For BSc Biochemistry (C700) and MSci Biochemistry (C703)
This overview also covers modules studied in the MSci Professional Placement (C702), BSc Year in Europe (C701), BSc International Year (C007) courses, and in the specialist degree labels in Medical Biochemistry (C720) and Biochemistry with Genetics (CC74).
Each academic year includes 120 credits. Most modules comprise 20 credits, with about 25-30 lectures per term, in addition to practicals and workshops. During the teaching terms (Oct–Dec, Jan–Mar), you will have 10-15 hours of timetabled sessions per week. End-of-year examinations follow for most modules in the summer term (April–June).
To pass a module you need to achieve at least 40% (50% in the Masters year, when studying for the MSci). Practical reports, workshops or short class tests can contribute up to 40% to a module mark, but progression primarily depends on the end-of-year examination. In order to progress to the second and third year, you need to pass modules worth at least 100 credits in each year.
The modules described here are the ones that we currently offer and will give you a good idea of the range of subjects that we teach. However as our undergraduate teaching is research led and we constantly review our teaching to ensure that the modules that we offer are up to date there may be changes to module titles and content.
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
The first year offers a set of modules that explores the full spectrum of biochemistry, from the physiology of living organism to the molecular details of particular biochemical reactions and the enzymes that catalyse these reactions. A key element is the Chemistry module.
First year modules
Fundamentals of Biochemistry - Fundamental biochemical processes taking place inside cells
Cell Biology and Physiology - Tissues, organelles, reproduction and development
Chemistry I - Inorganic and organic chemistry, including practical training.
Genetics I - Storage of genetic information, gene expression and regulation, mitosis and meiosis, gene linkage and chromosome mapping.
Metabolism - Enzyme catalysis and regulation, metabolism of carbohydrates and vitamins, experimental techniques to study metabolic reactions.
Physical Biochemistry - The fundamental laws governing biochemical reactions and how we can explore them experimentally.
WHM - Biochemistry
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."
The second year features a combination of core modules that all biochemistry students follow, and two elective modules, where you can start to define your personal direction in the field.
Second year modules
Core modules (taken by all students on the Biochemistry programme)
Proteins and Enzymes – Protein structure and evolution, mechanisms of enzyme catalysis, techniques to determine protein structures.
Membranes, Energy and Metabolism – Biological membranes and their role in energy metabolism, regulation of metabolism by hormones and other factors
Molecular Biology and its Applications – Genetic analysis and gene cloning, DNA fingerprinting and forensics, genomics and computational approaches to genetics
Chemistry II - Spectroscopic techniques, synthesis of peptides, oligonucleotide and aromatic compounds, determining structures of simple organic molecules.
Communications and Skills in Biosciences – Science communication in videography, writing and speaking, ethics in science, analysis of the scientific literature.
Choose two optional modules
Example optional modules may include:
Cell and Developmental Biology - Development of multicellular organisms, interaction between cells and the cellular matrix, regulation of stem cell function.
Topics in Medical Biosciences – Neurobiology and neurotransmitters, pharmacology and anaesthetics, blood constituents and haemostasis, complement and immunity.
Genetics II – Organisation of genes and genomes, generation of genetic diversity, gene transmission and analysis of problems in transmission and molecular genetics.
Microbes and Man – The impact of microbes on humans, bacteria, fungi and viruses, common themes of infectious disease mechanisms.
The core component of the final year is the Project, which covers 40 of 120 final year credits. In dialogue with a lecturer or professor, you will do your own research and be led to independence as a biochemist. The Biochemistry programme also includes one core module focussing firmly on analytical skills. Finally, a diverse spectrum of elective modules allows you to explore individual facets of biochemistry according to your personal preference and interests.
You may choose between a laboratory project, a two-part library research or a computing-based project. Students choose their project from an extensive list near the end of their 2nd year. Some even arrange a project independently in collaboration with an academic member of staff. Whichever path you choose, you will find that the project is particular highlight of your academic training and experience.
Final year modules
Choose three optional modules*
Example optional modules may include:
Structures of Destruction - Bacterial and viral pathogens explored from the perspective of their molecular structures, protein misfolding and amyloid diseases.
Bacterial Gene Regulation - How genes are switched on or off in response to external stimuli, how control of gene expression can be explored experimentally.
Cellular Signalling** - Signal transduction in and between cells, G-protein coupled receptors, phospholipid and Ca2+ signalling, ligand-gated ion channels and electrical responses.
Cancer Biology – Regulation of cell division and aberrations in malignant tumours, genetic bases of tumourigenesis, programmed cell death.
Molecular and Cellular Immunology | Watch video - Evolution of the immune system, innate immunity, cell biology of immunity, structural basis of discrimination between self and non-self.
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection | Watch video - Evolution of bacterial virulence, antibiotics and antibiotics resistance, genomic data in analysing pathogenicity.
Genetics III - Genetic variation in humans and model organisms, dynamics of chromosome organisation during mitosis and meiosis, genome instability.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology - Microbial communities, how they compete, and behave socially.
Cellular Neurobiology** | Watch video - Neuronal function and neural development, synaptic function, transmitter receptors and ion channels.
Eukaryotic Gene Expression - Control of gene transcription, chromatin structure, pre-mRNA processing, mRNA translation and degradation.
Plant Sciences in the 21st Century | Watch video - Plant growth and development in relation to food supply, biofuels and climate change. Research-based module with emphasis on analysis of the current research literature.
* Modules run either in Semester 1 or Semester 2. Particular combinations of modules may not be advisable, especially if all 3 choices were to run in the same semester.
** This module is under review and content will likely change from 2018/2019 onwards.
Masters Year (MSci)
The 4-year MSci course builds on the 3-year BSc course, and offers a research-focused fourth year, where the 80-credit research project takes centre stage. Along your lab-based research, you will take a Research Development Module, where you attend and track seminars by guest speakers visiting our School, get training in problem solving and data handling, as well as working on research-related assignments. A taught module drawn from the specialist modules of the third year complements the programme. We are proud that the Society of Biology has accredited our Biochemistry programmes, vouching for teaching excellence and skills employers are looking for.
Professional Placement (MSci)
The Biochemistry with Professional Placement (MSci) course (4 years) draws on the same spectrum of modules as the corresponding 3-year course. You can specialise or keep a broad perspective, as you prefer, but you cannot include a specialist label in your degree title. During second year you start applying for your placements on the back of specific training sessions. The placement follows in your third year, and you return to the University for your fourth and final year. Placements are not limited to the UK.
Year in Continental Europe, International Year
We offer two distinct pathways to include studying abroad in your course. The Year in Continental Europe option gives access to all modules of the 3-year BSc course. In the first and second year, however, you will replace 20 credits of Biochemistry content with a language module in German, French or Spanish, depending on your destination during your third year, and you will attend lectures in the language of the host country during the year abroad. The International Year gives the opportunity to study your subject at an overseas University. There are 50+ possible destinations, including Europe, but the language of teaching will always be English. For more information visit this link here.
Module in a minute videos
Meet some of the undergraduate lecturers in the School of Biosciences as they describe the content of a selection of modules from the Biochemistry degree programme in more-or-less a minute.