Biochemistry BSc

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

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 years (with integrated placement year)

UCAS code(s)

C700

Start date

This course is currently available through Clearing.

Call 0800 917 5923 or apply online.

Entry requirements:

 

A Level: CCC (must include Biology and Chemistry).     

 

BTEC UnREF: DDD BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject (QCF/National) plus two A levels at grade CC in Biology and Chemistry.

 

Alternatively, DDD BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF/National) in Applied Science plus grade C in either A Level Biology or Chemistry.     

 

BTEC REF: DDD BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject (QCF/National) plus two A levels at grade CC in Biology and Chemistry. 

 

Alternatively, DDD in BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF/National) Applied Science plus grade C in either A Level Biology or Chemistry.

 

Five GCSEs all at grade C/4 and must include Mathematics and English Language/Literature

Overview
Explore Biochemistry BSc at Aston University

Aston Biochemistry student Mina talks about the highlights of studying BSc Biochemistry!

testimonial

“My favourite part about the Biochemistry course is applying what I have learnt into practice in the labs. The lecturers are very approachable and supportive, and they are happy to provide feedback and support whenever we need them to.”

Mina Kassim, BSc Biochemistry

testimonial

“My favourite part about the Biochemistry course is applying what I have learnt into practice in the labs. The lecturers are very approachable and supportive, and they are happy to provide feedback and support whenever we need them to.”

Mina Kassim, BSc Biochemistry

Course outline and modules

Our Biochemistry course is focused on preparing you for a future career that makes a big difference. 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 hospital, 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
  • nutrition

International students and post-study work visa

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

The new post-study work visa enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work.  For more information visit the government website.

Course overview

Biochemistry at Aston has been designed in conjunction with representatives from major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; as well as from our specialist biosciences researchers.

During your time on the course you could get to:

  • Design your own practical experiments including producing and testing antibiotics.
  • Research how cells communicate as part of our cell membrane research group.
  • Take part in a Dragons Den style pitch for new innovations in biotechnology, aimed at solving current industrial problems.

 

Modules

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.

Core modules:

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

Core modules:

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

Gain valuable career boosting experience on 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 developing your professional skills ready for your first career step post-graduation.

Core modules:

  • 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

 

*Please note, the availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

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 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.

 

Further details

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.

The following subjects will not be considered 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

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 programmes

Foundation Programme in Science: Bioscience and Pharmacy (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.

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.

International Students

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.

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.

Other

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.

 

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.

More advice on applying to Aston can be found here.

View our Admissions Policy. 

Learning, teaching and assessment

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.

Each year of study is worth 120 credits, with each credit equivalent to 10 learning hours. The learning hours may include but are not limited to lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practicals, online activity, reading, other independent study, reflecting on assignment feedback, field trips and work placements.

Assessment

You will be 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.

 

Key course staff

Programme Director: Dr Alan Goddard

Dr Alan Goddard, Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry photo

“Biochemistry at Aston is all about relating structure of molecules to function and understanding how they interact. We use lots of examples from the "real world" so that biochemistry is grounded in these applications.”

Dr Alan Goddard, Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

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.

Fees and scholarships

UK/EU students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £18,900

During placement year: £2,500

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.

More information on fees

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. Find out more about our scholarships here.

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
  • Sales and management
  • Medicinal chemistry

 

Additionally, this course will prepare you for further learning including teaching qualifications, MSc, PhD or graduate entry medicine.

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.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding careers support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government have created a new post-study work visa. For more information visit the government website.

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

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