Skip to main content
“By creating we think, by living we learn” Patrick Geddes
Main University menu

Admissions Top-Level Menu

Undergraduate Menu

Life Sciences Building
Learn more about the teaching buildings

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery

BSc (Hons)

If you're interested in one of the biggest fundamental issues in healthcare - the design and creation of smarter, safer and better drugs against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, malaria and AIDS - our Biochemistry and Drug Discovery degree is for you. It involves the design, chemical synthesis and testing of new medicines.

You can also choose to take a five year degree, with one year spent on a related industrial placement.

Why study Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery at Dundee?

The College of Life Sciences is superbly placed to deliver this Drug Discovery degree, having recently formed the Drug Discovery Unit. The University of Dundee's world-renowned research activities in molecular and cell biology and drug design mean that students are taught by a team of experts who work at the cutting edge of their field.

You have the option to take the honours degree as either a five-year programme with a year in industry or a four-year programme without a year in industry.

What is Drug Discovery?

Drug discovery is a practical science at the interface between chemistry, pharmacology and biology that includes modern computational methods combined with chemical and molecular biology techniques.

We live in a new era with detailed knowledge of genes and the abilities to determine three-dimensional molecular structures and to create complex molecules. The Drug Discovery degree utilises these facets to identify drug targets against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, malaria and AIDS and to design and create new cures and safer, more effective drugs whilst also equipping you with extensive knowledge of assay design and development.

What's so good about Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery at Dundee?

Professional recognition

The BSc (Hons) Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery is recognised by The Royal Society of Chemistry for associate membership (AMRSC).

Year in Industry

If you choose to take the degree with a year in industry, this provides an exciting opportunity for work experience with a leading local or international biotechnology or pharmaceutical company with which the University of Dundee has close links. You will acquire skills that are in great demand in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

"I have observed placement students at Axis-Shield Diagnostics grow in their confidence and willingness to contribute to research programmes. This will benefit them on their return to University and also their future careers."
Dr Murdo Black, R&D Director, Axis-Shield Ltd, Dundee

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study in the USA or Canada at Level 2, through the Transatlantic Student Exchange scheme.

Degrees Available

  • BSc Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
  • BSc Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (with a year in industry

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff based in the College of Life Sciences.

There are regular meetings of staff-student liaison committees. While this provides a forum for formal contact, there is also opportunity for informal contact between you and academic staff, whom you will find friendly and approachable.

How you will be taught

We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use workshops, tutorials, computer-aided learning, and field excursions, as appropriate to each module.

What you will study

Typical Degree Programme

Levels 1 and 2

All Life Sciences degree programmes share common core modules at Level 1 that provide a general introduction to the life sciences through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, practical work and field excursions.

Please refer to the Biological/Biomedical Sciences degree structure and overview webpage for details of the common curriculum in Levels 1 and 2.

Level 3

Specialist topics cover biochemistry, synthetic chemistry, analytical techniques and pharmacology.

  • You will study synthetic organic chemistry with reference to biological and pharmaceutical applications.
  • In analytical techniques you will cover the theory and applications of NMR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, spectroscopic and chromatographic analysis, protein structure prediction & modelling.
  • You will also study drug metabolism and kinetics, drug design and screening technologies, mechanistic enzymology, drug targets & drug leads, pharmaceutical development, metabolism & drug interactions.
  • The study of biochemical pathways and processes and molecular interactions at the cellular level will expand your understanding of disease processes.
Between Levels 3 and 4

A year working in industry if you have chosen the degree programme with a year in industry.

Level 4

At level 4, you will carry out more advanced study of topics in the field of drug design and development, these will be at the level of current research in your chosen subject area.

You will choose units from a range of topics that include:

  • drug design and discovery
  • advanced synthetic organic chemistry
  • bioinformatics
  • advanced instrumental analytical techniques
  • protein structure and pharmacokinetics

You will be able to choose additional topics from a wide range of specialist research areas within life sciences according to your personal interests.

Your studies will involve extensive use of scientific literature and the opportunity to attend a regular programme of seminars given by invited speakers from Britain and abroad.

  • Research project - several formats are available including laboratory-based research under the supervision of a leading scientist, computer modelling, multimedia teaching packages, literature and electronic database review.

How you will be assessed

All modules are assessed by a combination of in-course and end-of-course procedures. Regular in-course assessments (e.g. practical reports, computer-based exercises, essays and data processing exercises) provide feedback on your progress and help you prepare for end-of-module examinations.

On-line assignments are used extensively at Levels 1 and 2, with access via a PC on or off campus. Peer assessment operates in many team projects.

Careers

This degree can lead to a wide range of careers including research and development in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries; chemical, pharmaceutical or biomedical research in universities or research institutes; teaching in further or higher education; scientific publishing; scientific patenting or further professional education and training.

The interdisciplinary nature of the programmes also provides generic skills that are applicable to many careers.

The degree is recognised by The Royal Society of Chemistry for associate membership (AMRSC).

Postgraduate Study

Some of our students proceed to higher degrees (MSc or PhD) and go on to undertake or supervise original research, and others go on to take a degree in Medicine.

We offer a number of Masters level courses in addition to PhD research opportunities in the College of Life Sciences.

Lauren Webster graduated in 2010, and since then has been studying for a PhD in the Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery Unit here at the University of Dundee.

She says, "Working as an undergraduate in the undergraduate labs was fantastic, however during my last year I had access to the Wellcome Trust Building and the James Black Centre. Their equipment was top of the range - much of the technology on offer was similar to that of an industrial lab. Many techniques were learned from my experience there.

Entry Requirements

These are minimum indicative entry requirements, not a guaranteed entry level. You will get an individual offer from us following our review of your application. Please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2014

Your application for entry will be judged based on the highest level qualifications you have or are taking, e.g. students offering A-Levels or Scottish Baccalaureate will be made an offer based on entry to the 3 year Honours degree as this offers the best academic progression.

4 year Honours degree (Level 1 / SCQF 7 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Higher AABB
GCE A-Level not available
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (Higher, ILC Higher, IB Higher Level) plus
Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2 at C, ILC Ordinary Level at C or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

3 year Honours degree (Level 2 / SCQF 8 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (AH) + BB (H) in different subjects
GCE A-Level AAB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (AH or A-Level or IB Higher level) plus
Mathematics (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2 at C, GCSE at C, or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 (grade C) (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access to Science Programmes Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science modules (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry (level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry (level 2 entry)

Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

Courses starting September 2015

Your application for entry will be judged based on the highest level qualifications you have or are taking, e.g. students offering A-Levels or Scottish Baccalaureate will be made an offer based on entry to the 3 year Honours degree as this offers the best academic progression.

4 year Honours degree (Level 1 / SCQF 7 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Higher AABB
GCE A-Level not available
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (Higher, ILC Higher, IB Higher Level) plus
Mathematics and Chemistry (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, ILC Ordinary Level at C or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country

3 year Honours degree (Level 2 / SCQF 8 entry)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (AH) + BB (H) in different subjects
GCE A-Level AAB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology and Chemistry (AH or A-Level or IB Higher level) plus
Mathematics (Standard Grade at 3, Intermediate 2/National 5 at C, GCSE at C, or IB Subsidiary Level at 4)

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units (Level 2 entry)
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 (grade C) (Level 2 entry)
SWAP Access to Science Programmes Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 (Level 1 entry)
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM (Level 1 entry)
A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science modules (Level 2 entry)
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C (Level 2 entry)
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C (Level 2 entry)
European Baccalaureate

70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry (level 1 entry)
75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry (level 2 entry)

Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee category Fees for students starting September 2014
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Students from the rest of the UK £9,000 per year for each year of the degree.
You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.
EU students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,500 per year of study.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Fee category Scholarships & Bursaries applicable
Scottish students
Students from the rest of the UK
EU students
Overseas students (non-EU)

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

All applications must be made through UCAS

UCAS Codes

Institution Code: D65

Degree
UCAS Codes
KIS data
BSc Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
F151
View KIS data for this course
BSc Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (with a year in industry)
F154
View KIS data for this course

UCAS Application Process


International Applicants

We have information specifically for international applicants on our International website:

What skills, qualities and experience do I need?

Your personal statement should demonstrate an interest in the subject you are applying for and a commitment to the study of that subject. How did your interest in the subject arise, and do you have a particular career path in mind?

You should comment on your participation in both school/college/work and extracurricular activities and on the extent to which they have aided in your personal development and the acquisition of skills that will be of value to you as a life sciences student.

  • Do you have an enquiring mind?
  • Do you have good analytical skills and problem-solving ability?
  • Are you self-motivated and able to work independently?
  • Are you a good team player?
  • Do you have good communication skills?

If you are planning a gap year, comment on the intended activity and the benefits that you think you are likely to gain from the experience.

Tips for your application

Give careful consideration to both the style and content of your personal statement as it can be an indicator of your ability to communicate as well as providing an account of your personal achievements and skills.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in 3 years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Home / EU applicants

Undergraduate Admissions
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 384370/ 388074/ 388585 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384370/ 388074/ 388585 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us

International applicants

International Office
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Nethergate
Dundee
DD1 4HN
Scotland

Telephone: 01382 388 111 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 388 111 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us