PDF version of Biochemistry BSc


Admissions Tutor

Dr Chris Taylorson

Admissions Administrator

Ms Heather Beasley

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7169

Fees and Funding

UK & EU Fee

£9,000 (2013/14)

Overseas Fee

£19,500 (2013/14)

General Funding Notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

70% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Departmental website

Division of Biosciences

More Information

Prospectus subject entry

Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Prospectus faculty entry

Life Sciences

Biochemistry BSc

UCAS Code: C700

Since its foundation as a discipline, biochemistry has illuminated many of the problems that have fascinated and perplexed biologists for generations. As biochemistry and molecular biology have become an essential part of much of modern science, a Biochemistry BSc is a valuable beginning to many different careers.

Entry Requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA
Subjects Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
AS Levels A pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language and Mathematics at grade B. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 38
Subjects A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including Chemistry at grade 6, and one subject from Biology, Mathematics or Physics, with no score below 5.

Other Qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International Qualifications

International Qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Selected country's equivalent grades will appear here

University Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The University Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree Summary

Degree Benefits

  • UCL is one of Europe's largest academic centres for research in biochemistry, with two major research units, the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Biochemical Engineering and Molecular Cell Biology, based here.
  • Our strong links with the bioscience community in London (such as the UCL Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK, and the Royal Veterinary College) enhance the range of final-year projects available.
  • You will have the opportunity to take a one year placement in industry; working in a suitable industrial or research laboratory before your final year of study.
  • Our excellent resources include a computer graphics facility, fermenters for plant or animal cell culture and equipment for biomolecular structure analysis.

In the first year of the programme you will take compulsory core courses that are similar to those taken in the first year of other biological science programmes. In year two, you take a number of compulsory courses, but with some optional flexibility, which increases in year three.

You may also choose to transfer to the Molecular Biology BSc (available only when you have completed your first year) which deals specifically with the way genetic information is stored in nucleic acids and with the controlled expression of this information.

You may elect to spend an additional year, after year two, gaining invaluable experience in an industrial or research laboratory. Your project report from this year will count towards your degree. The final year of your degree will focus principally on an individual research project.

Your Learning

Biochemistry is a practical science and you can expect to spend much of your time either in wet laboratories, where you will handle chemicals and biological materials, or in dry laboratories, where computer simulations and exercises are carried out.

The programme also includes lectures and small-group tutorials, and you will use an online learning site (Moodle) to support your studies.


Your assessment will include a combination of examinations, coursework, practical work, tutorial work and presentations. Many courses have in-course tests (web-based or written) and all courses have an unseen final examination.

Degree Structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Cell and Molecular Biology
Chemistry for Biologists
Introduction to Genetics
Introduction to Microbiology
Principles and Practice of Experimental Biochemistry

Optional courses

All first year courses are compulsory.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Biomolecular Structure and Function
Chemistry of Biologically Important Molecules
Metabolism and its Regulation
Molecular Biology
Physical Chemistry for Life Science Students
The Principles of Cellular Control

Optional courses

You will select 0.5 credits from a wide range of courses.

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Either a Research Project (1.5 credits) or a Literature Review (1.0 credits)

Optional courses

You will select courses from a wide range of options, to the value of either 2.5 or 3.0 credits depending on the compulsory course chosen.

Further details available on degree page of subject website:

Your Career

Through your degree you will acquire a range of specific and transferable skills, including time management and planning, technical laboratory skills such as manual dexterity and analysis of data, and skills in teamwork, negotiation and decision-making.

Our graduates have found themselves roles in fields such as toxicology, clinical biochemistry, drug and food research, industrial 'biotechnology', virus research and agricultural research. Some students have used their degrees by becoming school science teachers; others have gone further afield into science journalism, business management, accountancy and business computing.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2009-2011) of this programme include:

  • Research Assistant, UCL Cancer Institute (2011)
  • Analyst, Tesco (2011)
  • Management Trainee, Standard Chartered Bank (2010)
  • Research Assistant, Birkbeck College (2010)
  • Full-time student, PhD in Genetics at the University of Cambridge (2009)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:


Your Application

We use your predicted or achieved academic qualifications, your personal statement and reference to decide whether to offer you a place. Evidence of sustained interest in science, such as involvement in a science debating society, and of activities that demonstrate your self-motivation and organisational skills, will be considered favourably.

How to Apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


If you live in the UK, and we are considering offering you a place, you will be invited to attend an applicant open day. This will involve talks from staff about the programme and the department, a tour of UCL and a visit to a laboratory.

You will have the chance to talk to current students and staff about any questions you might have about studying Biochemistry.

As this degree programme is very challenging, it is vital to have a deep interest in the programme to succeed, and to convey this on your application.

Page last modified on 19 mar 14 15:02