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Science - Molecules, Medicines and Drugs, Short Course

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 6 months
Explore the discovery and development of a range of drugs and medicines that relieve pain, alleviate symptoms, minimise the risk of infection and effect cures. Science - Molecules, Medicines and Drugs at The Open University UK is one of a series of 100-hour flexible online courses introducing fascinating topics in science.
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The Science - Molecules, Medicines and Drugs module at The Open University UK allows you to learn about this topic just for interest and enables you to try out a new area of study before you commit yourself to further study. You can register and begin this course at any time and will have at least 6 months to complete it.

What you will study

From Hippocrates to modern times, society has sought ways of relieving pain and curing or preventing disease. From ancient wisdom to herbal remedies, there have been important discoveries resulting in the development of medicines that are commonplace today. Modern research at the molecular level constantly adds to the range of drugs available to combat ill-health.

The Science - Molecules, Medicines and Drugs programme at The Open University UK makes use of some basic ideas from chemistry and develops some of the skills associated with studying our world at the molecular level. Chemical ideas are explained when they are needed. However, if you are entirely new to the language of chemistry, you will need patience while you become familiar with the vocabulary, and practice applying the new skills that you are learning. The reward will be an understanding of some of the science behind the discovery, development and mode of action of a range of medicines and drugs.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date A student can apply at any time for this programme, there is no deadline.
  • Programme intensity Part-time
    • Average part-time duration 6 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

  • After a brief introduction (which discusses the development and testing of drugs within a social and economic setting), you’ll move on to explore the discovery and development of a range of drugs and medicines.
  •  You’ll find out how drugs interact with and affect their target areas in the human body and do activities to help you to visualise the three-dimensional structures and shapes of the molecules concerned and to develop an understanding of how the drugs work. 
  • The story includes topics on how aspirin relieves aches and pains, Ventolin treats the symptoms of asthma, penicillin combats harmful bacteria and Tamiflu helps in the fight against bird flu.

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • The course does not assume any previous scientific background and teaches the ideas and skills needed as and when they are required.
  • This includes an understanding of how the structures of molecules underpin their properties and hence the uses to which they can be put. 
  • You will probably find you can move faster through the course if you have studied some chemistry and/or biology before, but the essential things are an interest in the subject and the motivation to understand some of the science behind it.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of 6 months.
  • EU/EEA

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of 6 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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