathematics and transferable skills that underpin these concepts.

Introduction to Thermodynamics and Kinetics

You will be introduced to the fundamental physicochemical principles of thermodynamics and kinetics along with underpinning mathematical and transferable skills. 

Introduction to Chemical Analysis

The unit will provide an introduction to key concepts required for the study of analytical chemistry. You will explore two main themes: analytical approaches in chemistry, and an introduction to spectroscopy and statistics.

Introduction to Drug Discovery

This unit will provide an introduction to drug discovery and key concepts required for further study of medicinal chemistry.

Year 2 will focus on biological processes and pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis and quality control, and structure and spectroscopy.

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Laboratory Techniques 2

This unit provides an introduction to some laboratory techniques and associated practical and analytical skills for interpreting data in inorganic, organic, physical, analytical and computational chemistry.

Solid State, d-block and f-block Chemistry

This unit covers transition metal complexes, molecular symmetry, crystallography, solid-state chemistry and f-block chemistry.

Chemistry of the Carbonyl Group

This unit covers the use of carbonyl groups as enabling functionality and will be illustrated by discussion of a range of chemical transformations of these functional groups.

Thermodynamics and Kinetics

You will explore concepts required for study of physical chemistry including the study of interfaces, kinetics and thermodynamics.

Structure and Spectroscopy

This unit covers fundamental spectroscopic principles and structural elucidation using NMR, mass spectrometry and infra-red techniques and determination of molecular physical parameters from vibrational and rotational spectroscopies.

Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control

This unit provides an integrated approach to the principles of analytical/bioanalytical techniques in the quantitative/qualitative analysis of drugs and related substances/samples (including biologicals).

Formulation, Fate and Biometabolism

This unit covers the principles of drugs and medicine formulation, the interaction of biomolecules/drugs within biological systems, pharmacokinetics and toxicology in the context medicinal chemistry and drug discovery.

In the third year of study, you will carry out an academic research project alongside taught units in advanced pharmaceutical chemistry.

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Project and Personal Development

In this unit, you will plan, develop and implement an individual research project. You will critically analyse published literature and own data. You will also develop research and employability skills.

Drug Target Interactions

This unit will follow a pharmacological case study based approach of the investigation of drug targets, drug target binding, drug design and drug development.

Advanced Pharmaceutical Chemistry

This unit will cover advanced concepts in medicinal chemistry, including synthesis and optimization of clinical drugs and drug discovery pathways.

Advanced Physical Chemistry

This unit will provide an introduction to advanced concepts in kinetics, surface science and quantum chemistry for measuring and predicting the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions.

Advanced Organic Chemistry

You will consider a suite of advanced organic chemistry transformations and strategies in targeted synthesis.

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

In this unit, you will explore the role played by metal ions in key life processes and advanced concepts in coordination/organometallic chemistry.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques

In this unit, a selection of laboratory experiments/mini-projects covering the disciplines of inorganic, organic, physical and analytical chemistry appropriate to the course title will be undertaken.

Your final year is an integrated undergraduate Masters year, focusing on a major research project in your chosen specialist area, plus taught units covering research frontiers in chemistry and materials.

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Frontiers in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

This unit will cover current areas at the cutting edge of medicinal chemistry including computational medicinal chemistry, pro-drug therapies and inorganic therapeutics. The course is supported by a discussion of case studies currently at the forefront of the field such as chemical genetics, high throughput screening and combinatorial-based drug discovery.

Advanced Project and Personal Development

In this unit, you will plan and implement a research project independently. Your project will include critical analysis of published literature, assessment of significance of outcomes and production of a dissertation reporting outcomes that are potentially publishable. This will help to develop your research and employability skills.

Research Frontiers in Chemistry and Materials

This unit comprises a selection of topics, which reflect emerging technologies at the frontiers of research in chemistry and materials science. Three topics will be chosen from a selection of any two running at any one time. Topics will encompass the broad areas of Advanced Materials, Healthcare Sciences and Environmental Sciences.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Additional information about this course

Students are expected to comply with the Department's codes of conduct and behaviour, in accommodation, placements and exchanges. Students are also expected to follow Health and Safety guidelines and COSHH when working.

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop or tablet and occasionally a printer for their degree but there are drop-in computer labs and printing facilities on campus and laptops for loan in the library.

Personal protective equipment i.e. lab coats, and protective glasses are provided free of charge in the first year of entry and are expected to last for the duration of the course.

Specialist chemical software is freely available at the University, and remotely via internet access through the University Virtual Desktop. All chemical consumables, glassware etc. are provided free, and we do not require a breakage deposit.

Textbooks are recommended, costs tend to increase through the academic years as they become more specialised. In the final year, students are encouraged to use academic journals provided free by the University. The Department arranges a core year 1 book chemistry deal with a local supplier to reduce costs. All recommended texts are available in the Manchester Met library, and several are available as e-books through the library for remote access via the internet.

Placement Costs

1) Students opting to study abroad in third year. If you are studying at one of our partner universities on an approved exchange programme, you will continue to pay tuition fees to Manchester Metropolitan University and you will not pay any tuition fees to your partner university. Some partner universities may charge additional fees for mandatory administrative and recreational services, non-mandatory language classes, courses including fieldwork or non-mandatory project costs. If this is relevant to you, the partner university will inform you of any additional costs during the application process. During your study exchange abroad, you will need to budget for the general cost of living as well as additional costs for visas, travel, medical insurance and vaccinations (depending on your destination). Applicants should visit the MMUi web pages ( for more details including sources of travel funding. 2) Students choosing to undertake a placement (sandwich) in third year. The sandwich year involves full-time work experience work placement. This lasts for a minimum of 36 weeks and normally attracts a salary/weekly wage but this is not guaranteed. Placements are competitive and based on successful interviews with the placement provider. Students will have to pay travel and accommodation costs (including for interview) plus personal insurance. 3) Students partaking in Student Ambassador Scheme in Year 3, placed in local schools. Students should expect to pay travel expenses to placements.

Professional Costs

Through negotiation with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Chemistry students are offered optional Affiliate Membership at a reduced annual rate. It is not required but is useful. For students who follow our student ambassador programme in year 3 work.

Other Costs

Manchester Met now provides free travel insurance for students when they travel in connection with their programme of study, for example, placements, field-trips, exchanges etc. However, students should also take out personal insurance cover for belongings as items such as mobile phones are not covered by this policy. Students will be expected to print out assessments (including Year 4 dissertations (with comb binding) and posters). Travel expenses associated with the optional final year student school ambassador projects are not reimbursed by the Department. The Department works to ensure these projects are based locally to minimise these costs. There is an additional third year cost of £30-50 for students following the student ambassador project.


For further information on financing your studies or information about whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships, follow the links below:

Bursaries and scholarships

Money Matters

Want to know more?

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

Apply now

UCAS code(s)


Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.