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Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University of Wellington logo

Master of Drug Discovery and Development - MDDD

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Jul 2024


Victoria University of Wellington


Build on your science degree and get a broad knowledge of the processes involved in drug discovery, design and development.

Gain the skills required to generate therapeutics for improving human or animal health with this intensive one-year taught programme, unique in New Zealand.

Your studies will combine the biological sciences with chemistry, giving you the skills to target, design, synthesise, create and assess new drugs. You'll also learn about protecting intellectual property, assessing the financial viability of drugs and the pre-clinical and clinical trial processes.

Tailor your studies to your strengths, interests and career goals. You'll learn a mix of academic and practical skills that are closely aligned to the needs of industry.

The Master of Drug Discovery and Development is best suited to very able students with backgrounds in chemistry or relevant life-science subjects such as biochemistry, biomedical science, pharmacy or pharmacology. It is an intensive one-year taught programme, unique in New Zealand.


Develop the broad skills you need to work in drug discovery in companies, universities, research institutes, or with drug regulatory authorities. Graduates from this programme have enjoyed success with commercial pharmaceutical drug development, veterinary therapeutics, patent assessment, further research undertaking PhD studies, and activities across government, research, and commercial organisations.

What you'll study

Each qualification includes the core courses DRGD 401 Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, and a choice between DRDG 402 Drug Design or CHEM 421 Organic Chemistry and Bio-organic Chemistry.

After that you'll choose from selected courses from the study areas of Drug Discovery and Development, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Clinical Research and Microbiology.

Entry criteria

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet:

A Bachelor's degree in Chemistry or relevant life-science subjects such as Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy or Pharmacology, with an average grade of B+

To be accepted by the programme director as capable of proceeding with the proposed course of study

Proof of English proficiency

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet one of the following:

IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0

TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing

Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 58 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50)

EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5

Application Deadlines - Trimester 1: 1 Dec and Trimester 2: 1 May.

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