Biochemistry and Genetics MSci


Fact file - 2019 entry

MSci Hons Biochemistry and Genetics
UCAS code
4 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
Chemistry and at least one other science subject at A level (maths or 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


Providing training in both biochemistry and genetics, 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 genetics at Nottingham

  • Expand your study through a wide choice of optional modules, including subjects from other schools such as languages or business 
  • 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 third and fourth 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

If you are interested in topics such as molecular biology, genetic engineering and biotechnology, this course is ideal. The first year will build the foundations of your knowledge. During the subsequent years, you will investigate more complex topics and have a greater degree of choice.  

Through optional modules and research projects, you can tailor the course to focus on the specific areas of biochemistry and genetics 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 biochemistry themes for the first year are reinforced. 

You’ll also have 40 credits of optional modules exploring other areas of life sciences such as evolution or neuroscience. Up to 20 credits can be taken from another school such as languages or business. 

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. 

In addition, you’ll look at the structure and function of the genes, genomes and chromosomes of eukaryotic cells. The Human Genome Project is explained, and you’ll explore genes responsible for some of the most common disorders and the development of strategies for treatment. 

You have 20 credits of optional modules to choose from. 

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. 

Optional modules give you more opportunities to explore genetics. You may choose to look at cancer biology or study the genetic variation in humans. 

Year four

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. 


Teaching and assessment

Teaching methodsYou will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module. This may include:
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • workshops
  • tutorials

You will primarily study 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 methods 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 (maths and 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 year

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
Essential Molecules, Genes and Cells 

This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and aims to introduce 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 Genetics 

With lectures, workshops and tutorials this module will enable you to develop the core skills needed by biochemists and geneticists 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.


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.

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:


In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems e.g. cardiovascular, nervous, musculo-skeletal 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.

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
This module provides an introduction to the fundamentals of evolution, ecology and behaviour. Evolutionary processes are explored from a variety of approaches, from the fossil record, through adaptation, speciation and the study of phylogenetics and how it shapes the tree of life, right up to the cutting edge of genomic evolution. You will take part in practical classes, lectures and workshops.
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
This module aims to give a broad understanding of the field of neuroscience. Within the module you will cover the cells of the nervous system and how they function. You will learn basic neuropharmacology, and how neurotransmitters and drugs work act on the nervous system. Lectures will include gross anatomy of the brain and nervous system, and how structures within the brain form different functional systems. By the end of the module you will know how disease can affect these systems and basic aspects of biological psychology. The module is primarily lecture based, with formative practical sessions to aid understanding. 
Typical year two modules
The Genome and Human Disease

The module will start with an examination of the structure and function of the eukaryotic genome and progress to consider the links between changes to the genome and human disease. Key techniques for studying the genome and disease will also be presented in a series of sessions at intervals throughout the module.

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 Genetics
This module further develops and enhances the skills you will have learned in the year one skills module. In year two, you'll write a short dissertation, solve biochemical and genetics problems, explore the scientific method applied to biochemistry and genetics, 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

You can take 20 credits of optional modules from:

Developmental Biology
Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You will discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. The teaching for this module is delivered through lectures. 
Bacterial Genes and Development
Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be described. 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
Bacteria are used to a great extent in the biotechnology industry. This module develops the microbiology learned in year one as part of Genes, Molecules and Cells to introduce you to how bacteria can be used in many ways, including the production of molecules for treatment of human diseases.
Evolutionary Biology of Animals
Evolutionary thinking is essential to molecular genetics. The main objective of this module is to introduce the student to key evolutionary concepts. It aims to allow the student to place their scientific interests within the broader context of evolution and to provide valuable background information that will benefit their future studies.
Typical year three modules
Research Project

This module enables you to experience contemporary research methods first-hand. There will be at least three options available, including: (1) performing a laboratory-based research project on a topic related to the interests of a member of staff and producing a dissertation, (2) producing a group lab-project with open-ended aims and outcomes, to be decided by the group, including the design and conduct of the experiment with a dissertation, or (3) selecting a topic of interest to you and a member of staff, and producing an in-depth literature survey on the knowledge state of the topic decided upon. There will two days a week of research project work.

Gene Regulation
Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per 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.
Data Analysis

In this module, you will take different approaches and techniques to present and discuss scientific data. Following a lecture-based introduction to methods, you will apply your knowledge to prepare and present talks and a scientific paper. By the end of the module, you will be able to present scientific data in a clear and concise way, use Beer’s Law to solve spectrophotometric problems, and understand the use of radioactivity in biochemical experiments. There will be one hour of lectures a week and workshop/seminar activities.

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.

Optional modules

You can take 30 credits of optional modules chosen from a list including:

Human Variation
Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
Conservation Genetics
Considers the genetic effects of reduced population size, especially relating to the conservation of endangered species. You will study topics including genetic drift and inbreeding in depth, from theoretical and practical standpoints. You will spend around one and a half hours per week in lectures studying this module, plus a two and a half hour computer practical.
Cancer Biology
Examines a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develops an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a two- or three-hour lecture once per week.
Advanced Developmental Biology
You will consider the molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell function during embryogenesis and adulthood. This will involve studies of regeneration and repair of tissues and pluripotency. You will have one two-hour lecture per week in this module. 
Population Genetics
You will consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.

Typical year four modules

Research Presentation Skills
An introduction to the presentation skills required in a modern scientific career. A series of lectures will provide you with background ideas about best practice in oral, written and internet-based research communication. Regular tutorials will require you to present and discuss with peers recent key papers in your broad field of study, and also to produce a written summary of a paper for a lay audience. In workshops, you will be asked to prepare a webpage and a poster using appropriate software. You will have between one and eight hours of lectures and workshops per week when studying for this module.
Research Project

The project is a year-long module. Preparatory work (literature review and familiarisation with laboratory/field safety protocols etc.) occurs in autumn, with the bulk of the practical work in spring. You’ll choose the topic of your project from a list of suggestions relevant to your degree subject and will finalise this after consultation with your supervisor. The project involves an extensive piece of detailed research. Reading and collating earlier research by other scientists working in the area is an essential component. You’ll use your literature review to write a research grant proposal, which outlines the hypotheses to be tested, the proposed experimental design and the research costs associated with the project. The practical component involves collection of data from a laboratory or field investigation and appropriate analysis. Your findings will be interpreted in the context of previous work, and written up in a clear and concise final report in the form of a research paper.


Optional modules

Cutting-Edge Research Ideas in Molecular Biology
This module will bring you up to date with the latest technological developments in biochemistry that you are unlikely to have encountered in detail in your first three years. We also discuss and explore how new technologies with broad implications come into existence and follow the process of establishment, acceptance and dissemination through the scientific community. This module involves having a three hour workshop each week. 
Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis
This is an advanced level biological statistics module, building on basic undergraduate (Levels one and two) training. Lectures discuss concepts in experimental design, biological probability, generalised linear modelling and multivariate statistics. Practical sessions build on this conceptual outline, giving you hands-on experience of problem solving and analytical software, and some basic programming skills. You will spend three to four hours within lectures and workshops when studying this module.
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.


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 2016, 92% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,037 with the highest being £42,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

There are many opportunities for biochemistry graduates; below are some of them:

Research degrees

A third, or more, of our graduates carry on their training to complete a higher degree by research (a “Doctor of Philosophy” or PhD) at Nottingham or at other universities. The fact that many of our graduates are able to find PhD studentships elsewhere shows how well thought of our courses are by other universities. After completing their PhD studies many of these students will carry on with a research career in universities, research institutes and industry.


Biochemistry graduates enter many professions including research in industry (especially the pharmaceutical industry), clinical science in hospitals, forensic science, bioinformatics, information science and technical writing, patenting, marketing, and teaching. In addition, some of our graduates choose to enter very different careers such as banking, accountancy and management. The Biochemical Society produce a very useful guide to careers for those considering biochemistry as a profession.


An increasing number of our graduates obtain places on Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) courses. These courses are becoming an increasingly popular route to attain a medical degree and enter the medical profession. The University of Nottingham offers a Graduate Entry Medicine course at Derby. If you are currently unsure that medicine is a career that you wish to pursue, or if you are looking at alternative ways to enter the medical profession, then an undergraduate degree in biochemistry will place you in a strong position to achieve this. Of course biochemistry graduates can also apply for places on undergraduate medical courses.

Success stories

Here are some success stories from our biochemistry graduates which illustrate the careers opportunities that are possible with a biochemistry degree from Nottingham:

“I found the Biochemistry undergraduate course immensely rewarding, providing me with the in depth knowledge that is required to discuss the current training needs within biopharmaceutical companies. With the excellent bridge between the molecular and genetic modules to the consequential human diseases, I have been provided with a very strong background to follow, research and sell conferences and training on the latest therapeutic, analytical and manufacturing topics to name but a few. Building on my time in Nottingham, my confidence has grown within the life sciences industry due to the fundamental understanding provided to me by the University and thus leading me to enjoy my role as a Biopharm Delegate Account Manager within Informa Life Sciences”.

Biochemistry graduate (2014)

“I thoroughly enjoyed my life as an undergraduate at Nottingham. The degree enabled me to understand biochemistry at great depth with up to date research, and apply this knowledge to develop an understanding of clinical agents and a more diverse understanding of disease. Moreover, now that I have started my PhD I have found the skills obtained really useful. I’m currently working to gain a better understanding of a transporter protein, which has major implications with chemotherapeutic resistance.”

Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine graduate (2014), current BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD student.

Careers support and advice

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.  


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.


you made the breakthrough
+44 (0)115 951 5559 Make an enquiry


School Secretary





Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry