Biochemistry BSc (Hons)
What makes 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 the biochemistry of human health, from the processes that cause cancer to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. There are also opportunities to extend your learning in to other areas, such as plant biology and microbiology, depending on your specific interests. There is even the chance to get hands on with real immortalised human cells in the lab.
- 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2018)
- Opportunities to explore some of the most fascinating fields in science, including neurobiochemistry, cancer immunology and plant developmental genetics
- Excellent partnerships with many UK and international research institutions, including The Karolinska Institute – home of the Nobel Prize
- New laboratories and extensive specialist equipment - an inspiring environment for you to develop your ideas
- Study in a friendly, supportive and inspirational environment
This course received 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2018)
Bridgette, Jordan, Nicki and Jemma share their experiences of the course.
What qualifications will you need?
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
The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including Access courses, European Baccalaureate and pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ. Non-standard entry via the exploratory essay route is also available.
If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email email@example.com for advice.
Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from http://www.ucas.com
If you are an international student who does not have the relevant entry requirements for direct entry onto this course, our pathway courses at University of Worcester International College could be the right option for you and enable you to still graduate with this degree. To find out more visit the Science and Health & Social Science pathways page.
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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.
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 final 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.
View the Biology Programmes Overview.
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.
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.
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 final year 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
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 is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.
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, technical staff and laboratory demonstrators.
Teaching is informed by our research, and >80% per cent of course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.
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.
The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:
6 practical workbooks / reports (2 formative and 4 summative)
2 in class tests (including practical skills test)
8 end of semester examinations (1 to 2 hours in duration)
4 practical workbooks / reports (summative)
1 group oral presentations
1 in class tests
8 end of semester examinations (1.5 to 2 hours in duration)
2 practical reports (summative)
1 group poster presentation
2 in class tests
6 end of semester examinations (2 hours in duration)
1 final year independent study dissertation
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.
Meet the team
Here are a few members of the department who currently teach on this course:
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.
Dr Mike Wheeler
Mike 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.
Dr Steven J Coles
Steve achieved a first class honours degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the West of England (UWE, 2005) before undertaking a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Neurochemistry) which he attained in 2008 (UWE). Following his studies, Steve joined the School of Medicine at Cardiff University as a post-doctoral research scientist (Department of Haematology), where his research focussed on tumour immunology and immunotherapy in a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
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.
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.”
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How much will it cost?
Full-time tuition fees
UK and EU students
The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.
For more details, please visit our course fees page.
The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 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 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.
For more details, please visit our course fees page.
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.
Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.
We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).
For full details visit our accommodation page.
How do you apply?
Applying through UCAS
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) - C700
UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.
Get in touch
If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.