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What makes an Integrated Masters in Biochemistry at Worcester special?

The mechanics of life: discover the molecular machinery that lies at the heart of the cell and drives all living organisms. At Worcester, we look at the fascinating world of biochemistry from a variety of angles. The core of our course explores human health, from the processes that cause cancer to the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

There are also opportunities to extend your learning into other areas, such as bioinformatics or microbiology, depending on your specific interests. There is even the chance to get involved with hands on research into immortalised human cell lines in the lab.

If you have a passion for the subject doing a Masters year  to gain an MBiol qualification gives you the opportunity to explore the subject in greater detail by undertaking an extensive research project which can be used to gain a job at a higher entry level or help towards entry to PhD programmes.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Study for a four-year Integrated Masters degree in Biology in a friendly, supportive and inspirational environment.
  • Opportunities to explore some of the most fascinating fields in science, including neuroscience, cancer immunology and plant developmental genetics
  • Excellent active research partnerships with many UK and international institutions
  • Gain extensive practical experience by working with our experts in new and refurbished laboratories using a range of specialist equipment.
  • Study in a friendly, supportive and inspirational environment
  • Obtain a valuable postgraduate qualification and enhance your chances when applying for scientific jobs or a PhD degree.

Register your interest

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Student views

Bridgette, Jordan, Nicki and Jemma share their experiences of the course.
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

96-104
UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

  • 96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A level Chemistry, Biology and another science, maths or statistics.
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A level Chemistry and Biology
  • Other qualifications will be taken into account when considering your application, typical BTEC entry would be DMM.

Language Requirements

Applicants for this course must have a good command of reading, writing and spoken English.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency and must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, IELTS level 7.0 with no element below 6.5.

Other information

International Students – Making an Application

If you are applying as an EU or Non-EU student you are strongly advised to apply online through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

If you are using The Common Application, you can add the University of Worcester to your list of colleges via this link and complete the application there. Further information can be found here “Making an International Application”.

Mature Students

We welcome applicants who hold alternative qualifications/experience and mature students who can demonstrate the ability to benefit from the course and show their potential to complete the course successfully. Although recent preparatory study at an appropriate level (e.g. an Access to Higher Education Diploma) is recommended, students may be considered on the basis of prior evidenced professional/work experience and/or other assessment procedures, and the assessment of personal suitability. University Admissions Office staff can offer information, advice and guidance on this process. Further information can also be found here.

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

Mandatory

  • Biological Diversity
  • Health and Disease
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • Comparative Physiology

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Systems Physiology I
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Project and Career Development
  • Clinical Immunology

Optional

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • The Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Metabolic Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Genomics and Bioinfomatics

Optional

  • Systems Physiology II
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Pharmacology
  • Parasitology
  • Extension Module in Biological Sciences

Year 4

Mandatory

  • Research Methods
  • Applied and Commercial Research
  • Integrated Masters Project in Biochemistry

In your first year you will study a wide range of subjects which will enable you to develop a comprehensive appreciation of biochemistry. In Years 2 and 3 the subjects you take become more specialised and the modular scheme enables you to tailor your course to the areas of biochemistry that you find most interesting. The modules reflect the diversity of the subject and explore such areas as molecular genetics, protein structure and function, immunology, microbiology and the molecular biology of cancer. The range of subjects will allow you to choose a wide variety of career pathways after your degree.

In your third year you will also have the opportunity of undertaking your own research project on a topic that interests you as part of your Independent Study or Biosciences Research Project. Past topics relating to Biochemistry have included association of matrix metalloproteinase genes with asthma, studying cellular interactions of oncoproteins, improving the efficacy of standard chemotherapies to treat cancer and mutagenesis of protein disulphide isomerase.

Year 4 modules are common to a range of Biological Science Integrated masters courses but each subject specialisation will be achieved by students varying their selection of topics from within menus of material within each module. For example, a Biochemistry student will undertake an appropriate research project which will differ from the choices available to a Plant Scientist. Although there will be generic material, the individual skills delivered within the Applied and Commercial Research and Research Methods modules will also be tailored to deliver the individual needs of each Integrated Masters course.

Applied and Commercial Research is a unique aspect of our Integrated Masters programme compared with other institutions. It will offer students valuable insights into applied and commercial rather than just pure research. Most of this module will take advantage of current commercial and applied research expertise in our Charles Darwin Laboratories including the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful. In year 4 you will interact with other students from other disciplines to produce a commercial research proposal which you will 'pitch' to customers. This module will also allow you to reflect on your role. Year 4 will also involve independent learning via a 60 credit dissertation.

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of interactive workshops, lectures, seminars and laboratory practicals. Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through discussion and small group activities, such as the discussion of case studies. Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures, which involve guest speakers. Our laboratory practicals involve individual and group project work which develops subject specific skills that employers value such as molecular biology, enzymology & immunology techniques.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to undertake a subject specific extension module in your final year, as well as work experience, which could be in the form of a summer research assistant within one of our research groups.

Year 4 will involve much more independent work and group work and the chance to engage in a substantial piece of research. You will also have the option to exit after three years and be awarded a BSc (hons) in Biochemistry.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the third and fourth years you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 to 6 hours of lectures
  • 2 to 4 hours of interactive workshops or seminars
  • Around 8 hours of laboratory practicals

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 22 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve, reading journal articles and book chapters, practicing online workshop material and questions, working on group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Independent learning will substantially increase in year 4.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics, post doctorial researchers, technical staff and laboratory demonstrators. Research assistants will support pure and applied research in year 4.

Teaching is informed by our research All lecturers in Biological Sciences are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy or working towards this. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include, practical and laboratory reports, essays, presentations such as oral and poster, practical skills tests and workbooks, in class tests, end of semester examinations, as well as a final year independent studies project.

Feedback

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

In person teaching from September

We intend to start the academic year as planned in September 2020.

For many years, the majority of our teaching has taken place in small group settings such as seminars, laboratory classes, tutorials, clinical simulation and other practical sessions. We are planning to continue to teach these in person, while strictly following the Government safety guidelines in place at the time.

Other sessions will be delivered through a blend of in-person and online learning. You can read more about this approach in our coronavirus FAQs.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Here are a few members of the department who currently teach on this course:

dr-amy-cherry

Dr Amy Cherry

Dr Amy Cherry joined the University of Worcester following postdoctoral positions at the National Institute of Medical Research and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Her research focuses on understanding how proteins work at the molecular level and on how one can use knowledge of protein structure to tackle disease.

mike wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler is Head of Biological Sciences.

Mike joined the University of Worcester in 2010 after researching in the area of plant molecular genetics. Mike developed a strong background in the biology of cell signalling in plants, with specific research into the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in poppy and the control of polarity in pollen tubes of tobacco. He is currently investigating the function of a large family of secreted proteins likely to be involved in cell-cell communication in the model plants, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens.

In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern. Mike is also currently involved in a scheme to improve winter feeding for farmland birds at Lakeside campus in partnership with the local RSPB group.

Mike is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.

dr-steven-j-coles

Dr Steven J Coles

Steve joined the University of Worcester in 2013, following 5 years post-doctoral experience at Cardiff University, School of Medicine (Section of Haematology), working with Professors Tonks and Darley. During his time at Cardiff, Steve investigated the role of the immune checkpoint molecule, CD200, in a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Since joining us, Steve has introduced several new modules to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences curriculum that align with his expertise, including: Immunology and  Biochemistry of Cancer.

Steve has also helped to establish and lead the Worcester Biomedical Research Group, where the research focuses on Cancer, Neurodegeneration and Cardiovascular Disease.

Careers

Where could it take you?

Globally the employment of Biochemists is set to grow by 19% over the next 10 years. This employment growth is greater than the average for all careers. This means that graduates of Biochemistry have excellent opportunities for employment, with many working as scientific researchers within academic, government, industrial or medical institutions both nationally and internationally.

A degree in Biochemistry at the University of Worcester also provides the foundation for entry to graduate training programmes such as clinical (healthcare) scientist within the NHS, which come with an average starting salary of £25K + per year. The Biochemistry degree is very rich in transferable skills and many graduates may also work in teaching, scientific publishing or in business.

At the University of Worcester, our students come first and we provide workshops to help our graduates enter postgraduate studies at Worcester or other universities.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for graduates to obtain PhD positions with only a BSc (Hons) degree. Graduates with an Integrated Masters degree would have significant additional research expertise that would enable them to progress straight to an MPhil/PhD position.

There is an increasing need for graduates in the UK economy as skilled researchers for UK PLC. Such graduates have much to offer within the general area of applied biological research but also, critically, to drive forward the innovation that is vital for the UK economy.

Biochemistry BSc graduate Jude Hamer wearing Great British kit

Jude Hamer

For most people, completing a degree would be enough of a challenge, but for Jude Hamer, 2016 will also be remembered for representing their country in the Paralympic Games.

Jude was part of the Great Britain women’s wheelchair basketball team that narrowly missed out on a medal in Rio, and graduated with a degree in Biochemistry the same year.

“I had to be really organised and timetable everything,” Jude said. “I had to juggle training and competing at tournaments with studying, which was particularly challenging around the time I was trying to write my dissertation. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my tutor.

“I’m proud of myself for having finished my degree, especially along-side all the training I put in ahead of Rio,” she added. “With my basketball commitments it has taken five years, so it feels pretty surreal to be graduating. I’ll really miss my friends, it seems strange to think we’re all going our separate ways now.”

Two students are walkng next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential.
Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2023/24 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2023/24 academic year is £14,700 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2023/24 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

You will also need a lab coat, which can be bought for around £13.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £122 per week to 'En-suite Premium' at £207 per week (2023/24 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) MBiol (Integrated Masters) - C7C2

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

UCAS Code

C7C2

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Dr Amy Cherry

Admissions tutor