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Pharmaceutical Chemistry

F154 BSc (Hons) 3 years


Our Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme provides the training required to work within the pharmaceutical industry in the discovery and development of new medicines.

You will learn how drugs are designed and optimised from lead compounds, their mode(s) of action and pharmacology, and how they are developed through trials and into manufacture. The teaching on this degree programme is focused on synthetic organic chemistry but also provides a good foundation in other branches of chemistry.

Our degree programme is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry and leads to Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry status.

Research and teaching

By choosing to study at a Russell Group university, you will have access to excellent teaching and top class research. You will be taught by staff who are actively involved in research, who are enthusiastic about their subjects and sharing their knowledge with you.

You can find out more about our research interests on the chemistry and biochemistry department page.

I thoroughly enjoy learning how drugs interact with the biological system and its effect. I also enjoy the interactive lectures and laboratory work where we tend to work and collaborate with our peers. Having a degree from Queen Mary University of London benefits my employment chances as it is a reputable university, rankings 9th in the UK for research.
Amita Gupta, Pharmaceutical Chemistry student

Entry requirements

  • A-levels: Typically ABB and above at A2 level from three subjects including chemistry
  • International Baccalaureate: 34 points overall including grade 5 in chemistry (Higher Level)
  • BTEC: We do not accept BTEC qualifications
  • Access to HE Diploma: We will consider applications from students with the Access to HE Diploma (60 credit in a science discipline e.g. biology, chemistry, maths, physics). We take all aspects of your UCAS application into careful consideration; we look at the merits of your personal statement, academic reference, predicted grades and actual grades, and, due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers purely on the basis of meeting the grade requirements. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve an overall Pass, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.

All applications are considered by our admissions tutors on a case-by-case basis, and this may mean we would request an interview.

Visit our frequently asked questions page for answers to our commonly received queries about entry requirements.

Non-UK students

Students from outside the United Kingdom must give evidence of their English language ability by producing an English language test score. The university provides guidelines for English requirements for all degree programmes.

Foundation programme

Students may enter this degree programme via admission to the QMUL Science and Engineering Foundation Programme. Students must complete the foundation year and meet the required progression criteria.

Other qualifications

If you have qualifications, which are not listed above, please contact us to check your eligibility: 
Tel: +44(0) 207 882 5511

Learning and teaching

Chemistry teaching is delivered using a variety of teaching methods, including traditional lectures (up to 180 people), workshops (20-40 people) and small group tutorials (around five people). We place great importance on our small group teaching, in modules such as Essential Skills for Chemists and Project Skills in Chemistry as this is where students can gain individual attention and really test and practise their understanding of topics.

Being an experimental and practical subject, there are also plenty of laboratory classes to support the material being taught in classes. Students typically have eight hours of lectures per week, normally in the morning, with two or three afternoons of workshops and laboratory classes per week.

Independent study:

For every hour spent at University you will be expected to complete additional hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; assessing data from experiments; completing lab reports; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study and laboratory sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Most modules are assessed through a combination of theory examination (which typically accounts for 80-90 per cent of the final mark) and coursework (including, for example, problem sheets, online exercises and tests). Theory examinations are held in May/June, and are between two hours and three hours, depending upon the module concerned.

The format of undergraduate examinations also varies from module to module and may include multiple choice questions (MCQ), short answer questions, problem-based questions or essays. A resit opportunity is available in August for first and second year students who do not pass a module at the first attempt. Practical-based modules are assessed continuously throughout the academic year, with no final examination.

Third-year BSc students may also undertake a research project (subject to satisfactory performance in years 1 and 2). These projects are generally assessed by a combination of detailed written report, a seminar-style presentation, and interview.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full-time £9,250

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full-time £17,450

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate Employment

Our graduates progress into a range of sectors, including clinical and laboratory work, as well as postgraduate research and study and science communication.  Others transfer their skills into sectors such as marketing and finance. The latest data show that 94 per cent* of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduation. 

Graduate destinations - employment 

Recent graduates of our pharmaceutical chemistry programmes have gone onto the following roles:

  • Research Scientist in drug development
  • Clinical Outcomes Officer - NHS Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
  • Research and Development Assistant – pharmaceuticals company
  • Clinical Assistant - St Bartholomew's Hospital
  • Associate Scientist - GlaxoSmithKline
  • Account Executive – Nestle 
  • Research Assistant - University College London (UCL)
  • Events Assistant
  • Operations Manager

Graduate destinations - further study

Recent graduates on our pharmaceutical chemistry programmes have gone onto study the following:

  • Clinical Neuroscience MSc
  • Chemical Research MSc
  • Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine MRes
  • Clinical Drug Development MSc

QMUL is part of the prestigious Russell Group and our graduates are consistently in the top ten graduate starting salaries in the UK (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016).  QMUL graduates have a strong earning power, with an average salary of £23,580.*  You will also have access to QMUL’s specialist Careers and Enterprise team to help prepare you for internships and graduate employment. 

*Source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, 2013/14


Helen Pritchard-Smith

Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Currently: In the fourth year of my PhD in chemistry at the University of Bristol
  • Why did you choose Queen Mary?

Because I liked the campus and the course, specifically in relation to cancer chemotherapeutics, which were of particular interest to me.

  • What did you enjoy about Queen Mary?

I got to know not only everyone in my year, but all of the PhD students and staff really well. I had a lot of excellent lecturers, which helped give me the good grounding in chemistry that I needed to be successful in my PhD. I learnt the basics of lab technique during my final-year project. Having the opportunity to present a poster and give a talk in our final year was helpful, as this is a regular part of doing a PhD. I was also the women’s rowing captain for two years, which I really enjoyed.

Trisha Bihal

BSc Chemistry

"Queen Mary has a brilliant reputation, as well as outstanding records of results. When I came to an open day, I was made to feel very comfortable and picked up friendly and welcoming vibes – that was when I decided to come and study here.

It's a great area to be a student, there are loads of things to do: explore the parks, activities, nightlife and there is even go-karting and rock climbing adventure parks just off the Mile End Road. I have many favourite places on campus, the Library where we can work in groups, the Hive and the Joseph Priestley building computer rooms - which are ideal for independent work. There are great lab facilities and by far the most interesting thing I've done so far is carry out experiments where the results helped us come to a conclusion about a fake murder case.

I was a course rep last year, it was a wonderful experience as I was able to voice opinions and share thoughts on behalf of the chemistry body. I would recommend this to others who want to get involved in shaping the student experience at QMUL and it is a great addition to your CV."


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