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The award
BA (Hons)

How long you will study
4 years

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
full-time

Course starts
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International course fees
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All study options

About Medicinal Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin

What is medicinal chemistry?

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.

Course overview

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.

Assessment structure

You will be assessed by a combination of in-course assessment and end-of-year examinations.

Career opportunities

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.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardBA (Hons)How you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study4 years
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Entry requirements for this course

Contact Trinity College Dublin to find course entry requirements.