The study of the chemical processes occurring in living matter, biochemistry is at the forefront of our search for a sustainable means of living. Environmental degradation is becoming an increasingly pressing issues, and biochemists are trying to address these developing problems. As well as this, biochemists are also responsible for our growing understanding of a wide variety of health issues, such as diabetes and cancer.
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The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study, as well as the content of your course. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), an integrated Master of Biochemistry (MBiochem), an integrated Master of Biology (MBiol), or an integrated Master of Science (MSci). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Science (MSc) or a Master of Research (MRes). Further study will award research degrees such as Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Depending on your institution, your course may be accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). Check with your institution for more information about this.
Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete, depending on where you choose to study. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years to complete.
Your institution may offer part-time study options, which usually means that your degree will take four to six years. You may also be able to take a foundation programme, which is useful if you do not meet the entry requirements for your degree.
Annual tuition fees for UK students are capped by the UK government. For the 2019/20 academic year, they are £9,250. This is subject to change each year, and will be updated on your institution website.
Postgraduate course annual tuition fees are set by the institution, which means that they can differ. Postgraduate programmes are generally less expensive than undergraduate programmes. You will find detailed fee information on the institution webpage.
The fees displayed below are an example of typical annual tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate biochemistry degrees. Actual tuition fees can be found on the institution webpages.
Typical Annual Tuition Fees
- Undergraduate - £9,250
- Postgraduate - £9,000
An undergraduate degree in biochemistry will give you a good foundation of knowledge in the main areas. You might study modules on physical chemistry, organic chemistry, infectious diseases, molecular cell biology, protein biochemistry, immunology, neurobiology, biological clocks, and oncology. The majority of undergraduate degree courses will be designed to suit those students who have very little experience of biochemistry, as well as those who have previously studied or worked within the discipline. Each module will aim to encourage your professional development, preparing you for a wide range of careers. Your degree will be delivered through lectures and tutorials, as well as incorporating laboratory and practical sessions. Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. Assessment methods could include written work, laboratory projects and a final major research project.
During a postgraduate degree, such as an MSc, you will build on the skills and knowledge you developed at undergraduate level. The modules you study will cover the more specialist and complex areas of biochemistry. You will gain an understanding of both the traditional and contemporary concepts of the subject area. Modules and specialisms might include molecular genetics, macromolecules of life, animal behaviour, pharmacology, ecology, selective toxicity, and neuropharmacology of CNS disorders. Assessment methods could include written work, laboratory projects, and a final major research project.
The entry requirements for a biochemistry degree will depend on where you choose to study. They will also be influenced by the level of study for which you are applying. An undergraduate degree might require you to have a background in biochemistry or life sciences subject. If you do not have a strong background in these areas, but can prove that you are passionate about biochemistry, some universities may still consider your application. For a postgraduate degree, most universities will require you to have an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, or a closely related subject.
Typical Entry Requirements
- A Level Grades - AAA-ABB
- UCAS Points - 144-128 UCAS points
- Required/Desired Subjects - Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, Environmental Studies, Geology
- Degree Requirements - 2:2 or higher
- Required/Desired Subjects - Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Biomedical Science
Graduates of biochemistry will find that there are many and varied career opportunities available to them. The range of skills that you gained throughout your degree will be useful and applicable in a variety of industries. If you choose to work in a role directly related to biochemistry, jobs might include biomedical scientist, analytical chemist, biotechnologist, or medicinal chemist. If you choose to work in a role not directly related to biochemistry, jobs could include forensic scientist, toxicologist, environmental engineer, and physician associate.