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 (Hons)

Course format

Integrated placement year

Duration

4 years (with placement year)

UCAS code(s)

C700

Start date

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.

For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS.

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.

 

This course is part of the School of Biosciences which sits within the College of Health and Life Sciences. 

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.

The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students. International/EU students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend it is completed where possible.

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.

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

 

GCSEs

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.

A Levels
  • BBB 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, 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

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

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

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.

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 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.

*Please note that on the UCAS application form QCF BTEC Extended Diploma appears under the name BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) and the RQF BTEC Extended Diploma appears under the name Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (1080) (2016 to Present). If you unsure of which qualification you are taking, please contact your school or college provider to confirm.

T Level

This qualification is not accepted for this course.

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.*

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.

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.

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 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 Year 3. 

View our Transfers Policy

For further information regarding the transfers policy and Student Transfer Arrangements please see here

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 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, 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.

 

View our Admissions Policy under the 'Respect' tab on our Principles and Policies page.

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 that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard (however, initial offers will not be lower than stated above). We would also consider applicants with achieved grades of CCC and above which are below the listed requirements on a case by case scenario if the application is of a high standard, strong academic reference and any gaps in study are explained.

*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here.

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.

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 by a 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 Alice Rothnie

Alice.Rothnie.Biochemistry

“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, Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

    Fees and scholarships

    UK students (2023/24)

    Annual tuition fees: £9,250

    During placement year: £1,250

    International/EU students* (2023/24)

    Annual tuition fees: £20,100

    During placement year: £2,550

    *The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as Home students.

    Further information 

    *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. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

    More information on fees https://www2.aston.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/student-finance

    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. https://www2.aston.ac.uk/scholarships

    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
       

    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.

    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

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