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Chemistry / Medicinal Chemistry

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    Anyone currently studying this course? Well i am about to do Medicinal Chemistry which sounds really interesting. However, i was wandering why is the entry requirement kind of of low ( ABC), compared to for example pharmacy considering the fact that chemistry is known to be quite hard. Is it because it is not quite competitive and only a small number of students apply for it? What is the course content like? Your fellow students & staff? Lab work? etc.... Thank you.
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    (Original post by memenme_1)
    Anyone currently studying this course? Well i am about to do Medicinal Chemistry which sounds really interesting. However, i was wandering why is the entry requirement kind of of low ( ABC), compared to for example pharmacy considering the fact that chemistry is known to be quite hard. Is it because it is not quite competitive and only a small number of students apply for it? What is the course content like? Your fellow students & staff? Lab work? etc.... Thank you.
    Pharmacy ain't a walk in the park. You're comparing Medicinal chemistry to the wrong course, it's the chemistry version of Biomedicine.

    I'd take a wild guess and say the grade requirements are different to Pharmacy because they are effectively training up people to become Pharmacists; this costs the government a lot more money than what's covered from tuition fees. They need to have higher grade requirements to reduce drop out/failing rates.

    Also, as a general rule, grade requirements usually don't say all that much about how difficult a course is either, just about competition. You'd expect that, naturally, universities would want the best applicants possible for their course.
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    I'm in my first year doing the Chemistry with Industrial Experience course. In the first year, everyone does the same core modules (in the first term introductory chemistry and in the second term organic, physical and inorganic) and the medicinal chemists will do 2 medical related modules (1 per term) on top of the core chemistry, the chemistry with patent law will do 2 law related modules etc.

    The introductory chemistry course is a bit boring, but that's because you'll have covered most of it at A level and the lecturers want to get everyone up to the same level. In the second term the work gets a lot more interesting.

    You basically spend all of Monday (10 - 4 with an hour break for lunch) in the lab. Most of the time you finish the experiments early though. In the second year, you spend one and a half days in the lab I think. The PhD students who demonstrate/supervise are all really friendly and helpful.

    I think the course requirements are so low because Chemistry as a whole is undersubscribed and just not a very popular subject in general.

    Hope that helps.
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    (Original post by secondary1)
    I'm in my first year doing the Chemistry with Industrial Experience course. In the first year, everyone does the same core modules (in the first term introductory chemistry and in the second term organic, physical and inorganic) and the medicinal chemists will do 2 medical related modules (1 per term) on top of the core chemistry, the chemistry with patent law will do 2 law related modules etc.

    The introductory chemistry course is a bit boring, but that's because you'll have covered most of it at A level and the lecturers want to get everyone up to the same level. In the second term the work gets a lot more interesting.

    You basically spend all of Monday (10 - 4 with an hour break for lunch) in the lab. Most of the time you finish the experiments early though. In the second year, you spend one and a half days in the lab I think. The PhD students who demonstrate/supervise are all really friendly and helpful.

    I think the course requirements are so low because Chemistry as a whole is undersubscribed and just not a very popular subject in general.

    Hope that helps.
    Well that was quite helpful. Thank you for the information and good luck with your studies.
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    I wish you luck as well, this has been helpful!
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    (Original post by TLDR)
    I wish you luck as well, this has been helpful!
    Are you about to do the same course at manchester??
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    I'm only in my first year of college, but I was looking at doing it there originally.
    But my mum knows some people who work there and well, they basically said don't go.
    It's got a good rep, but the teaching isn't always up to standard.

    Take this with caution though, my mum does tend to over exaggerate things, and I find it isn't always best to go by word of mouth.
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    Hi there... first post, gah.

    I'm currently in my third year at Manchester studying straight chemistry (MChem). I took MedChem in first year and frankly - it sucks. The chemistry modules are great, but those run by the school of pharmacy are just poorly organised and badly examined. If you're going to take a course in the school of chemistry I'd avoid that one; there are plenty of biochem modules throughout the course to keep you happy. If you're really set on biology, take a pharmacy or biochem course.

    Kaeroll
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    (Original post by Kaeroll)
    Hi there... first post, gah.

    I'm currently in my third year at Manchester studying straight chemistry (MChem). I took MedChem in first year and frankly - it sucks. The chemistry modules are great, but those run by the school of pharmacy are just poorly organised and badly examined. If you're going to take a course in the school of chemistry I'd avoid that one; there are plenty of biochem modules throughout the course to keep you happy. If you're really set on biology, take a pharmacy or biochem course.

    Kaeroll
    I like the course content of Medicinal Chemistry! Why what is so bad about it? Would you mind elaborating on that please! ? thanks
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    Gladly.

    The style of teaching and learning in the chemistry modules is fantastic. Concepts are presented with evidence and examples to support them; the exams test the concepts, not the examples.To give one example of this... a first-year topic is MO theory. The concepts are presented with a couple of examples to highlight it. In the exam, these examples don't come up - instead your knowledge and ability to apply the theory is.

    The medchem modules take the opposite tack, requiring rote memorisation of often useless knowledge. Example- a first year topic is enzyme kinetics, which is covered in some depth. When I took it, a footnote at the end of a lecture gave three examples of diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies. I saw this as a demonstration of the point that enzymes are really important. What was the exam question on enzymes? Was it Michaelis-Menten kinetics, structure-function relationships? Nah. It was "name three diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies".

    I dropped the course after first year, but by all accounts it doesn't improve much.

    Kaeroll
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    (Original post by Kaeroll)
    Gladly.

    The style of teaching and learning in the chemistry modules is fantastic. Concepts are presented with evidence and examples to support them; the exams test the concepts, not the examples.To give one example of this... a first-year topic is MO theory. The concepts are presented with a couple of examples to highlight it. In the exam, these examples don't come up - instead your knowledge and ability to apply the theory is.

    The medchem modules take the opposite tack, requiring rote memorisation of often useless knowledge. Example- a first year topic is enzyme kinetics, which is covered in some depth. When I took it, a footnote at the end of a lecture gave three examples of diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies. I saw this as a demonstration of the point that enzymes are really important. What was the exam question on enzymes? Was it Michaelis-Menten kinetics, structure-function relationships? Nah. It was "name three diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies".

    I dropped the course after first year, but by all accounts it doesn't improve much.

    Kaeroll
    Right...Well that is kind of a bit off puting. I will have to think about it. Its because with med chem, it combines all three sciences, focusing more on chemistry and so i thought it might be interesting. Thanks for the info btw.
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    How do you get assessed by the way? Do you get exams on laboratory work? or is it more like written exams?
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    Both.

    Lab work is continually assessed. Each week in years one and two you carry out an experiment and write it up; your write-ups and the quality of your data are assessed. To be honest the marking is hit and miss and really depends upon your demonstrator (postgrad who supervises you in lab), but if you put the effort in you learn a lot.

    The bulk of each of the first three years is taken up by written exams I'm afraid. They're generally well-written though - the modules provided by the school of chemistry tend to test understanding rather than rote memorisation.
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    synth labs also have online pre-lab questions to do beforehand. not sure if they actually count for anything though, they might well be just an (unsuccessful) attempt to reduce the number of people wandering round looking confused and trying to fill in coshh forms for the first hour or so every monday morning.
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    The prelabs count for very, very little, but they do count. I flunked em all and still got 80%+ in first and second year labs.

    If I could give one piece of advice to my 18-year-old self it'd be to actively learn from exercises like that, and labs in general. Going back at this point to figure out why recrystallisation works is sucky.
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    (Original post by Kaeroll)
    The prelabs count for very, very little, but they do count. I flunked em all and still got 80%+ in first and second year labs.

    If I could give one piece of advice to my 18-year-old self it'd be to actively learn from exercises like that, and labs in general. Going back at this point to figure out why recrystallisation works is sucky.
    I hope you dont mind me asking but why did you not consider taking up the industrial experience option? Why the straight MChem option? Because now i am thinking of changing my medicinal chemistry option to either straight MChem or the Industrial experience one.
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    I strongly considered it (and as it happens, initially applied for it but changed to med chem in my first week... which I regretted as I discussed earlier). It's a great course and I know several people who are on very enjoyable, productive placements. Just wasn't for me - I like the academic environment. It's definitely worthwhile doing.
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    (Original post by Kaeroll)
    I strongly considered it (and as it happens, initially applied for it but changed to med chem in my first week... which I regretted as I discussed earlier). It's a great course and I know several people who are on very enjoyable, productive placements. Just wasn't for me - I like the academic environment. It's definitely worthwhile doing.
    Another question now. I was wandering with straight chemistry degree, what sort of career options do you have? Thanks your all your help btw
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    (Original post by memenme_1)
    Another question now. I was wandering with straight chemistry degree, what sort of career options do you have? Thanks your all your help btw
    Well, even if you don't wanna go into Chemistry, it's a really good degree to have because of the skills you learn while on the degree. Employers value it a lot.
    Careers options are all down to what you want to go into really! You can make some of your additional options more widely spread (there's all sorts as you go up the years) so you can gain other experience.
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    (Original post by memenme_1)
    Another question now. I was wandering with straight chemistry degree, what sort of career options do you have? Thanks your all your help btw
    As PoisonDonna said, any graduate job is open to you, most of which do not involve chemistry and are too numerous to list here. As an example, apparently many graduates study law and become soliciters for technical cases such as those involving patent law.

    Within the subject there are, broadly speaking, two major routes into research: academia (working within a university department) or industry (working in a company such as GSK or AstraZeneca). They're quite different, as far as I know.

    Attend a few open days at any chemistry department and they'll almost certainly provide you with much more information.

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