Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    4 years
  • Course options
    Placement year (UK/abroad), Integrated placement
  • UCAS code(s)
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A Level
    BBB to BCC including Biology and Chemistry (depending on EPQ, Core Maths or Contextual offer)
  • BTEC
    Are welcome with the relevant A Level subjects, please see below for further details
  • International baccalaureate diploma
    31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 must include Biology and Chemistry)
  • GCSEs
    Five GCSEs all at grade C/4 and must include Mathematics and English Language
More information
Apply via UCAS

Key dates

Top 20 in the UK for students satisfied with teaching (Biosciences, Guardian University Guide, 2020)

Access to extensive specialist bioscience laboratory facilities

Work at the interface of biological and physical sciences, gaining key laboratory, analytical, computational and communication skills

Integrated placement year designed to set your studies in a real world context

Course summary

Study life at the molecular level with an engaging Biochemistry course at Aston University. The knowledge you’ll gain can be applied to multiple fields such as medicine, pharmaceutics and biotechnology. You’ll also receive valuable real-world experience through an integrated placement year.

Entry requirements and fees: 2020

Duration: 4 years full-time with integrated placement year

Start date: September

UCAS Code: C700

For 2020 entry:

  • UK / EU students: £9,250 per year
  • International students: £18,900* per year

Explore the costs involved in university and the financial support that may be available to you.

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

Admissions Review Process: All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with lower predicted grades if the application is of a high standard which includes a strong personal statement and academic reference. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated below. Whilst we normally look for evidence of recent study (which we define as the past 3 years), we also welcome applications from mature students who have achieved grades up to 10 years old, which will be considered on a case by case scenario. You will be required to make a full UCAS application which lists your education and work history up to the time of application along with sufficient references. Find out more about our admissions policy.

Applicant Visit Days: Students who receive an offer will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and Aston University.


Typical offers

GCSEs: Five GCSEs which must include Mathematics and English Language all at grade C/4. Please note we do not accept Key skills or Functional skills in place of these.

A Levels:

  • BBB in three A level subjects which must include Biology and Chemistry
  • BBC in three A level subjects which must include Biology and Chemistry plus B in an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths.
  • BCC in three A level subjects which must include Biology and Chemistry for contextual offer students.

Excluded Subjects: We welcome the following subjects as an additional A level, but not as one of the core three A levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies.

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits and only your latest grades will be accepted. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC:We welcome BTEC qualifications in any subject which are taken with the relevant A Level subjects as listed below. Contextual offer applicants need to achieve a grade C as listed below.

BTEC qualification name BTEC grades required A Level requirements
Extended Diploma (QCF/National) Distinction, Distinction, Distinction (DDD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve a grade BB in both Biology AND Chemistry.

If this BTEC is being taken in Applied Science you must achieve a grade B in A Level Chemistry.

Diploma (QCF)

National Diploma

Distinction, Distinction (DD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve a grade BB in both Biology AND Chemistry.

If this BTEC is being taken in Applied Science you must achieve a grade B in A Level Chemistry.

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

Distinction (D)

With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in both A Level Biology AND Chemistry.

90 Credit Diploma (QCF) Distinction, Distinction (DD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in both A Level Biology AND Chemistry.

National Foundation Diploma Distinction (D)

With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in both A Level Biology AND Chemistry.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 31 points overall and must include grades 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects which must include Biology and Chemistry. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language.

Access to Higher Education: We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement. Subjects Accepted: Applied Science, Biology combined with Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Biosciences, Combined Sciences, Health Sciences, Health Sciences Professions, Life Sciences and Sciences.

Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University):  For students with good A level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing the Foundation Programme in Science at Aston University.


International students

International qualifications: Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme. International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.


Alternative qualifications

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Degree: We consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a degree in a related field elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails at another recognised university. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. It is also expected that you have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

External Foundation Programmes from another University: We consider external foundation programmes for entry into our year 1 programmes on a case-by-case basis. We will always require applicants to have met the following criteria prior to application:

  • 5 GCSE’s at grade C/4 or above including Maths and English.
  • CCC at A-Level

If you meet the above pre-requisite qualifications, we will be required to review the programme specification of your foundation programme. After we have reviewed the programme specification a decision will be made. Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme.

Course outline and what you will study

Course outline

Biochemistry allows us to comprehend and resolve biological problems through the use of chemical expertise and techniques. It is the thorough study of life at the molecular level, exploring living organisms and their chemical processes.

With a rising demand for qualified biochemists within the UK and across the world, our biochemistry course has been designed in conjunction with representatives from major employment sectors, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, to meet these demands and equip you with the skills necessary to succeed. We also had input from our biosciences researchers with specialisms that span the spectrum of biochemistry which means that you will study a well-rounded degree with plenty of inspiration for your future career options.

Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, you will gain key laboratory, analytical, computational and communication skills needed by the modern biochemist. We maximise the time you spend doing hands-on practical work in the lab using specially-designed online activities both before and after the lab sessions. These include health and safety and assessment elements as well as providing background and tutorials in a range of techniques. These resources are available to you throughout your studies allowing you to refresh your knowledge at any point.

What you will study

Year 1: During your fist year you will develop a thorough understanding of the molecules and processes that underpin areas of biochemistry including; how biomolecules assemble into complex structures including cells, how genetic material is stored and inherited and fundamental microbiological concepts. You will learn how to safely undertake laboratory work and receive training in key skills through our personal tutoring system. 


  • Biomolecules
  • Cells to Systems
  • Microbiology and Genetics
  • Molecular Metabolism

Year 2: In the second year you will further your knowledge of topics that you studied in your first year and continue to build on your key skills. You’ll cover topics such as the structure and function of biomolecules using fundamental chemistry, the role that cell signalling plays in life processes and learn how to apply fundamental biochemical concepts to experimental and real-world problems.


  • Cell Membranes
  • Mechanisms of Pathology
  • Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Protein Structure and Function

Placement year: The integrated placement year gives you the opportunity to gain valuable career boosting experience by setting your studies in a real world context of a working environment alongside professionals. You will get the chance to undertake your placement in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals, industrial or research laboratories or non-laboratory settings. Your placement can be taken in the UK, EU or internationally.

Final year: Your final year will prepare you with the skills required to undertake a substantial original research project, including; how to critically review scientific literature, creating and testing hypotheses using appropriate methodologies and how to critically reflect on your own research. In addition you will have the opportunity to select from a range of advanced modules as well as further developing your professional skills ready for your first career step post-graduation.


  • Research Project Preparation
  • Research Project
  • Professional Skills for Biochemists.

In addition you will complete three of the following four options:

  • Molecular and Applied Microbiology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Advanced Cell Membranes.
Placement year

The best way to prepare you for your future career is to gain experience in the real world of work. That's why our course contains an integrated placement year, taken between the second and final years of your degree.

Designed to make you stand out in the graduate crowd, you can undertake placements in laboratory settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories, as well as non-laboratory settings.

Students from other bioscience courses at Aston have completed placements in organisations including:

  • Aston Medical Research Institute
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Cancer Research UK
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Public Health England.
Learning, teaching, assessment and staff

Throughout your time at Aston, you will encounter a variety of learning opportunities, like:

  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Interactive workshops and tutorials
  • Group work
  • Self-study courses.

You will be continuously assessed throughout the course with wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes, such as:

  • Examinations (unseen essay, short answer or multiple choice questions)
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Laboratory reports 
  • Project work
  • Computer based assessment.


Aston offers an incredible mix of top quality teaching with world class research. As a biochemistry student, you will be taught by experts in their field of biosciences about topics they have a passion for. This passion comes across in the teaching and enables us to highlight the real-world applications of the knowledge you are gaining.

We pride ourselves on being a friendly department, meaning that staff are easily accessible and, as a biochemistry student, you will be part of a small cohort, so you will have easy access to staff and can get to know your course mates well. We hold regular staff-student meetings to discuss the course and students have a real say in how the course runs and is developed. We also have extracurricular activities such as our annual Labtathlon where students can compete against staff in lab activities.

Programme Director: Dr Alan Goddard


Your future career prospects

Your future career is considered from day one of the degree. With careers guidance provided to you throughout your time at Aston you will benefit from support and advice from our dedicated Careers and Placements team and subject specific guidance from our team of academic and research staff across our bioscience department.

As a biochemistry graduate, you will be well equipped for a wide range of careers in both the private and public sectors. This could include research and development, scientific communication, patent law, sales and management, while many graduates will undertake further postgraduate study.

Personal development 

The applied focus of the course will give you a taste of the most common sectors of employment for biochemistry graduates. In combination, this will maximise your career prospects by developing advanced scientific knowledge and key transferable skills including:

  • Fundamental laboratory techniques
  • Record keeping
  • Project development
  • Time management
  • Critical analysis
  • Communication (written/oral)
  • Presentation
  • Team working
  • Report development
  • IT
  • Problem solving.

You will benefit from:

  • Extensive and well equipped laboratories, with up-to-date equipment and projection facilities for demonstration purposes.
  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment.
  • A large computer laboratory.
  • A virtual learning environment used for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.
  • Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form.
  • A newly refurbished and extended Aston University Library. The Library is open 7 days a week all year round, and at key times of the academic year, it is open 24 hours a day on 6 days a week.
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