You can learn more about the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry from the students themselves. Meet Camilla and Mohammad, who reflect on the most surprising, most difficult, and best parts of the programme. 

Study programme

The MSc programme in Medicinal Chemistry is a 2-year programme taught in English. 



First year

The first year consists of five compulsory courses.





Second year

In the second year, you take elective courses and write your thesis. You can also choose to either join the double degree programme or study abroad.


If you wish to specialise within a certain area of medicinal chemistry, you can choose to focus your study programme.

Your profile could be within one of the areas listed below or another tailor-made combination of elective courses and your thesis project which align with your competences and interests. 

Profile in biopharmaceuticals

If you would like a specialised focus on peptide- and protein-based drugs and other biopharmaceuticals, we offer a profile in biopharmaceuticals.

The specialisation consists of a number of elective courses with relation to biopharmaceuticals. You will get insights into discovery and early development of biopharmaceuticals. Additionally, you will learn how these groups of drug molecules can be used to solve questions on the borderline between chemistry and biology or be used as potential drug compounds.

Profile in organic chemistry and drug discovery

We offer this profile to train specialists in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of biological origin. The majority of new APIs are still small molecules with a molecular weight of less than 500 AMU. Most often these small molecule APIs have a relatively simple chemical structure and are made by chemical synthesis.

You can take advanced chemistry elective courses to develop your competences within theoretical and experimental organic chemistry. These competences might be very useful for you as a future medicinal chemist working with drug discovery or scale-up in drug development departments.

Profile in radiopharmaceutical chemistry

The profile consists of a number of elective courses that will develop your competences within radiopharmaceutical/nuclear chemistry research, development, and production processes.

The profile in radiopharmaceutical chemistry is established in a close collaboration between Rigshospitalet (the university hospital in Copenhagen) and the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen.



As part of your electives, you can choose to do a short internship or research project either at the University of Copenhagen or at, for instance, a medical company. 



International experiences are very important for all students pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

In collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), the PharmaSchool has established a double degree programme within the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the MSc in Drug Discovery and Safety at VU University of Amsterdam.

You apply for the double degree programme during the first semester of your MSc programme at UCPH. If you are accepted, you will carry out the first year in Copenhagen taking all compulsory courses and the desired elective courses.

The second year, you study at VU Amsterdam where you will complete your thesis and a number of elective courses. You can choose one of two tracks in Amsterdam:

Synthesis of Drugs (total 60 ECTS)

  • ADMET (6 ECTS)
  • Electives (12– 6 ECTS)
  • Research (42 – 48 ECTS)

Computer-aided Drug Design (total 60 ECTS)

  • ADMET (6 ECTS)
  • Biomolecular simulation and modelling (6 ECTS)
  • Electives (0 – 6 ECTS)
  • Research (42 ‐ 48 ECTS)

The final study plan in Amsterdam will be arranged with your supervisor, once you have been accepted to the programme.


When you have passed all exams, you will get a diploma from both universities stating that you have earned the MSc title in Medicinal Chemistry from University of Copenhagen as well as the MSc title in Drug Discovery and Safety from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.



It is possible to study abroad during your degree. Your third semester is best suited for studying abroad but it will require an modified study plan. Alternatively, you can choose to write part of your thesis abroad. It is also possible to take a summer course in place of an elective.

Why Study Abroad?

A main objective of studying abroad is to further widen your academic knowledge and network. You are also likely to benefit socially and culturally.

It is a good idea to seek advice from lecturers and the student guidance when planning your studies abroad to find out where to go and how to structure your academic programme. Your lecturers may have academic inputs, international contacts, and may also be able to provide you with references which can prove useful.

Exchange Agreements

The University of Copenhagen has an extensive number of exchange agreements with universities world wide.

Information about partner universities specific to Medicinal Chemistry is available through the International Relations Office at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.



Researchers at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Science offer a wide range of thesis subjects that enables you to tailor a programme matching your personal interests.

You can carry out your thesis project in a research group at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology or at the Department of Chemistry.

The programme has been developed in close collaboration with the pharmaceutical companies based in Medicon Valley and the Faculty of Science. There are excellent opportunities to write your industry-based thesis in Denmark or abroad.

All research groups involved with the programme enjoy close cooperation with relevant medicinal chemistry departments in pharmaceutical companies based on the Danish side of Medicon Valley. This cooperation is a key element of several programme courses as well as thesis-related work. The close contact established during the programme is also expected to play an important role in the transition from study to professional career.


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