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University of Pittsburgh    
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  May 28, 2024
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Pharmaceutical Sciences - Medicinal Chemistry Track, MS

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Medicinal Chemistry

The medicinal chemistry track is a complex scientific discipline whose focus is to develop molecules that can impact human health by discovering, designing, synthesizing and characterizing safe and effective agents for disease therapy and diagnosis. The research involves a multidisciplinary approach encompassing chemistry and biology, and includes organic synthesis, protein and nucleic acid chemistry, natural product chemistry, computational chemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, structural biology, pharmacology and proteomics.

  • You will learn to design, synthesize and characterize new medicinal agents and enhance the biological activity of existing pharmaceutical agents.
  • You will learn to use computational, biophysical, structural biology and cell-based screening technologies to identify natural and synthetic compounds for pharmacological activity and to conduct structure-based drug design.
  • You will isolate, characterize, and synthesize compounds based on natural products, as well as target identification for biologically active natural products.

MS Core Curriculum


Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours to fulfill the requirements for the MS. Required courses for all MS students are listed below. Students who have had prior course work or extensive experience in a given area may be exempted from the required course at the discretion of the faculty. The remaining credit requirements are completed through elective courses and thesis research. The specific plan of study is developed by the student and their faculty advisor and committee. Courses should be selected to assure an adequate breadth of knowledge as well as depth in the student’s focus area.

MS Comprehensive Exam and Thesis

The thesis for the MS must represent an original research project or a comprehensive and detailed survey of some topic of current interest in the pharmaceutical sciences. It must be defended in an oral examination.

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