Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2018

Biotechnology BSc

The Biotechnology BSc provides a broad-focused grounding in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biotechnology and biochemical engineering alongside experience of the experiment skills essential for future research. The programme is designed to equip graduates for a career in this new and exciting discipline, which has developed out of some of the most dramatic scientific discoveries of the last 30 years.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2018
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2018
London, Bloomsbury
Applications per place
8 (2016 entry)*
Total intake
97 (2018 entry)*
* Figures relate to Biochemistry and Biotechnology subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

Chemistry required plus one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B or 6. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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 Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA. 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

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

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

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

  • This degree programme is one of few which provide biochemical engineering as a significant component of study in each of the three years.

  • UCL is one of the world's largest academic centres for research in biotechnology, with three major research units based here: the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, the Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and the interdisciplinary Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering.

  • 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 the Darwin Research Facility, which provides state of the art centrifugation, cell culture, imaging and biomolecular structural analysis facilities and a drug discovery facility.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences.

  • 82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


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Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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 modules similar to those taken in the first year of other biosciences programmes, but with additional core biochemical engineering content. In year two, you will take a number of compulsory modules including specialities in bioprocess and engineering, but with some optional module flexibility. This flexibility increases in year three.

You will also take certain compulsory modules from UCL's Department of Biochemical Engineering.

You may elect to spend an additional year, after year two, gaining invaluable experience in an industrial or research laboratory. Your project report will count towards your degree. Or, after year two, you may elect to transfer to the research-intensive MSci in biochemistry.

The final year of your degree will focus principally on an individual research project and a bioprocess design study.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chemistry for Biologists
Introduction to Biochemical Engineering
Introduction to Bioengineering Processes and Design
Introduction to Microbiology
The Principles and Practice of Experimental Biochemistry

Optional modules

All first year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Cell Biology
Biomolecular Structure and Function
Downstream Processing
Evaluation and Planning of Business Opportunities in Bioprocessing and Life Sciences
Cell Production Growth
Molecular Biology

Optional modules

You will select 0.5 credits from a wide range of optional modules.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Advanced Practical in Molecular Biology I
Biochemistry Research Project (Investigative)
Bioprocess Design Study

Optional modules

You will select 1.5 credits from a wide range of final-year options.

Your learning

Biotechnology is a practical science and you can expect to spend a significant portion 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.

You will also take part in seminars, presentations, lectures and group tutorials. 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 modules have in-course tests (web-based or written) and most (but not all) modules have an unseen final examination.

Further Information

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


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

This BSc provides access to a wide variety of careers. Trained biotechnologists are required in large numbers for the manufacture of biological products such as pharmaceuticals and speciality chemicals. In addition, food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly embracing biotechnology.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) of this programme include:

  • Business Development Executive, Faber Group Berhad
  • Project Co-Ordinator, Phoenix QC
  • MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with Biotechnology, Imperial College London
  • PhD in Synthetic Biology, National University of Singapore
  • MSc in Synthetic Biology, ETH Zurich

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 2013-2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2018/19 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2018/19 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2018/19)
Overseas students
£24,040 (2018/19)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

We will 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 2018


If you live in the UK, and we have made you an offer, you will be invited to attend an offer holder open day. This will involve talks from staff about the programme and the department, a research presentation, a tour of UCL and the department and a visit to a laboratory facility.

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

As this degree 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.

Page last modified on 17 November 2017 at 16:41 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.