Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development

Key Information


4 years

Typical Offer

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Brayford Pool



Academic Year

Course Overview

Join the fight against disease by learning how to create better and safer drugs for society with a degree in Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development.

The MChem Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development is designed to develop skills in the design and development of active molecules, all the way through to the final pharmaceutical products available to patients. Students can gain knowledge of synthetic chemistry and develop experience in drug formulation and manufacture within the regulatory context of the pharmaceutical industry. This will involve substantial practical experience of advanced laboratory techniques.

On this programme, students have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive knowledge of chemistry alongside subject-specific and generic skills to develop a strong understanding of how chemistry is applied to problems with direct impact on society. Our programmes are designed to produce highly employable graduates with a broad background in academic chemistry and significant experience of the application of chemistry in contexts relevant to society and industry.

Why Choose Lincoln

Subject ranked 3rd in the UK for student satisfaction*

Small goup teaching and innovative team-based learning

Work placement opportunities

Industry challenges set through partnerships with multinational organisations

Focus on professional practice to improve career prospects

Opportunities to engage with staff on research projects

*Complete University Guide 2024 (out of 53 ranking institutions).

A student undertaking work in a lab

How You Study

The programme takes an integrated approach to organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, exploring how they work together.

Students can focus initially on organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry through an integrated approach that emphasises connectivity. Laboratory workshops and extensive use of specialist equipment aims to enable students to develop hands-on skills. Later in the course, students have the opportunity to apply their experience to a range of real-world applications, including industry-informed interdisciplinary projects. A significant research project provides students with the chance to develop a specialism of their choice. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on developing the professional skills required in your future career.

The course includes lectures, seminars, laboratory-based practical classes, and lectures from visiting scientists. Extensive small-group teaching and innovative team-based learning create a supportive learning environment that helps you train through practice- and problem-based approaches.

All students in the fourth year of the MChem programme currently have the opportunity to undertake a full-year industrial placement. You can choose your placement with one of the University's industry or overseas partners, or in one of our research groups. Placements are conducted alongside advanced academic study, focusing on research frontiers in chemistry.

Students are supported in finding their placement and when undertaking it. Salaried placements are competitive and students will be expected to complete an application process for such positions. In addition to paying their tuition fees, students will need to cover their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs throughout their placement.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Core Chemistry 1.1: Introduction to Energy, Change and Electronic Structure 2024-25CHM1002MLevel 42024-25This module aims to provide a breadth core understanding of the main chemical principles behind the chemistry of elements, systems in equilibrium and chemical reactivity, with special emphasis in basic organic reactions. Students will have the opportunity to learn basic concepts about elements and their main periodic properties and how some of these elements can be combined to produce molecules. Organic molecules will be used as an example to explain reactivity and how chemical structure can condition molecular properties. Energy transfers are also studied to understand the key role they play in chemical and physical transformations and how systems in equilibrium are affected by these.CoreCore Chemistry 1.2: Molecular Structure, Bonding and Mechanism 2024-25CHM1003MLevel 42024-25This module aims to introduce core chemistry concepts with an emphasis on chemical change. Movement and interaction of molecules and chemical kinetics are key physical chemistry topics covered and applied to chemical reactions of both organic and inorganic substances. The use of empirical data to develop and support laws, theories and models will be covered and how chemical kinetics can be used to develop reaction mechanisms. An introduction to crystallography and absorption spectroscopy is covered.CoreIntroduction to Pharmaceutical Science 2024-25PHA1001MLevel 42024-25This modules covers what makes a successful drug, the basics of drug discovery and development and utilisation. The concepts of pharmaceutical science are taught along with the types of drugs, their formulation, and delivery.CoreIntroduction to Professional Practice 2024-25CHM1004MLevel 42024-25This module aims to provide students with an overview of the application of chemistry in commercial and industrial contexts to underpin more detailed coverage in later models in this series. The module aims to develop fundamental skills in mathematics and IT which will underpin their core chemistry modules. The module will also give students the opportunity to develop their transferable skills including knowledge of health and safety in the chemistry laboratory, effective communication in both written and oral form and group work.CorePractical Chemistry 1.1: Fundamental laboratory techniques 2024-25CHM1005MLevel 42024-25This module aims to introduce students to the chemistry laboratory environment. The purpose of the module is to provide students with a platform which can be built upon in subsequent practical modules and equalise their potentially pre-university laboratory experience. Within this module students can learn a portfolio of skills and be evaluated via competency based assessments. The module also covers best practice in health and safety in the laboratory environment as part of the series of key core concepts delivered in the module.CorePractical Chemistry 1.2: Introduction to synthetic methodologies and molecular characterisation 2024-25CHM1006MLevel 42024-25This module aims to provide students with the practical experience associated with the topics delivered in Core Chemistry 1.1 and Core Chemistry 1.2. The module will outline key organic, inorganic and physical chemistry concepts with a series of laboratory activities reinforced by the use of relevant analytical techniques and tools throughout a range of experiments.CoreProfessional Practice 1: Analytical Sciences 2024-25CHM1007MLevel 42024-25This module further builds on 'Introduction to Professional Practice' and aims to provide an introduction to the application of analytical sciences in industry. It aims to develop students' mathematics and statistics skills whilst also continuing the development of their transferable skills relating to information retrieval including literature searching and critique, the use of chemistry-based databases and mobile applications and their scientific writing skills.CoreCore Chemistry 2.1: Stability, Structure and Mechanism in Molecular Systems 2025-26CHM2002MLevel 52025-26This module aims to provide a breadth core understanding of the physicochemical principles behind some of the main analytical techniques and how these can be applied to identify atomic and molecular structures in both inorganic and organic chemistry. It also offers an insight on advanced synthetic methods and how these techniques can be used to explain and interpret structure and reactivity of complex molecules, such as coordination and organometallic compounds.CoreCore Chemistry 2.2: Chemistry of Activated Systems and Radicals 2025-26CHM2003MLevel 52025-26This module aims to further develop core chemistry concepts relating to chemical change. Electrochemistry is used to study thermodynamic properties of redox reactions as well as the kinetics of electrode processes. The kinetics of complex reactions builds upon the chemical kinetics material covered at level one. Bonding between metals and carbon is explored and further developed as the main group organometallics.CoreDrug Formulation and Delivery 2025-26PHA2001MLevel 52025-26This module aims to integrate the process of drug development in relation to the way in which a dosage forms are formulated and delivered to the target. Learning will be in the context of examples of dosage form, drug delivery route and underlying formulation, particle design, physical chemistry, and colloid science.CoreFundamentals of Pharmacology & Toxicology 2025-26BMS2010MLevel 52025-26This module is concerned with the study of the mechanisms by which drugs interact with biochemical, cellular, and physiological systems. The module aims to: - provide an introduction to key pharmacology principles - provide a detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of actions of selected drugs - develop a critical appreciation of the importance and relevance of pharmacology in the treatment of diseases - devleop an understanding of the principles of toxicology and drug overdoseCorePractical Chemistry 2.1: Organic synthesis, purification and advanced characterisation 2025-26CHM2004MLevel 52025-26This module aims to provide students with the practical experience associated with the topics delivered in Core Chemistry 2.1, with a strong focus on organic chemistry. The module will outline essential complex organic chemistry concepts with a series of laboratory activities designed around multistep syntheses and reinforced by the use of relevant analytical techniques and tools throughout a range experiments.CorePractical Chemistry 2.2: Inorganic synthesis and structural methods 2025-26CHM2005MLevel 52025-26This module aims to provide students with the practical experience associated with the topics delivered in Core Chemistry 2.2, with a strong focus on inorganic and physical chemistry. The module is constituted of a series of laboratory activities designed to familiarise students with an array of techniques centred around key aspects of inorganic syntheses. Specifically, the module emphasizes stability and speciation methods and their applications to the inorganic chemistry field. All aspects of the module will be supported by associated relevant analytical technologies.CoreProfessional Practice 2.2: Pharmaceutical Sciences 2025-26CHM2007MLevel 52025-26This module builds on Professional Practice 2.1 and further looks at chemistry in context and in particular industry, with a focussed introduction to the pharmaceuticals sector. The module also aims to develop understanding of employability, the job application process and the necessity for reflective practice and continued professional development in a competitive job market.CoreInternational Study Year 2025-26CHM2009MLevel 52025-26The option to study overseas is a valuable educational opportunity for our students. Provision of this option supports the educational aims of the Chemistry programmes and enhances the distinctiveness of its degrees at Lincoln. The experience is intended to: - enable students to benefit from studying within a cross cultural environment; - expose students to a wider academic and cultural experience; - enhance their future employment opportunities; - by increasing their cultural and professional mobility. This module is optional for students within the School. Study Abroad is a module which enables students to spend a year studying abroad at one of the University’s approved partner institutions. Eligible students must have completed their third year of study to a satisfactory standard and successfully completed the application process for the year abroad. During the time spent abroad, students will complete the professional development portfolio and will critically reflect upon their experience of living and studying in a different cultural environment and the skills acquired.OptionalBiological Chemistry 2026-27CHM3001MLevel 62026-27The Biological Chemistry module is taught across the disciplines of biology and chemistry and is designed to challenge and develop an awareness of multidiscipline research within students. The overarching aim is to encourage and develop a mode of thinking in students of how chemistry influences biological processes and how this can be exploited by industry and emerging fields.CoreBusiness, Regulation and Ethics for the Pharmaceutical Scientist 2026-27PHA3001MLevel 62026-27This module covers the regulations that surround the pharmaceutical industry, from drug registration to laboratory, clinical, and manufacturing standardsCoreCore Chemistry 3.1: Defining Shape, Symmetry and Stereochemistry 2026-27CHM3002MLevel 62026-27This module aims to provide deeper understanding on physicochemical principles behind materials and their properties, exploring advanced concepts in supramolecular chemistry and synthetic routes for more complex organic molecules. Crystals, colloids, discontinuous phases and solid state chemistry concepts are studied in depth to understand physical and chemical properties that give these materials a wide range of application in industry and research.CoreCore Chemistry 3.2: Heterogeneous Systems, Surfaces and Nanoscience 2026-27CHM3003MLevel 62026-27This module covers in greater depth the thermodynamics and kinetics of processes occurring on solid surfaces. Heterogeneous catalysis is used as an example of how reactions at solid surfaces differ from those in the bulk. Electrochemistry is further developed. Organic chemistry topics are the advanced areas of radical chemistry and orbital symmetry along with heteroelement and organometallic synthesis. Concepts of supramolecular chemistry are covered.CorePractical Chemistry 3.1: Advanced techniques in IO-chemistry 2026-27CHM3004MLevel 62026-27This module builds upon previous practical modules and provides a support for the illustration of the theory delivered in the Core chemistry 3.1 module. The concept of this module is to offer students the opportunity to experience and dissect the process of designing a material which fulfils specific requirements or needs, its synthesis and its characterisation. Through this process, the module offers the opportunity to host advanced complex organic syntheses (such as asymmetric synthesis) and supramolecular synthesis. Additionally, the module introduces students to a series of stereoselective analytical techniques designed to characterise aforementioned materials.CoreStructured project 2026-27CHM3006MLevel 62026-27This module offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent programme of research under the supervision of a member of staff. It provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate original and critical thoughts as well as build practical and project-management skills. Students may select a project from a series of proposals provided by staff, conduct a review of the literature, identify a hypothesis, and design a programme of research to test the hypothesis (under guidance from their supervisor). Students will be expected to manage the project including obtaining relevant ethical approval and conducting COSHH and risk assessments. Students may analyse and interpret data which will be collected in the laboratory or the field, or using computational sources (e.g. software for mathematical modelling; the internet for the meta-analysis of pre-collected data). The project will be written up either as a thesis or a scientific paper following closely defined criteria.CoreAdvanced Topics in Chemistry 2027-28CHM9004MLevel 72027-28This module aims to provide students skills to critically analyse and adopt topical areas of research and advance instrumentation in the field of chemistry. This information will be utilised to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of how fundamental chemistry theory and experimentation are being applied to contemporary cutting edge science. The module will draw inspiration from both ‘grand challenges for chemical sciences’ and will reflect the current research focus within the chemistry school. The module comprises a series of lectures, workshops and experimentation and the content within each topic and instrumental techniques, will aim to build on students' knowledge of basic physical, organic and inorganic chemistry and will deliver in-depth analysis of its application in the main-stream chemical, biological and environmental processes. Students will also have the opportunity to learn to provide an up-to-date account of modern methods in synthetic organic chemistry, material & inorganic chemistry and application of physical chemistry theory in experimentation, as well as cover key advanced instrumentation techniques in chemistry and provide hands-on experience.CoreProfessional and Personal Development 2027-28CHM9007MLevel 72027-28This module aims to develop systematic personal and professional development of a student in a specialist area of chemistry to enhance employability. This is achieved through development and execution of a personal learning plan designed using a process of self-reflection around five development themes: personal development; professional skills development; technical skills development; research interests; career development.CoreAcademic Research Project 2027-28CHM9005MLevel 72027-28This module provides students with the opportunity to apply chemical knowledge and laboratory skills to an extended practical research study. It also provides the opportunity to further develop professional skills, including the use of online literature/chemical data searching; ability to critically review relevant published literature & written/oral presentation of research activities.OptionalCommercial Research Project 2027-28CHM9006MLevel 72027-28This module provides students with the opportunity to apply chemical knowledge and laboratory skills to an extended practical research study within a commercial context. Students can further develop professional skills, incl. use of online literature/chemical data searching; ability to critically review relevant published literature and written/oral presentation of research activities.Optional

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

The way students are assessed on this course may vary for each module. Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework, such as written assignments, reports or dissertations; practical exams, such as presentations, performances or observations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year. The University of Lincoln aims to ensure that staff return in-course assessments to students promptly.

Skills Development and Professional Practice

Our Chemistry courses have an embedded explicit skills development programme through the professional practice modules. The programme delivers a systematic programme in skills development, which includes CV writing and interview skills. The modules exemplify the application of chemistry into key employment sectors and present chemistry through an integrated approach.

Industry Challenges

A series of themed industry challenges are co-delivered during the professional practice modules through industry partnerships with multi-national and SME organisations representing the analytical, formulation, pharmaceutical, and energy and environmental sectors.

After systematic project planning and management training, students can devise and present technical proposals in response to the challenge. After consultation and feedback from a joint academic and industry panel, students can execute project plans and report within industry standard methods. The professional practice modules aim to prepare students for placements and future employment.


We use an innovative ‘end-on’ full-year industrial placement programme for all students at Stage 4 of the MChem. You can choose to focus on research through a placement in a research group at the University or another institution, or complete a full-year placement (usually salaried £15-20k). Salaried placements are competitive and students will be expected to undertake an application process for such positions.

In addition to paying their tuition fees, students will need to cover their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs throughout their placement. There are also opportunities for overseas placements with European, American, and Australian institutions through our International Intern Programme which takes place between the third and fourth year.

What Can I Do with a Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development Degree?

Chemistry graduates may pursue a wide range of science-related careers in sectors including energy, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer and personal care products. Those with specialisms in drug discovery and development can also aim for careers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. This can involve positions in molecular diagnostics, bioanalysis, and immunology.

Entry Requirements 2024-25

United Kingdom

112 UCAS Tariff points from a minimum of 2 A Levels to include 40 points in Chemistry.

International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma from a minimum of 2 Higher Level subjects to include a Higher Level 5 in Chemistry.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science*: Distinction, Merit, Merit or equivalent

*not all modules are accepted. Please contact our Admissions team for further information (

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits with a minimum of 112 UCAS Tariff points, including 40 points from 15 credits in Chemistry.

Applicants will also need at least three GCSEs at grade 4 or above, which must include English, Maths and Science. Equivalent Level 2 qualifications may also be considered.

The University accepts a wide range of qualifications as the basis for entry and do accept a combination of qualifications which may include A Levels, BTECs, EPQ etc.

We will also consider applicants with extensive and relevant work experience and will give special individual consideration to those who do not meet the standard entry qualifications.


Non UK Qualifications:

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

EU and Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills courses.

For applicants who do not meet our standard entry requirements, our Science Foundation Year can provide an alternative route of entry onto our full degree programmes:

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Contextual Offers

At Lincoln, we recognise that not everybody has had the same advice and support to help them get to higher education. Contextual offers are one of the ways we remove the barriers to higher education, ensuring that we have fair access for all students regardless of background and personal experiences. For more information, including eligibility criteria, visit our Offer Guide pages.

Fees and Scholarships

Going to university is a life-changing step and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.

Course Fees

For eligible undergraduate students going to university for the first time, scholarships and bursaries are available to help cover costs. To help support students from outside of the UK, we are also delighted to offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Find out More by Visiting Us

The best way to find out what it is really like to live and learn at Lincoln is to visit us in person. We offer a range of opportunities across the year to help you to get a real feel for what it might be like to study here.

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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.