Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology (BMS1)

These intriguing sciences can also be described as the `chemistry of life and medicine'.

If you are interested in doing an Internship as part of Stage 4, you must indicate your interest now (in Stage 3).
See full details

Curricular information is subject to change

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The aim of the programme is to provide a broadly-based based education in the knowledge and skills needed by students to pursue careers in the range of sectors underpinned by chemical science and technology.   Furthermore, the programme will detail a range of topics that explain the essential interface between chemistry and biology, enabling the development of an interdisciplinary scientist who will be a pivotal figure for the (bio)pharmaceutical industry. Graduates from this programme will have the capacity to apply their chemical and biological knowledge and skills, creativity, and critical thinking to solve problems of scientific, therapeutic and social importance, and to generate new knowledge.  We provide a stimulating and supportive learning environment, in which students develop their knowledge and understanding of Chemistry as an enabling science.  Immersed in a research-intensive environment, located in state-of-the-art facilities, students will work individually and in teams, and engage in cutting-edge projects that will hone their critical thinking, communications, autonomous learning, and technical skills.  In addition to lectures, laboratory classes and tutorials, we use a range of student-centred, active-learning activities, including workshops, case studies, seminars, and team-based projects, culminating in research projects in which students are embedded in academic research teams to work on leading-edge problems in either medicinal chemistry or chemical biology.  Both the core material and the transferrable skills acquired in the programme are assessed,using a range of techniques, including assessment of laboratory skills and reports, assessment of presentations, assessment of team work, and assessment of a research thesis and of an oral thesis defense, in addition to in-class tests and written examinations.

1 - Demonstrate a broad and balanced knowledge and appreciation of key concepts in chemistry, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology.
2 - Safely and effectively carry out a range of modern experimental procedures.
3 - Apply their theoretical and practical skills, and adopt a rigorous and rational approach, to solve problems in the field.
4 - Describe and communicate problems relating to drug design, structure-activity relationship, and discuss chemical processes holistically from also from an environmental and perspective.
5 - Engage imaginatively, analytically, and creatively with the molecular basis of matter to understand the materials and processes inherent in the natural world.
6 - Predict, design and develop the new therapeutics and processes that will be critical to promoting and ensuring health and well-being, and sustainable global progress and prosperity.
7 - Design and implement efficient, safe and sustainable methods for the synthesis of molecules and therapeutics.
8 - Develop and employ quantitative methods for the measurement, characterisation, and analysis of the structure and dynamics of molecular systems.
9 - Understand the nature of scientific research and be able to design, plan and execute research projects.
10 - Demonstrate an intellectual, critical, ethical and professional approach to Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and in their thinking generally.
11 - Demonstrate an aptitude for life-long, self-directed learning as well as collaborative learning in professional settings throughout their careers.
12 - Exhibit the potential for taking leadership roles in their future careers, and in addressing complex societal and global challenges, especially those relating to new pharmaceuticals and greener routes to synthesis.
Students who return failing grades in a trimester amounting to 15 credits, or more, will be identified under the UCD Continuation – Academic Progress policy. Students whose rate of progression and performance over two academic years is deemed unacceptable will be referred to the Governing Board to be reviewed for exclusion from the programme.

Students who fail to progress from the stage of the programme they are registered to for more than two academic years (except where a period of Leave of Absence has been granted for one of those years) will also be contacted under the Continuation – Academic Progress Policy.

As Stages 3 and 4 have the most dynamic components of the programme, and the material studied previously may no longer be relevant, a student who has been away from the programme for a significant period should be required to register again to Stage 3. The upper limit for completion of Stages 3 and 4 should be six years if they choose to do 120 credits with 20 in each year.
This degree programme combines intriguing sciences that can be described as the 'chemistry of life and medicine'.

With its enormous impact on biology and medicine, Chemical Biology will undoubtedly lead to further discoveries and inventions that will become widely adopted in clinical practice. Consider such Nobel Prize-winning accomplishments as the discovery of penicillin (Fleming, Florey and Chain, Hodgkin) and the determination of the structure of DNA (Watson and Crick).

Chemical Biology & Medicinal Chemistry are fields populated by chemists who have a good understanding of biology at the molecular level. They will be of increasing importance for decades to come to address existing and emerging healthcare problems (for example cancer, AIDS, TB and avian flu).

Chemical biologists and medicinal chemists will develop the next generation of medicines to solve such problems and will have an impact across a wide range of areas, including the development of environmentally friendly approaches to process chemistry.
You may apply to study abroad for either a semester or a year through the Erasmus programme or on a non-EU exchange.

UCD has over 200 Erasmus partners in Europe and an increasing number of non-EU exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and elsewhere.
Please visit the Erasmus section by clicking on the International Office link at the top of this page.
As graduates of the UCD Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology degree, you will be equipped with the skills required to pursue a career in any avenue of biomedical research, including the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, forensic science, clinical laboratories and research institutes.
Prof. Stefan Oscarson, UCD Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology, Belfield, Dublin 4 Email: Dr Francesca Paradisi, UCD Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology, Belfield, Dublin 4 Tel: +353 1 716 2967 Email: Web:
Stage 3

-Students must select 7 core modules and at least 3 options. -Additional modules may be selected from the Option Modules list below or alternatively, students may select 10 credits of elective modules.
If you are interested in doing an Internship as part of Stage 4, you must indicate your interest now (in Stage 3). See full details

Stage 4

-Students take 60 credits of modules (core and options) from within the BSc programme. -Students take the research project and four core modules (40 credits) and four options (20 credits).

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 3 Core Modules
CHEM30200 Carbonyl Chemistry, Retrosynthesis and Synthetic Methods Autumn 5
CHEM30210 Structure Determination and Aromatic Heterocyclic Chemistry Autumn 5
CHEM30220 Mechanism, Stereochemistry and Alicyclic Chemistry Autumn 5
CHEM30280 Medicinal Chemistry (level 3) Autumn 5
BIOC30030 Biochemist's Toolkit Spring 5
CHEM30260 Chemical Biology of Natural Products Spring 5
CHEM30270 Chemical Biology of Macromolecules Spring 5
Stage 3 Core Modules
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN3OF:
Select at least 3 options
CHEM30110 Instrumental Analysis Autumn 5
MICR30030 Microbial Physiology Autumn 5
MICR30040 Microbial Diversity and Growth Autumn 5
PHAR30010 Chemotherapeutic Agents Autumn 5
PHAR30080 Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric Illness Autumn 5
BMOL30020 Molecular basis of disease Spring 5
CHEM30360 Advanced Transition Metal Chem Spring 5
MICR30090 Microbial Cell Factory for Chemists Spring 5
PHAR30050 Experimental and therapeutic strategies in molecular pharmacology Spring 5
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN3OF:
Select at least 3 options
Stage 4 Core Modules
CHEM40030 Research Project 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr) 20
CHEM40050 Metals in Biology Autumn 5
CHEM40090 Methods in Organic Synthesis 2 Autumn 5
CHEM40060 Methods in Organic Synthesis Spring 5
CHEM40290 Special topics in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (level 4) Spring 5
Stage 4 Core Modules
Stage 4 Options - A)MIN4OF:
Select four options from the list below. Please Note: Students who have successfully completed SCI30080 will be registered to the module by the relevant School.
BIOC40070 Protein Structure and Analysis Autumn 5
CHEM40870 Nanomaterials Chemistry Autumn 5
CHEM41290 Modern techniques to monitor b Autumn 5
SCI30080 Professional Placement-Science Autumn 5
BMOL40050 Advanced Cancer Biology and Pharmacology Spring 5
CHEM40080 Reactivity and Change Spring 5
CHEM40140 Modern Methods and Applications of Catalysis Spring 5
PHAR40040 Emerging therapies: Cloning, gene therapy and stem cells Spring 5
PHAR40050 Drug Discovery and Development I Spring 5
PHAR40160 Drug Discovery and Development II Spring 5
Stage 4 Options - A)MIN4OF:
Select four options from the list below. Please Note: Students who have successfully completed SCI30080 will be registered to the module by the relevant School.
See the UCD Assessment website for further details

Module Weighting Info  
  Award GPA
Programme Module Weightings Rule Description Description >= <=
BHSCI001 Stage 4 - 70.00%
Stage 3 - 30.00%
Standard Honours Award First Class Honours



Second Class Honours, Grade 1



Second Class Honours, Grade 2






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