• 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. Earn a Science: Molecules, Medicines and Drugs degree at The Open University UK.  


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.

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.

The Science: Molecules, Medicines and Drugs course from 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 Full-time
    • Full-time duration 6 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
  • More information Go to the programme website

Programme Structure

By the end of this course you should be able to:

Demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts, principles and language relating to the development of medicines. In particular, you should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • the science behind the development of some drugs to achieve particular tasks
  • how chemical bonding determines the properties of compounds and provides an explanation for the mode of action of drugs.
  • the socio-economic perspective behind the development of some drugs and some possible future developments in medicinal chemistry.

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic 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

  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    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.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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