University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry is a multi-disciplinary major offered by the Discipline of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, and the School of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

The Medicinal Chemistry major will provide you with the knowledge, training and skills needed for employment and research opportunities in drug discovery and development.

The discovery of new drugs is one of the most exciting and rapidly developing fields of science, and there is a growing need for safer, more effective pharmaceuticals against diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, infection, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Society also faces challenges ranging from antimicrobial resistance and dementia, with the latter of special significance in the context of the aging population. Medicinal chemistry looks at how to design and prepare drugs to combat and manage these diseases, and the mechanism of action (how the drugs work).

Requirements for completion

The Medicinal Chemistry major and minor requirements are listed in the Medicinal Chemistry unit of study table.

Contact and further information


The School of Chemistry
Chemistry Building F11
University of Sydney NSW 2006


T +61 2 9351 4504

The Discipline of Pharmacology
Molecular Bioscience Building G08
Corner Maze Cros and Butlin Ave
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Associate Professor Tina Hinton
T +61 2 9351 6954

Professor Rachael Codd
T +61 2 9351 6738

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Medicinal Chemistry will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge of the processes involved in modern drug discovery.
  2. Exhibit an integrated knowledge of how advances in science and technology are changing the ways in which drug discovery and development are being pursued.
  3. Describe the application of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics as they apply to drug target validation and assess the efficacy of drug action.
  4. Source, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate medicinal chemistry information from a range of relevant sources.
  5. Communicate core concepts and findings in medicinal chemistry through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  6. Judge a drug candidate and identify important criteria for development, including physicochemical properties and synthetic accessibility.
  7. Describe the processes involved in translating a therapeutic to market.
  8. Independently propose and justify reasonable and efficient synthetic approaches towards small organic molecule drug candidates.
  9. Develop creative and innovative approaches to problem solving in the field of medicinal chemistry and work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and collaborative contexts.
  10. Collaboratively design a strategy to identify and validate a disease-specific target, working in a professional and ethical manner whilst adhering to industry regulatory standards.
  11. Address authentic problems in medicinal chemistry, working professionally and ethically and with consideration of cross-cultural perspectives, within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.