Biochemistry

BSc (Hons)

From finding new ways to save lives to tackling climate change, studying the Biochemistry BSc programme at Aston University will help you succeed in a subject which has never been more exciting, diverse, or important.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

UCAS deadline: 6pm 31 January 2024 - apply now

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements
Duration

4 years

UCAS code(s)

C700

Start date

Course overview

Our Biochemistry BSc degree is designed to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of Biochemistry and the practical skills necessary to excel professionally. 

Studying at Aston gives you unrivalled hands-on experience, world-class facilities, and specialist teaching. In addition, your integrated placement year will give you the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice. You can undertake placements in hospitals, industrial or research laboratories, as well as non-laboratory settings.

As a Biochemist, you’ll help to comprehend and resolve biological problems through the use of molecular expertise and processes. You will help to lead the way in developing new thinking, techniques, and technology in the fields of Medicine, Pharmaceutics, Biotechnology, Agriculture, and Nutrition.

dr_alice_rothnie_biochemistry_bsc director

"Biochemistry is all about understanding living things at the molecular level. At Aston, we have a real focus on the application of knowledge, and emphasise experimental design, data interpretation and problem solving."

Dr Alice Rothnie
Biochemistry BSc (Hons)
Programme Director and Senior Lecturer

Why Biochemistry at Aston University?

Royal Society of Biology
Professionally accredited
Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).
Career - suitcase
Placement year
Integrated placement year designed to set your studies in a real world context
TEF Gold 2023 logo
Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Triple Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
NSS logo
Excellent student experience
Our Biochemistry course scored 90% Student Satisfaction (NSS 2023)
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)

Course description

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

Our Biochemistry BSc degree at Aston University will equip you with the skills, insights, and confidence to become an outstanding biochemist, well-equipped to succeed in a dynamic scientific career.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you, fantastic facilities that will bring your course to life through hands-on, practical experience; years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. 

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understand that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, you must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
As a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry student, you will learn the skills to work as a competent biochemist in various settings, while gaining a deep understanding of molecular processes critical to advancing science and medicine.

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

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Career prospects
The demand for qualified biochemists within the UK and across the world is rising. As a biochemistry graduate, your future career could include developing new drugs, bio-fuels, methods of food production, and clinical practices. Many graduates also undertake further postgraduate study.

With a Biochemistry degree from Aston, you’ll have the theoretical grounding, industry know-how, and skills to have a successful career in a wide range of industries such as Research and Development, Scientific communication, Forensic science, Biotechnology, Patent law and Sales and management.
 
Additionally, this course will prepare you for further learning including teaching qualifications, MSc, PhD or graduate entry medicine.

How you will learn

Our teaching style is modern and innovative, with a hands-on approach that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This enables you to apply your skills as you progress through your course, marrying your learning with practical examples, all designed to prepare you for the world of work.

Our degree course consists of four years of full-time study, with one year of placement and interprofessional learning in different workplace environments.

What you will learn

As a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry student, you will learn the skills to work as a competent biochemist in various research, pharmaceutical, and healthcare settings, while gaining a deep understanding of molecular processes critical to advancing science and medicine.

Year 1

Develop a thorough understanding of the processes that underpin key areas of biochemistry such as how biomolecules assemble into complex structures, how genetic material is stored and inherited and fundamental microbiological concepts.

Year 2

Study topics such as how changes at the molecular level lead to disease, the role that cell signalling plays in life processes and learn how to apply fundamental biochemical concepts to experimental and real-world problems.

Placement year

Gain valuable career-boosting experience during your integrated placement year by setting your studies in the real-world context of a working environment alongside professionals.

Final year

Undertake a substantial original research project, choose from a range of advanced modules, and further develop your professional skills ready for your first career step post-graduation.

 

Facilities

Biochemistry students have access to a range of specialist facilities that reflect the hands-on learning within the field. In these settings, you gain practical experience alongside like-minded students, with biochemistry workshops and lectures guided by professionals and expert technicians.

Biochemistry facilities

  • Well-equipped labs for hands-on experiments and research in biochemistry.
  • Computer labs for data analysis and molecular modelling.
  • Library with extensive resources for literature review and research
  • Study Areas: Quiet spaces for study and group discussions.

Cutting edge equipment

  • Access to advanced equipment like spectrometers, microscopes, and high-performance liquid chromatograph
  • Gas chromatography (GC) for separating, identifying, and quantifying compounds in mixtures.
  • Specialised software for molecular modelling and data analysis.

Course objectives

  1. Provide you with the opportunities to realise your academic potential through a range of learning experiences.
  2. Encourage you, through a practical approach, to have a passion for Biochemistry and an enthusiasm for learning.
  3. Increase your understanding of the living world with particular emphasis at the molecular level.
  4. To develop your knowledge and skills as a professional scientist.
  5. Develop your creativity and innovation with skills and qualities that equip you for research, appropriate employment and the ability to make a valuable contribution to society.
  6. To encourage interdisciplinary learning by integrating concepts from biology, chemistry, and physics into biochemistry.
  7. To improve your written and oral communication skills, including the ability to present research findings effectively.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Biomolecules - Explore key biomolecules (sugars, lipids, DNA, RNA, amino acids and proteins), how they are formed, their structure and function. Includes a large practical laboratory component giving hands-on experience of key biochemical techniques that can be used to study these biomolecules.30
Cells to Systems - Examine the basic structure, organisation and function of cells and sub-cellular structures. How cells communicate, the cell cycle, cell death, and how cells come together to forms tissues and organs with specialised functions.
 
30
Microbiology and Genetics - A comprehensive introduction to the basic principles and fundamental skills of microbiology, as well as the core concepts of genetics and the use of model organisms.
 
30
Molecular Metabolism - Explore the molecules, reactions, enzymes and regulation mechanisms involved in the major metabolic pathways, including key aspects of organic chemistry. In addition, this module develops your transferable and personal skills crucial for success in various career paths post-graduation.
 
30
Total120

Year 1 outcomes 

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the structure, function, synthesis and degradation of biomolecules.
  • Describe how biomolecules assemble into complex structures including cells.
  • Describe the structures and key components of cells.
  • Describe how genetic material is stored and inherited.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental microbiological concepts.
  • Safely undertake laboratory work and demonstrate a range of transferable practical skills.
  • Demonstrate numeracy, oral and written communication skills including use of IT software and professionalism.

Year 2 modules

In your second year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Molecular Biology and Biotechnology - Find out how microbes, enzymes, mammalian cells and molecular genetic techniques can be utilised for biotechnology applications, molecular diagnostics and therapeutics.30
Mechanisms of Pathology - Investigate the principles underlying pathology of a variety of diseases, how the immune system responds to infection or damage, and the ability of pathogens to cause cellular and tissue pathology.30
Cell Membranes - In-depth coverage of the structure and function of biological membranes and their roles in transport, signalling processes and energy generation.30
Protein Structure and Function - Explore in detail the structure and function of proteins along with the experimental techniques that can be used to study them. Develop transferable and research skills such as problem-solving, science communication, group work, and experimental design.30
Total120

Year 2 outcomes 

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Integrate molecular knowledge to explain disease states.
  • Apply fundamental biochemical concepts to experimental and real-world
    problems.
  • Explain the structure and function of biomolecules using fundamental chemistry,
  • Explain the role that cell signalling plays in life processes.
  • Select appropriate experimental approaches and test hypotheses including the application of statistical tests.
  • Apply critical thinking for problem-solving and demonstrate team-working skills.

Year 3 modules

In your third year, you will undertake a work placement:

Module TitleCredits
Biosciences placement120
Total120

Year 3 outcomes 

On successful completion of the third year, you will be able to:

  • Reflect on your own performance and identify your strengths and limitations within a working environment.

Final year modules

In your final year, you will study the following core modules:

Module titleCredits
Research Project Preparation - Demonstrate practical competency in a range of fundamental biosciences techniques. Select and critically analyse relevant scientific literature for your project, including elements of health and safety legislation and appraisal of the ethical impacts of research.15
Research Project - Undertake an independent research project. Generate, analyse, interpret, draw conclusions and present your findings in both written and oral formats.30
Professional Development for Biochemists - Develop a range of research and translational skills, such as critical analysis of data, good practice and self-reflection, that will equip you to undertake scientific careers and demonstrate professional behaviour.30
Total75

You will also take three of the following optional modules for a total of 45 credits:

Module titleCredits
Advanced Cell Membranes - Learn about current cutting-edge areas of research undertaken at Aston on the topics of cell membranes, membrane proteins and lipids, and the roles they play both in biotechnology and in health and disease.15
Applied Microbiology - Examine protein engineering techniques including site directed mutagenesis, high throughput mutagenesis, molecular evolution and gene editing, alongside other core molecular biology techniques including next generation sequencing, QPCR, and gene cloning.15
Advanced Molecular Biology - Gain an in-depth understanding of the use and study of microorganisms in research and biotechnology, including mechanisms of action of antibiotics, drug resistance and antibiotic drug discovery, aswell as bacterial gene regulation and biogenesis.15
Pharmacology and Toxicology - Understand pharmacological and toxicological concepts and apply these with team working and self-directed learning skills using problem-based learning approaches to interpret and communicate scientific data.15
Trends in Molecular Biosciences - Design and create materials to effectively communicate a complex biological research topic to different kinds of non-specialist audiences.15
Total45

Final year outcomes 

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Critically review scientific literature.
  • Create and test hypotheses using appropriate methodologies.
  • Gather, analyse and interpret data from their own studies and those of others.
  • Critically reflect on their own research and development to identify pathways for improvement.
  • Communicate effectively through a variety of media to a range of audiences.
  • Work within health and safety and ethical regulations within a research environment.

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    - BBB (standard offer) must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.
    - BBC must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics plus B in an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths.
    - BCC must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics for contextual offer students.*
     

The following subjects will not be considered as one of the core three A Levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, and 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.

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

Contextual offer applicants need to achieve a grade C as listed below.

BTEC Qualification Name    BTEC grades required    A-Level Requirements
 
Extended Diploma 
 

Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction*

OR

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction plus A Levels

This BTEC must be RQF – National in Applied Science D*D*D* (you do not require an additional A Level)

OR

This BTEC must be QCF in Applied Science DDD and you must also achieve grade B in Biology OR Chemistry

OR

If you are studying a non-science subject in this BTEC which is QCF or RQF – National then you must achieve DDD and grade BB must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.

Diploma (QCF)

National Diploma

    
 
Distinction, Distinction (DD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve a grade BB in Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.

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


 
Diploma (QCF)National Diploma

Distinction (D)

With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

Distinction (D)    With this BTEC you must achieve grade BB in two science subjects including Chemistry PLUS Biology, Physics or Maths.
90 Credit Diploma (QCF)    Distinction, Distinction (DD)   With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.
National Foundation DiplomaDistinction (D)With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Standard offer: 31 points overall and must include grades 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects which must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language.

Contextual offer: 28 points overall and must include grades 5, 4, 4 in Higher Level subjects which must include Chemistry OR Biology plus one other science subject from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths OR Physics. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language for contextual offer students.*

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, and Medicine and Healthcare Professions.

Please note we do not accept Health and Social Care as it does not contain the amount of core science material required for subsequent undergraduate studies on this degree.

This qualification is not accepted for this course.

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

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Other

Degree

Year 1: 

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.

Year 2/3/Final year:

We will not be able to consider any application for Years 2 or 3. 

View our Transfers Policy

See further information regarding the transfer policy and student transfer arrangements

Age of qualifications

Applicants must normally have achieved their eligible academic qualifications for entry onto this course within the last three years. Applicants presenting qualifications older than three years will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Admissions Lead.

External Foundation Programmes

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, must include Biology
-Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme.  In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications.

 

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£20,700
During placement year:£2,500

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Assessment

Our biochemistry curriculum utilises a range of different assessment types and the assessment strategy reflects the national educational requirements in the FHEQ. Assessments include examinations (unseen essays, short answer, or multiple-choice questions), essays, presentations, laboratory reports, project work and computer-based assessments.

Career prospects

Our Biochemistry BSc programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our biochemistry degree provides mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in:

  • Research and development
  • Scientific communication
  • Forensic science
  • Biotechnology
  • Patent law
  • Sales and management
Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study Biochemistry BSc at Aston?

You’ll experience a carefully designed mix of hands-on study and theoretical learning, in world-class facilities, working with passionate expert staff.

With a focus on real-wold application as well as the theory, you’ll have all the skills and knowledge you need to be “lab-ready” for any placement in industry; and to be ready for an exciting and enriching career solving some of the world’s most pressing scientific problems.

What learning facilities can I expect?

  • Extensive and well-equipped laboratories with a variety of equipment designed to support your learning in an industry-relevant environment.
  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment.
  • Computer laboratories and 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.
  • Aston Library, fully refurbished and equipped for the digital age. Open 24 hours a day at key points throughout the year with a variety of study spaces, academic support advisors on hand and course texts available electronically or in book form.

What accreditations does the course have?

Our Biochemistry BSc course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). This means that when you graduate, you’ll have met a defined set of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

Will I develop any transferable skills?

It’s really important to us that you develop a wide range of skills that will maximise your career prospects.

As a biochemistry student, you can expect to develop skills in:

  • fundamental laboratory techniques
  • record keeping
  • project development
  • time management
  • critical analysis
  • communication (written/oral)
  • presentation
  • team working
  • report development
  • IT
  • problem solving

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

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How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Find out more

Register your interest

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