Pharmaceutical chemistry is a branch of chemistry that deals with drug design and synthesis, drug formulation as well as testing for drug efficacy and safety. As diseases evolve and new strains emerge, the global effort to discover new drugs that have high therapeutic properties but minimal side effects, never stops.
Pharmaceutical Chemistry Degree
The programme is structured on a multi-prong approach with a formal, informal and hidden curriculum that is implemented by experienced faculty. Students will undergo extensive training in laboratory skills, undertake problem-solving projects and participate in small group learning activities, final year research projects and an industrial attachment (4 months). Students will also be ready to face the workplace with communication and presentation skills, entrepreneurial skills and basic engineering principles.
IMU’s Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree is a 3-year programme, accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), United Kingdom, the world’s leading chemistry community and professional body committed to advancing excellence in chemical sciences.
This pharmaceutical chemistry degree from IMU is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK. Membership with this society will improve the visibility and recognition of the IMU pharmaceutical chemistry degree and improve the students’ chances to go for higher education and obtain employment overseas.
This accreditation also gives IMU academic staff free membership to RSC for a year. Staff will be eligible to apply for international research funds, discounts in the registration fee for the international conferences and receive educational information from RSC which can be used in teaching and learning activities. In additional to RSC Graduates of this programme are eligible to apply for IKM membership to practice as a registered chemist (ChM) in Malaysia. Only registered chemists with ChM status can sign or certify any report or certificate of analysis intended for the public.
Why Study Pharmaceutical Chemistry at IMU?
|Semester 1||Semester 2||Semester 3|
|Semester 4||Semester 5||Semester 6|
|SHORT SEMESTER||MPU SEMESTER|
|A- Levels||CCD (including 1 Science subject / Mathematics and minimum C in Chemistry)|
|STPM||CC (including Chemistry and 1 Science subject / Mathematics)|
|Australian Matriculation||65% aggregate (minimum 60% in Chemistry) or TER / UAI / ENTER / ATAR 75|
|NCEA Level 3||60% aggregate (minimum 60% in Chemistry)|
|Canadian Grade 12/13||70% aggregate in 6 subjects (minimum 70% in Chemistry)|
|Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)||B in 5 subjects (including 1 Science subject / Mathematics and minimum B4 in Chemistry)|
|Australian University Foundation Programmes||70% aggregate in 4 best subjects (minimum 60% in Chemistry) or TER / UAI / ENTER / ATAR 75 or GPA 2.00|
|Indian Pre-University||Average of 70% (minimum 60% in Chemistry)|
|Ministry of Education Matriculation *||ABB / cGPA 2.50 (2 subjects including Chemistry and 1 Science subject / Mathematics)|
|International Baccalaureate (IB)||26 points (Chemistry and 1 Science subject / Mathematics at the Higher Level (HL) with minimum 3 points in Chemistry)|
|American High School Diploma with Advanced Placement (AP)||cGPA 2.70 (Including Chemistry or Mathematics must be AP courses)|
|Foundation Studies #||cGPA 2.00 or 50% (including Chemistry)
(Foundation in Science or equivalent)
|Degree||BSc in related field:
|Diploma||Diploma in Science / Diploma in Microbiology
– Overall cGPA 2.00 (with a cGPA 2.50 in 2 subjects including Chemistry and 1 Science subject / Mathematics)Diploma in related field – cGPA 2.00
# The duration of this programme must be a minimum of 1 year in the same accredited institution and foundation in other disciplines are accepted.
English Language Requirement
|MUET||Band score of 3; or
(For Malaysian students)
|IELTS||Overall band score of 5.5; or|
|TOEFL iBT:*||Overall score of 46; or|
|Cambridge English : Advanced (CAE)*||Overall score of 162; or|
|Cambridge English : Proficiency (CPE)*||Overall score of 162; or|
|Cambridge Linguaskill*||Overall score of 160; or|
|Pearson Test of English (PTE)*||Overall score of 51; or|
|Credit Transfer||IELTS Overall band score of 7.0|
* ONLY applicable for those who are completing the entire degree at IMU, Malaysia
Application and Registration Fees
|Fee||Malaysian Student (RM)||International Student (RM)|
|Refundable Caution Deposit||1,000||1,000|
|Programme Route||Total Duration (years)||At International Medical University (IMU)||At Partner Univerisity (PU)||Grand Total (RM)**|
|Years||Tuition Fee||Estimated Tuition Fees at Partner University|
|Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry (IMU)||3||3||111,000||–||–||–|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Undergraduate||3*||1||37,000||2||£43,900||289,118|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Integrated Masters||4*||1||37,000||3||£65,850||415,177|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Postgraduate||4*||1||37,000||3||£66,850||420,920|
|Credit Transfer to University of Sydney
Master of Pharmacy (MPharm)
|Programme Route||Total Duration (years)||At International Medical University (IMU)||At Partner University (PU)||Grand Total (RM)**|
|Years||Tuition Fee||Estimated Tuition Fees at Partner University|
|Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry (IMU)||3||3||117,300||–||–||–|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Undergraduate||3*||1||39,100||2||£43,900||291,218|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Integrated Masters||4*||1||39,100||3||£65,850||412,277|
|Credit Transfer To University Of Dundee Postgraduate||4*||1||39,100||3||£66,850||423,020|
|Credit Transfer to University of Sydney
Master of Pharmacy (MPharm)
Views from Our Community
Alumnus, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
I had my industrial training at Oncogen Pharma. Fortunately, I am currently also working in Oncogen Pharma as a Formulation Executive in Formulation Development Department. I am responsible to develop the formulation of a generic product from the innovator by maintaining or improving the quality and therapeutic effects. Research and development were conducted by producing different batches of a product for analytical test to determine the generic formulation. My main activities are executing batches of a product to obtain analytical results similar to the innovator. I have experienced producing tablets or capsules from raw materials by going through all manufacturing processes. Basic knowledge to the machine allows me to operate machines alone after some practises. It also allows me to interpret, analyse and solve the problems while activities on going. Other than lab work, documentation is also part of the role of a formulation executive such as daily calibration reports, instrument logbook, laboratory notebook and documents for regulatory affairs. Oncogen Pharma, as a generic pharmaceutical which working on oncology medicine, has provided good learning opportunities and environment to introduce a fresh graduate into the pharmaceutical industries. I am very lucky to have this opportunities to start and build my career by gaining experiences and knowledge in Oncogen Pharma. I am very grateful to IMU by giving wonderful education and opportunities to expose and build foundation for the pharmaceutical industries.
Alumni, Pharmaceutical Chemistry (R&D Chemist in Cosmeceutical Company)
I was able to cope with my tasks at work and I believe one of the most important reasons is the basic knowledge that I learnt during my Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree. I am very grateful for the diversified modules in my degree programme which prepares me with wide knowledge to cater for more opportunities.
Alumni, Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Analytical Chemist in Pharmaceutical Company)
The Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme has equipped me with fundamental knowledge, practical skills as well as soft skills such as multi-tasking and stress management.
Marie Emilie Leiticia Hovah
Alumni, Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Danish Government Scholarship Recipient, PhD Candidate in Pharmaceutical/Medicinal Chemistry)
I think that the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme lays the perfect foundation for probably any career line you wish to pursue in the field of pharmaceuticals, be it as a pharmacist, a chemist or a sales representative. While being primarily a chemistry-based degree, it still provided glimpses, sometimes very elaborate, on the multifaceted pharmaceutical industry. Hence, we not only learned about the chemistry or formulation of pharmaceuticals but how to also brand or market them. The teaching and learning methods were also interesting with major focus on hands-on practicals. As students, we participated in lab exercises and lectures but were also given a significant level of independence during peer learning hours. This allowed us to forge our personality as professionals. For me, my degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry gave me an edge in my academic career. It allowed me to communicate on a similar level as my fellow pharmacist colleagues during my masters and, now, even more so while networking with fellow professionals as a PhD student. In short, the Bachelors in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is a well-grounded, possibly, full-package degree programme.
Toh Tzi Shin
Alumni, Nutrition (MSc Candidate in Bioinformatics)
The programme has been a truly invaluable learning experience for me. Besides knowledge, the well-rounded course structure prepares me as a postgraduate student, by instilling the most in-demand soft skills like critical thinking and communication skills. Helpful lecturers, responsive staff and friendly classmates are what makes my three years’ journey in IMU a really memorable one.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About the Profession & Career Prospects
What is pharmaceutical chemistry?
Pharmaceutical Chemistry is the combination of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Applied Chemistry. The programme is accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and Royal Society of Chemistry, UK. The programme is recognised by the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (Institut Kimia Malaysia, IKM). In this programme, the students will learn about manufacturing pharmaceutical and cosmetic formulations (tablets, capsules, injections, ointments, creams, lotions, syrups, vaccines, sera, etc.), design, synthesis and analysis of chemical compounds including medicines and learn how the medicines work in the body. Students will also learn how to develop entrepreneurship skills and transferable skills through the integrated curriculum approaches.
What do pharmaceutical chemists do?
- All the students are eligible to register with the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (Institut Kimia Malaysia, IKM) to become a Registered Chemist, with the title of ChM. Institut Kimia Malaysia is a statutory professional organisation incorporated under the Chemists Act 1975 on 1 November 1977. The Chemists Act 1975 gave recognition to the professional practice of chemistry in Malaysia.Under the Chemists Act 1975, only registered chemists of Institut Kimia Malaysia (IKM) shall enjoy the following power and privileges:
- Practice or hold himself out as a registered chemists or as a person of any other like description.
- Advertise by any means or in any manner as being engaged in the practice as a registered chemist.
- Adopt, use, or exhibit the term “registered chemist” or its equivalent in any other language or any other term of like description in such circumstances as to indicate or to be likely to lead persons to refer that he is a registered chemist.
- Sign or certify any report or certificate of analysis intended for the public.Reference: https://ikm.org.my/about-ikm/power-and-privileges/
- IKM registered chemists is required in accredited laboratories as the approved signatory to certify reports of analysis. This makes you eligible to work in any industry that involves the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care, food and beverages, plant products, biotechnology, and consumer products.
- Many companies have the units of quality analysis and assurance. A chemist is competent to work in these units.
- Analytical instrument vendors require the application scientists whose main job is to explain the applications of these instruments. A chemist is competent to work in analytical instrument companies or analytical instrument suppliers as application chemist/application engineer/product specialist.
How do I become (& stay) a much sought-after pharmaceutical chemist?
- The BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates do not require a provisional registration to work in any industry. The degree also allows you to work in any country. Nevertheless, having ‘registered chemist’ status would add value to your career.
- By becoming a member of the professional bodies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and American Chemical Society, chemists will be able to connect with chemistry professionals from all over the world, access tools and resource to advance their career as well as find the opportunity stay at the forefront of their profession.
- Chemistry professional organisations also offer several professional designations/registers– each for a specific career stage or type; such professional recognitions include ‘Chartered Chemist ‘and ‘Qualified Person (QP) in Pharmaceutical Industry’.
- Chartered Chemist is one of the highest recognitions for chemist. It is awarded as recognition on their well-developed skills, knowledge, and professionalism within the chemical sciences. There are high standards of requirements and Professional Attributes for one to be awarded as a Chartered Chemist.
What are the career prospects and likely demand for pharmaceutical chemists in Malaysia and in the region?
- Current scenario in the pharmaceutical/cosmetic/biotechnology/food product/plant products industries:
- Increasing awareness in development of green chemistry products and processes
- Growth in the development of generic drugs, cosmetics, biotechnology products, nutritional supplements, plant-based medicines
- Enhancing R&D capabilities to develop novel and higher value-added products locally in Malaysia and overseas
- Incentives to increase investments and collaborations between public and private corporations in biopharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), herbal medicines, contract manufacturing and general drugs.
- Due to the slowdown of economy around the world, healthcare reforms in many countries have made generic drugs, biologics, biotechnology, and plant-based products their preferred choice. The demand for pharmaceutical chemists will remain high.
- As pharmaceutical chemistry graduates will be trained in all basic chemistry knowledge and skills, they can be employed in:
- Pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care, food and beverages, plant products, biotechnology, consumer products and chemical related industries as members of research and development, production, quality control, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, and product specialist teams.
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates stand better chance in the pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals (supplements) and cosmeceuticals industries. These three industries have to be compliance to strict pharmaceutical requirements, like Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Pharmacopeia standards, drug monographs and other standards and guidelines. The Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates have learnt and are familiar with these requirements.
- Contract Research Organisation as clinical research associates to administer and monitor clinical trials of new pharmaceuticals/medical devices.
- Government laboratories such as the Chemistry Department, environmental protection unit and forensic science unit.
- Careers in chemistry within areas such as law, policy, defence, public health, and the environment. For example, within law and policy, forensic chemist may be called upon to present forensic findings in court. Only the IKM registered chemist can validate the results of the chemical analysis, they can be called to present in court to validate the results.
- Careers in academic as chemistry teachers or lecturers in universities (after pursuing postgraduate degree) teaching pharmaceutical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and related subjects.
- Set up own business or company related to pharmaceutical, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, or other pharmaceutical and chemical related fields
- In time of healthcare crisis, such as coronavirus pandemic, pharmaceutical chemistry knowledge plays essential roles in formulating therapeutic strategies, such as discovery of anti-viral drugs to speed up recovery, and to develop therapeutic remedies to prevent or minimise uncontrolled virus transmission. Pharmaceutical chemists will also work closely with other medical professionals to develop effective vaccines to save lives.
- The herbal industry has been identified as a new source of economic growth contributor for Malaysia since 2011. This is in tandem with higher demand for herbal products in the world markets. This emerging industry requires services from pharmaceutical chemists in product research & development as well as production and quality control of herbal drugs.
- The environmental impact of the pharmaceutical industry and its products has also been gaining attentions. To comply with government regulations, many industries have prioritised environmental research to have a better understanding of potential environmental impacts that might arise from the use of a new pharmaceutical, waste management, solvent-free and green synthesis paths.
- Unlike other health professional degree, Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates can join the workforce immediately after graduation. There is no houseman ship or any provisional registration requirement. The graduate can easily secure a relevant job in Malaysia or other country, without the need to fulfil the complex licensing requirement.
What opportunities are there for IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates to work as pharmaceutical chemists outside Malaysia?
- The BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates do not require a provisional registration, hence they can work in Malaysia or in overseas due to the degree is being accredited by MQA and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK, as well as recognised by Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (IKM).
- There are BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates working in pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical related and chemical industries in Singapore, Australia (U SYD MPharm graduates), Korea, Brunei, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
- There are BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates pursued/pursuing postgraduate degrees in Singapore, Australia, UK, US, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. Some received scholarships for their postgraduate studies.
- The BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduates received credit recognition to pursue Master of Pharmacy programme at the University of Sydney (USYD), Australia. The Master of Pharmacy graduates are eligible to work as practising pharmacist in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
- The BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry launched the new articulation tracks (Sept 2020) with University of Dundee. IMU Foundation in Science students with 1 year BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme in IMU can choose one of the three following pathways to pursue their specialism in University of Dundee and the graduates can work in any country.- 2 years at University of Dundee to obtain BSc degree
– 2 + 1 (3) years at University of Dundee to obtain MSci, an integrated master’s degree
– 2 years at University of Dundee to obtain BSc degree followed by 1 year to obtain MSc degree.Specialisms: Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Physiological Sciences.
About University of Dundee
University of Dundee (UoD) is one of the leading universities in Europe and the UK for research in Life Sciences. In the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality in UK higher education institutions, Dundee was ranked 3 rd in Biological Sciences behind Oxford and Cambridge. More recent rankings widely recognised as indicators of scientific excellence place Dundee high in their rankings. The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) Leiden Ranking 2019 for Biomedical and Health Sciences Impact places Dundee is 1st in the UK and Europe, 5th in the World. ‘The State of Innovation’ recent report by Clarivate Analytics ranks Dundee as the most influential scientific research institution in the world for pharmaceuticals for the period 2006-16.
The School enjoys a reputation as one of the most dynamic international centre for molecular cell biology, with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities. It is recognised as one of the most interdisciplinary collaborative drug discovery research hubs in Europe and UK. It received Gold standard (the highest) in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), a system that assesses the quality of undergraduate teaching in UK universities.
About the IMU BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry Programme
What is the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry?
The Pharmacy Programme is to train the graduates fit-to-work in hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry.
The Pharmaceutical Chemistry Programme is to train the graduates fit-to-work in any manufacturing industry (Pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care, food, natural product, biotechnology, consumer products and other chemical related products) or research organisations.
What is the difference between Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry?
Pharmaceutical Sciences is mainly to train the graduates fit-to-work in Pharmaceutical Industry whereas Pharmaceutical Chemistry is the combination of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Applied Chemistry Programmes. Meaning, graduates are fit to work in any kind of manufacturing industry. Pharmaceutical Chemistry is recognised by IKM and graduates from the IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry are eligible to register with IKM to become a registered Chemist with the title of ChM.
What is the difference between Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry?
Medicinal Chemistry is mainly focussed on drug design and discovery. Pharmaceutical Chemistry covers both drug design and discovery and formulation of medicines/cosmetics/plant products.
What is meant by Hons Programme?
The Hons programme means integration of research component into the course. The research component makes the graduates to think critically, work independently, improve analytical and communication skills, and to identify the gaps in research. In many Universities, Hons programmes are usually involved course duration of more than 3 years, whereas in IMU BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, the course duration is only 3 years. This is due to the unique programme structure of integrating 6 long semesters and 2 short semesters within the 3-year programme.
Is Pharmaceutical Chemistry a double-degree programme?
Pharmaceutical Chemistry is not a double-degree programme. However, the content in this programme is equivalent to double degree programmes in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Applied Chemistry. In general, a double degree programmes are of 4 years duration (consisting of 8 semesters). The Pharmaceutical Chemistry Programme is of 3 years duration (consisting of 8 semesters). In essence, the graduates from this programme do receive only one degree certificate but the content is equivalent to double degree programmes.
What are key features and highlights of the programme?
- First programme in Malaysia that provides a complete and specialised training in pharmaceutical chemistry.
- Curriculum Structure– 16 weeks of internship (overseas/ local/ industry/ research organisation/ academic institution). Four months industrial attachment enables students to gain valuable industrial experience and establish networking with the industry. Students can also take the opportunity to gain internship experience working in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical companies, and research centres abroad or locally.
– One dedicated research semester
– Introduction to computer aided drug discovery (CADD) with hands-on training using the University subscribed molecular docking software. Students who are interested to specialise in CADD could undertake a CADD research project and/or internship training.
– Field trips and industry visits (Malaysian nuclear agency, wastewater treatment plant, botanical gardens and herbarium, pharmaceutical manufacturing company, breweries industry and other industry/research institutes)
– Sharing from industry experts
– Opportunity for research publications
– Opportunity for a credit transfer option with University of Dundee
– Opportunity for a credit exemption with University of Sydney (Master of Pharmacy)
– Significant hands-on practical training, instrumental techniques, basic synthetic chemistry techniques, spectroscopy and chromatography analytical techniques, pharmaceutics (formulation) and pharmaceutical microbiology
– Extensive training in pharmaceutical analysis, including method development and validation.
– Introduction to basic engineering principles, which will be useful for chemists working in manufacturing / production environment
– Strong student support and pastoral care
– IMU focuses on training healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical Chemistry students have interprofessional learning opportunities in their MPU modules and community-based projects with students from other healthcare related programmes. They collaborate in organising and/or participating community-based or other university projects.
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A Word from the Programme Director
DR NG SOOK HAN
Lecturer & Programme Director
PhD Nanosciences (UPM) , MSc Nat. Prod. Chem. (UPM) , BSc (Hons) Ind. Chem. (UPM)
“Through this programme, the students will receive a focused and specialised numerous areas of expertise including drug discovery and synthesis, pharmacology, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The programme will prepare graduates to be well equipped with contemporary knowledge and skills that are prerequisite for a rewarding career in the pharmaceutical, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, nanotechnologies, vaccines development industries, and regulatory affairs as well as for a postgraduate study in a relevant field.”