UCL Biosciences

1st Year Students 2015

Will you be starting a new undergraduate course in UCL Biosciences this September?

For further information, including induction week timetables and joining instructions, please see our Undergraduate Induction Week webpages.

BSc/MSci Biochemistry (C700/CC70)


What is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry is a look at life at the molecular level.  It is one of the major areas for medical and pharmaceutical research, for discovering what goes wrong in disease and how to cure it. During your degree you will study:

  • The chemistry of the cell looking at areas such as metabolism, cell signalling and control of metabolic processes. 
  • The structure and function of nucleic acids, gene expression and its control. 
  • The structure and function of the proteome including enzymology, structural biology and bioinformatics.

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 Features

  • 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.

Entry Requirements
  • For all current entry requirements, including UK, Overseas and English Language requirements, please see our page within the UCL Undergraduate Prospectus

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

The Admissions Process
  • Once you have submitted your application to UCAS, we will receive a copy of your UCAS form for consideration.
  • Your application will initially be assessed based on your grade predictions (or achieved grades if you have already completed your exams) as they relate to our entry requirements and your personal statement.  
  • If we would like to consider your application further, a decision will then be made on your application, using your personal statement and reference.
  • Finally, if we wish to make you an offer, you will be invited to a post-application open day.  Open day attendance is optional but we strongly recommend you to visit to see the facilities and find out more from current students and staff.

Open Days
  • Open days will include UCL and subject talks, a research talk given by a lecturer at UCL, refreshments and tours with current UCL students and an opportunity to talk to members of staff who will answer any questions you may have.  Please note, attendance at the open day does not form part of our admissions selection process and is optional.
  • If you are yet to apply for our programme and would like to visit UCL, you can attend the annual UCL Open Day.  The next Open Day will take place on Friday 3rd July, Saturday 4th July and Saturday 12th September.

Funding and Scholarships
  • For further information on the UCL Scholarships and Funding available for undergraduate students, please see the UCL Fees and Finance page

 Contact Us
  • We hope that this site has provided you with all of the necessary information you may need if you are considering to apply for our programme.  Don't forget to check out our FAQs page on the next tab above.  However, if you would still like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the Division of Biosciences Admissions Office:

Contact: Marcella Baterip

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk, m.baterip@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44(0)207 679 7169

Modules For Year 1

An introduction to the principles of your subject, the first year allows for the possibility of students having being admitted from diverse educational backgrounds.  Through lectures, tutorials and lab work, everyone is brought up to the same level of knowledge.

  • BIOC1009 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B
  • BIOC1007 Principles and Practice of Experimental Biochemistry

Modules For Year 2

You will master relevant general biochemical practical techniques and be familiar with their application and limitations.  You will develop essay and communication skills and have achieved the expertise, confidence and study skills necessary for preparation  of your third year project. You will also develop those skills necessary for a 1 year placement in industry if you wish to take this option.

  • BIOC2004 Biomolecular Structure and Function
  • CHEM2302 Physical Chemistry for Life Science Students
  • BIOC2005 Metabolism and its Regulation

Plus one from the following:

  • CHEM2601 Chemistry of Biologically Important Molecules
  • CELL2007 The Principles of Cellular Control

Plus a choice of a further 0.5 course unit from a wide selection of UCL modules (If CELL2008 is chosen there will be no extra 0.5 course unit to choose.)

Modules For Year 3

Your third/final year will focus on a research project, either literature or laboratory based.  The optional modules you will take are at the forefront of science, taught by staff active in those areas of research.

BSc Students:

  • BIOC3002 Research (Lab) Project (1.5 course units)


  • BIOC3027 Investigative (Literature) Project (1 course unit)

Plus a choice of modules from a wide selection of UCL modules to make a total of 4 course units for the year

MSci Students:

  • BIOC3027 Investigative (Literature) Project (1 course unit)
  • BIOC3101 Advanced Practical in Molecular Biology I
  • BIOC3201 Advanced Practical in Cell Biology and Signalling I

Plus two modules from:

  • BIOC3006 Mechanisms of Molecular Machines
  • BIOC3008 Cellular Regulation in Biotechnology, Health and Disease
  • BIOC3014 Advanced Molecular Biology of Protein Regulatory Networks

Plus one 0.5 unit (max) from:

  • BIOC3017 Cellular and Molecular Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease

Plus a choice of modules from a wide selection of UCL modules to make a total of 4 course units for the year

Modules for Year 4 (MSci only)

Students can choose to transfer to the MSci programme between years 2 and 3 of their BSc study.  65% must be obtained in year 2 in order to progress with the MSci programme.

  • BIOCM101 Extended Research Project (3 course units)
  • BIOCM102 Research Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
  • BIOCM027 Investigative Project in Health and Disease 
These FAQs are specifically for the Biochemistry programme.  Please see Division of Biosciences Admissions FAQs for answers to general admissions queries.

1. How will I be taught?

A wide variety of teaching methods are used, including lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work. Each module will have its own set of teaching methods.

2. How will I be assessed?

A mixture of coursework, exams and practical work form the basis of assessment. The weighting varies depending on which modules you choose.

3. Is it possible to take modules in other departments?

It is possible to choose modules in other departments. You will receive advice from your personal and degree programme tutors on which modules are best for your chosen degree path.

4. What support is available during the Biochemistry degree?

All kinds of support are available to students, whether it academic, financial, welfare or career advice. You will also have a personal tutor and a dedicated teaching administrator throughout each year of your degree who will provide guidance.

5. Is there a recommended reading list?

Yes. This will be sent to students in the summer before the academic year in question.

6. What careers are suitable for Biochemistry graduates?

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 gone on to study for a PGCE; others have gone further afield into science journalism, business management, accountancy and business computing.

7. How many places have you on offer?

The Biochemistry degree has approximately 100 places available each year.

8. How competitive are places for the Biochemistry course?

Competition for places is very strong, but all applications received before the deadline will be assessed by the same set of entry criteria. Only the best will be shortlisted so it is vital your personal statement and references are strong and demonstrate your strengths and character.

9. What work experience must I include on my application?

There is no absolute requirement for Biochemistry but any science related work experience included in your personal statement will be seen as very positive.

10. I would like to visit UCL and talk to the admissions tutor, when can I do that?

Information on our annual Open Day can be found on the UCL website. The UCL study information centre can provide information and a self-guided tour brochure.  It may be possible to arrange an appointment if you are unable to attend the open day. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

As part of the admission cycle we invite all short-listed UK students to an open day including a tour, meeting students and discussions with the admissions tutor.

11. I did not get the required grades to be admitted to your course, will you reconsider my application if I resit my examinations?

Re-sit applications are considered on an individual basis. 

12. I am applying to four medical schools and my personal statement reflects this. Do I need to supply a separate statement to cover my fifth choice for Biochemistry? 

No, we are happy to use your personal statement for Medicine, but if you wish to send us a separate statement please email it to the Admissions Office biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

13. Can I transfer to Medicine? 

Unfortunately you are unable to transfer to Medicine during the course.  If you finish the BSc degree and achieve a 2:1 or higher, you are normally eligible to apply for graduate-entry Medicine programmes around the UK (please check individual institutions for this).