Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry

The Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry is a professionally oriented, truly interdisciplinary program taught as a joint initiative between the School of Chemistry (Faculty of Science), and the Pharmacology section of the School of Medical Sciences (Faculty of Medicine). This four year degree program leads to the award of Honours based on successful completion of the program including a medicinal chemistry oriented research project in the fourth year. For more information, see the Handbook Entry for CHEM3999.

What is involved in being a Medicinal Chemist?

A Medicinal Chemist is a scientist who can be involved at all stages from the initial design of a drug, through to its clinical testing, refinement and development as a therapeutic agent. Many different aspects are involved:

  • the rational design and synthesis of novel drug candidates,
  • the study of their biochemical and physiological effects,
  • testing regimes, and
  • regulatory and ethical considerations.

The Medicinal Chemistry program at UNSW has been designed to ensure that graduates will have a strong background in contemporary biology, biochemistry and pharmacology, based upon a solid foundation of essential chemistry.

Is a BMedChem more than just coursework?

Yes! In your fourth year you will undertake a research project under the supervision and guidance of academic staff from the Faculties of Science and Medicine. The research focus in the fourth Honours year, which provides projects that emphasise the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the area, will also enable students to progress seamlessly into a higher research degree if they wish.

Where can a UNSW BMedChem take me?

As a graduate from the Medicinal Chemistry program at UNSW you will be equipped with a unique and wide armory of skills, ranging from fundamental chemistry enabling the synthesis and analysis of drug candidates, through to relevant pharmacology and molecular biology skills. This combination will see you in high demand both locally and globally in pharmaceutical companies involved in modern drug design. In addition, the multidisciplinary nature of the program will mean that your skills will also be highly marketable within other science-based biotech industries and related fields. See the different careers that some of our graduates have chosen.

What is the structure of a BMedChem at UNSW?

Your UNSW degree contains a blend of core courses and elective courses, and the elective courses include free and limited electives, as well as general education. The list of Medicinal Chemistry Program Electives can be found below, after Stage 4. If you want help or advice in selecting your electives, contact the Program Director on For details on the specific courses covered by this program, visit the UNSW handbook website.