C700 Bachelor of Science (Honours) 3 years
Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living organisms.
You will divide your time between chemistry and biology, although the balance can be adjusted to suit your interests and aptitudes. Initially, you will study organic and physical chemistry, as well as genetics and cell biology. From the second year, you will concentrate on the structure and function of proteins and the catalysts and controllers of chemical reactions.
In addition to modules covering enzymes, you will study macromolecular protein assemblies, cell signalling and the interactions between proteins and prosthetic groups and co-factors, as well as the biochemistry of disease, cell biology and differentiation. You will also study the molecular biology of DNA, its replication, repair, mutation and organisation.
Why study Biochemistry at Queen Mary?
The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) is one of the largest departments at Queen Mary, University of London's Mile End campus, with over 70 members of academic staff and 1,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Our results in the most recent National Student Survey (NSS 2011) support this, ranking us 23rd equal in the UK in Biology and second in London, with over 90 per cent of our students expressing overall satisfaction with their studies. External examiners have praised the quality of our teaching: our Biomedical Sciences programme was described as "renowned for its high standards of academic rigour and high standards of teaching", while other programmes were praised for students' "in-depth understanding of the discipline".
Our School is distinguished by high calibre academic staff who generate a vibrant research culture and produce work that appears in high-impact multidisciplinary journals (for example Nature, Science and other top-rank specialist journals). The results of the 2008 RAE confirmed the School's position among the UK's leading centres for Biological Sciences, with 85 per cent of our outputs assessed as being of international quality.
In recent years we have focused on recruiting young and enthusiastic research-oriented staff. This will ensure the continued development of the School's exciting research environment.
Research resources include: an efficient and well-equipped chemical store; various workshops; excellent library and information services; a high-speed computer network that provides fast access to a wide range of databases and other electronic sources of information; facilities for purification and analysis of macromolecules incorporating fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) and other chromatographies, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS), electrospray mass spectrometry, surface plasmon resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), circular dichroism (CD) and fluorescence spectroscopies, X-ray crystallography; recombinant DNA technology; state-of-the-art light and EM microscopy; glasshouses; controlled environment rooms; cold rooms; and marine and freshwater aquaria.
In 2009 the School benefited from over £1m CIF investment in state-of-the-art equipment for cell biology, structural biology and aquatic biology. The School has a Bioinformatics Hub (shared with Computer Sciences) and the College Genome Centre provides further specialist resources for genomics and bioinformatics. Some of our academic staff are based at The River Laboratory (Wareham, Dorset) and its research facilities are available for use by our students.
- Practical and Analytical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology Physiology
- Molecular Biology
- Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
- Membrane Biochemistry
- Techniques for Biological and Chemical Sciences
- Genes and Bioinformatics
- Metabolic Pathways
- Microbial Physiology and Growth
- Organic Chemistry / Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
- Animal Physiology
- Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics
- Fundamentals of Neurobiology
- Research Methods and Communication
- Protein Structure, Folding and Assemblies
- Membrane Proteins
- Enzyme Catalysis
- Molecular Basis of Disease
- Biological Sciences Research Project / Investigative Project / Project Skills in the Life Sciences
- Neuroscience: From Molecules to Behaviour
- Developmental Biology and Cell Signalling
- Endocrine Physiology and Biochemistry
- Functional Genomics and Epigenetics
- Research Methods and Communication II
A level: ABB
The three A2 level subjects to include Biology A2 and Chemistry A2.
In addition, other A2 level subjects that may be accepted include: another science subject, a traditional humanities subject or a social science.
Usually GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C (or equivalent) are required.
We do not consider General Studies as one of the three A2 level subjects.
33 overall with Biology and Chemistry (HL) at grade 5 and another subject (HL or SL) at grade 5 to be specified.
Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates.Visit our Undergraduate pages for further information on entry requirements.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
Visit our International pages for information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications.
Learning and teaching
All our programmes involve a mixture of classroom activities and laboratory work. A variety of teaching styles are employed, which vary slightly among modules and programmes. Most material is delivered via lectures. These last around 50 minutes each and, typically, you would have two lectures per day. Lectures are backed up with small-group tutorials and workshops, where you have the opportunity to ask, in a relatively relaxed and small group setting, about material in lectures that you did not understand, to go through problems and practise past exam papers. In general, lectures, tutorials and workshops take place in the mornings and laboratory classes in the afternoons.
A typical weekly workload would be:
- Eight one-hour lectures
- 9-12 hours of practical laboratories or workshops
- 18-20 hours of private study/coursework.
For every hour spent at University you will be expected to complete additional hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; assessing data from experiments; completing lab reports; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study and laboratory sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
For all programmes you must take 120 credits (normally eight modules) in each academic year. Each module is assessed through theory examinations (typically accounting for 75-80 per cent of the final mark) and coursework (for example, practical reports, field course reports, essays, problem sheets, online exercises and tests). Examinations normally last two and a half hours for first and second years and three hours for final-year papers.
Final-year students undertake a research project/investigative project worth 15 or 30 credits; these are assessed with a detailed written report, oral presentation, poster and an interview. The main examination period is in May/June, with deferred exams and resits in August for first- and second-year students. The format of undergraduate examinations varies among programmes and may include multiple choice questions (MCQ), extended matching questions (EMQ), short answer questions, problem solving or case-based exercises, and essays.
Fees and finance
Tuition Fees for Home and EU Students
Tuition Fees for International Students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a Full-time undergraduate course are:
2012 entry £1,350
2013 entry £1,350
Read our fees and funding page for information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee.
Visit the main QM site for more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students including:
- Bursaries of up to £3,000 in year 1, for students from low income households who have the best grades: National Scholarship Programme
- Bursaries of up to £1,500 each year for students from low to middle income households: Queen Mary Bursaries
- Scholarships of up to £3,000 each year for students studying science, engineering or modern foreign languages: QM Excellence Scholarships
- A range of Scholarships and Bursaries of between £500 and £7,000 a year for studying certain subjects, living in the local area or coming from low income households: Bursaries, Scholarships and Prizes.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including:
- Scholarships of either £1,500 or £4,000 per year designed to reward academic achievement: International Science and Engineering Excellence Awards
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Visit the Academic Registry and Council Secretariat (ARCS) website for more information about bursaries.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079 or email: email@example.com
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for:
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £7,675 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- A Maintenance Grant of up to £3,250 to help towards your living costs
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- Extra amounts of loan or grant if you study for longer than the standard academic year or if you have travel costs because you are studying away from your main campus
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
A high proportion of Biochemistry graduates go on to further study, others will find work in a wide variety of careers.
Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering careers such as lab technician or assistant scientist, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into sectors such as the media, technology or finance.
The national 2011 destination survey confirmed that 86.9% of School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) students were in employment and/or study six months after graduation with 62.2% already working/studying at graduate level. Queen Mary graduates have a strong earning power, as reported in the Sunday Times University Rankings.
Throughout their degree, students have access to a bespoke careers programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This programme includes workshops on job hunting and job applications as well as employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.
Recent careers events in SBCS include visiting the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, training in how to gain lab experience and a Graduate Entry to Medicine workshop led by the Medical Careers Consultant to Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The QM Careers team also runs business games and an annual programme of over 70 employer events networking students with employers across the public, private and charity sectors.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary's location between Canary Wharf and the City. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QM Projects work experience scheme, QM Temps job agency, Experience Works events and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 800 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Queen Mary's extensive campus also provides over 1,200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Science Ambassador and from Society President to Student Mentor.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers website.
Name: Saaira Gill
Studied: BSc Biochemistry
"The degree programme is varied and provides a range of modules, which allowed me to sample various subjects and future career disciplines within the field of Science."
Name: Silas Mellor
Studied: BSc Biochemistry
"During my time at Queen Mary I had the chance to receive teaching from lecturers who were themselves deeply involved with the topics they were teaching. It is a source of inspiration and wonder to be on the very edge of our understanding of nature, and this was conveyed expertly on diverse topics such as protein structure, neuroscience and genetics."
"The opportunity in the final year to delve into a real research project and try to plan and execute longer, coherent lab work was an amazing experience, and opens your eyes to what science is really about."