Autumn term 2020-21

Autumn term has started on schedule and we are happy to see our new and returning students in person, where travel and visa arrangements have made it possible. Teaching is a combination of on-campus (in-person) and remote learning (online). This ‘multi-mode’ offering may be subject to change. We will do our best to provide increased on-campus teaching and research activities as we progress throughout the year.

To ensure each programme of study can be delivered safely, we have made some changes to our courses for 2020-21. Read about the changes to our undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses, and to MRes and PhD courses.

Find out more about multi-mode delivery, the learning experience and the steps we’ll be taking to keep students safe on campus on our COVID-19 pages for current students and offer holders.


The year 1 ancillary options are listed below:

Ancillary Course Summaries

Medicinal Chemistry 1

This module is compulsory for students registered on the F124 and F125 degree programmes but may be taken as an ancillary option by students following other programmes: F100, F101, F103, F104, F105, F1NF, FN11.

This module introduces the principles that underpin medicinal chemistry and the drug discovery and development process. It explains the properties and performance of drugs, how drugs behave in the body, and the structure, properties and function of important biomolecules and processes in cells.

Whilst studying Biology is preferred and helpful, it is not essential for studying this module. Each year, approximately one-third of students taking this module have not studied Biology previously. We introduce relevant concepts in molecular biology as the module progresses, drawing in their relvance to medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. There is some pre-course material available on Blackboard with guidance on how to use it, and there are support sessions and interactive active-learning based workshops to help. We have recommended textbooks and other resources to support you, and glossary to help with terminology.

The module comprises a series of lecture courses, given by staff from the Chemistry Department and the pharmaceutical industry, covering the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Drug Discovery.

  • An introduction to the process of drug discovery and the pharmaceutical industry from our external visiting lecturer. It brings in some key concepts in medicinal chemistry and industrial context.

  2. Biomolecular Structure and Function.

  • Discusses the structure and topology of proteins and nucleic acids, and their roles in biology and medicinal chemistry. Explains the function of proteins within the processes of replication, transcription and translation (Central Dogma of Molecular Biology), genetic mutations and their relationship to disease.

  3. Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry.

  • Builds on concepts introduced in the first section, to discuss important chemical and drug properties and performance, drug-protein binding, and key considerations in pharmacokinetics and ADME (e.g. clearance, bioavailability, toxicity).

  4. Principles of Molecular Biology.

  • Introduces basic cellular structure, including the role and structure of lipids and membranes. How drugs work is taught in the context of important drug target receptors, and cell signalling. Enzymes will also be studied - how they work, kinetics and types of catalysis, in addition to plate assay design.

Module Coordinator: Dr Simon Gerrard

Medicinal Chemistry coordinators: Dr Simon Gerrard and Dr Charlotte Sutherell

Maths and Physics for Chemists Part 1 (MPC1)

This course is compulsory for students registered on the F1F3 and F1FH degree programmes but may be taken by the following other programmes: F100, F101, F103, F104, F105, F1NF, FN11.

A strong background in Mathematics is essential for this course.

The course comprises a series of lectures and tutorials given by staff from the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physics covering the following topics:

  1.  Mathematics (AUTUMN TERM): review of concepts; series expansions; partial di fferentiation; ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and vector algebra. This provides a good mathemati cal backgro und to students with interests in the fundamental physical basis of chemistry.
  2. Physics (SPRING TERM): basic mechanics, vibrations and waves.

Course Coordinator: Dr. Joao Malhado

Imperial Horizons

The Imperial Horizons programme offers a wide range of courses for all Imperial College undergraduates. It is designed to broaden your education, inspire your creativity and enhance your professional impact. Over 80 different course options are available from three fields of study, to be taken in any year of undergraduate study.

Key benefits of Imperial Horizons include wide opportunities to develop your skills in communication, problem-solving and teamwork. Your course options are included on your degree transcript as a valuable selling point for employers.

Students may choose to take a language or a module from Humanities and Social Sciences, or Change Makers, available via the Horizons programme as an ancillary.

Modules span either one or two terms, and may be taken for credit (as an ancillary), or for extra credit (in addition to either Medicinal Chemistry 1 or Maths and Physics for Chemists 1).

Please see the list available here:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/horizons/module-options/1st-year-undergraduates/