Medicinal chemists are the creative talent behind the modern pharmaceutical industry. As well as being expert chemists, they have a particular expertise in molecular design and the synthesis of drugs.
Is this the right course for me?
Yes, if you have a natural flair for chemistry and are simultaneously interested in developing skills and expert knowledge relevant to the rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry.
This degree provides you with a sound general grounding in chemistry but focuses on, and extends into, topics of relevance to the design and production of new medicinal compounds.
The Freshman years
In the first two years you will follow the science (TR071) programme, taking chemistry, biology and mathematics in the Junior Freshman (first) year, and chemistry, biology I and biology II in the Senior Freshman (second) year (see here for details). In addition, special sessions held specifically for your group will introduce you to the ideas and techniques of medicinal chemistry.
The Sophister years
In the Junior and Senior Sophister (third and fourth) years the course will branch off into the more specialised aspects of medicinal chemistry, although again there will be considerable overlap with the science programme. The overlap will be mainly in organic chemistry, with less emphasis being placed on physical chemistry and inorganic chemistry in order to allow for the introduction of the new medicinal chemistry units.
In the Junior Sophister (third) year, your special medicinal chemistry courses will include:
- Basic principles of medicinal chemistry
- Pharmacology (how drugs interact with the body)
- Drug design (how chemists design new drugs for specific diseases)
- Anti-microbial and anti-infective agents (compounds that can combat the microorganisms that cause disease
- Anti-malarial chemistry (study of the development of new drugs in this area)
- Steroid drugs (study of drugs based on the steroid skeleton)
- Industrial chemistry (short course on medicinal chemistry in industry)
In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year, you will cover the medicinal chemistry of cardiovascular systems, advanced drug delivery systems, and the central nervous system, as well as computational medicinal chemistry and modern analytical methods. Case studies in medicinal chemistry will also feature on your programme.
Practical work in the final year will consist of a research project. This may be carried out either in the Chemistry Department of Trinity College, under the supervision of a member of staff or, alternatively, at a university chemistry department overseas, or in the laboratories of an industrial concern. To date, arrangements have been made for students to carry out their final year projects in Regensburg, Madrid, Liverpool, Strathclyde and Purdue (US) universities.
You will be assessed by a combination of in-course assessment and end-of-year examinations.
As with graduates in other types of chemistry, the skills acquired during this course will make you highly attractive to employers in a wide variety of areas. In addition to the pharmaceutical industry itself, business, finance, administration and teaching are all possibilities open to you as a graduate of medicinal chemistry.