phd in medicinal chemistry in germany

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

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A doctorate usually means that an individual is qualified to teach at a college level or to work in a specific field of work. There are two major types of doctoral degrees; a research-oriented degree, and a professional doctoral degree. Doctoral degrees are sometimes referred to as terminal degrees, which means that a final degree is available in a graduate school for students who wish it.

PhD Position in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Regensburg (Germany)

PhD position in medicinal chemistry (‘Structural derivatives of natural products as novel templates for reversible and irreversible acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors’) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) can be filled as soon as possible (!) for the duration of three years.

The project’s topic deals with the synthesis off heterocyclic compounds based on natural products as enzyme inhibitors (cholinesterase inhibitors) as drug candidates for Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, solid knowledge in modern organic chemistry and practical experience in compound synthesis are indispensible. Furthermore, the student will get the possibility to learn and apply methods of pharmacological in vitro evaluation of the compounds synthesized to characterize the compounds binding and other biological properties. The pharmacological training can be gained within the working group.
If the candidate shows the required abilities and commitment, funding can be guaranteed for three years, as well as sufficient funding for all research expenses including conference and travel allowances.

Subject Requirements (Qualification)

The student should hold a university degree in Pharmacy, (Medicinal or Organic) Chemistry or neighboring science areas. She/he should be fluent in English – basic knowledge in German is helpful, but not necessary. If necessary and desired, a one-month German course can also be funded.


  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of university degree
  • Letter of motivation
  • at least 2 letters of reference

 Host institutions

University / Organisation
Universität Regensburg
93053 Regensburg

Faculty / Institute
Pharmazeutische und Medizinische Chemie

Supervisor of the Doctoral Thesis
Herr PD Dr. Michael Decker

PhD in Medicinal Chemistry

PhD student Darleny Lizardo.

The PhD in Medicinal Chemistry provides a unique opportunity for students to develop a strong foundation in organic and medicinal chemistry and also to broaden their knowledge in areas such as drug discovery, biochemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology.

The PhD Program in Medicinal Chemistry educates and trains students in the design and synthesis of novel, biologically active compounds and in delineating their mechanisms of action using biochemical, biophysical, and pharmacological approaches. Research specializations are available in synthetic, biochemical/pharmacological, and biophysical aspects of medicinal chemistry. Doctoral research in these specializations will relate to faculty areas of research, which currently include substance use disorders and addiction; neuropathic pain; obesity and metabolic disorders; neuropsychiatric disorders (psychoses, ADHD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders); and neurodegenerative diseases.

This specialization offered by the Center for Drug Discovery (CDD) trains students in the design and synthesis of novel biologically active compounds and in the study of their mechanisms of action using biochemical, biophysical, and pharmacological approaches. Concentrations are available in synthetic, biochemical/pharmacological, and biophysical medicinal chemistry. The CDD’s excellence in teaching has been recognized by the award of a training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for predoctoral and postdoctoral training in development of medications. These will be targeted to treat drug abuse; addiction; and other indications such as neuropathic pain, obesity, neuropsychiatric disorders (psychoses, ADHD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders); and neurodegenerative disorders.

PhD Program Requirements

  • Coursework
    Once admitted to the PhD in Chemistry program, students are required to complete six graduate-level lecture courses during the first two years of full-time study. Of these courses, three must be one-semester introductory core courses selected from the four traditional areas of chemistry (CHE 501 and MCH 501 are required for the Medicinal Chemistry PhD), while the other three elective courses are chosen in consultation with the student’s research advisor. 
  • Proficiency
    Students must also demonstrate proficiency in medicinal chemistry, as well as in three of four traditional areas of chemistry, during the first three semesters. Proficiency can be established by completing a core graduate course or by passing the ACS Placement Exam in the area. A 3.00 grade point average in lecture courses is required.
  • Research Synopsis
    During the fifth semester (third year) of graduate study, PhD students are required to prepare a written research synopsis summarizing research progress to date and future research plans. An oral examination with the student’s PhD committee is used to evaluate the student’s research potential.
  • Research Proposal
    Also during the fifth semester, the student is required to write and orally defend an independent research proposal. This proposal involves the identification of a problem from the chemical literature that is not directly related to the student’s thesis work and a proposed solution to that problem. There are no cumulative exams in the UB Department of Chemistry.
  • Public Lecture
    During the fourth year of graduate study, PhD students present a public lecture on their research progress. This provides the PhD committee a chance to give the student feedback prior to finishing their written dissertation.
  • Dissertation and Oral Defense
    The majority of a PhD student’s time is spent on creative research. At the conclusion of the research work, a dissertation must be written and orally defended before the PhD committee and the department at large.

The PhD Experience

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Personal Statement
  • Resumé
  • TOEFL or IELTS for applicants who do not hold a degree from a U.S. institution and whose native language is not English
  • Official GRE scores
  • Master’s degree or undergraduate prerequisites:
    • General chemistry
    • Organic chemistry
    • Biochemistry, or cell/molecular biology.

Career Options for a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry

Job TitleMedian Salary (2019)*Job Growth (2019-2029)*
Medical Scientists$88,7906%
Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary$79,5504%
Biochemists and Biophysicists$94,4904%

Career Information for Medicinal Chemistry Jobs Requiring a PhD


Epidemiologists need at least a master’s degree, but many of these professionals hold an advanced degree, like a PhD. A background in medicinal chemistry may help these scientists study and understand patterns of diseases and other medical conditions and work towards implementing solutions to treat and/or prevent diseases. Epidemiologists collect biological samples and other data to analyze and then present their findings in reports to the public, health officials and policymakers. Their findings often have implications for and influence on public health programs and policies.

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists usually hold a PhD or medical degree, and one in medicinal chemistry is easily applicable to a career researching ways to improve human health. These scientists are heavily involved in clinical trials and other health-related research testing new drugs and medical devices, studying human diseases and examining health programs. They often test medical samples, help develop manufacturing methods for drugs and even standardize drug potencies and dosages. Medical scientists may need to pursue grant funding for their research and must ensure safety procedures are followed in the laboratory.

Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary

Most professionals in any field with their PhD have the option to work as a postsecondary educator in their discipline. Those with a background in medicinal chemistry may work as chemistry teachers in universities and other postsecondary institutions while conducting their own independent research in their field. Working as a teacher at this level requires them to develop their own lesson plans, assignments and exams for each course that they teach, as well as possibly advising undergraduates and supervising graduate students throughout their studies, depending on the institution. Teachers at this level may also be asked to hold office hours to meet with students and/or serve on different committees for their department or institution.


Chemists can enter the field with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but a PhD is typically needed for advanced research positions. Some of these chemists may choose to specialize in medicinal chemistry to study and help develop new drugs and treatments. They do this by examining chemical compounds and figuring out new ways to use them in medicine and/or other products. Their work usually requires extensive testing of drugs and they work with teams of engineers and other scientists to figure out safe and efficient ways to manufacture drugs.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Like chemists, most advanced research positions for biochemists and biophysicists require a PhD, but positions at the entry-level are available that only require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These scientists specialize in studying the chemical and physical properties of various biological processes, which many then apply to the field of medicine, similar to medicinal chemists. They may examine DNA, proteins, diseases and other biological factors to learn how they are affected by different chemicals and drugs. Their research is presented in technical reports for the scientific community and can be applied to advance the field of medicine as well as other fields like agriculture.

A PhD is typically required for advanced research positions in careers involving chemistry, and those with a background in medicinal chemistry may focus their work in the field of medicine. According to the BLS, most of these positions offer median salaries greater than $70,000 per year.

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