BSc (Hons) Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
Chemistry courses at USW are rated top 5 in the UK for student satisfaction Complete University Guide 2023
Medicinal and biological chemistry is the foundation of modern medicine. The life sciences industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in the UK, where you could use your skills to have a positive eﬀect on health and wellbeing worldwide.
This is a truly multidisciplinary science. While chemistry forms the core of this Medicinal and Biological Chemistry degree, you’ll also study biology, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology to understand the links between human disease and its prevention and treatment through drug design.
To prepare you for the workplace there’s a significant amount of simulated work-based learning as part of this course, as well as employability and professional development activities. In your final year, for example, you can complete a major project in the workplace or pursue an industry-linked project.
The first year provides an excellent grounding in all three branches of chemistry – inorganic, organic and physical – as well as fundamental biology topics. In your second and final years, you’ll progress to study topics at the interface of chemistry and biology, such as drug design, toxicology, biochemistry and heterocyclic chemistry.
Year One: Medicinal and Biological Chemistry Degree
- Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)
- Human Anatomy and Physiology (20 credits)
- Molecules, Membranes and Cells (20 credits)
- Organic Chemistry (20 credits)
- Physical Chemistry (20 credits)
- Your Skills, Your Future (20 credits)
Year Two: Medicinal and Biological Chemistry Degree
- Human Molecular Genetics (20 credits)
- Frontiers in Biology (20 credits)
- Cellular Pathology and Disease Processes (20 credits)
- Analytical Chemistry (20 credits)
- Synthetic Organic Chemistry (20 credits)
- Heterocyclic Chemistry and an Introduction to Drug Design (20 credits)
Year Three: Medicinal and Biological Chemistry Degree
- Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology (20 credits)
- Toxicology (20 credits)
- Professional Practice, Employability and Major Project (40 credits)
- Topics in Medicinal Chemistry (20 credits)
- Advanced Organic Chemistry (20 credits)
A blended learning and teaching approach is utilised to provide the students with subject specific and key skills. Typically, modules consist of a mix of lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical laboratory sessions.
Students are provided with numerous learning activities including written coursework, project work, group work, practicals (with group sizes tailored to the activity); problem solving sessions, self study assignments, oral and poster presentations. independent study, work related learning, on-line self assessments etc. Student will receive around 15 contact hours per week and will be expected to conduct at least one hour of individual study for every one hour of contact.
Teaching staff draw on research interests and scholarly activity, including conferences, to enhance lectures, laboratory work and develop final year projects. In general, final year projects are often of an applied science nature or involve the use of a range of synthetic techniques and analytical instrumentation in line with individual teaching staff research interests.
Research informed teaching
The majority of chemistry research at USW is concerned with the development and application of new catalytic entities, particularly within the field of renewable energy and sustainable manufacturing processes. See our current chemistry research.
Assessment is by examinations; in class tests; online pre-laboratory assessments; laboratory/practical reports and skills; oral presentations; themed portfolios of work; attendance at specific events; essays and dissertations; computer assignments; project work (including planning, conducting, documenting and reporting); and overall monitoring of safe practice in the laboratory.
Students are encouraged to undertake a work placement as part of their final year project, and those wishing to do so are supported by the University's Work Placement Team and the Careers Service.
The Chemistry/Analytical Facilities are on a par with those found in industry. Students make full use of the laboratories during their studies and gain hands on experience using the extensive analytical equipment. Built to the latest standards of safety, our laboratories cater for moderate class sizes to ensure students receive a more personal practical experience. All the laboratories are equipped with AV teaching equipment and have Wi-Fi coverage.
The Chemistry/Analytical suite of laboratories comprise:
- A dedicated Organic chemistry laboratory with a capacity of up to 24 students
- A combined Inorganic/Physical chemistry laboratory
- Two large general instrument laboratories that house some of the more routinely used analytical equipment
- A dedicated student research laboratory, used primarily by final year students undertaking a year long research project
- Two specialised laboratories for performing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy.
The laboratories are fully equipped with chemicals and consumables, glassware and equipment as expected to run a Chemistry degree course.
Biology facilities include newly refurbished biology laboratories; newly built category II microbiology laboratories and facilities for handling of pathogenic organisms PCR and DNA analyzers and an extensive range of anatomical models for teaching of Anatomy and Physiology dedicated microscopy laboratories with access to electron microscopy.
Dr Natasha Galea, course leader. Dr Galea's research is concerned with computational chemistry; particularly the molecular modelling of gas-phase catalysis, and solid state materials (mainly SOFCs).
We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.
Other qualifications and experience
We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.
To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.
If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here
Typical A-Level Offer
BCC including Chemistry and Biology but to exclude General Studies
Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC at A Level (this is equivalent to 104 UCAS tariff points). Must include Biology and Chemistry modules and excludes General Studies
Typical Science Requirements
Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested grade(s)
Typical BTEC Offer
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit in a relevant subject which must include Biology and Chemistry modules
Typical Access to HE Offer
Pass an Access to HE Diploma in Science and obtain a minimum of 104 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.
International Entry Requirements
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course
August 2025 - July 2026 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
|Kit / Equipment
Students are encouraged to equip themselves with a suitable cotton laboratory coat, suitable for working in a chemical laboratory, and a pair of personal protective laboratory goggles, although the School does provide these items. Students who are successful in securing an industry-based project may, in a small number of cases, be required to purchase additional personal protective equipment as specified by the specific organisation or company.
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their project would be expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science Travel Bursary
The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science offers a travel bursary of £500 which is available to all students undertaking an undergraduate sandwich degree. Find out more.
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
International and EU students
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK.
Graduates will be ready for a career as a scientist, researcher or technician in the life sciences, which includes the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries. You could also explore opportunities in the chemical industries and other medical-related employment. You’ll also develop a wide range of transferable skills as part of your studies, including analytical problem solving, team work and communication. As such, graduates from chemistry-based degrees can find employment in alternative disciplines such as teaching, management, law, finance and business.
Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.