At the interface between chemistry, biology and medicine, biochemists seek to explore and understand the molecular underpinnings of living organisms and of disease. Biochemistry makes an impact on many fronts, offering graduates exciting and varied careers.
A flexible degree course offers ample scope to tailor a programme of study that matches individual interests and goals. This course particularly emphasizes practical training and research skills, as well as the development of transferable skills that can be deployed in a wide range of professional settings. The Masters year, which extends the three-year BSc programme, is devoted to developing research competence through a multi-faceted teaching and research programme.
Which courses should I apply for?
This course will award an MSci degree in Biochemistry. Students on this course are not able to earn one of the specialist degree titles. However, you can attend any of the modules required for the specialist degree titles, and so achieve the same level of competence in any given area of specialisation. We also note that candidates who fail to meet the higher offer for this course, but meet the standard offer of the three year BSc course will automatically be offered a place on the three year course, with the chance to upgrade to the MSci course if in-course performance targets are met later on.
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 courses are modular with a wide range of options in the latter stages of the degree. These choices build on the core knowledge and skills developed through Years One and Two. We aim to ensure that all our students leave Birmingham with highly developed written, oral and IT skills, and the ability to work and communicate effectively with others.
These choices build on the core knowledge and skills developed through Years One and Two. We aim to ensure that all our students leave Birmingham with highly developed written, oral and IT skills, and the ability to work and communicate effectively with others.These choices build on the core knowledge and skills developed through Years One and Two. We aim to ensure that all our students leave Birmingham with highly developed written, oral and IT skills, and the ability to work and communicate effectively with others.
If you have chosen one of our specialist degree programmes in biochemistry second and third year options allow you to choose an appropriate pathways through the degree.
For full descriptions of modules download Biochemistry Module Descriptions (PDF 348KB)
The first year core modules include:
Cell Biology & Physiology
Enzymes and Metabolism
Up to a third of the time will be spent doing practical work. This hands-on experience in the laboratory, in part working with living organisms, will greatly enhance your understanding of central biochemical concepts.
Bevan Lin, Biochemistry student "A unique combination of two disciplines, Biochemistry provides the molecular insights into disease, giving great potential for future drug development."
A set of core modules in biochemistry and chemistry is complemented with elective modules allowing you to follow your particular interests:
Molecular biology and its applications
Proteins and enzymes
Membranes, Energy and Metabolism
Topics in Medical Biosciences
Microbes and Man
In addition to two core modules, you 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. Choices include:
Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Omics – exploiting genomic data
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Mechnaisms of Toxicity and Disease
Human Reproductive Biology and Development
Structures of Destruction
In the third year, you have the opportunity to perform a small research project, which can involve either laboratory-based research or an extensive review of the current research literature in a given area.
Fourth year (Masters year)
The final year is devoted to developing and honing research skills. The central element to achieve competence in research is the research project, which extends over both semesters of the year and which takes up about 50% of the work effort. In addition, you will attend two skills modules Research Development and Research Techniques, as well as a taught module drawn from the specialist modules of the third year.
The programme involves mandatory attendance at research seminars given by external researchers visiting the School, which are documented through extended summaries, and data handling and problem solving sessions, including the development of a grant proposal and business plan.
Dr Eva Hyde, Leader of the Undergraduate Masters programme "The MSci course was inaugurated in October 2009 and, with my colleagues, I have tried to create a course in which individual students can largely pursue their own biological interests. At the same time, we aim to further develop skills that are important not only for scientific research but in a wide range of careers."
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAA-AAB
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.
The typical offer for the MSci course is higher offer than that for the corresponding three-year BSc degree programmes. However, all candidates who firmly accept the offer, as their first choice, will automatically be offered a place on the corresponding BSc course if they fail to meet the MSci offer while meeting the standard offer.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (Applied Science) is accepted only in combination with a science subject at GCE A2 level at grade A. 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
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com
Learn more about applying
NB. You should apply through UCAS for your preferred four-year option at the outset. You will still retain the flexibility of switching your registration to one of our three-year BSc degree courses during the second year.
Key Information Set (KIS)
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