Organic Synthesis for Medicines and Natural Products (F1603)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Organic synthesis is essential to produce medicines and to understand the properties and structure of natural products, which frequently form the basis of novel drugs.

This module explores two key topics:

  • methods to obtain and construct complex natural products with control of chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity
  • approaches towards heterocycles found in clinical medicines.

From the rich history of heterocyclic chemistry, their properties and underlying mechanisms, you’ll discover how to use and deploy retrosynthesis, using chiral pool compounds and readily available building blocks to access a wide range of:

  • different biologically active compounds
  • natural products
  • 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 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: