Institution / Open University In Ireland
City scape

Medicinal Chemistry

This qualification enables you to further your studies on aspects of medicinal chemistry that explore the links between disease, mechanisms of action and the development of safe, effective commercial drugs. You have to opportunity to pursue these topics across a number of major health areas including cancer, heart disease, infectious diseases, neuropharmacology and inflammation.

Key features of the course
• Develops your understanding of how drugs are designed
• Builds a wide range of skills associated with postgraduate study
• Gives you the opportunity to top up to the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry in just one more year.

Entry requirements

To study for the Postgraduate Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry you must normally hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject relevant to this qualification. We strongly recommend that you check whether or not your background and experience are sufficient to give you a sound basis on which to tackle this qualification, since we have found that students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully. Our booklet Preparing for S807 and S827 provides more detailed guidance; this can be viewed or printed as a PDF. If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but must supply evidence of your study or experience. For further advice, email the Science Postgraduate Team.

You will also need good computing skills and a level of proficiency in the English language that is adequate for study at postgraduate level. The following should give you some indication of the basic IT and language skills we expect students to have before enrolling on our postgraduate qualifications in science. Please also refer to individual module descriptions to ensure that you are adequately prepared before starting to study for this qualification.

Basic IT skills: Our science postgraduate modules are delivered online, and consequently rely heavily on the use of IT. For example, you will need to access core reading materials, audiovisual and other online resources, communicate with other students, with your tutors and with module teams, search for information, and produce and submit assignments online. Some IT skills are taught within our modules, but you should have a basic level of competence before starting with us (e.g. be able to search the Web, use email, use word processing packages and take part in online forums).

Proficiency in the use of English: All of our taught modules are in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting the IELTS website.


1.75 - 7 years.

Most students study this qualification in three years, as we recommend that you take one module a year due to the demands of studying the diploma. The minimum time to complete is two years, the maximum time to complete is seven years. If you wish to proceed to the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry (F62) you will need to complete this diploma within a shorter period.

Number of credits

120 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
Completing this postgraduate diploma will equip you with key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career and the workplace as well as providing you with a base of postgraduate level science knowledge and understanding. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship within medicinal chemistry, as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will learn to deal with complex issues and make sound judgements and decisions in complex situations.

You will also learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist scientific audiences, work effectively as part of a team, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and plan and implement tasks at a professional level.

The qualification will develop your independent learning skills, enhance your ICT skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.

Having this qualification coupled with practical experience could open up career opportunities in various scientific and medical research fields in the public and private sectors, for example, in pharmaceutical companies, the NHS, medical research, universities, commercial laboratories, and independent healthcare providers.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

We recommend that you take the modules in the order listed below.

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start

Developing research skills in science (S825) 30 07 Oct 2017 FINAL
Concept to clinic (S827) 30 07 Oct 2017
Molecules in medicine (S807) 60 27 Jan 2018

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry, entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Med Chem (Open) after your name.

You may continue your studies and take the 60-credit MSc project module (S810) to gain the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry (F62).

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!