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.
The Placement year, which is intercalated between the second and final years of the course, is invaluable in providing opportunities for networking, on-the-job training and honing professional skills early on.
In the first year you will study key areas such as Cell Biology, Metabolism, Chemistry, Physiology and Genetics. In practical classes you will get hands on experience of a wide range of Biochemical techniques.
At this more advanced level, you complete the core of essential training in biochemistry and you begin to specialise.
Third year (placement year)
In today's competitive jobs market having work experience will look excellent on your CV. The experience of working as a professional bioscientist during the course of your degree will also help you to define your career objectives. You can gain this valuable experience by following one of our four year Professional Placement programmes; these involve a 12-month professional work placement between the second and final years of your degree.
During the second year, you will prepare your placement applications, aided by a range of support mechanisms. We have a large database of organisations that accept placement students, and are frequently approached by companies or organisations offering placement opportunities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The placement year is academically assessed by a report and a seminar presentation at the conclusion of the year.
The School of Biosciences has extensive links with companies and organisations in diverse fields from the pharmaceutical industry and medical research to conservation organisations; this means that we can find placements for students with a wide range of interests.
This is the year of specialisation as you devote most of your time to specialist modules. No matter which Biochemistry degree you choose there will always be a choice of final-year modules. These modules integrate different aspects of biochemistry and illustrate the relationships between these and their applications to industry and medicine. In addition, all students take a module covering key aspects of Biochemistry.
Your final year project is one of the most exciting parts of your degree. You choose from a very broad range offered by the staff according to ongoing research activities. You may opt for a laboratory project, a literature review project or a computing project. Most students enjoy project work as a highlight of their academic training and experience.
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.
You also have the opportunity to study part of the course in industry.
2012 National Student Survey "100% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of our Biochemistry courses"
Our programmes 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 more detailed descriptions of individual modules, download Biochemistry Module Descriptions (PDF 348KB)
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."
Proteins and Enzymes
Membranes, Energy and Metabolism
Molecular Biology and its Applications
Optional modules - choose 2 from:
Topics in Medical Biosciences
Microbes and Man
Third year (Placement year)
We have a large database of organisations that accept placement students, and are frequently approached by companies or organisations offering placement opportunities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The companies and organisations you mght be able to work for during your placement include:
Basilea Pharmaceutica, Basel, Switzerland
Forensic Science Laboratory
Campden and ChorleyWood Food Research Association
DSTL, Porton Down
Horticulture Research International
The Field Studies Council
Dr Pete Lund, Leader of the Professional Placement Programme "I am keen to offer students the opportunity to experience, first hand, how their chosen degree relates to the work environment and to acquire skills valued by employers."
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry
Optional modules - choose 3 from:
Structures of Destruction
Pumps, Permeases and Pores
Prokaryotic Gene Regulation
Mechanisms of Toxicity and Human Disease
Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Omics - Exploiting Genomic Data
Human Reproductive Biology and
Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Genetic Variation in Humans and other
Plant Cell Biology and Development
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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: 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 Professional Placement course is higher than that for the corresponding three year BSc degree course. However, all candidates who firmly accept the offer as their first choice will be automatically offered a place on the corresponding three year course should they miss the higher, but meet 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 their preferred four-year option at the outset. Students will retain the flexibility of changing their registration to one of our three-year degree courses during the second year.
Key Information Set (KIS)
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