Aarhus University Seal


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 legal right of admission can apply)


The MSc in Medicinal Chemistry is a two-year degree. The degree programme is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry or a Bachelor of Science degree amounting to at least 60 ECTS credits in Medicinal Chemistry from universities and teaching institutions in Denmark and abroad.

The degree is a specialised chemistry degree with a focus on the interaction between chemistry and health sciences. The programme is taught in English, and you work, among other things, with the design of new potential drug substances and the synthesis of chemical compounds. For example, you have good opportunities to specialise in the influence of modern computer chemistry methods in the design of drugs; synthesis and analysis of potential new drugs; structure, activity and pharmacological properties of membrane proteins; the microscopic structure of bones and other bioorganic materials; and modelling of proteins and their interaction with drugs, drug delivery and chemical biology.

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 in the programme are also in great demand in the food industry.

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.

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.

In the assesment of whether a bachelor degree qualifies for admission to the MSc in Medicinal Chemistry,  Aarhus University considers the following to be important:

  • The bachelors degree program should include at least 60 ECTS distributed among the following topics:
    • 10 ECTS inorganic chemistry (including electron structure, reactivity and properties of the elements).
    • 20 ECTS organic chemistry (including functional groups, reaction mechanisms, named reaction types).
    • 10 ECTS physical/theoretical chemistry (including thermodynamics, kinetics, chemical bonds, quantum chemistry).
    • 10 ECTS structural chemistry (including spectroscopy, mass-spectrometry, chromatography and x-ray diffraction).
    • 10 ECTS molecular biology.

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 Medicinal Chemistry counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the chemistry and medicinal chemistry fields of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. This thesis, completed during the final year of the programme, carries considerable weight.

It is also possible to do projects with private companies or public institutions.

Individual programme

During the beginning of your studies, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a supervisor from a research group at the Department of Chemistry. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied during your Bachelor’s degree.

You will also join the research group where your supervisor is located. This allows for high-level sparring as well as contributing to the group's research.

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

Academic regulations

Forms of teaching

At both the Department of Chemistry and Aarhus University, the lecturers are active researchers, which means that you are presented with the newest research. You are also in close contact with the lecturers/researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The doors to the professors’ offices are always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. For our programme, there are heavy demands to your academic skills and independence. In return, however, 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 and 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. Learn more about the semester dates here.

PhD programme

If you are interested and have the necessary skills, 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.nat.au.dk.

Student life

There is more to life as a Medicinal Chemistry student than lectures and courses. The versatile and inspiring student life at the Department of Chemistry is centred around a vibrant student life. The department has four student associations: @lkymia, AMOK, Kemishow and TKM.

@lkymia organise four to five parties each year and also run the Friday bar each Friday. AMOK is the students’ career association. They plan company visits and inspiring talks by industry people. Kemishow do visual experiments at elementary schools and high schools to inspire children and teenagers to explore the world of chemistry. TKM runs the introduction week and accompanying trip for new Bachelor’s students.
At the department, you can also become a student member of the teaching committee. These members have an influence on the department's teaching, e.g. for the Master's programme.

Campus – a unique place

Aarhus University is a unique place, located just 15 minutes from the city centre. The main campus – better known as the University Park – consists of big lawns and a small lake; a beautiful area well-suited for walks, studying or drinking a beer. The park is also known for its yellow brick buildings, where most of the university’s faculties and departments are located. You also find student accommodation, canteens, the main university library, auditoriums and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club and university celebrations. Furthermore, the campus ensures that you have easy access to student counsellors, supervisors, the bookshop, the Friday bars and much more.

Aarhus as a study centre

The forty thousand students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.

However, the university is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus also has numerous different cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated annually for a week at the beginning of September, which sees the city showing its full colours. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres, cinemas and sport venues. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. If you like sports, there are also many sports associations in the city offering weekly training sessions (football, handball, tennis, badminton, etc.).

Follow the student life at the Department of Chemistry

You can follow the department and its students on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on our hashtag #GodKemi.

Here, we collect pictures from students and the department, so you can follow what happens in and around our programme.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #AUInternational, #AarhusUni 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.


The photos belong to the users, shared with #AUInternational and #AarhusUni.

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

The chart shows the five most common types of work for graduates 1-2 years after finishing their degree. The data is derived from a survey made by Epinion for the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Aarhus University in 2020.