Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

Biochemistry BSc

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.

Key Information

Degree Programme
Biochemistry BSc
UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Total intake (by subject area)
95 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
7 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Entry requirements

A Levels

Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
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

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.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics

A,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A, plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades AA. Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics.

International applications

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

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

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

The Undergraduate 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: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

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.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Biochemistry BSc.


Throughout 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 to become school science teachers; others have entered other fields such as science journalism, business management, accountancy and business computing.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2010-2013) of this programme include:

  • Full-time student, PhD at UCL (2012)
  • Production Editor, Biomed Central (2012)
  • Research Assistant, UCL Cancer Institute (2011)
  • Research Assistant, Birkbeck College (2010)
  • Full-time student, PhD in Genetics at the University of Cambridge (2009)

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£21,320 (2016/17)


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


The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

Application and next steps

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.

Application deadline: 15 January 2016


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.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students