Drug Design & Discovery

UCAS codes

Course contact

Dr Morag Dagen
+44 (0)141 848 3211 or 0800 027 1000 (+44 141 849 4101 out with UK)

Qualifications and durations

  • MSc
    1 year*
  • Postgraduate Diploma
    9 months

*To obtain the MSc, students will usually take 9 months to gain the PgDip and then normally an additional 3 months of study to gain the MSc, from the date of commencement of the project.


Start date(s)

  • January and September

Tuition Fees

Additional costs
Please note that for some programmes of study there may be additional costs involved which are not included in the tuition fee advertised. These could be, for example, for study materials, fields trips or equipment. Programme leaders will be able to provide detail of any additional costs.
Please note this programme is not recruiting for session 2016/17

Designed with industry input, and with industry placement opportunities available, this programme prepares you for a career in the pharmaceutical industry or in academic research.
Candidates must normally possess a good first degree in chemistry, pharmacy, or a bioscience with substantial chemistry content.

Other professional qualifications equivalent to a degree, or a lesser, appropriate qualification and experience gained in industry will also be considered.

The programme is available to EU and overseas students (full-time only). Overseas students must meet UWS English language requirements.
The programme – which reflects the approaches taken by modern pharmaceutical companies – provides theoretical and practical training in the strategies and techniques by which novel drugs are designed. This involves the study of synthetic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and chemical analysis. The latest strategies and technologies involved in the discovery and testing of novel drug candidates are explored.

Your Learning

The MSc consists of six taught modules over two trimesters followed by a substantial research project.


Core modules include:

  • Drug Discovery and Development 
  • Drug Research Methods 
  • Computer-Aided Drug Design 
  • Preclinical Drug Testing 
  • MSc Science Research Project 
  • Pharmaceutical Synthesis 


Optional modules:

  • Placement Learning 
  • Drug Design and Development



    You will conduct a research project to complete the MSc, involving the application of knowledge and practical techniques covered in the modules. There are various exciting research projects ongoing in this area, including testing of potential anti-tumour agents, and enkephalin analogs, design and synthesis of opioidmimetics, and compounds used against Alzheimer’s disease.

    UWS graduates possess expert knowledge and practical experience of the most relevant techniques used in drug design and discovery, preparing you for a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Graduates will find employment in drug synthesis, computer-aided drug design, drug formulation and regulatory affairs.

    Financial support
    In session 2015/16 the Postgraduate Diploma element of this programme carried SAAS postgraduate loan funding for eligible students. Check www.saas.gov.uk for 2016/17 loan info.

    You may take a work-based learning module involving industry placement for approximately one day per week during the second trimester. Placements will be with pharmaceutical, chemical or bioscience companies.
    I have learned a lot about medicinal chemistry and the drug development process. We had a guest speaker from a major pharmaceutical company who was a real inspiration to us and I have been able to go on a work placement gaining valuable industrial experience. At UWS, the staff are all very friendly and approachable, and the facilities are very modern.
    Graeme Morris, MSc Drug Design and Discovery student

    Useful Information

    • Please note this programme is not recruiting for session 2016/17