Human Sciences Degrees
|Start Date||September, 2022|
BSc Biochemistry C700
3 years Full Time
Why study Biochemistry at UCL?
The UCL Division of Biosciences ranked 8th in the world in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.
- The programmes are taught by members of the UCL Division of Biosciences. This research community has over 500 staff and 300 PhD students engaged in cutting edge research and collaboration.
- The size of the department means that our students are always taught by subject area experts, many of whom are research leaders in their fields.
- Being home to so many world leaders in biochemistry means we can offer more cutting edge modules to our students than many similar programmes.
- Biochemistry is a practical science. 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. UCL's biochemistry degrees tend to offer more practical lab experience than many similar degrees at other universities.
- Our biochemistry programmes have a strong focus on computational analysis using super computers. Our students can compare the findings of their research to similar studies from around the world. This again reflects our focus on preparing our students for successful research careers.
- The flexible programme structure provides all students with a sound foundation in year one across a range of scientific subjects. This better informs students to choose an area in which to specialise. This is a unique opportunity to tailor your studies without losing focus on the main foundation of science. In particular, this programme is appropriate for prospective students who love science but are yet to determine their area of passion within it.
- You may transfer to BSc Biochemistry with a year in industry on securing and completing a placement year in an industrial setting. These are optional competitive placements that are dependent on successful application to a placement provider. The placement is taken in third year and you return to campus in fourth year to complete your academic studies.
- Unlike other similar programmes, our students are able to undertake two research projects in their third year - an advanced investigation and a lab-based group project where students generate their own unique data. This process reflects how real-world labs operate and better prepares our students for success in this arena.
- All students have the opportunity to do a research project with a single supervisor in a real lab and ask a real question.
- Our students will have the opportunity to learn from the leading experts at our partner institutes as well as conducting research in their labs in some situations. These partners include the UCL Cancer Institute, the Francis Crick Institute, the Sainsburys Wellcome Centre, Cancer Research UK and our own Darwin Research Facility.
- UCL's Darwin Research Facility provides state of the art centrifugation, cell culture, imaging and biomolecular structural analysis facilities and a drug discovery facility.
- All students are able to join our popular Life Sciences Student Society. The society runs academic talks and events as well as social activities.
- Students on the programmes are offered a large amount of help and support from the beginning. In year one each student will have a personal tutor who will stay with them for their entire time at UCL. Each personal tutor looks after four or five students. All first year students also have a student mentor. This is a student who is at a later stage of the programme and can assist with the transition to university life.
- The programme also provides dedicated Year Tutors and dedicated Student Success Advisors. Student advisors are offered to first year students and student wellbeing advisors to those in years two, three and four.
Course Structure Overview
In the first year of the programme you will take compulsory modules that are similar to those taken in the first year of other biosciences programmes.
This programme is research-focused and as such 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.
In year two all biochemistry students take courses in molecular biology and biomolecular structure and function. Those on the pure biochemistry stream also take Metabolism and physical chemistry. Students electing to take the molecular biology pathway choose a mixture of cell biology and immunity and infection modules instead. All pathways give students an optional course too.
After year two, you may apply to transfer to the more research intensive MSci in biochemistry, or the BSc with a year in industry, gaining invaluable experience in an academic or industrial research laboratory. These are optional competitive placements that are dependent on successful application to a placement provider. Further information on this option is provided during your degree.
The compulsory modules in the final year of the BSc Biochemistry programme will focus principally on deepening your knowledge and understanding of molecular biosciences, including carrying out an investigative research project. The level of choice increases in year three allowing you to further specialize. You will have the opportunity to choose optional modules in different areas of Biochemistry and, depending on your choice of optional modules, an elective module in a subject area of your interest.
Why do we structure the course this way?
Year one is very structured to provide guidance and support for students new to University life. Many of our students are passionate about the sciences but not sure yet where they would like to focus their attention. We believe that the compulsory modules we have chosen will not only provide an excellent grounding across the sciences but will also allow students to find the areas about which they are passionate. Once students have completed year one, we believe they have gained sufficient experience of the programme to decide upon a more specialised course of study.
In year two students are able to choose between pure biochemistry or molecular biology pathways depending on their interest. At the end of year two students are well placed to decide if they would like to transfer to the more research intensive MSci or potentially spend a year in industry.
Years three and four offer students a large amount of flexibility to choose from an exciting range of modules taught by some of UCL's leading researchers in their fields. This is also when students are able to pursue their own research projects within the guidelines of the BSc or MSci programmes.
Year One Course Content
7 Compulsory Modules are undertaken by all biochemistry students:
Year Two Course Content
Year Three Course Content
Some examples of optional Modules
BIOS0035 Foundations of Citizen Science
BIOC0015 Molecular Mechanisms in Human Disease and Biotechnology
Leader: Dr Lisa Cabrita
Year Four Course Content
In year four you will join a research group and work full time in the laboratory, taking part in research seminars, lab meetings and journal clubs.
Interested in Start-ups?
Many of our biomedical sciences students are interested in start-ups, social enterprises and developing entrepreneurial skills. UCL's Innovation and Enterprise division offer training, start-up grants, competitions, communities and much more, all of which are free to students on this programme.
UCL's entrepreneurship community has supported over 300 UCL start-ups since 2010 and raised over £280 million in investment.
In addition to potentially starting a successful business, making use of the resources at UCL in this area provides students with the opportunity to develop business skills, chances to network in London's start up community and projects that will serve them well on their CVs as well as in future job interviews.
It is quite common for prospective students (and their families and advisors) to assume that the main career path from a Biological Sciences degree is further study and research or academia. The truth is that most of our students (80%) are in employment 15 months after finishing their degree and 75% of those in employment are in highly skilled work. We are very proud that 95% of our students were in employment or further study 15 months after course completion in the 2021 NSS survey.
Companies that have employed our graduates in recent years include Accenture, Citigroup, Wellcome Trust, Fujitsu, BGI, Ovid Health and the NHS. Our alumni can be found in banking, IT and telecommunications, manufacturing, health and social care, start-ups and more.
Our primary focus is to produce graduates who are confident in their ability to solve problems in any situation. We ensure that our students learn how to evaluate, analyse and interpret data from a wide variety of sources as well as being able to draw well versed conclusions from that data. We believe that no matter what their career choice this ability will serve our graduates well.
Why do employers like to recruit UCL Biochemistry Graduates?
In addition to the science, we focus on teaching our students highly sought after transferable skills from the first week of the programme. These include but are not limited to teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking/evaluation, data literacy, analysis and visualisation, literacy, scientific reading, presentation training, written/verbal communication, IT skills and more.
In addition to the development of these skills within the formal structure of the programme, UCL provides many opportunities for students to practice these skills in other environments. These include our student society, our entrepreneurship/start up programs, iGEM and many more.
In addition to being enjoyable and educational, these opportunities provide students with examples of their abilities in the key skills sought by employers for their CV and to use in job interviews. These are the examples that can clearly differentiate recent graduates from the rest of the crowd and assist them in landing their first major career role.
We also believe that our graduates are not only well prepared to get their first job but also to perform highly in that role as well as across their career.
A word about future proofing
The pace of change in the world has never been faster. It appears quite likely that in 20 years the majority of our graduates will be in jobs and/or industries that don't currently exist. So how do we prepare them to perform in roles that don't yet exist?
By focussing on teaching transferable skills form the first week of the programme. Technology changes but core human needs remain the same. We will always need to know how to communicate. We will always need to know how to problem solve. We will always need to have a method for evaluating information. And we will always need to work with others. No matter what the industry or role these skills will remain core to employers and to those who succeed.
NSS Employment Statistics 15 months after course (2021):
|UCL Biochemistry||Kings College Biochemistry||Imperial Biochemistry|
|% of employed in highly skilled work||75%||90%||85%|
NSS Earnings after the course statistics (2021):
|15 months||3 years||5 years|
|King's College Biochemistry||£24,000||£22,500||£28,500|
|Biosciences England Graduate Avg||£22,000||£21,500||£26,500|
Useful Careers Resources:
My UCL Careers
UCL Neuroscience Careers Network
Innovation and Enterprise Training and Opportunities for Students
Professional Development Courses
Linked In Learning
Public Engagement Training
Public Policy Training
Our Latest Biochemistry Research ????
Lentiviral Vector Production Titer Is Not Limited in HEK293T by Induced Intracellular Innate Immunity
HIV-1 Vpr drives a tissue residency-like phenotype during selective infection of resting memory T cells