UCC Undergraduate courses

Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Refer to CK402. See Requirements for full details.

Course Outline

BSc Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds (CPC) is an interdisciplinary course focusing on the chemistry and biology of the pharmaceutical industry and includes a five-month industrial placement.

The course is an excellent pathway to careers in the pharmaceutical industry and is accredited by the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Industry experts lecture on pharmaceutical technology, regulatory issues and the industry in Ireland. Our placement scheme includes application and interview training. Interviews with companies will be organised.

Core subjects include organic, analytical and pharmaceutical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, supported by modules on physical and inorganic chemistry, physiology, mathematics and physics.

Final-year research projects are written on pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmaceutical bio-science.

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • analyse and solve problems relating to pharmaceuticals
  • outline the fundamental chemistry and biology of pharmaceuticals
  • design experiments in pharmaceutical chemistry and biology
  • communicate with pharmaceutical scientists
  • engage with the pharmaceutical manufacturing process, and appreciate the opportunities and challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry


Refer to CK402 for more details.

Year 1 Modules:


  • BL1002 Cell, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits);
  • BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease (5 credits);
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits);
  • MB1003 Microbiology in Society (5 credits);
  • CM1200 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry 1 (10 credits);
  • CM1201 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry 2a (10 credits);
  • MA1001 & MA1002 Calculus for Science I & II (5 credits each);
  • PY1010 Physics for Biological and Chemical Sciences (10 credits)

Year 2 Modules:

Biomolecules;  Principles of Metabolic Pathways;  Main Group and Transition Element Chemistry;  Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry;  Energetics and Kinetics;  States of Matter; Structures and Reactions of Main Group Compounds;  Aromatics, Carbonyls and Alkenes;  Spectroscopy;  Structure, Bonding and Quantum Mechanics;  Introductory Molecular Biology; 

Year 3 Modules:

Structural Biochemistry;  Molecular Biology;  Synthesis, Structure and Reactivity of Organic Compounds;  Analytical Chemistry; Natural Products and Reaction Mechanisms; Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Pharmaceutical Solids and Technology; Pharmacology; Toxicology;  Chemotherapy and Pharmacology of Inflammation

In addition, you will undertake an industrial placement between Years 3 and 4 over the five-month period May-October.

Year 4 Modules:


Protein Science; Advanced Organic Synthesis, Biosynthesis and Reactivity; Physical Organic Chemistry; Advanced Pharmaceutical Chemistry;  Pharmaceutical Chemistry Drug Design and Development;  Work Placement;  Neuropharmacology;  Applied Pharmacology & Toxicology


Range of Research Projects

See the College Calendar for further information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further details on module content.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture hours: Lectures usually take place in the mornings between 9am and 1pm. You will usually have between 8-12 lectures per week.

Expected lab/practical hours: Laboratory practical classes are generally in the afternoons between 2pm and 6pm. You will usually have three laboratory classes per week.

Why Choose This Course

The BSc Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds (CPC) is the only course in Ireland to cover both the chemistry and biology underpinning the pharmaceutical industry.

In addition, CPC is the only undergraduate course in chemistry that offers an organised placement scheme in the pharmaceutical industry. Feedback on the placements from both students and companies is excellent.

CPC is the only course on which industry experts present on key technical and economic aspects of the industry.

CPC is on the Auto-Qual list of the Teaching Council for eligibility to apply for PDE for teaching of Biology and Chemistry.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

BSc Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds industrial placements have included sites in the UK and in the Netherlands, although most placements are in Ireland.

Skills and Careers Information

On this course you will gain skills in the synthesis and analysis of pharmaceuticals using chemical and biochemical technologies. The laboratory skills you will acquire include synthesis, chromatography (e.g. HPLC) and spectroscopy (e.g. NMR).

You will also learn presentation skills such as document and poster preparation, oral presentation and interview skills. Problem solving skills are developed in interactive group problem-solving sessions.

CPC is a pathway to careers in:

  • pharmaceutical process support and development
  • new process development
  • supply-chain management
  • HR and financial management 
  • drug discovery research

The pharmaceutical industry in Ireland is a major employer of CPC graduates. Graduates of this course are also working in leading research and development sites outside Ireland.


Refer to CK402.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page.

Refer to our International Office page for more information on how to apply to UCC.

Fees and Costs

The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2022/23 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €138. Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK402.

EU Applicants: The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over): See the CAO Mature Applicants page and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) page for essential information on the application process for mature students.

QQI FET: See our QQI FET Applicants page.

Non-EU Applicants: Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page.

All Applicants: Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Please check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact