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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Programme Catalogue

MSc Drug Discovery and Development

Programme code:MSC-BSGS/DDDUCAS code:
Duration:12 Months Method of Attendance: Full Time
Programme manager:Dr Dan Donnelly Contact


Total credits: 180

Entry requirements:

Normally a 2:1 or equivalent, preferably in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, pharmacy or pharmacology subject. Consideration will be given to applicants holding a 2:2 but who have 2:1 level marks in modules relevant to the programme. [SES admissions team to be supplied with a rubric of module titles required to be 2:1 level].

Standard English requirements apply.

School/Unit responsible for the parenting of students and programme:

Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences

Examination board through which the programme will be considered:

Masters Taught Student Education Examination Board

Relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Groups:

Students will be expected to demonstrate the characteristics embodied in the QAA Qualifications Frameworks level descriptors for Masters degrees ('s-degree-characteristics-statement.pdf).

Programme specification:

The programme will provide an integrated understanding of the pathways of drug discovery, development and exploitation and will highlight the interdisciplinary and 'problem-based' nature of research in this area. Students with a range of relevant undergraduate backgrounds (e.g. chemistry/pharmacology/biochemistry/pharmaceutical science/biomedical science) will be recruited.

The programme’s material will cover the key techniques and methodology used in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology to discover and develop new drugs for therapeutic use. After introducing the pharmaceutical business sector, the programme covers the main scientific background disciplines at undergraduate foundation level in order to ensure the diverse intake of students have studied the key disciplines (organic chemistry, human physiology, pharmacology, etc.) they may have missed in their particular undergraduate programme. There are then a number of modules that cover all parts of the drug discovery pipeline (ligand- and structure-based drug discovery, preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy testing, and product commercialisation). This will provide students with a deep understanding of core elements of the discipline, and a good appreciation of the broader context and regulatory framework of the industry. Additional modules focus on more specialist areas and the acquisition of technical skills necessary for drug discovery and development. Dependent on the students’ background and interests, these modules include advanced topics in chemistry, practical recombinant DNA technology, animal models and handling, advanced data analysis techniques, or other optional modules. The course material will be reinforced through deductive problems and student-led activities allowing students to exploit a diverse range of skills, to appreciate the advantages and limitations of each research approach, and to be prepared for the necessarily inquisitive nature of research. The approach is highly interdisciplinary, and will equip students to work in such broad-based teams.

Students will cap their Masters programme by undertaking an extended research project supervised by research-active academic staff and it is expected that a large proportion of the projects will be interdisciplinary. The world class research facilities and the range of expertise at Leeds means that students will be able to select the research approaches which are most suited to the biological/medicinal chemistry problem in hand. The initial report will require students to appreciate the background to the research problem, to formulate hypotheses, to propose a programme of work and to explain which of the proposed approaches is best suited to address the underlying research problem. The research work will be conducted within the vigorous research atmosphere fostered by the wide range of medicinal chemistry, structural molecular biology and drug-related research at the University of Leeds.

Year1 - View timetable

[Learning Outcomes, Transferable (Key) Skills, Assessment]

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

BIOL5123MDrug Discovery and Development Pathways5 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
BIOL5134MCommercialising pharmaceutical products10 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)
BIOL5371MResearch Planning and Scientific Communication10 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)
CHEM3013Foundations of Drug Discovery15 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
CHEM5107MModern Drug Discovery15 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)

Optional modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following optional modules from Sub-set A, B and C:

Sub-set A: Candidates will be required to take ONE compulsory 80 credit Research Project module from the following:

BIOL5392MBioscience MSc Research Project80 credits1 Apr to 31 Aug
CHEM5501MExtended Research Project for Chemistry-based MSc courses80 credits1 Oct to 30 Sep (12mth)

Students will be guided in their choice of project by the programme leader and team.

Sub-set B: Candidates will be required to study 30 credits from the following optional modules:

BIOL5373MProtein Engineering Laboratory Project15 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)
BMSC5120MDrug Development: Pre-clinical15 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
BMSC5230MAnimal Models in Drug Development15 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
CHEM5608MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (15 Credits)15 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)
CHEM5616MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry30 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)

Subset C: Candidates will be required to study 15 credits of optional modules.

BIOL5278MPharmaceutical Development: Clinical15 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
BIOL5312MBioimaging15 creditsSemesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun)
BMSC5231MStructure-based Drug Discovery15 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
MEDM5231MCancer Drug Development15 credits1 Jan to 30 Apr

Candidates must ensure a balance of credits across semester, and seek advice from the programme leader, where necessary.

Last updated: 12/04/2022 13:19:56


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