About this course
This new MSc is designed to train graduates to fulfil the increased worldwide demand for experts in the development of natural medicine.
- Enrol on this research-led course specialising in the discovery, formulation and analysis of natural medicines
- Gain an in-depth understanding of the stepwise approach for the discovery of drugs from natural sources, semi-synthesis and/or total synthesis of their analogues and the formulation and quality control of natural medicines used for the treatment and management of diseases
- Use state-of-the-art equipment
- Explore the latest developments in the field with student-led sessions, seminars and workshops
- Prepare for competitive jobs in pharmaceutical, chemical, food and cosmetic companies
- Provides hands-on experience in the effects and formulation of natural ingredients for the wellness industry (supplements and cosmetics)
The Natural Products Discovery MSc focuses on the extraction, isolation and identification of natural products for use in modern medicines, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. One of just a handful of courses of this type in the world, this masters is taught by leading experts in the field.
This is a very practical based programme and you will have access to state-of-the-art instruments including: 300 and 600 MHz NMR, UV, IR, HPLC, UPLC, GC-MS and LC-MS, X-Ray crystallography, analytical and preparative HPLCs with various detectors, microscopy suits and several in vitro and ex vivo bioassay facilities.
As a student on the programme you will have access to the Research Centre for Natural Products Discovery which was founded at LJMU in 2019. The Centre is a unique platform for multidisciplinary and collaborative research, incorporating various aspects of synthetic organic medicinal chemistry, natural products drug discovery, photochemistry, nutraceuticals and food supplements, pharmacology and toxicology.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- access to programme-appropriate software
- library and student IT support
- free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
Graduates with adequate skills in natural drug discovery and hands-on experience in operating state-of-the-art equipment would be well placed in Pharmaceutical, Phytopharmaceutical, Chemical, food and cosmetic industries and also in the regulatory sector and academia. There is also an increasing demand for Masters level students in the general business sector. Skills such as formulating a well-justified case, using carefully assessed data sources, planning and executing projects etc are highly useful generic skills. Some graduates may prefer to continue their studies in the area of Natural Products at PhD level rather than embark on a career in industry.
Discover the building blocks of your programme
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules and a Research Project.
Gain the necessary core skills to effectively design, plan, perform and report scientific research.
This module will provide you with the opportunity to conduct an independent, in-depth study of an agreed topic of research, carried out in an appropriate manner.
Analytical Techniques in Natural Products
This module covers: techniques used for the extraction (cold extraction, Soxhlet extraction and fractional distillation) of natural products, chromatographic techniques (Flash Chromatography, Column Chromatography, TLC, Analytical and preparative HPLC, GC, GC-MS, LC-MS) for the isolation and purification of compounds and spectroscopic techniques (UV, IR, 1D & 2D NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography) for the identification of compounds.
Natural Products Formulation
This module covers natural products in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmetic science focusing on the formulation, manufacturing and quality control of natural products in various dosage forms e.g. tablets, capsules, solutions, suspensions, emulsions, ointments, lotions, shampoos, etc.
Natural Products Pharmacology and Toxicology
This module covers traditional medicine, sources of natural antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antimalarial and antioxidants compounds.
Approaches to Natural Products Discovery
This module covers the systematic approach in drug discovery from natural sources, from the rain forest to the deep oceans and how we sustainably scale up their obtention in full adherence to the biodiversity conventions.
Natural Products Chemistry
This module covers the main classes of natural products, their chemical and physical behaviour and total/semi-synthesis.
An insight into teaching on your course
You will learn via lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, lab-based practicals and external visits as well as the practical research project.
The focus of the programme is on practical work and learning through lab experience. By the end of the course you will have the skills you need to operate complex instrumentation in this area.
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.
With traditional exams testing course knowledge and lab reports assessing practical work, there is a balance of theoretical and practical assessment on this course. You will also create a portfolio during your studies to chart your development.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Jose Prieto Garcia
Dr Jose Prieto Garcia
Dr Prieto Garcia studied Pharmacy, followed by a PhD in Natural Products Pharmacology and postdoctoral studies in Chemical Ecology and Medicinal Cannabis. Dr Prieto Garcia is a member of LJMUs Centre for Natural Products Discovery at LJMU and Programme Leader for the new MSc Natural Products Discovery. He has published over 80 high-impact publications and co-wrote the internationally recognised book Fundamentals in Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Dr Prieto Garcia's research interests cover medicinal cannabis, melanoma and skin inflammation, artificial intelligence applied to natural products research and advanced analytical techniques (direct NMR).
I enjoy finding new ways to improve people's lives with the application of natural products to health and wellness. It's also particularly rewarding when I help my students to find their dream job.
What you can expect from your School
You will study at the Byrom Street site in the University's City Campus. With an ongoing £12 million investment in laboratory facilities here and state-of-the-art research facilities you'll enjoy a first class study environment.
You will need:
- A minimum 2:2 honours degree in pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, chemistry or a related field
Relevant work experience
- Alternative qualifications with a significant period of relevant work experience
- IELTS 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component) or equivalent
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.