Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry MSci


Fact file - 2019 entry

MSci Hons Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry
UCAS code
4 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
chemistry and at least one other science subject at A level. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GCSE maths at grade 4 or above is 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


Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, this course equips you with the fundamental aspects of biochemistry and chemistry. The extra MSci year provides extensive experience of research, which is particularly suitable for students considering a research career.
Read full overview

Highlights of biochemistry and biological chemistry at Nottingham

  • Benefit from substantial laboratory experience from year one
  • Contribute to real research during your third and fourth year projects, working alongside our research groups
  • Flexibility to change between the BSc and MSci once you start the course
  • Combine chemistry and biochemistry equally in your studies
  • Be taught by academics from two highly regarded schools for research, according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014

Using a combination of experimental techniques drawn from biochemistry and chemistry, you will study life at the molecular level. Taught by academics from the School of Life Sciences and the School of Chemistry, you'll gain expertise in both disciplines. 

Through optional modules and research projects, you can tailor the course to focus on the specific areas of bochemistry and biological chemistry 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 theory and practical skills that you’ll need for the subsequent years of study.

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 biochemistry themes for the first year are reinforced. 

Students without A level maths will be required to take a module providing the necessary maths skills for chemists.

If you do have A level maths, you’ll be able to choose from optional modules. 

Year two

In the second year, you will expand your chemical knowledge, both theoretically and practically. Proteins and enzymes are explored, from their structure to their mechanisms. Other core topics include cell signalling and an understanding of how biochemical processes are integrated and regulated.

Chemistry laboratory skills are developed. You’ll learn chemical techniques and how to prepare risk assessments for experiments. 

Year three

Advanced laboratory work in biochemistry and chemistry is a major feature of the third year. In biochemistry, you will perform a number of fundamental and advanced molecular biology techniques. Individual results and data from the class will be analysed as part of an overall project to investigate relevant scientific questions. 

In chemistry, you will further your experience in the principles upon which modern experimental methodology is based, chemical synthesis, obtaining and interpreting physical data, and report writing.

Year four

A substantial feature of the fourth year is an extended individual project in biochemistry or chemistry, which may be either lab or bioinformatics based. All subjects will require a review of published work and the planning of a research project under the guidance of two supervisors. You will be assessed by a dissertation and oral presentation. 

Additional modules are available which may cover disease, business, immunology or nucleic acids.


Learning and assessment

Teaching methods

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

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • workshops
  • tutorials

You will study on University Park Campus in and the Chemistry Building and in 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


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.


School of Chemistry

This course is taught in partnership with the School of Chemistry. Visit their website to find out more.

Student profile video

Entry requirements

A levels

AAB, including chemistry and at least one other science subject. 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 our 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.


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
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.
Core Skills in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry 
With lectures, workshops and tutorials and some laboratory sessions 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. 
Fundamental Chemistry Theory and Practical
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry to provide you with the foundations you need in chemistry for subsequent years of this course.  Included are atomic theory, electronic configuration, chemical bonding, reaction kinetics and thermodynamics, structure and reactivity of organic molecules, organic reaction mechanisms, quantum theory.  The module also includes the essential quantitative and qualitative methods which are required in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry.

In addition to the above students without A level Maths will take:

Mathematical Toolkits and Calculations in Chemistry
This module aims to provide a firm understanding of the use of equations in chemistry, illustrated by chemical examples. You will be encouraged to think about whether an answer is reasonable or not within a chemical context and develop your knowledge on topics such as the common chemical units and conversions between them, scientific notation, as well as significant figures and functions and graphical representation, exponentials, logarithms and differentiation applied to chemistry among other topics. There will be two hours of lectures and workshops a week.

Students with A level Maths can choose from:

Calculations in Chemistry
This module is for those who already with A level maths will teach you the essential mathematic skills required for chemists. You will learn how to use your maths skills to solve a variety of problems in chemistry. There will be two hours of lectures per week with a one hour workshop.
Molecules for Life
The module will provide the foundation to understanding nature building blocks. An overview of the structure and functions of lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleotides will be included. Simple reactivity of these molecules, with a strong emphasis on their biological roles will be discussed. Case studies will be adopted to put in perspective the chemistry and biological relevance of the molecules of life. The module will also reinforce fundamentals of organic chemistry such as stereochemistry, functional group reactivity, covalent and non-covalent bonding. Two workshops are included where the students will be presented with problem sets.


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.
Typical year two modules
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.
Core Chemistry Laboratory Work
This module will build on skills developed in year one so that students become increasingly familiar with a range of chemical techniques and apparatus appropriate to the study chemistry and learn how to carry out an assessment of hazards and prepare risk assessments for experiments themselves. They will develop an awareness and appreciation for the safe handling of chemicals, observational skills and an appreciation for the importance of recording experimental data accurately.
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.

Typical year three modules
Pericyclics and Reactive Intermediates
This module consolidates and develops concepts of organic reactivity and mechanism, primarily using qualitative frontier molecular orbital theory to illustrate and rationalise molecular rearrangements in organic chemistry. It provides an appreciation of the generation and use of reactive intermediates in organic chemistry.
Protein Folding and Biospectroscopy
This module will develop an understanding of protein structure, stability, design and methods of structural analysis. In addition you will understand the protein folding problem and experimental approaches to the analysis of protein folding kinetics and the application of site-directed mutagenesis. You will also be expected to develop a number of spectroscopic experimental techniques to probe protein structures. There will be two hours of lectures a week.
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.
Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry
The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of coordination chemistry in the context of macrocyclic, supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry and its applications in metal extraction and synthesis. You will gain an appreciation of the importance of metals in biological systems, and be able to explain the relationship between the structure of the active centres of metallo-proteins and enzymes and their biological functions. The module is assessed by a two-hour written exam.
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.
Organometallic and Asymmetric Synthesis
This module will introduce you to a range of reagents and synthetic methodology. You will learn how to describe how it is applied to the synthesis of organic target molecules. By the end of the module you will know how the use of protecting groups can be used to enable complex molecule synthesis and how modern palladium-mediated cross-coupling reactions can be used to synthesise useful organic molecules. Your problem-solving and written communication skills will be developed.
Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory Work
This module provides the opportunity to perform a number of fundamental and advanced molecular biology techniques. You will investigate the contribution of individual amino acids to the structure and function of two mitogen-responsive transcription factors. Individual results and data from the class will be analysed as part of an overall project to investigate relevant scientific questions. 
Advanced (Chemistry) Lab Techniques 
This module introduces advanced experimental techniques appropriate to the study of the chemistry covered in third year theory modules in Inorganic and Organic Chemistry. You will gain further experience in: the principles upon which modern experimental methodology is based, chemical synthesis, obtaining and interpreting physical data and report writing. By the end of the module you will have accomplished over 120 hours of laboratory work.
Typical year four modules
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 or Chemistry Research Project
In this module you will be given the chance to undertake a research project in biological chemistry. You will be offered a selection of research areas and have the opportunity to specialise in a chosen field. All subjects will require a review of published work and the planning of a research project under the guidance of two supervisors. You will then present your findings orally and produce a written report. There will be 12 hours weekly across the year.
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.
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. 
Enterprise for Chemists
In unit A, students will learn about/experience factors that lead to successful commercial innovation. They are shown routes to market for innovative ideas available from an academic/industrial viewpoint. This includes working in teams to develop/present the business case for a new innovation as a Dragon’s Den Style Pitch in semester one. Unit B gives students understanding of how companies within chemistry using industries operate/integrate into the economy; including how companies are structured/organised into functional departments and how these integrate to contribute to form a successful business. Some of the basic business skills/rules will be covered (selling, marketing, customer awareness and finance) as well as the aspects which drive innovation and success. Unit C gives students an understanding of intellectual property, how it’s protected/used to create value in the business context. Aspects of IP law are highlighted with reference to forms of IPR including patents, trademarks, copyright, design rights and trade secrets including their relevance/everyday application within chemistry using industries. This course will demonstrate utilisation of this IP to give a company a competitive advantage within their market place. At the end of the course students participate in a one day business exercise led by professionals from a chemicals company that tests all of the above skills and culminates with an assessed chemistry focused business presentation and work-plan at end of semester two.
Contemporary Organic Synthesis
This module focuses on the synthesis of a variety of natural (and unnatural) compounds of relevance to biology and medicine, with particular reference to the goals and achievements of contemporary organic synthesis as illustrated by a range of case studies. There will be particular emphasis on the use of modern synthetic methodology to address problems such as chemoselectivity, regiocontrol, stereoselectivity, atom economy and sustainability. You will focus on the application of new methodology for the rapid, efficient and highly selective construction of a range of target compounds, particularly those that display significant biological activity. There will also be an opportunity to address how a greater understanding of mechanism is important in modern organic chemistry. This module is assessed by a two hour exam. 
Nucleic Acids and Bioorganic Mechanisms
During this module you will learn to understand in depth the structure, chemistry and molecular recognition of nucleic acids and their reactivity towards mutagens, carcinogens and ionising radiation and anti-tumour drugs. You will appreciate the plasticity and dynamics of the DNA duple helix through base motions that underpin its function. The bacterial replisome will be used as the prime example to highlight the problems associated with DNA replication and the significance of telomeres will be discussed. Alongside this you will develop an understanding of the chemical reactivity of coenzymes and how these add significantly to the functionality of the 20 amino acids found in proteins. 
Nanostructure Fabrication
This module will provide a fundamental understanding of the nature of intermolecular forces, across a wide cross-section of subject areas, in particular with respect to their application to self-assembly; and to present a firm theoretical foundation in the nature and thermodynamics of intermolecular forces, illustrated with examples of molecular organisation in biology and self-assembling supramolecular chemical systems. In addition to appreciating the rich chemistry underlying self- assembling systems, you will gain an insight into the potential for self-organisation for the generation of hierarchical patterning across multiple length scales. 


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. 

Through a major individual project, which may be lab, bioinformatics or literature based, you will have carried out your own research and developed transferable skills in presentation, interpretation and criticism of scientific data. 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.



Key Information Sets (KIS)


KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

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.


having practical laboratory experience from year one
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