Organic Synthesis for Medicines and Natural Products (F1603)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

On this module you’ll explore two key topics in organic synthesis:

  • methods to construct complex natural products with control of chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity 
  • synthetic approaches towards heterocycles for use in the clinic.

You will learn concepts of retrosynthesis and the disconnective approach, exemplified in the study of classics in total synthesis. You will see how chiral pool compounds can be employed in synthesis with diastereocontrol to establish the complexity of natural product targets. You’ll also learn the rich history of heterocycle synthesis, and its underlying operating mechanisms, harnessed to prepare biologically active compounds and current medicines.


69%: Lecture
31%: Practical (Workshop)


30%: Coursework (Problem set)
70%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 32 hours of contact time and about 118 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: