BSc (Hons) Biochemistry - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
BSc (Hons)


UCAS codeC700

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Discover the molecules of life and their interactions

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Have you ever marvelled at life on a small scale? Are you interested in the fascinating world of molecules, genes and cells?

A degree in biochemistry will introduce you to these and other topics, deepening your knowledge and understanding of the topical and ever evolving subject of modern molecular biology.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Study cell functionality and look at the crucial roles of DNA, RNA and proteins in a variety of biological systems
  • Discover the advances in genomic and proteomic research that are revolutionising life sciences research
  • Work alongside research-active lecturers and experience their contribution to the field of gene expression, protein structure, neural development, blood formation, bioactive molecules and more


What opportunities might it lead to?

We strongly believe that research and teaching go hand-in-hand, and with many different areas of ongoing research, there is a wealth of research opportunities open to you upon graduating. This course is recognised by the Royal Society of Biology.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • academic and industrial research
  • biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
  • science teaching
  • work in the health service
  • scientific writing and the media

Learn more about career opportunities.

Transfer to the MBiol courses
You can apply to transfer onto the MBiol courses in your second year if you decide that you would like to continue with your studies after the third year. In order to be able to do this, you must satisfy the criteria for progression stated in the MBiol course handbook.


Georgina Dawes, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry student 2013

There is a lot of practical work which helps me to learn, as you can put into practice what you have learnt in your lectures and see it first hand.

Georgina Dawes, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry student 2013


BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

Find out more about what it's like to study biochemistry here at Portsmouth.

Browse all courses in Biological Sciences

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

The first year has a core of units which provide you with a complete overview of biology, from the large to the small.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • Biodiversity & Evolution
  • Microbiology & Molecular Biology
  • Perspectives in Biochemistry
  • Experimental Biology
  • Graduate Skills 1

Year two

In this year you will continue to develop your practical lab skills and begin to hone your research techniques, ready for your project in the final year. You will also have the option to study a foreign language. One of the highlights will be a week long intensive laboratory course in genetic engineering.

Core units in this year include:

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Macromolecules
  • Enzymes & Metabolism

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Development: How Form and Function Changes
  • Microbiology
  • A Foreign Language

Year three

Alongside the more specialist topics below, you’ll undertake a novel research project or dissertation in an area of biochemistry or genome science that interests and excites you.

Core units in this year include:

  • Honours Project
  • Gene Organisation and Expression
  • Genes and Development
  • Biomolecular Science

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Genomics in Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


You will experience excellent teaching and learning support. There is a very hands-on practical element to this course and teaching takes a variety of formats. You will participate in workshops, computer classes, seminars and practicals in the teaching labs. Our personal tutorial system ensures that you have someone to provide help with any academic or pastoral problems.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 29% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 71% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 36% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 64% studying independently and 0% on work placement


When it comes to assessment, you will have written exams at the end of every year. We will also assess you through coursework. Here’s how:

  • coursework in the form of essays and practical write-ups
  • presentations
  • online multiple choice questions
  • data analysis problems
  • research project in the final year

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 53% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 40% by coursework
  • Year two students: 65% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 32% by coursework
  • Year three students: 42% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 55% by coursework

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Facilities & Features

Specialist Scientific Equipment

We have state-of-the-art facilities for biochemical research, including the internationally regarded Biophysics Laboratories and the closely associated European Xenopus Resource Centre. Biochemistry at Portsmouth has a long history going back over 50 years and many successful biochemists have trained here. We aim to introduce you to research at the highest level and in addition to our extensive teaching labs you will also have access to advanced equipment such as:

  • instrumentation for protein purification
  • X-ray diffractometer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for determining molecular structures
  • confocal-laser and electron microscopes
  • the latest equipment for genetic modification


We are well equipped for teaching and research in the diverse areas of modern biochemistry. We have:

  • microbiology and embryology laboratories (with high-tech imaging and gene analysis equipment)
  • ancient DNA preparation and analysis laboratories
  • high-tech imaging suites
  • the European Xenopus Resource Centre


Biochemistry within the School of Biological Sciences has a well-established reputation for both fundamental and applied research. Attracting funding from many sources including industry, Research Councils, The Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union. Our research activities cover a wide range of interests from genetic engineering to biofuels. Research in the biochemistry section falls into the following themes:

  • biodiversity and evolution
  • epigenetics and development biology
  • ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring
  • marine resource management
  • environmental microbiology and biotechnology
  • molecular biophysics

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online e-journals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

We give career development a high priority, with many of our graduates continuing with studies at postgraduate level. Alternatively as a newly qualified biochemist, you may find employment in diverse areas from biotechnology or public health to companies specialising in medical diagnostics, scientific equipment, laboratory supplies and forensic science.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • academic or industrial research scientist
  • clinical scientist
  • scientific writer
  • postgraduate study leading to PhD

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Jump at the chance to study in Europe under the EU funded Erasmus scheme. We have strong links with many European universities and institutes, particularly in France, Spain and Italy. The scheme runs during the second year summer break and gives an opportunity to complete your research project at the host institution.

Living abroad is the best way to learn a new language or improve existing skills. You will gain confidence, language skills, the ability to adapt to new environments and communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds. Make yourself more attractive to employers in a global market and prove you’re not afraid to take on a new challenge.

Learn more about career opportunities

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Richard Martin, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry graduate

A lot of employers are looking for people with analytical degree-based pathways whether you are staying in research or not – personally I want to stay in research and the biochemistry degree here has set me up very well to do that.

Richard Martin, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry graduate

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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