Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine BSc

   
   
  

Fact file - 2019 entry

Qualification
BSc Hons Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
UCAS code
C741
Duration
3 years full-time
A level offer
AAB
Required subjects
Chemistry and at least one other science subject at A level (biology preferred). A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. 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) 
Course location
Medical School and University Park Campus
Course places
105 places across all biochemistry degrees
School/department
 

Overview

Specialise in the medically related aspects of biochemistry while still gaining a good foundation in biochemistry. 
Read full overview

Highlights of biochemistry and molecular medicine at Nottingham

  • Expand your study through a wide choice of optional modules
  • Benefit from substantial laboratory experience from year one
  • Travel while you learn, with opportunities to study abroad in your second year
  • Contribute to real research during your final year project, working alongside our research groups
  • Flexibility to change between the BSc and MSci once you start the course 
  • Have a large percentage of your learning based in a Medical School with academic staff who have an interest in human biochemistry
 

This course is similar to the biochemistry (C700) course but with more emphasis on medical and clinical topics in years two and three.   

Through optional modules and research projects, you can tailor the course to focus on the specific areas of biochemistry and molecular medicine 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.

Yearly overviews

Year one

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

A core skills module will develop your academic skills of experimental design, data handling and analysis, and scientific writing. Through lectures, small-group tutorials and workshops, the main themes for the first year are reinforced.

You’ll also have 20 credits of optional modules. From the School of Life Sciences, options include exploring other areas of life sciences such as evolution or neuroscience.

Year two

Building on your knowledge from year one, you’ll undertake a project that will conclude with a dissertation. Skills developed include research design, calculations and statistics, public understanding of science, and scientific writing.

Other modules will expand your knowledge on the structure, function and analysis of genes and proteins. Teaching will be a mix of lectures, practicals and workshops. 

Another interesting topic you’ll cover is an analysis of drug action and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics. Overall, you 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.

Optional modules provide an opportunity to diversify your studies. You can choose modules that meet your future study/career aspirations or try something new. 

Year three

A major feature is an individual project which may be lab, bioinformatics or literature based. You’ll be provided a list of topics to choose from, allowing you to develop a project in an area that interests you. Learning outcomes will include experimental design, writing a scientific report, in depth literature research and critical analysis of data.

In addition to the project, you’ll look at the biochemistry of disease. Through lectures you’ll study inborn errors of metabolism and neurological disorders. Another core module will explore genetic engineering, methods for the purification of recombinant proteins, and the life history of a protein. You’ll also study the normal and abnormal functioning of hormone and growth factors at the cellular level and acquire understanding of the molecular basis of common clinical disorders.

40 credits of optional modules are available to choose from. 

 

Learning and assessment

Teaching methods

You will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module. These may include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • workshops
  • tutorials

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. We have large lecture theatres, smaller seminar rooms and large multidisciplinary laboratories. 

Assessment methods 

Assessment varies on the module being studied but typically is a combination of:

  • exams
  • essays
  • dissertations
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations 

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

Find out more about our teaching on our school website.

 
Study abroad and placements

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.

There is also 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.

Please note that placements have to be organised by the student and approved by the school. The University's Careers and Employability Service can provide advice on how to find and apply for a placement. 

Information on fees for a placement or study abroad year can be found on the fees website.

 

Student support

All students have a personal tutor. Personal tutors are members of academic staff in the school and they will:
  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback
  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters

At Nottingham we still offer small group tutorials. This ensures you have enough time to build a relationship with your tutor and benefit from their support. Your fellow tutees also provide peer support. 

Additionally, the school has a dedicated Welfare Officer and a Student Liaison Officer who are available to help you adapt to university life and provide advice on more complex issues.   

Peer mentoring

BiochemSoc is the student-led biochemistry society. Alongside organising social, sporting and networking events, BiochemSoc provide peer mentoring. You will be matched with a senior student who can offer help and support and introduce you to the rest of what the society offers.  

 
Student profile video
 
 

Entry requirements

A levels

AAB, including chemistry and at least one other science subject (biology preferred). A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. 

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

Understand how we show GCSE grades

 

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element).

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

 

Alternative qualifications

For details please see the alternative qualifications page.

 

Foundation course

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

 

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.
 
 
 

Modules

The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Core Skills in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
With lectures, workshops and tutorials this module will enable you to develop the core skills needed by biochemists 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 integral tutorial system which will 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.
 
Human Physiology 
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems eg cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, mostly in man, 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.
 


Optional modules

You also choose 20 credits of optional modules from the School of Life Sciences or from other schools in the University. 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.
 
Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.
 
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.
 
 

Typical year two 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.

 
Signals 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 and Molecular Medicine
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.
 
The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics

This module will provide an in-depth analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics. You will learn to define what drugs are, the different ways they act at the cellular and molecular level, and the pharmacokinetic principles underlying drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination. You will explore examples in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, CNS disorders, cancer and infectious disease. Overall, you 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.

 


Optional modules

In addition to the above compulsory modules you have 20 credits of optional modules you can choose from including:

Intermediate Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
This module develops your chemical knowledge and understanding from year one with organometallics: structure, bonding and principal reaction types, stereochemistry: definitions, examples and applications, organic spectroscopy: determination of structure through NMR, IR and MS, functional group interconversion: of alcohols, amines, carbonyls, and alkenes, synthesis and retrosynthesis: introduction to retrosynthetic analysis and synthesis.
 
From Genotype to Phenotype
This module serves as an introduction to the key skills of experimental design and data interpretation related to genomic analysis. You will design a series of ‘virtual’ laboratory experiments, with appropriate controls in order to probe the function of a particular gene in a physiological condition.
 
Molecular Imaging

This module enables you to develop an elementary understanding of modern molecular imaging techniques, in addition to a historical overview of microscopy. You will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of how to localise and analyse macromolecule behaviours in fixed and living cells.

 
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.

 
Infection and Immunity

In this module you will study basic immunology, learning about the organs, cells and molecules of the immune system and the mechanisms engaged in the generation an of immune response to pathogens. You will learn by studying examples of types of human pathogens (viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoa and helminths), the varied nature of the immune response, depending on the pathogen, its niche(s) in the host and pathogen strategies for invading and surviving in the host. You will learn how immunological methods can be effectively utilized for disease diagnosis and vaccine development, and about the consequences of failure of normal immune function, including autoimmunity and hypersensitivity.

 
Macromolecular Systems: Structure and Interactions
This module explores the structures of macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids) and how these interact (“the interactome”) to perform complex functions in living cells.
 
 

Typical year three modules

Biochemistry of Disease
This module will encourage you to use your biochemical knowledge to explain topics such as the hormonal control of metabolism, how fasting and overfeeding affects the body, and how problems within human body processing can lead to diseases. In addition, you will be able to describe two classes of important biochemical diseases including the inborn errors of metabolism and neurological disorders. There will be one hour of lectures a week for a full year.
 
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.
 
Advanced Biochemistry
This module is divided into three parts: Firstly the application of genetic engineering to construct vectors that maximize the expression the expression of protein from cloned genes or cDNAs in heterologous systems will be discussed. Modern methods for the purification of recombinant proteins will be described. In the spring the module covers the life history of a protein from birth (synthesis) to death (apoptosis). The other major aspects that are involved include a discussion of protein folding, the cytoskeleton, protein and vesicle trafficking including endocytosis and protein degradation.
 
Molecular Basis of Medicine
During this module you will be building on previous learning and acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes required for assessment and management of patients with a core spectrum of clinical presentations and conditions which involve or result from alterations to biochemical pathways. This includes an understanding of the normal structure and function of important biological molecules in human cells and of important metabolic processes that occur within cells and the structure and function of our genetic material. This will predominantly be within lectures and seminars.
 


Optional modules

In addition to the above modules you have 40 credits of optional modules to choose from which includes:

Signal Transduction
In this module you will examine the molecular hardware and operational concepts used by eukaryotic cells to govern their growth, proliferation and phenotypic development. You will study how cells respond to their environment and communicate via the exchange of signalling factors that bind to specific target receptors. There will be two hours of lectures a week.
 
Biochemistry of Cancer
This module covers some of the more 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 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.
 
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. 
 
 
 
 

Careers

You will have a thorough understanding of the fundamental aspects of cell biology, biochemistry and genetics. You will have undertaken practical studies in cell biology, classical and molecular genetics, analysis of proteins and enzymes, and gene cloning. Your research skills will have developed to a level that allows you to compete for the best postgraduate positions.

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

In 2017, 96.5% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,000 with the highest being £41,600.*

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


Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Our Careers and Employability Service can also work with you: 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 biochemistry careers page for an overview of employability support for current students and guidance on career paths.

 
 

Fees and funding

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 £2,000 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/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

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Disclaimer
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.

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