Chemistry, medicinal chemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry? Watch

rosieanna
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I'm thinking about doing a chemistry degree and organic is my favourite part of chemistry! I've always been interested in the idea of studying drugs, why/how they work/designing them etc., and I think I'd quite like to work in drug research when I'm older. I don't really understand what the difference between medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry is to know which one to apply for, or just do a normal chemistry degree and choose modules related to that! My understanding is that a pharmaceutical degree would be more for working in a community pharmacy, which i wouldn't be interested in really, rather than drug research/working in industry.
Also, I don't do Biology A-Level, so I think I'd prefer to do a degree that's more chemistry based than biology based out of them! Just not sure what the difference is to know which one to apply for!
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(Original post by rosieanna)
I'm thinking about doing a chemistry degree and organic is my favourite part of chemistry! I've always been interested in the idea of studying drugs, why/how they work/designing them etc., and I think I'd quite like to work in drug research when I'm older. I don't really understand what the difference between medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry is to know which one to apply for, or just do a normal chemistry degree and choose modules related to that! My understanding is that a pharmaceutical degree would be more for working in a community pharmacy, which i wouldn't be interested in really, rather than drug research/working in industry.
Also, I don't do Biology A-Level, so I think I'd prefer to do a degree that's more chemistry based than biology based out of them! Just not sure what the difference is to know which one to apply for!
Hi rosieanna


All the different names can get quite confusing can't it! If Organic is your favourite part of Chemistry then you certainly wouldn't be disappointed by a Chemistry degree at BSc or MChem/MSci level. Doing a chemistry degree will offer plenty of opportunities for a career in drug research, with many chemistry graduates going on to this kind of work.

Medicinal or Pharmaceutical Chemistry degrees will focus more on the design, synthesis or discovery of drugs, which will include a high level of organic and analytical chemistry. Many of these types of degrees are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry so you know you will be reaching a good standard of chemical science knowledge and skills when you graduate.

Pharmacy degrees however will prepare you for a career working in community or hospital pharmacy and would make you less prepared for a career in drug research (though some Pharmacy graduates still may go on to do PhD's in this area).

If you are sure about a career in drug research then chemistry, medicinal chemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry would all stand you in good stead.

Let us know if you have any other queries.

Gareth
Royal Society of Chemistry
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rosieanna
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Hello, what are the main differences between pharmaceutical chemistry and medicinal chemistry?
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(Original post by rosieanna)
Hello, what are the main differences between pharmaceutical chemistry and medicinal chemistry?
Hi rosieanna

There aren’t significant differences between the two at undergraduate level. They both look at drug design, drug delivery, biometabolism, have good opportunities to develop practical skills. Whichever you choose, you would have the same opportunities open to you at the end of your degree. They will both have a little more biochemistry/molecular biology than a chemistry degree.

Often you will have the option of “medicinal and biological chemistry” degrees which then will have more modules on the wider biochemistry involved with drug development and delivery. So based on your first message you may want to avoid that.

Looking at the modules available on a course web page will give you a really good indicator as to the amount of each type of chemistry or biology in a degree and should give you a good indication as to what is optional and what is compulsory. This should not only help you confirm what you are most interested in, but give you confidence in choosing a course and university that will get you the degree you want.

Gareth
Royal Society of Chemistry
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