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Programme Specification for the 2022/3 academic year

BSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience (in Stage 4)

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience (in Stage 4) Programme codeUFS4BIOBIO11
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2022/3
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

The BSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience (in Stage 4) programme provides training in both chemistry and biological sciences to ultimately show how these multidisciplinary areas relate to aspects of medicine and drug design. After a basic grounding in all three branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic and physical) in the first (foundation) year, the organic chemistry component forms a key part the main core of the programme in the remaining two years at Exeter, with an emphasis on this topic being the clear link between chemistry and biological sciences. (The level of coverage of organic chemistry is comparable with that normally encountered in a single honours BSc Chemistry course.) Module choices in your second and third years allow 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 four-year version of the BSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry degree includes a paid year in industry in the final year. This 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. During your year in industry you are paid by the company and you will have regular contact with an academic supervisor in addition to an industrial supervisor at the company. We will endeavour to assist you in finding a suitable placement, but you will need to secure a placement through competition with others.  We cannot therefore guarantee a position for you. 

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The general aims of this programme are:

To provide education intended to give you competence in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, and to encourage you to develop your intellectual capabilities within an institution that is committed to advancing research, scholarship and learning, and to disseminating knowledge.

More specifically, this programme aims:

  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of an interdisciplinary area at the interface between chemistry and biological sciences, of particular relevance to the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, from the fundamentals to the frontiers of the subject.
  • To provide you with the basic scientific, intellectual, and practical training that will prepare you for lifelong learning, and, if you wish, for a career in chemical and/or biosciences research.
  • To enable you to think critically, evaluate evidence, analyse, challenge, solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively.
  • To enable you to experience a supportive learning environment that fosters your academic and personal development.
  • To provide you with an appreciation of the importance of the application of chemical and biological research in industrial, economic, environmental and social contexts.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

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 elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in the second or third years 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.  

In addition, you are encouraged to take the non-credit bearing module BIO2001 Preparing for Professional Placements.

You are also permitted to take the five, ten or 15-credit Professional Development Experience modules BIO3910, BIO3911 or BIO3912 in the second or third years. Registration on these modules is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, these modules will not count towards progression or award calculation.  

Stage 1

120 credits of compulsory modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO1332 Biochemistry 15No
BIO1333 Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists 15Yes
BIO1334 Genetics 15No
BIO1337 Microbiology 15No
BIO1339 Cells 15No
BIO1345 Structure and Reactivity of Organic Compounds I 15Yes
BIO1347 General Chemistry 30No

Stage 2

75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO2071 Research Skills and Bioethics 15Yes
BIO2085 Structure and Reactivity of Organic Compounds II 15Yes
BIO2086 Metabolism 15No
BIO2090 Analytical Techniques in Biochemistry 15No
BIO2091 Bioinorganic Chemistry 15No
BIO2001 Preparing for Professional Placements 0No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioS S2 BSc-MSci BMC opt 2022-3
BIO2066 Forensic Science 15 No
BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology 15 No
BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene 15 No
BIO2092 Genomics and Introductory Bioinformatics 15 No
CSC2005 Introduction to Pharmacology 15 No
BIO2101 Advanced Microbiology 15 No

Stage 3

90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO3096 Biosciences Research Project 45Yes
BIO3041 Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry 15No
BIO3089 Organic Synthesis and Drug Design 15No
BIO3090 Secondary Metabolites 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioS SF BSc-S3 MSci BMC opt 2022-3
BIO3073 Specialist Topics in Chemical Sciences 15 No
BIO3077 Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology 15 No
BIO3078 Cellular Basis of Immunity 15 No
BIO3079 Molecular Basis of Infection 15 No
BIO3082 Science Communication 15 No
BIO3085 Horizons of Biochemical Research 15 No
BIO3086 Cell Biology of Disease 15 No
BIO3092 Bioinformatics 15 No
BIO3093 Energy Metabolism 15 No

Stage 4

120 credits of compulsory modules

Compulsory Modules


CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO3048 Learning from Professional Placement Experience 30No
BIO3049 Professional Placement and Report 90Yes

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate broadly based knowledge and understanding in all areas of biological and medicinal chemistry (organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, molecular and cell biology, microbiology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry).
2. Demonstrate comprehensive/detailed knowledge and understanding in biological chemistry, pharmacology and medicinal chemistry and aspects of molecular and cellular biology and biotechnology.
3. Describe and critically evaluate aspects of current research in biological and medicinal chemistry with reference to reviews and research articles.

Within the programme, teaching and learning activities are designed to encourage a progressive acquisition of subject knowledge and skills by moving from study methods that have a greater degree of support and assistance towards more independent learning.

The programme uses a diversity of teaching and learning methods: lectures; laboratory classes; research project; group work.

Typically a 15-credit module would consist of 15-20 x 1-hour lectures in which the core subject material will be provided. The lecture notes will be available via the University of Exeter Virtual Learning Environment and references to outside reading will be made available. Laboratory classes will normally run for either 3 or 5 hours and you will be provided with a written schedule describing in detail the experimental procedures. You will normally work individually or in groups (2-5 individuals depending on Stage) with an expectation the workload is divided equally.

Some laboratory classes form the basis of assessment and require the submission of a final laboratory report. This will sometimes require data analysis in the form of tables and graphs. There is also an expectation that the data generated will be used in some subsequent calculations. Discussion of the findings or answers to short questions will be used to provide evidence of knowledge gained. In the placement year, you work on a research project in either the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sectors. The research project will normally take place in the 1st term where you will undertake a project in a research group followed by production of a written report in the 2nd term. If the project is literature-based, you will normally receive feedback on a draft report before production of the written report in the 2nd term.

The programme uses a diversity of assessment methods such as: essay examinations; short answer and multiple choice tests (MCQ); practical work and reports; quantitative (numerical) problems; project report; oral presentations.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

4. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within biological and medicinal chemistry.
5. Apply knowledge and understanding of biological and medicinal chemistry to the solution of problems in an industrial setting.

See above.

See above.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

6. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by written, oral and visual means
7. Study autonomously and undertake projects with minimum guidance.
8. Select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals, and the internet.
9. Interact effectively in a group
10. Work and study in a professional environment.

See above.

See above.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-Specific Progression Rules

To progress to Stage 2 you must achieve an average mark of at least 60% in Stage 1, otherwise you will be required to transfer to the three year programme. This is to ensure that only those students who are likely to succeed in their year in industry are selected for placement. If you are unsuccessful in your College-supported application for a competitive-entry industrial placement, you will normally be transferred to the standard 3-year programme.

Programme-Specific Award Rules

The award mean that determines the class of degree to be awarded is calculated from the credit-weighted mean of the second, third and fourth stages weighted 2:4:1.

The Professional Placement and Report module is a single 90-credit module and is not condonable; you must pass this module to graduate with the degree title of BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience. If you fail the Professional Placement and Report module your degree title will be commuted to BSc Biological and Medicinal Chemistry.


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your studies. Their role is to both instil in you a sense of academic rigour and thinking, and to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme. This includes working with you to decide the appropriate optional module choices, and research project areas, and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. Project supervisors provide further academic and tutorial support once you move on to the research component(s) of the programme (stages 3 and/or 4). There is also a Programme Director who follows the cohort through to graduation and who will monitor student absences and progress, and meet any students needing additional support. You can also expect reasonable access to individual teaching staff through appointments. The Biosciences website and online Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) includes the student handbook and learning materials, and you have access to computers and printers within the University. You will also have access to the Biosciences external seminar speaker series where leading researchers are invited to give research seminars. The Biosciences Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

Students undertaking a placement will receive one personal visit and a video-linked meeting from an academic placement tutor. The students will have access to support from the industrial supervisor and the biosciences placement officer who can be contacted via e-mail or phone as required.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.


12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

This programme is recognised by the Society of Biology which guarantees to students that it meets the educational requirements for Associate Membership of the Society of Biology upon graduation (AMSB) and provide a route to full Membership (MSB) following appropriate professional experience.

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges review the quality and standard of teaching and learning in all taught programmes against a range of criteria through the procedures outlined in the Teaching Quality Assurance (TQA) Manual Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

BSc (Hons) Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Experience (in Stage 4)

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

[Honours] Biosciences
[Honours] Chemistry

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision