Biochemistry BSc

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    4 years
  • Course options
    Placement year (UK/abroad)
  • UCAS code(s)
    C700
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A level entry
    ABB-BBB (Subject specific: Biology and Chemistry are compulsory)
  • International baccalaureate diploma
    32 – 31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 in either Biology or Chemistry)
  • BTEC
    D*DD (See below for further information)
  • GCSEs
    Five GCSEs at grade C/4 which must include: C/4 Mathematics C/4 English Language
Apply via UCAS

Key dates

  • Open day
    Saturday 6 October 2018
  • Application deadline
    15 January
  • Start date
    September

85% Student Satisfaction (School of Life & Health Sciences, NSS, 2018)

Access to extensive and modern 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

This course is for you if you wish to study life at the molecular level. Biochemistry lies at the interface of the life and physical sciences and is therefore applicable to a wide range of fields such as medicine, pharmaceutics and biotechnology.

Entry requirements

Duration: 4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: C700.

Please note:

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 predicted grades of CCC 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. Find out more about our admissions policy.

Applicant Visit Days

Once you have received an offer, you will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and Aston University.

Typical offers:

GCSEs 

Five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above including English Language and Maths Grade C/4. Please note we do not accept Key skills or Functional skills in place of these.

A-Levels:

ABB-BBB including Biology and Chemistry, including passing the practical elements of both A Levels.

A Level applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

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.

BTEC:

  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma / National Extended Certificate: D plus two A Levels including Biology and Chemistry at grades AB.
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma / National Extended Diploma in Applied Science: D*DD plus A Level Biology or Chemistry at grade C.

We welcome applications from students who have taken BTEC qualifications as a first option and who achieved five or more GCSEs (including Maths and English) at grade C or above. You must also meet the additional A Level requirements listed above.

We do not consider applications from students who are unsuccessful in obtaining the required number and/or standard of A Levels for admission to our programmes and subsequently embark on a BTEC as a second option. Instead we would encourage you to resit your A-levels (see our resit policy in A Levels section).

All BTEC students taking A Levels will also need to pass the practical element of their A Levels.

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 (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.

International Students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

32 - 31 points overall in the IB Diploma which must include 6, 5, 5 – 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects. These subjects must include Biology or Chemistry. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Maths and English Language.

International qualifications: International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages

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.

Foundation Programme route

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): We also welcome international students with equivalent qualifications to apply for our courses. For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme at Aston University, although please note the progression requirements and the entry requirements to our courses. 

International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.

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, however, please note there are specific entry requirements which must be checked:  Foundation Entry Requirements.

Non-standard 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. Other qualifications: If your qualification is not listed, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.

Fees

For 2019 entry: 

  • UK / EU students: £9,250 (£1,250 during placement year)
  • International students: £18,500 (£2,500 during placement year)

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

Course outline

Biochemistry is the study of life at the molecular level. You will explore the way that molecules are synthesised, regulated and interact to give rise to highly complex organisms. Biochemistry lies at the interface of the life and physical sciences and is therefore applicable to a wide range of fields such as medicine, pharmaceutics and biotechnology.

This course is designed to equip you with the key laboratory, analytical, computational and communication skills necessary to succeed in this field. You will study through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical sessions with a compulsory integrated placement year designed to give you further experience and enhance your employability. This course has been designed to meet the rising demand for qualified biochemists within the UK and across the world.

What you will study

Year 1

You will develop a thorough understanding of the molecules and processes that underpin areas of Biochemistry including microbiology, cell biology, genetics, biological chemistry, metabolism and biomolecules. You will also receive training in key skills through our personal tutoring system. 

Modules:

  • Biochemistry Key Skills I: this module comprises a series of academic tutorials with a personal tutor and a series of workshops and lectures on Biochemistry and career management.  
  • Biological Chemistry: this provides a grounding in chemistry and analytical techniques that are core to biochemistry.
  • Biomolecules: this provides an overview of the key biological molecules including how they are synthesised and degraded.
  • Cells to Systems: this provides a basic introduction to life at a range of scales from single cells and their components to organ systems.
  • Genetics: provides an introduction to genetics at both the molecular and population levels.
  • Metabolism: introduces the major metabolic pathways demonstrating their integration and regulation.
  • Microbiology: provides an introduction to bacteria, viruses and fungi and their pathogenicity and applications within modern biochemistry.

Year 2

You will further your knowledge of topics that you studied in Year 1 and continue to build on your key skills and integrate the knowledge you gain across modules.

Modules:

  • Analytical Biochemistry: provides in-depth knowledge across a range of analytical techniques that are applied throughout biochemistry.
  • Applied and Industrial Biochemistry: focusses on the application of biochemistry in the real world from pharmaceutics to biotechnology.
  • Biochemistry Key Skills II: provides tutorial-based support to enhance transferable skills as well as developing core mathematical and statistical techniques.
  • Cell Membranes and Energy Generation: develops an understanding of the importance of the cell membrane both in terms of defining a cell and for the generation of energy.
  • Immunology: introduces both the cellular and molecular components of the immune system and their applications within biochemistry.
  • Molecular Biology: describes the properties of nucleic acids and the tools and techniques used to study them.
  • Protein Structure and Function: relates the structure of proteins from the amino acid level upwards with their function and describes the techniques available to study proteins.

 

Placement year

The placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in context and gain experience by taking a placement in the UK or abroad. Read more below.

Final year

You will apply your fundamental knowledge to a range of advanced topics and undertake an individual original research project.

Modules:

  • Advanced Biotechnology: explores the application of biochemistry to industrial processes and how these interact with the environment.
  • Advanced Cell Signalling: develops an advanced understanding of how signal transduction cascades are initiated and regulated.
  • Biochemistry Project: allows you to undertake a substantial piece of independent research from across the spectrum of biochemistry.
  • Bioethics: explores the ethical and moral implications of a range of research topics and how research is regulated.
  • Biological Membranes: provides an opportunity to explore and analyse a range of biochemical data connected to the topic of biological membranes.
  • Molecular Medicine: examines the molecular and biochemical processes essential for life and how perturbations of these can lead to disease.
  • Redox Biochemistry: covers how biomolecules are involved in reduction and oxidation reactions and the impact of these on the cell and organism.
  • Research Skills: includes a series of workshops exploring advanced biochemical techniques as well as providing a literature-based introduction to your final year project.
Placement year

The year involves a twelve-month professional work placement between the second and final years of the degree.  This offers you the opportunity to gain valuable experience and set your studies in the context of a working environment. By obtaining relevant work experience you will also boost your future employment prospects.

Students undertake placements in laboratory settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories, as well as non-laboratory settings.

Find out more about placement years in Life & Health Sciences.

Learning, teaching & assessment

You will encounter a variety of learning opportunities, including

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

You will be continuously assessed throughout the course. A wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes are used, including

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

Biochemistry graduates are equipped for a wide range of professional careers in both the public and private sectors including research and development, scientific communication, patent law, sales and management. Many graduates will undertake further postgraduate study. 

Personal development 

Our course helps you develop the knowledge and skills needed to maximise your career prospects. This course will enable you to develop key skills including: 

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

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.
Staff

Programme Director: Dr Alan Goddard

Alan is the Programme Director for this course. He joined the University in 2016 as a lecturer in Biochemistry, having previously worked and studied at the universities of Lincoln, Oxford and Warwick. His research interests focus around membrane proteins and the lipid membranes in which they reside. 

Senior Lecturer: Dr James Brown

James is the Senior Lecturer for the undergraduate Biomedical & Biological Sciences and Biochemistry programmes. He has been at Aston since 2009. His research interests include the regulation of cellular ageing by obesity and metabolic disorders, frailty in older adults with diabetes and the role of aquaporins in breast cancer.

Find out more

Discover more in the following ways:

Please note that this course has not yet been running long enough to produce National Student Survey data, so the unistats data shown below are for a different course within the school.

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