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Master's Degree Programme

About the programme
Language: English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September and January / February (only applicants with a Danish Bachelor's degree)


The MSc in Medicinal Chemistry programme is open to Danish and international students. The programme is both practical and research oriented and reflects the interests of the business community, research institutions and the public sector. It is also flexible and can accommodate the interests of the individual student, who can specialise in a particular subject area while acquiring general competencies in chemistry.

Research is fundamental

Teaching in the programme is greatly influenced by the research conducted here, as the lecturers are active researchers. In this context students benefit from the down-to-earth, informal relationship between faculty and students. Students have excellent opportunities for working with researchers in the laboratory. It is also possible to complete a project in collaboration with a private company or a public institution, such as a hospital. For their thesis work, students are connected up to a group of researchers of their choice and can participate in the group’s research projects, academic discussions and articles.
Students can specialise within a broad area in one of the areas of medicinal chemistry in which Aarhus University is particularly strong – synthesis and analysis of potential new pharmaceuticals; structure, activity and pharmacological characteristics of membrane proteins; microscopic structure of bones and other bioinorganic materials; modelling of proteins and their interaction with pharmaceuticals; and drug delivery and chemical biology.

Not just lectures and lab work

There is more to life as a medicinal chemistry student at Aarhus University than courses and lectures. Student life at the Department of Chemistry is stimulating and varied and is centred around Alkymia, the departmental student association. The university’s various student unions also host meetings on issues relevant to your studies.

Career profile

Medicinal chemistry graduates work across a wide range of fields and institutions. Most jobs, however, are within research, development and consultancy in both public and private sectors, particularly in pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The health services also employ many medicinal chemistry graduates, where for example they may be involved in developing new clinical and chemical diagnostic methods in hospitals. The skills acquired on the programme are also in great demand in the food industry and the agricultural sector. Many graduates continue their studies at Aarhus University with a PhD degree, often with interdisciplinary research projects.

Read, print and be inspired

Download and print a short presentation of the MA programme in Medicinal Chemistry.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Medicinal Chemistry:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Medicinal

  • A Bachelor of Science degree amounting to at least 60 ECTS credits in Medicinal Chemistry as well as basic courses in Mathematics, physics and statistics can qualify the student for admission.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Upon admission further requirements regarding composition of the degree programme may be stipulated.  

Language requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 
Please see the page on language requirements.


Please see the general admission requirements.

Legal right of admission

Students with a Bachelor's degree programme in Medicinal Chemistry at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Medicinal Chemistry on the condition that application is made for admission to the Master’s degree programme no later than three years after completion of the Bachelor’s degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s programme only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme. 

Allocation of student places is based on an overall assessment. In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assess applicants on the basis of the following criteria:

Academic background

  • Overall grade level – Bachelor’s degree
  • Grades achieved on relevant courses*
  • Relevant courses* (measured in credit units) included in your Bachelor’s degree

* Relevant courses include core courses within the subject areas of Medicinal Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics.

Please note that grades obtained after the time of application cannot be included in the assessment of grade level.

The admissions committee assess each applicant on the basis of the information provided in diplomas, transcripts, and course descriptions.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in medical chemistry counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the chemistry and medical chemistry fields of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the Department of Chemistry by choosing courses from the course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.

For more information about the individual courses, go to: kursuskatalog.au.dk/en/

Academic regulations

Forms of teaching

At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.

The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in smaller groups where you study relevant issues in depth. Depending on your choice of specialisation, your main forms of study and work involve laboratory work and the use of advanced experimental equipment such as NMR and X-ray methodologies, as well as computer modelling. The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.

The teaching is divided into two semesters per year. For an example of a course calendar, go to: studerende.au.dk/en/studies/subject-portals/studies/teaching/teaching-calendar/ 

PhD programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying
for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your
Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher.

For more information, go to: phd.au.dk/gradschools/scienceandtechnology/

Student life

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

 With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.


Meet our students and graduates

Josefine Hammer Jakobsen, Master's degree student at Medicinal Chemistry

When I applied to Medicinal Chemistry, it was due to my strong interest in both chemistry and the human body. Similar programmes are also available in Copenhagen, but I chose Aarhus University, because I had heard good things about life as a student in Aarhus. 
Furthermore, Aarhus University is the only place in Denmark, where I could do both a Bachelor’s and Master's degree in Medicinal Chemistry.

At Medicinal Chemistry the teaching consist of both lectures, theoretical exercises and laboratory work. This combination of different teaching methods has made it easier for me to understand and remember the material. The theoretical exercises were a good opportunity to form a study group with some of my classmates, where we could help each other with the assignments and discuss a lot of chemistry.
There are also many social activities, among other things parties organised by one of the student associations at the department. These parties give you the opportunity to talk to students from different classes as well as getting to know your own classmates better. Participation in social activities - whether it is a party at the department, game night with my classmates, or going to the cinema with my study group -has made the academic activities more fun for me during my years as a student.
When writing my Bachelor's project, I got a supervisor and got to be part of a research group, which meant that I felt like part of the research environment at the department. Being part of a research group gives you the opportunity to learn a lot of chemistry from both older students and from your supervisor. During the programme, there are both the Bachelor's project, chemistry projects and the Master's thesis, which provide the opportunity to immerse yourself in a field of study that you find particularly interesting. I think it has been exciting to be able to immerse myself in something, I am interested in, and at the same time to learn a lot of chemistry.

For many the name Medicinal Chemistry indicates that you are going to work as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, and this was also my career dream, when I started on the programme. Through various initiatives from both students and the department with information about, which companies and job openings are possible with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry, however, I have found out that among other things, the food industry also offers a lot of exciting job opportunities. Some of the career events have also provided the opportunity to meet employees from different companies, which demonstrated how many different types of jobs you could get as a graduate from Medicinal Chemistry.

Rasmus Djurhuus, MSc in Medicinal Chemistry, Account Manager at Agilent Technologies 

I acquired a fundamental, scientific knowledge during my Bachelor's programme, which included courses within physics, mathematics, physiological and molecular biology as well as both organic and inorganic chemistry. In that way, I learned about the different branches of Medicinal Chemistry, before having to choose which path I would like to pursue later in my academic programme. I was undecided about what I wanted to do later on, so this gave me some extra time to familiarise myself with the different study programmes, before I had to choose elective subjects.

My Master's degree programme in Medicinal Chemistry was a good combination of laboratory work and theoretical classes. With many elective subjects in the programme, it was very much up to me to compose my own study programme in a way so I specialised within the field I was interested in.

A typical job for me with my education would often be as a researcher in a pharmaceutical company, but today, I work as an Account Manager - a sales representative. I sell laboratory equipment, primarily equipment for chromatography and mass spectrometry, which is used in many different types of research, including in pharmaceutical companies, in food and environmental analyses, in the oil industry, etc. My daily work consists of talking to researchers and understanding their very different needs.

My education in Medicinal Chemistry has given me a basic understanding of how it is to conduct research, and I have been introduced to many different types of chemical and biological research. This is very useful in my job today, when I talk to my customers.


Job functions for grads

This data is derived from AU's 2016 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.