BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience

UCAS codeFC17
Duration4 Years
Typical offerA*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34
Location Streatham (Exeter)


  • Learn how the fundamentals of biology and chemistry are applied to medical science
  • Gain insight into how new drugs are designed
  • Work in state-of-the art facilities and carry out challenging independent research

This four-year version of the BSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry degree includes a paid year in industry between the second and final years. This third year is competitive-entry and you spend a salaried year working on a research project in the chemical, biotechnology or pharmaceutical sectors; we have established collaborations with local, national and multinational companies and agencies. We find that our students gain valuable experience from working in industry: not only first-hand knowledge, but improvements in personal and transferable skills, making new contacts and enhancing employability – our industrial placement degrees develop experienced graduates and the placement companies often offer employment after graduation.

This degree provides training in both biological sciences and chemistry and shows how this multidisciplinary area relates to aspects of medicine and drug design. The first year provides an excellent grounding in all three branches of chemistry – inorganic, organic and physical. Organic chemistry remains a key element in subsequent years of the programme, with an emphasis being the clear link between chemistry and biological sciences. The level and breadth of coverage of organic chemistry is comparable with that normally encountered in a Single Honours BSc Chemistry programme.

The second and final years provide you with a wide range of module choice allowing further specialisation in chemistry, forensic science, cell biology, molecular biology and genomics, and biotechnology, alongside core topics including pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and drug design.

This degree leads to many career opportunities in pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnological and other industries as well as medically-related employment and further study.

In contrast to the majority of Biological and Medicinal Chemistry courses, the balance of ‘biology’ and ‘chemistry’ in the courses at the University of Exeter is strongly in favour of the former and are taught within a single life sciences College. This means that Exeter students get a good grounding in chemistry – more than adequate – but it doesn’t dominate the degrees. As such, the biological relevance of molecular science perhaps becomes more apparent more quickly. For students who aspire to go on to a PhD in biomedical research, this combination is extremely useful.

Professor Rob Field, External Assessor for the BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry degrees at the University of Exeter.

This course was in a unique position of being chemistry based but being part of the Biosciences department. As a result, the teaching was fantastic. The fundamental chemistry was taught in small groups with expert lecturers.

I have now moved into an engineering environment which requires a number of different disciplines.  I have used my biology knowledge, chemistry knowledge and some of the engineering and business concepts that I picked up through my year in industry.

Ruth Rowland Jones, graduate.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules outside of the programme up to 30 credits in Stages 2 and 4 of the programme as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

A*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34

Required subjects

GCE AL Biology and Chemistry, both at grade B; IB Biology and Chemistry HL5. GCSE Maths at grade B and either GCSE Double Award Science or GCSE Chemistry at grade C.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-led culture and being taught by experts. Learning and teaching is through lectures, seminars, tutorials, field work, laboratory sessions and independent study with internationally recognised, research-active staff. You will have the opportunity to undertake challenging independent research projects dealing with questions and issues at the cutting edge of life science research. Regular research seminars, by our staff and visiting lecturers, bring you the latest issues on a wide range of research topics.

Our staff have close links with a wide range of industrial, medical and conservation organisations, with whom there may be the chance to collaborate for your final year research project. Many of our students also work with these organisations during their vacations.

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.

Academic support

We pride ourselves on providing a very high standard of care and support to our students. You will have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.


Assessment methods vary depending on your choice of modules, but are likely to include examinations and coursework-based assessment.

You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. The assessments in the second, third and fourth years contribute to your final degree classification. 


A degree in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. A number of our students continue their studies in the subject by following a further degree and research in their chosen area, or by training as a teacher. Many of our graduates are employed in discipline relevant roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, conservation management, ecology, teaching and nursing. Others use the skills gained on their course to enter widely different career paths in law, business or management. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biological and Medicinal Chemistry degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.

Developing your skills and career prospects

Biosciences provide a range of support and opportunities to help you develop skills that are attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and Employability web page for more information.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Biosciences undergraduate programmes in Exeter. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Medical Laboratory Assistant
Research technician
Business Development Consultant
Biomedical Support Officer
Senior Clinical Case Manager
Research Associate
Assistant Consultant
Cardiac Scientist
Scientific Officer
The Carbon Trust
Ernst and Young LLP
Oxford Knight
Penman Consulting Ltd
Matrix Knowledge

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree in Exeter. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject areaInstitution
Food security and sustainable agriculture
Medical sciences
Teacher training
International Management
Molecular neuroscience
Clinical microbiology
Marine biology
Climate change
Fish physiology
Cellular biology
Plant science
Cancer research
Cardiac science
Food and nutrition
University of Cambridge
University of Exeter
University of Southampton
University College London
Newcastle University
University of Birmingham
City University London
Cranfield University
Lund University
University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland
University of Bristol
University of Glasgow
University of Leeds
University of Manchester

Find out more

Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise the employment prospects of our graduates employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.

Industrial experience

The ‘with industrial experience’ degree programme accommodates an industrial placement year during the third our students gain valuable experience from working in industry; not only first-hand knowledge, but improving personal and transferable skills, making new contacts and enhancing employability – our industrial placement degrees produce experienced graduates and the placement companies often offer employment after graduation.

In your placement year (Year 3), you work on a research project in either the chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnology sectors; we have established collaborations with local, national and multi-national companies. During your year in industry you are paid by the company and take two modules:

  • Industrial Placement and Report (105 credits)
  • Learning from Industrial Experience (15 credits)

You’ll have regular contact with an academic supervisor in addition to an industrial supervisor at the company.

In terms of the degree course, progression to the industrial placement year is dependent upon academic performance in years 1 and 2 of the degree, with attainment thresholds set at 60% and 55% respectively. You undertake the two credited modules listed above during the placement year; the year counts 1/7 towards your final degree classification.

You can find out more about how placements are organised and what the benefits are on our Industrial Experience webpage.

Last year I carried out my year in industry placement at Maybridge, in Tintagel, Cornwall. My job as a Junior Chemist was to synthesise Reactive Intermediates – Heterocyclic Building Block compounds for use in the Drug Discovery industry. I decided to apply for the ‘with industrial experience’ programme as it provides an extra practical chemistry aspect to the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry degree, and of course very useful experience and references for gaining a good job in industry after graduation. I chose Maybridge as the chemistry that they focus on is organic synthesis, and this was one of the modules that I found most rewarding as a second year undergraduate. Working at Maybridge, I had the opportunity to use very expensive and hi-tech equipment that is not available at the University, as well as carrying out many reactions that I had not encountered before. Now, in my final year, I am able to combine this practical knowledge that I have gained with the theory that I am learning in lectures, and I feel it has given me a much deeper understanding of my topic. I would strongly recommend the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience programme at Exeter, as it provides an excellent balance of theoretical and practical chemistry and biosciences, and an opportunity to discover what it is like to work as an industrial chemist.

Jessica Hatherley, final year Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Website: Visit the Biosciences website