Biochemistry makes an impact on many fronts, offering graduates exciting and varied careers. This is a flexible degree, with the opportunity to specialise in areas such as medical biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology and molecular cell biology, providing ample scope to tailor a programme of study that matches individual interests and goals. The course particularly emphasises practical training and the development of transferable skills that can be deployed in a wide range of professional settings.
A list of course modules can be found in the BSc Medical Biochemistry - Course modules section.
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 the understanding of central biochemical concepts.
A set of core modules in biochemistry and chemistry, complemented with elective modules allows you to follow your 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 final-year studies is the research project, which makes up one-sixth of the final year. We offer you the opportunity to join one of our research groups, of which there are almost 60, providing the fascinating prospect to experience research at 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.
Professor Bob Michell, FRS, Royal Society Research Professor, School of Biosciences
"When I came to study Medical Biochemistry at Birmingham, I had no idea that almost half a century later I would still be researching and teaching here. Relatively little of what we now teach students was then known, so I have had a wonderful time trying to fill some of those gaps – but there is plenty still to learn!"
Which courses should I apply for?
Applicants may apply either for the main programme (C700 Biochemistry) or for one of the specialist degree labels (for instance C720 Medical Biochemistry). 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
Biochemistry is a science subject at the interface between Biology, Chemistry and Medicine. If you are fascinated by the molecular world, and wish to pursue a career in an area with a direct and growing impact on key societal issues, Biochemistry is a great place to start.
The Biochemistry degree course, with its specialist degree options, offers a fantastic opportunity to explore living organisms from a molecular and cellular perspective. We start with the foundations of chemistry, cell biology and genetics and lead you right up to cutting-edge research questions in the final year.
With a Biochemistry degree, you will acquire a wide range of skills, with particular emphasis on data analysis, experimental design and problem solving. Skills acquired in this course enable careers not just in the life science, but across a wide range of professions. Most important of all, Biochemistry has many facets. Check out our collection of related research stories.
2013 National Student Survey
"100% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of our Biochemistry courses"
After a common first year for all Biochemistry undergraduates, students undertaking Medical Biochemistry will study a variety of biomedically related topics such as immunology, human physiology, biochemical pharmacology, molecular endocrinology and neurobiology. In the final year, students will undertake modules that reflect
recent advances in biomedical sciences, which include Mechanisms of Toxicity and Human Disease Processes; Cellular Signalling; Cancer Biology and Molecular and Cellular Immunology.
For more detailed descriptions of individual modules, download Biochemistry Module Descriptions (PDF 348KB)
The first year core modules include:
Cell Biology & Physiology
Enzymes and Metabolism
Professor Bob Michell, Royal Society Research Professor "When I came to study Medical Biochemistry at Birmingham, I hadno idea that almost half a century later I would still be researchingand teaching here. Relatively little of what we now teach studentswas then known, so I have had a wonderful time trying to fill someof those gaps – but there is plenty still to learn!"
A set of core modules in biochemistry and chemistry, complemented with elective modules allows you to follow your particular interests. The following modules are available:
Core skills in Biosciences
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 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. Students of the Medical Biochemistry degree course must cover at least three of the following modules:
Mechanisms of Toxicity and Disease
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Structures of Destruction
Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Omics – exploiting genomic data
Human Reproductive Biology and Development
Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Other final year modules include:
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry
Biochemical Data Analysis and Interpretation
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Prokaryotic Gene Regulation
Genetic Variation in Humans and other Eukaryotes
Plant Cell Biology and Development
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: 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.
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: 34-35 points excluding bonus points from TOK and Extended Essay. 6, 5, 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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