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Biochemistry

C700 BSc (Hons) 3 years

Overview

Our biochemistry programmes benefit from having world-leading researchers in both biology and chemistry together in one department.  You will study the ways in which both disciplines interact in living organisms, and learn how this underpins our understanding of biological and medical science.   

Initially, you will study organic and physical chemistry, as well as genetics and cell biology; you will then go onto study topics such as macromolecular protein assemblies and cell-signalling, as well as the biochemistry of disease, cell biology and differentiation.

The application of molecular concepts to complex biological systems is at the cutting edge of science in the 21st century. You will learn about the key biochemical concepts and the chemistry that underpins them, as well as the real-world applications of these principles in fields such as biotechnology and medicine. You will divide your time between chemistry and biology, although the balance can be adjusted to suit your interests.

Research 

By choosing to study at a Russell Group university, you will have access to excellent teaching and top class research. You will be taught by staff who are actively involved in research and who are enthusiastic about their subjects and sharing their knowledge with you.

You can find out more about our research interests on the chemistry and biochemistry department page.  We have excellent teaching and research facilities in our state-of-the-art Joseph Priestley Building, housing a range of analytical and spectroscopic facilities commensurate with contemporary research.

Study abroad

You can choose to apply for a four-year version of this degree with a full year abroad. We have links with universities around the world, including Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia (specific partnerships for each programme may vary).

While there are no extra tuition fees associated with these placements abroad, you will need to cover the cost of your transport to your destination and your living expenses, including accommodation.

Find out more about study abroad opportunities at QMUL.

Structure

The programme structure outlined below is indicative of what you will study. It may change slightly from year to year as new topics are introduced and after we have listened to current student feedback on teaching.

Year 1

Required modules:

From 2017 we are introducing the QMUL Model to all our degrees.  For further information on this initiative please contact sbcs-admissions@qmul.ac.uk

Year 2

Required modules:

Elective modules:

Year 3

Required modules:

Elective modules:

All final year students must complete one of the following:

Progression onto MSci Biochemistry

It may be possible for students on our Biochemistry BSc to progress onto the four year Biochemistry MSci. This can only happen during semester A or B of your 2nd or 3rd year of study.  The criteria for promotion are typically as follows:

  • Transfer during 2nd year: Student must achieve a mean of at least 60% overall in their first year and pass 105 module credits, out of 120 credits
  • Transfer during 3rd year: Student must achieve a mean of at least 60% overall in their first year and pass 210 module credits out of 240 credits

If you are interested in progressing onto the MSci option, you should speak with your personal academic advisor for further advice. 

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements for 2017 Entry and General Admission Entry Requirements can be found below.

2018 Entry requirements

A-LevelGrades ABB at A-Level. This must include A-Level Chemistry.
IBInternational Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 34 points overall, including 6,5,5 from three Higher Level subjects. This must include Chemistry at Higher Level.
BTEC See our detailed subject and grade requirements
Access HEWe consider applications from students with the Access to Higher Education Diploma in a science discipline e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve 60 credits overall overall, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. Applications are considered on a case by case basis, and we may request an interview. Due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers of study purely on the basis of meeting grade requirements.
GCSEMinimum five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or 4.
Contextualised admissions We consider every application on its individual merits and will take into consideration your individual educational experiences and context. More information on how academic schools and programmes use this information as part of the admissions process, can be found on our contextualised admissions pages.

2017 Entry requirements

  1. A-levels: Typically ABB and above at A2 level from three subjects including chemistry
  2. International Baccalaureate: 34 points overall including grade 5 in chemistry (Higher Level)
  3. BTEC: We do not accept BTEC qualifications
  4. Access to HE Diploma: We will consider applications from students with the Access to HE Diploma (60 credit in a science discipline e.g. biology, chemistry, maths, physics). We take all aspects of your UCAS application into careful consideration; we look at the merits of your personal statement, academic reference, predicted grades and actual grades, and, due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers purely on the basis of meeting the grade requirements. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve an overall Pass, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.

All applications are considered by our admissions tutors on a case-by-case basis, and this may mean we would request an interview.

Visit our frequently asked questions page for answers to our commonly received queries about entry requirements.

Foundation programme

Students may enter this degree programme via admission to the QMUL Science and Engineering Foundation Programme. Students must complete the foundation year and meet the required progression criteria.

 

General Admissions Entry Requirements

English Language Proficiency

All applicants to QMUL must show they meet a minimum academic English language standard for admission and to be successful on the course, to the indicated levels for the area of study. See our guidance on English Language requirements for all degree programmes.

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. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

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.

Combined Qualifications

If you are taking a combination of qualifications at Level 3, we will consider your academic profile and may make offers on a case-by-case basis. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

Advanced Entry

Subject to the policy of the programme, it may be possible for students to join undergraduate degree programmes at the beginning of the second year of a three or four year degree programme or, sometimes, the beginning of the third year of a four year programme. Please note, not all schools will consider advanced entry. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application for individual advice.

If you are applying for advanced entry on the basis of a post A-Level qualification, such as the BTEC HND, you should apply via UCAS in the usual way. If you wish to transfer your degree studies from another UK higher education institution, you will be considered on the basis of your original A-Level or equivalent qualifications, current syllabus, academic references and results.

We typically expect you to have achieved a 2.1 standard on your current programme and have already met the standard equivalent first year entry requirements. Applications must be submitted via UCAS.

Non-UK students

European and International Applicants

Our students come from over 162 countries and we accept a wide range of European and International Qualifications for entry, in addition to A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications. Please see our International Admissions webpages for further details of our academic requirements, and information regarding how we assess the equivalence of your qualification.

Applicants will typically be expected to be taking academic subjects relevant to the programme of study. You are advised to review the A-Level and IB requirements for an indication of these subjects. If you are at all unclear, the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) is happy to advise you further.

Further Information

For any other enquiries directly relating to our entry requirements, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5511
Email: admissions@qmul.ac.uk

See our information and guidance on how to apply.

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:

  • 6-8 one-hour lectures
  • 4-5 hours of practical laboratories or workshops
  • 20-25 hours of private study/coursework.

Independent study:

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.

Assessment:

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

2017 entry
Full-time £9,250

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full-time £17,450

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 will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
email: fees@qmul.ac.uk

Funding

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/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

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 bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

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.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

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

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

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.

Graduate Employment

Our graduates progress into a range of sectors, including clinical and laboratory work, as well as postgraduate research and study and science communication.  Others transfer their skills into sectors such as marketing and finance.  The latest data show that 95 per cent* of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduation. 

Graduate destinations - employment 

Recent graduates of our biochemistry programmes have gone onto the following roles:

  • Clinical Biochemist
  • Business Analyst and Management Trainee
  • Data Analyst
  • Research Consultant
  • Research Assistant
  • Communications and Engagement Assistant for a genomics company
  • Corporate Reputation Executive
  • Trainee Financial Consultant 

​Graduate destinations - further study

Recent graduates on our biochemistry programmes have gone onto study the following:

  • Drug Discovery and Pharma Management MSc
  • Life Science PhD
  • Algal Biofuel PhD
  • Medicine MBBS
  • Dentistry BDS
  • Biomedical and Molecular Science Research MSc
  • Human Molecular Genetics MSc
  • Ontology MSc
  • Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control MSc
  • Clinical Drug Development MSc

As a QMUL student, you will have access to our specialist Careers & Enterprise Service who can help prepare you for internships and graduate employment.  Their services include support in choosing a career, CV and application writing, interview techniques and mock interviews, tailored workshops and employer-led events to help you apply for internships, part-time work, a graduate role of further study. You will also have access to a dedicated Careers Consultant and Internships Coordinator for your School who has expert knowledge of recruitment and connections to employers in the field.

QMUL is part of the prestigious Russell Group and our graduates have some of the highest starting salaries of any university in the UK (£24,000 average salary in 2015)*. Your standing among graduate recruiters is also enhanced by our membership of the Russell Group of leading universities. 

*Source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015, based on UK-domiciled, full-time students

Profiles

Giulia Oluwabunmi Olayemi, Biochemistry BSc, class of 2017

  • What do you enjoy most about your course?

"I love the wide variety of topics the degree covers and the combination of biology and chemistry modules. It allows you to explore your subject in depth and to delve into science at a molecular level."

  • What's it like being a student in London?

"Life in London is buzzing 24/7! Due to the location of QMUL, there are many activities to do and lots of places to see, including the world-renowned Olympic Park, which is only one stop away on the tube."

  • What do you think of the facilities at QMUL?

"The facilities available are of a high standard within the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. As well as the huge collection of books in the libraries and good quality labs, the lecturers, professors and tutors are incredibly helpful and attentive to all their students.  

But the Students Union is what really makes QMUL stand out from the other universities. With hundreds of societies to get involved in, many opportunities are available to QMUL students. I even had the chance to be part of the backing choir on Britain's Got Talent in the season just gone! More importantly, meeting so loads of new people of different cultures and backgrounds has been truly amazing so far."

  • How do you think your QMUL qualification will help your future career?

"My aim is to pursue medicine, so studying biochemistry will give a scientific foundation for understanding medicine at a molecular level. It's exciting to understand how a simple change at the genetic level could potentially have a drastic effect on the outcome."


Tasqeen Ahmed, Biochemistry BSc, class of 2015

"When applying to universities, I made sure that Queen Mary was my first choice. One of the major factors that attracted me to QMUL was its Russell Group status. This was crucially important as it meant that I would be taught by leading academics who are involved in groundbreaking research."


Irrum Afzal, Biochemistry BSc, class of 2015

"I chose Queen Mary because it is a leading university with an excellent reputation worldwide. It excels in student satisfaction while also being a member of the Russell Group. The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is a highly research-intensive school offering a vast number of opportunities to its students; it also has close links with hospitals such as The Royal London in Whitechapel.

"I enjoy the modules biochemistry offers to its students as they are combination of both biology and chemistry. The practical sessions in biochemistry take place in modern laboratory facilities. Meeting new people from a variety of different backgrounds and making new friends has been a brilliant experience. The main campus has so much to offer to its students from learning new languages to playing new sports."

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