Triangle

Course overview

Are you interested in life and the human condition?

With practical experience from early term one, you will gain the skills necessary to exploring this exciting topic. You will be trained by tutors who are active in the fields of biochemistry and biology, ensuring that you leave university with the skills needed to be successful in your future career. Our biochemists are experts in a wide variety of specialities, including human disease and cancer.

Through optional modules and research projects, you can tailor the course to focus on the specific areas of biochemistry that interest you. As our courses have a similar first year, there are also opportunities to switch to another biochemistry degree path at the end of year one.

BSc or MSci?

MSci degrees are undergraduate-level courses which last four years and have an integrated masters qualification. They are the equivalent to a bachelors degree plus a masters level qualification. These courses usually provide additional industry and/or research experience to enhance your future prospects. An MSci is excellent preparation for further study such as a PhD.

If you choose to study an MSci, your student loan will cover tuition fees and living costs for the additional year too (home/EU students only).  If you are unsure on whether to choose an MSci or BSc, we recommend you choose the MSci to secure your funding. Transfer to the BSc is possible.

Find out more about MSci Biochemistry.

Why choose this course?

  • We have various specialisms including an emphasis on human diseases
  • A diverse range of optional modules, allowing you to explore your interests or specialise
  • Laboratory experience begins in term one
  • Be trained by tutors who are active in real world research, giving you the skills necessary for your future careers
  • The option to travel while you learn, through studying abroad

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB
Required subjects

A-levels

Chemistry and at least one other science subject at A level. A pass is normally required in science practical tests, where these are assessed separately. Due to the uncertainty of practical tests taking place, this will not be required for 2021 applicants.

GCSEs

GCSE English language and maths at grade 4 or above are also required

IB score 34 (5/6 in chemistry and another science, in any order, at Higher Level)

Foundation progression options

Biochemistry is one of the progression pathways for our Science with Foundation Year course. Requirements for progression are:

  • Foundation Biological Science - 55%
  • Foundation Chemistry - 55%
  • Overall pass - 40%

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

You will study in the Life Sciences Building on University Park Campus and the Medical School, which is embedded in the Queen’s Medical Centre. There is a footbridge linking the Medical School to University Park Campus, allowing easy access to facilities on both sites. 

Teaching methods

  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Self-study
  • Seminars
  • Small group learning
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • eLearning

How you will be assessed

Students must pass Year 1, the qualifying year, to continue their studies. The pass mark is 40%.

In the year 3 (BSc) plan, year 2 contributes 33%, and year 3, 67% of the final degree mark.

In the 4 year (MSci) plan, year 2* contributes 20%, year 3 contributes 40% and year 4 contributes 40%

*55% average is required to remain on this plan and transfer to the BSc is automatic if this is not met.

Exams happen twice a year at the end of each semester.

Find out more about our teaching on our school website

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Examinations
  • Formative assessments
  • Lab reports
  • Literature review
  • Poster presentation
  • Practical write-ups
  • Presentation

Contact time and study hours

Core hours of directed learning are 9 am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with Wednesday afternoon reserved for sports and other societies. Occasionally lectures are held from 5-6 pm. Classes start on the hour and should finish by 45 minutes past the hour, to enable students and staff to get to their next engagement. All lectures are recorded for inclusion and for revision purposes.

Each hour of contact time should be followed with approximately 1-3 hours* of self-directed study. On average there are 20 hours contact time with staff per week.

*increases with progression

Study abroad

We offer the chance to study abroad at an approved partner university through the Universitas 21 programme. This is an exciting opportunity to gain a global perspective of science, boost your communication skills, and to discover a new culture.

In addition to University-wide opportunities to study abroad, two specific opportunities are available to School of Life Science students at our Malaysian campus:

  • Up to 10 biochemistry students can opt to study year 2 at University of Nottingham Malaysia.
  • Competitive places are available to study a 10-credit module “Tropical Medicine” in the summer vacation between years 2 and 3 alongside UK students from the School of Medicine.

Year in industry

There is the possibility to gain valuable work experience with an optional placement year. Placements are a great opportunity to see what the sector you want to go into is like, try out specific job roles, and to gain the skills that employers want.

Faculty members and the Careers and Employability Service work together to help students to seek and secure 12-month placements in industry. Students who successfully gain a 12-month placement are internally transferred from their Biochemistry plan to “Biochemistry with placement year” to reflect their experience in their degree title.

This arrangement ensures that they do not need to interrupt their programme to carry out their placement, and their student funding is not compromised.

Modules

Introductory modules will establish fundamental aspects of cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and the chemistry that you’ll need to understand life at the molecular level.

40 credits of optional modules exploring other areas of life sciences such as evolution or neuroscience. 20 credits can be taken from another school.

Core Modules

Core Skills in Biochemistry

Through lectures, workshops and tutorials this module will enable you to develop core skills in scientific writing, data handling and analysis, experimental design and scientific presentations. This module is designed to develop your problem solving scientific skills. An important aspect of this module is the small-group tutorials which allow you to get to know the member of staff who will be your tutor for the duration of your studies.

Genes, Molecules and Cells

This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.

Fundamental Inorganic and Organic Chemistry

This module provides the essential chemistry that biochemists need to understand the life process at the molecular level. The module includes atomic and molecular structure, bonding and reactivity, spectroscopy, “curly arrow” organic reactions and core organic chemistry and is taught by means of lectures and workshops.

Optional Modules

You also choose 40 credits of optional modules, 20-40 from the School of Life Sciences or 20 from Life Sciences and 20 from other schools in the University. Several options from the School of Chemistry are available. Options from within the School of Life Sciences are as follows:

Life on Earth

Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.

Fundamentals of Neuroscience

This module will give you a good grounding in the basic principles of the nervous system of humans and other animals. Topics will include neuroanatomy, cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, sensory systems, neuroendocrinology, memory, behavioural neuroscience and diseases of the nervous system. These will be delivered through weekly lectures and practical classes.

Human Physiology

In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of major systems such as cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.

Molecules of Life

You’ll learn about Nature's building blocks including the structure and functions of lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleotides. You'll also learn about the reactivity of these molecules and their biological roles through case studies.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

Building on your knowledge from year one, you’ll undertake a project that will conclude with a dissertation.

Available modules will complement your biochemistry training while providing an opportunity to diversify your learning.

Core modules

Structure, Function and Analysis of Proteins

This module considers the structure and function of soluble proteins and how individual proteins can be studied in molecular detail. More specifically you will learn about the problems associated with studying membrane-bound proteins and build an in-depth understanding of enzyme kinetics and catalysis. You will learn about the practical aspects of affinity purification, SDS PAGE, western blotting, enzyme assays, bioinformatics and molecular modelling approaches.

Signalling and Metabolic Regulation

This module considers the mechanisms and purpose of cell to cell signalling and metabolic regulation and includes the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and an outline of the various major signalling systems in mammals including signal transduction in G-protein coupled signalling systems, growth factors, cytokines and their receptors, cell-cell signalling and the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The regulation and integration of various metabolic pathways will be covered in health and disease illustrated with specific examples and related to the signalling pathways covered in this module to provide an understanding of how biochemical processes are integrated and regulated. The module also includes laboratory classes where you will use techniques to study signal transduction and metabolism.

Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes

This module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the structures of DNA and RNA and how the information within these nucleic acids is maintained and expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell types. Additionally, this module describes how nucleic acids can be manipulated in vitro using molecular biological approaches. Practical classes will focus your learning on the cloning and manipulation of DNA to express recombinant proteins in bacterial systems.

Higher Skills in Biochemistry

This module further develops and enhances the skills you will have learned in the year one skills module. In year two you will write a short dissertation, solve biochemical problems, explore the scientific method applied to biochemistry, learn how to present science to the public and look issues around the ethics of science and research. The module includes lectures, tutorials and workshops.

Optional modules

In addition to the above compulsory modules you have 40 credits of optional modules, at least 20 credits of which must be from the School of Life Sciences or the School of Chemistry but 20 credits can be from across the University. School of Life Sciences and School of Chemistry modules include:

Intermediate Organic Spectroscopy and Stereochemistry

The module provides both a theoretical description of modern spectroscopic techniques (NMR, IR, and mass spectrometry) for structural analysis of organic and biological molecules and practical applications of these techniques in problem solving. Aspects of the stereochemistry of bio-organic molecules are covered, including conformational analysis and stereocontrol in bio-organic reactions.

From Genotype to Phenotype and Back

This module studies transporters and channels, groups of proteins responsible for controlling the flow of substances across lipid bilayers that are critical for cellular homeostasis. You will learn the basics of transporter and channel biology, and then apply this knowledge to design virtual experiments, the simulated results of which would gradually reveal the molecular basis of a transporter or channel related disease. You will design a series of “virtual experiments”, with appropriate controls, in order to probe the function of a particular gene in a physiological condition.

Intermediate Synthetic Organic Chemistry

The module is divided into two parts: (a) Functional group chemistry: synthetic transformations of alcohols, amines, carbonyls, and alkenes, and how these transformations are used to synthesise complex molecules such as natural products or pharmaceutical agents. (b) Synthesis: Introduction to retrosynthetic analysis and synthesis of organic molecules using a selection of pharmaceutical agents as examples. Formative feedback is given on the material in this module at the associated workshops. Summative feedback is provided after the exam by the module convenor.

Macromolecules and Macromolecular Assemblies: Structure, Analysis and Advanced Microscopy

This module is aimed at introducing the students to the methodological arsenal for studying complex macromolecular systems in vitro and in cells using specific biological examples. It provides an overview of the structures and function of biological macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies with an emphasis on proteins. The module introduces modern structural methods and advanced microscopy techniques in the context of their biological applications.

Infection and Immunity

You will study microbiology, learning about pathogenic microbes including viruses, fungi, parasites and the roles of bacteria in health and disease. You will learn how the body generates immunity; the causes of diseases associated with faulty immune responses will be considered. In applied microbiology you will be introduced to recombinant DNA technology and prokaryotic gene regulation.

Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics

Primary objective of the module

This module will examine in depth the analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics.

Module content

This module will examine in depth the analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics. We will define what drugs are, the different ways they act at the cellular and molecular level, and pharmacokinetic principles underlying drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination.   This framework will provide the basis to explore the rationale and goals of treatment for clinical therapeutic case studies.  These will highlight major current challenges to human health – in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, CNS disorders, cancer and infectious disease.  Overall, the student will develop a deep understanding of what the discipline of pharmacology represents, and its application to both basic biological research and current and future medical advances. 

Bacterial Genes and Development

Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be explored. You'll learn by considering case studies, which will show you how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You will also study the regulation of genes in pathogenic bacteria.

Microbial Biotechnology

You'll cover the key groups of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms relevant to microbial biotechnology, principles of GM, and strain improvement in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The impact of “omics”, systems biology, synthetic biology and effects of stress on industrial microorganisms are explored, alongside the activities of key microorganisms that we exploit for biotechnology.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Alongside other modules, a major feature is a research project which may be lab, bioinformatics or literature based. You’ll be provided with a list of topics to choose from, allowing you to develop a project in an area that interests you.

Core Modules

Biochemistry Research Project

This project aims to give students the ability to analyse a relevant biological problem in-depth in a modern research environment. There will be three different approaches available including the opportunity to research a laboratory-based project on a topic related to the interests of academic staff, a group-lab based project with outcomes to be decided by the student or an individual topic of interest with an in-depth literary survey of its background. There will be two days a week of project work.

Optional modules

In addition to the above modules you will have 80 credits of optional modules available including:

Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics

This module covers the use of various biochemical and molecular biological analytical techniques employed in clinical diagnosis, as well as the development of new molecular therapies based on modern biochemical and molecular biological techniques. By the end of the module you will understand the scientific basis behind a variety of molecular medical diagnostics and the methods for the development of new molecular therapies. The module is assessed by a two-hour essay based exam. 

Chemical Biology and Enzymes

Students should gain a good appreciation of the applications for a range of enzymological, chemical and molecular biological techniques to probe cellular processes and catalysis at the forefront in chemical biology research.

This module represents a culmination of principles and techniques from a biophysical, molecular, biochemical and genetic perspective.

Cellular and Molecular Immunology

This module will introduce you to advanced ideas about aspects of cellular and molecular immunology. You will learn about innate and humoral immunity and how humans can mount defence against infections from agents such as the HIV and diseases such as asthma. In addition you will find out about the major proteins involved and the genes coding for some of the proteins will be discussed. There will be two hours of lectures a week.

Molecular Microbiology and Infections

This module focuses on the molecular biology that drives the fundamental principles behind the survival of microorganisms and their interaction with humans.

Lectures will discuss the interaction between the host and pathogens and how they drive the mechanisms of infection and immunity.

There will be two hours of lectures a week.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

This course aims to explain the background and rationale for the development of bioinformatics and computational biology. It will reveal the scope and role of bioinformatics resources and how they underpin scientific research globally, and illustrate the expedience of bioinformatics tools in molecular and cellular biochemistry research. Students will gain direct experience of using bioinformatics tools to process and interpret biological data

The Dynamic Cell
Life History of Proteins
Biochemistry of Cancer

Study modern ideas surrounding tumourigenesis and tumour progression. The first part of the course covers our current understanding of the molecular basis of tumour progression. Following lectures will focus both on research into the fundamentals of cancer biology and the biochemical basis for the treatment of patients with cancer.

Molecular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity
RNA Biology and CRISPR Technology – The Return of the RNA World
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

In your final year, you’ll concentrate on a year-long masters-level research project. A great introduction to postgraduate study, you’ll gain experience in writing a literature review and a research grant proposal. The practical component will involve collection of data and detailed analysis. In an additional module, you’ll learn about research presentation skills including writing papers and preparing posters and webpages.

Advanced optional modules are available to complement your research or expose you to new ideas that will improve your understanding of science.

Core Modules

Research Presentation Skills (biochem)

This module offers an introduction to the skills required in a modern scientific career. Through a series of lectures, you will become familiar with the best practice in oral, written and internet-based communication skills. This will be supplemented by tutorials, in which you will discuss recent key papers with peers, and write for a lay audience. Workshops will give you the opportunity to produce materials such as a web-page and poster. This module consists of one two hour lecture each week, and a series of single six-hour workshops over six weeks.

Research Project

This project aims to give students the ability to analyse a relevant biological problem in-depth in a modern research environment. There will be three different approaches available including the opportunity to research a laboratory-based project on a topic related to the interests of academic staff, a group-lab based project with outcomes to be decided by the student or an individual topic of interest with an in-depth literary survey of its background. There will be two days a week of project work.

Research Planning and Preparation

This is a year-long module, but with most of the work being complete by the end of January. The module focuses on the preparing students to engage in substantial independent research in Life Sciences, and is supported by lecture content in Research Presentation Skills. Students choose a research topic from a list provided the previous academic year, and are allocated an individual research supervisor accordingly. In regular meetings, student and supervisor discuss relevant research literature and design a practical research project addressing a specific hypothesis. Assessment is via a substantial research proposal.

Optional Modules

In addition to the above compulsory modules students choose 20 credits of optional modules from Life Sciences or across the University including from:

Molecular Aspects of Allergy

The aim of this module is to enable you to describe the human immunoglobulin E (IgE) network and the mechanisms of allergic tissue damage. It also explores how to establish strategies for immunological intervention.

Process and Practice in Science

A consideration of science ‘as a process’, with brief introductions to the history, philosophy and sociological norms of science. You will cover aspects of the scientific literature and scientific communication, peer review, 'metrics’, including citation analysis, journal impact factors, and the 'h' and other indices of measuring scientists' performances. You will also cover ethics in science and the changing relationship between scientists, government and the public. You will have a three hour lecture once per week during this module.

Cutting Edge Research Technologies and Ideas in Molecular Biology

This module focusses on laboratory methods and ideas which are currently emerging in molecular biology. Students will be exposed to the mechanisms and methods that generate the data they go on to analyse. Assessment will include presentations and ongoing assessment.

Microbial Genetics and Genomics

Several genetic regulatory systems are examined in this module to illustrate how key virulence factors are regulated in bacterial and viral pathogens. These examples are also used to demonstrate how tools used for genomic analysis can be used to diagnose and monitor infectious diseases.

Biochemistry of Cancer

Study modern ideas surrounding tumourigenesis and tumour progression. The first part of the course covers our current understanding of the molecular basis of tumour progression. Following lectures will focus both on research into the fundamentals of cancer biology and the biochemical basis for the treatment of patients with cancer.

Cellular and Molecular Immunology

This module will introduce you to advanced ideas about aspects of cellular and molecular immunology. You will learn about innate and humoral immunity and how humans can mount defence against infections from agents such as the HIV and diseases such as asthma. In addition you will find out about the major proteins involved and the genes coding for some of the proteins will be discussed. There will be two hours of lectures a week.

Molecular Technologies in Complex Diseases

An extensive overview of molecular techniques used in the research of human diseases is provided on this module. The possible implications of these methods is also be explored. You will discuss the strengths and limitations of linkage analysis and genetic association studies in the study of complex disorders as well as enhancing your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature.

Innate Immune Recognition

This module focuses on the basic mechanisms and concepts underpinning: immune activation within the context of infection with extracellular and intracellular pathogens; tumour recognition; immunoevasion and immunopathology. You will also gain insight in to how this understanding could be used for developing new vaccination or therapeutic strategies.

Molecular Basis of Genetic Disorders

This module covers the molecular basis of human diseases with a genetic component, focusing on those with a Mendelian pattern of inheritance. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, you will study the clinical features of selected diseases and their genetic basis as well as how to interpret genetic tests in inherited disorders and the concepts underlying the identification of predisposing genes in human disorders.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

On completion of the course, you will have developed a thorough understanding of the fundamental aspects of cell biology, biochemistry, and genetics. Your research skills will be at a level that allows you to compete for the best postgraduate positions. Throughout the course you will have built up a range of transferable skills in presentation, interpretation and criticism of scientific data. These are all skills valued by employers.

Job roles

  • Audit trainee
  • Business analyst
  • Doctor (with a further Graduate Entry Medicine degree)
  • Food analyst
  • Laboratory analyst
  • Medical laboratory analyst
  • Pharmacovigilance services
  • Police constable
  • Other management roles
  • Scientist within the biotechnology sector
  • Scientific communication
  • Technical assistant
  • Trainee cellular pathologist
  • Teacher

Find out more about the career options available to biochemistry graduates, including recent Nottingham graduate destinations by visiting our careers page.

Average starting salary and career progression

96.5% of undergraduates in the School of Life Sciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £20,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £41,600.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.