Module Overview

Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry

This module is at a basic level.  It aims to introduce learners to medicinal chemistry, to give insight into the central importance of chemistry to the design, development and production of pharmaceuticals, and to help learners appreciate the professional role of the medicinal chemist. In addition, an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of medicinal chemistry and of current trends, themes and terminology will be gained. The module will build upon prior learning gained from modules CHEM1002 or CHEM1005 & CHEM1006. The practical and continuous assessment element of the module is designed to reinforce the lecture material. 

Module Code

CHEM 1204

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Definition of a drug in a medicinal context, the source of new drugs (natural sources, rational drug design), the need for new drugs, an overview of the basic principles of drug action and duration introducing the relevant terminology to describe the processes involved, recognition of functional groups and chiral centres in drugs and their possible influence on drug action. 

A historical and modern approach to drug discovery including an overview of the stages, costs and timelines involved in modern drug discovery and development.  Need for regulations and an overview of the regulatory requirements associated with the production of pharmaceuticals. 

A case study to illustrate the above.  E.g. Life before and after the discovery of antibiotics, Steroids and their medicinal applications.

The therapeutic index- its advantages and limitations.

Routes of administration and biological barriers to drug delivery.

The role of a professional medicinal chemist.

Consideration of some of the ethical issues related to the development of new drugs. 

An introduction to ethics and the impacts of chemistry, and in particular medicinal chemistry, on society locally, nationally and globally.


Students will learn through lectures (12 hours, some of which may be delivered online), problem solving and laboratory practicals and workshops (24 hours). A blended approach to lectures may be taken in which students will be required to engage with online resources and attend associated in class workshops.  In this case, the total number of learning hours assigned to lectures will remain 12 hours. Self-directed learning is encouraged and supported using online resources hosted via Brightspace.

Detailed assessment criteria will be given to the students at the start of the module each year in a module handbook or as content within sections in the virtual learning environment.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)100