Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Medicinal Chemistry Ph.D.

Graduate Studies in Medicinal Chemistry
College of Pharmacy
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, 8-101 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-9919; fax: 612-626-3114)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 48
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The program in medicinal chemistry emphasizes the application of chemical principles to research on the action of drugs on biological systems. Courses offered by the program focus on general principles of medicinal chemistry, drug design and synthesis, chemical aspects of drug metabolism, chemical mechanisms of drug toxicity and carcinogenicity, computer-assisted drug design and receptor modeling, and combinatorial chemistry.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Applicants should have a BS or MS degree in an appropriate related science field such as pharmacy, chemistry, or biology. Students majoring in other degree programs that encompass chemical, biochemical, or biological fields of study are also encouraged to apply. All applicants should have completed undergraduate chemistry through elementary organic chemistry. Undergraduate coursework in biochemistry and physical chemistry is also a prerequisite, but under certain circumstances such coursework may be taken during the first year. Students may apply for admission to the PhD program only and are only admitted fall semester.
Special Application Requirements:
Scores from the General (Aptitude) Test of the GRE, three letters of recommendation from college-level faculty, a complete set of official transcripts, and a statement of immediate and long range career objectives are required. All application materials should be submitted by the admissions deadline listed on the departmental website in order to be considered for fellowship, teaching, and research assistantships awarded in the next academic year.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 95
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
24 credits are required in the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Students must take all courses for an A-F grade, unless the course is only offered on the S/N grading basis.
Required Courses (15 credits)
MEDC 8001 - General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8002 - General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8050 - Physical and Mechanistic Organic Chemistry (2.0 cr)
MEDC 8435 - BioAssay & Data Analysis (1.0 cr)
MEDC 8100 - Medicinal Chemistry Seminar (1.0 cr)
CHEM 8066 - Professional Conduct of Chemical Research (1.0 cr)
CHEM 8321 - Organic Synthesis (4.0 cr)
Biochemistry Requirement (2 to 4 credits)
Take at least one of the following courses or select a different 2 to 4 credit course in consultation with the advisor and director of graduate studies.
BIOC 8005 - Biochemistry: Structure and Catalysis (2.0 cr)
BIOC 8006 - Biochemistry: Metabolism and Control (2.0 cr)
BIOC 5535 - Introduction to Modern Structural Biology -- Diffraction (2.0 cr)
BIOC 5528 - Spectroscopy and Kinetics (4.0 cr)
GCD 8151 - Cellular Biochemistry and Cell Biology (2.0-4.0 cr)
CHEM 8411 - Introduction to Chemical Biology (4.0 cr)
Additional Course Requirements
Take three additional courses, two of which must be from the following list, to complete the 24 course-credit requirement.
MEDC 5185 - Principles of Biomolecular Simulation (3.0 cr)
MEDC 5494 - Advanced Methods in Quantitative Drug Analysis (2.0 cr)
MEDC 8070 - The Chemistry and Biology of Infectious Diseases (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8420 - Natural Products Chemistry (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8471 - High Throughput Drug Discovery (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8413 - Chemistry of Nucleic Acids (4.0 cr)
MEDC 8461 - Design of Cancer Therapeutics (3.0 cr)
MEDC 8700 - Advanced Concepts in Drug Design (2.0 cr)
MEDC 8753 - MOLECULAR TARGETS OF DRUG DISCOVERY (3.0 cr)
CHEM 8322 - Advanced Organic Chemistry (4.0 cr)
MEDC 8401 - Chemistry of Counterterrorism: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & High Explosive Threats (2.0 cr)
Thesis Credits
Take at least 24 doctoral thesis credits.
MEDC 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
 
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MEDC 8001 - General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01872
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Fundamental principles of molecular recognition, physiochemical properties of drugs, drug metabolism and disposition, interaction of molecules with DNA/RNA. prereq: Med chem grad student or instr consent
MEDC 8002 - General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01889
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Fundamental principles of molecular recognition, physicochemical properties of drugs, drug metabolism and disposition, interaction of molecules with DNA/RNA. prereq: Med chem grad student or instr consent
MEDC 8050 - Physical and Mechanistic Organic Chemistry
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Prerequisites: First-year Medicinal Chemistry grad students or by permission.
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Didactic instruction in foundational principles of physical and mechanistic organic chemistry. Recitation component in which students actively solve organic chemistry reaction mechanisms and related problems in organic and medicinal chemistry during course meeting times with faculty guidance. prereq: First-year Medicinal Chemistry grad students or by permission.
MEDC 8435 - BioAssay & Data Analysis
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Prerequisites: MEDC 8001 or instructor permission.
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Emphasis is an intro to bioassay & rodent experimental design approaches, data analysis & basic statistical analysis of corresponding data. Concepts of what instrumentation resources are available within the Department of Medicinal Chemistry & the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery & Development (ITDD), what the corresponding bioassays that can be measured on those resources, considerations & criteria for the development of a new bioassay, how to design basic rodent (mouse & rat) animal experiments including power-analysis (how to predict the number of animals needed for the experiment), as well as data analysis [mean, standard error of the mean (SEM), standard deviation of the mean (SD)] & statistical analysis [student t-test, one-way Anova, two-way Anova, & appropriate post-hoc tests). prereq: MEDC 8001 or instructor permission.
MEDC 8100 - Medicinal Chemistry Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Current topics. prereq: Grad major or instr consent
CHEM 8066 - Professional Conduct of Chemical Research
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Builds sensitivity to ethical issues in chemical research. Readings/case studies, small-group/large-group discussion, summarizing comments from instructors/guests/panels having special expertise. Weekly seminar. prereq: Chem grad student
CHEM 8321 - Organic Synthesis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Core course; fundamental concepts, reactions, reagents, structural and stereochemical issues, and mechanistic skills necessary for understanding organic chemistry. prereq: 2302 or equiv
BIOC 8005 - Biochemistry: Structure and Catalysis
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Protein structure, methods to determine structure, protein folding, forces stabilizing macromolecular structure, protein engineering, design. Dynamic properties of proteins/enzymes, enzyme substrate complexes, mechanism of enzyme catalysis.
BIOC 8006 - Biochemistry: Metabolism and Control
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Enzymology of metabolism, metabolic regulation, metabolic control and cell signaling.
BIOC 5535 - Introduction to Modern Structural Biology -- Diffraction
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02551 - BioC 5535/BioC 5527
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Theory and practice in the determination of three-dimensional structures of macromolecules using x-ray and neutron diffraction and electron microscopy. prereq: (Introductory biochemistry, introductory physics, college calculus] or physical chemistry or instr consent
BIOC 5528 - Spectroscopy and Kinetics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Biochemical dynamics from perspectives of kinetics and spectroscopy. Influence of structure, molecular interactions, and chemical transformations on biochemical reactions. Focuses on computational, spectroscopic, and physical methods. Steady-state and transient kinetics. Optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopies. prereq: Intro physical chemistry or equiv; intro biochemistry recommended
GCD 8151 - Cellular Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Credits: 2.0 -4.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course introduces graduate students to fundamental concepts of Biochemical Unity (Part 1) and Cell Theory (Part 2). For Part 1, we will discuss matter of life, equilibrium, entropy & law of mass action, two state systems, random walks & diffusion, rate equations of chemical reactions, and explore how they relate to regulation of biological networks (gene regulation and signal transduction). For Part 2 we will focus on properties of biological membranes, membrane trafficking, protein import & degradation, nuclear structures and their function, as well as molecular motors, cytoskeletal dynamics, and mitosis. The course assumes students have had previous undergraduate courses in cell biology, biochemistry and genetics. prereq: [[[4034 or 8121 or BioC 8002], Biol 4004] or BMBB or MCDBG grad student] or instr consent
CHEM 8411 - Introduction to Chemical Biology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Chemistry of amino acids, peptides, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. Structure, nomenclature, synthesis, and reactivity. Overview of techniques used to characterize these biomolecules. prereq: 2302 or equiv
MEDC 5185 - Principles of Biomolecular Simulation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Molecular simulation for students in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, biochemistry, and chemical physics prereq: Chem 3502 or instr consent
MEDC 5494 - Advanced Methods in Quantitative Drug Analysis
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Quantitative methods (HPLC, GC, TLC, immunoassays) for analysis of drugs/metabolites in biological fluids. Advanced techniques such as capillary electrophoresis, supercritical fluid chromatography, GC-MS, LC-MS, tandem mass spectrometry. Chromatographic theory/statistical approaches to method validation.
MEDC 8070 - The Chemistry and Biology of Infectious Diseases
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
The objectives of this course are to provide a comprehensive overview of antimicrobial agents used in infectious diseases with an emphasis on the underlying foundational principles in chemistry and biology. Antibiotic, antifungal, and antiprotozoal agents will be covered. For each antimicrobial agent, the history, discovery, synthesis, structure-activity relationships, spectrum of activity, clinical uses, mechanism(s) of action, resistance, drug disposition properties, and adverse reactions will be discussed in great detail.
MEDC 8420 - Natural Products Chemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Biosynthesis of natural products with an emphasis on how these biochemical principles can be used in drug discovery and design through metabolic engineering and combinatorial biosynthesis. Natural product isolation, structure determination, target identification, and the role of synthetic organic chemistry. prereq: [CHEM 8321, biochemistry] or equiv or course director approval
MEDC 8471 - High Throughput Drug Discovery
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: Undergraduate [chemistry or biochemistry] or #
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Combinatorial chemistry, multi-compound based technologies, their use in screening bioassays to discover lead compounds. Solidphase synthesis, designing compound libraries, pharmacological assay design, data interpretation, biological target selection, compound lead optimization. prereq: Undergraduate [chemistry or biochemistry] or instr consent
MEDC 8413 - Chemistry of Nucleic Acids
Credits: 4.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Chemical aspects of nucleic acid structure and function, synthesis, and functional variants. prereq: [Medicinal chem or chem or biochem] grad student
MEDC 8461 - Design of Cancer Therapeutics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Cancer Drug Therapy is a relatively new field of medicine that has undergone many medical and societal changes over the course of the last 100 years and in particular the last 60 years. The emphasis in this course will be to familiarize the student with the basic concepts of cancer biology and to survey current advanced approaches for the development and design of small molecule, protein and cell based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.
MEDC 8700 - Advanced Concepts in Drug Design
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: Chem 8700/MedC 8700/Phar 6246H
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Current approaches to rational design of drugs. prereq: 5600 or instr consent
MEDC 8753 - MOLECULAR TARGETS OF DRUG DISCOVERY
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Structure of biological macromolecules that are targets of drugs. Techniques to accelerate directed drug discovery. Protein structure/interactions. Popular target classes. Computational tools for visualizing/analyzing protein-ligand and protein-protein interactions. Structural characterization at a level sufficient to underpin critical data evaluation. Biophysical techniques to assess weak ligand binding and suitable for fragment-based lead discovery. prereq: 5710 or 8002 or CHEM 5412 or structural biochemistry or instr consent
CHEM 8322 - Advanced Organic Chemistry
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Modern studies. Topics, which vary by year, include natural products, heterocycles, asymmetric synthesis, organometallic chemistry, and polymer chemistry. prereq: 2302 or equiv
MEDC 8401 - Chemistry of Counterterrorism: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & High Explosive Threats
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Students will acquire fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms of action, risks, and potential effects of the major CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high explosive) agents that pose a threat in terrorist attacks. Students will also develop familiarity with current countermeasures (pre- and post-exposure) and relevant medical treatments, focusing on effectiveness, limitations, unmet needs, challenges, and roadblocks to countermeasure development. Detection, protection, and decontamination techniques will also be discussed. This course is designed for scientists and engineers: graduate students in Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, or Physics. Advanced undergraduates in the above programs, and professional students in PharmD, MD, MD/PhD, DVM, or MPH programs, who meet all required prerequisites, may enroll with the course director?s permission. Note that the emphasis of this course is on the chemistry, biology, and physics of CBRNE agents and their countermeasures, not policy, policymaking, or sociocultural issues (although these may come up for discussion).
MEDC 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required