The aim of the programme is to be a comprehensive education in the theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry, but also to equip students for a professional life in the everchanging environment of 21st century chemistry. To achieve these goals, the programme integrates the teaching of chemistry foundations with application of chemistry principles and techniques in a conceptually novel fashion by systematically using examples taken from the very broad range of biomedical research and practice at King's.
The programme starts with a normal coverage of the principles of physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, with additional maths to ensure students can handle advanced physical and computational chemistry. It does so referring to biomedical examples where relevant, and incorporates an integrated laboratory course that brings together the different strands of chemistry and applies them to biological and biomedical systems.
In the later years 3 and 4, increasingly more specialised modules allow students to investigate particular aspects of the application of chemical principles to biological and biomedical problems. The research projects in Years 3 and 4 can be carried out in appropriate partner institutions e.g. in one of the hospitals affiliated with the College (e.g. Guy's and St Thomas') or in a suitable industrial company. The project therefore offers the opportunity to gain relevant professional work experience.
Research areas in which King's chemistry academics who will be teaching on this course, flourish, include the development of the full range of modern in vivo imaging techniques, materials science and nanotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences from drug discovery to drug delivery, analytical, forensic and environmental science, a wide range of development and cell biology, particularly neurobiology and the full range of clinical disciplines in medicine, psychiatry and mental health and dentistry.
It is possible to exit after three years with a BSc Chemistry with Biomedicine, a route some students may favour if they want a more specialized 4th year doing a more focused MSc or MRes course.
The core team is new and relatively small (7 academics), and is the centre for a much larger group of over 30 chemists whose research is embedded within different schools of King's, where they use their chemical expertise to advance a very wide range of medical, health, pharmaceutical and materials science. This larger group contribute to the teaching and research projects.
Teaching takes place in lectures, seminars and tutorials and through extensive practical laboratory work. The emphasis gradually shifts from supported learning and help in adjusting to university life towards self-directed learning. The first two years concentrate upon laying down a strong basis in chemistry and supporting maths, while bringing in non-conventional aspects such as the study of chemistry in cells and integrated laboratories that combine the different areas of chemistry within experiments and apply them to biological systems.
In the 3rd and 4th year, increasing specialization is possible through the choice of options. The fourth year is dominated by a major research project, normally with industrial partners, to give you the opportunity to experience and test your research potential. Three factors underpin your learning: first, it is increasingly research-based, so you learn not just the facts but in addition develop the ability to test hypotheses and evaluate evidence; second, since the programme team is embedded within one of the largest, and most highly rated, medical schools in the country, a medical perspective pervades much of the teaching; and finally, you will be explicitly encouraged to apply your scientific understanding to wider issues facing society.