Our flexible degree programme offers you the opportunity to specialise in areas such as medical biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology and molecular cell biology. We put a particular emphasis on practical training and developing transferable skills that will be invaluable in a wide range of professional settings. We are also proud to have been awarded formal Accreditation by the Society of Biology for our four-year MSci Biochemistry course, the foundations of which are the same elements that are integral to our three-year BSc Biochemistry degree.
Course structure - Year by Year
Genetics is central to all areas of Biochemistry from cellular differentiation and development, through reproduction and disease to genetic engineering. Today's Geneticists are striving to understand how the multitude of genes in an individual’s genome work together through complex networks to direct life's processes.
Discoveries in genetics are having a major impact on society, ranging from the prospect for breakthroughs in the treatment of disease and the understanding of individual differences emerging from the Human Genome Project, to improvements in food production through genetic engineering.
The Biochemistry (Genetics) degree course is structured to give you a comprehensive introduction to modern genetics.
The first year genetics module covers:
In the second year you will study the basis by which genetic variation arises and is transmitted from generation to generation. You will also look at the organisation, structure and dynamic nature of genomes, as well as advanced topics in gene regulation in both bacteria and higher organisms, including humans.
A set of core modules in biochemistry and chemistry, is complemented with elective modules allowing students to follow their particular interests.
In addition to two core modules, you will have the choice between some 15 specialist modules. The topics of these modules draw on the research interests and academic expertise of our staff, and reflect exciting developments in the field of biochemistry.
Central to your final-year studies is your research project, which makes up one-sixth of the final year. We offer students the opportunity to join one of our research groups, of which there are almost 60, providing the fascinating prospect to experience research first hand and to contribute to the current research projects in the department. Project work does not necessarily mean you are in the laboratory; some students will do computer-based projects, others carry out a detailed analysis of the research literature in a particular area.
Which courses should I apply for?
You may apply either for the main degree course, Biochemistry BSc or for one of the specialist degree labels. The selection criteria are identical in either case. The design of our courses allows students to delay specialisation until the second year or to transfer between specialisations as interests develop or change.
Why study this course
We have a large and internationally recognised School of Biosciences offering expertise that is the foundation of our research-led teaching.
You will encounter a broad range of topics on our courses, ranging from studies on the three-dimensional structure of individual molecules through to the study of whole ecosystems. We pride ourselves in our ‘enquiry-based learning’ strategy that will equip you with the skills to achieve full potential in your future career.
We increasingly incorporate new areas of science relating to biology, such as bioinformatics, and the School has major high-technology facilities for research in genomics, structural biology and optical imaging.
2012 National Student Survey "100% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of our Biochemistry courses"
Our modular course programme gives increasing flexibility in choosing modules that resonate with your interests. Following a first year where all modules are compulsory, you take a combination of compulsory and elective modules in the second year, while the final year includes only one compulsory module and a broad choice of elective modules covering areas as diverse as cancer biology, immunology, neurobiology and mechanisms of human disease. The syllabus is designed to furnish graduates with relevant expert knowledge and skills, but equally to provide thorough training in transferable skills, including data analysis, scientific communication, and your ability to work and communicate effectively with others.
If you have chosen one of our specialist degree programmes in biochemistry, the second and third year options allow you to choose an appropriate pathway through the degree. More detailed descriptions of individual modules can be found here (PDF 348KB).
First Year Modules
Cell Biology and Physiology
Enzymes and Metabolism
Skills for Biosciences
Nora Miroslavova, Biochemistry graduate "The modules were taught by expert members of staff involved in the research field, which I found very interesting and stimulating."
Choose optional modules that allow you to follow your own particular interests.
Proteins and Enzymes
Membranes, Energy and Metabolism
Molecular Biology and its Applications
Communication and skills in Biosciences
Optional modules - choose 2 from:
Cell and Developmental Biology
Topics in Medical Biosciences
Microbes and Man
Experimental design, analysis and interpretation of biochemical data
To be awarded the specialist degree title BSc Biochemistry (Genetics) your choice of modules must cover the compulsory programme components above, and at least two of the following modules:
Bacterial Gene Regulation
Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Genetics III: Genetic Variation in Humans and other Eukaryotes
Optional modules - choose one from:
Mechanisms of Toxicity and Human Disease Processes
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Structures of Destruction
Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Bevan Lin, Biochemistry student "A unique combination of two disciplines, Biochemistry provides the molecular insights into disease, giving great potential for future drug development."
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 2
Typical offer: AAB-ABB
Required subjects and grades: Chemistry A level and one other from Biology/Human Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, ICT, Maths, Physics, Psychology or Sports Studies/PE. Five GCSEs at grade C (minimum) in Double Award/Integrated Science, English and Mathematics.
General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Applied Science, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (Applied Science) is accepted only in combination with a science subject at GCE A2 level at grade B or better. Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 35-36 points excluding bonus points from TOK and Extended Essay. 6, 6, 5 at HL to include Chemistry and one other science at HL. 5 points in each of SL English and Maths if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
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