Discover the molecules of life and their interactions
Why take this course?
The course integrates the three-year (full time) study period of the BSc (Hons) course with one-year full time postgraduate study, leading to a single master’s qualification upon graduation. The fourth year of study will involve you performing an extended research project in an academic or industrial research laboratory or in a field-based study.
The additional year of study at an advanced level will provide you will the background and experience to follow a professional career, either in academia or in industry. It will identify you as a person who has a greater knowledge of a research working environment and experience of research techniques in your chosen subject. This will better prepare you for continuing your studies at a PhD level or entering a bioscience industry.
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
- Perform an extended research project in an academic or commercial research laboratory
- Work alongside research-active lecturers and experience their contribution to fields such as gene expression, protein structure, neural development, blood formation, transgenesis, bioactive molecules, biofuels, bioinformatics and protein interactions
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.
Here are some routes our BSc (Hons) graduates have pursued:
- academic and industrial research
- biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
- science teaching
- work in the health service
- scientific writing and the media
Our MBiol Biochemistry course is being introduced in 2015-16, so it is new, however integrated masters courses in biological sciences are recognized routes to professional careers, which are supported by the undergraduate student loan scheme.
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
Request a prospectus
Come to our next Open Day
- UCAS Course Code:
- 4 years full time
- 2018 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
136 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include A level Biology or Chemistry at grade A. See full entry requirements
We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*
This course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 p/a**
*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Biological Sciences
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
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 and Evolution
- Molecular and Microbiology
- Perspectives in Biochemistry
- Experimental Biology
- Graduate Skills
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
- Options to choose from in this year include:
- Development: Form and Function
- A Foreign Language
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 include:
- Genomics in Molecular Medicine
This year will give you the opportunity to work in a research or commercial environment. The main emphasis of the year will be focused on performing an extended research project in an academic or commercial research laboratory. In order to prepare you for this work there are taught elements that deal with scientific techniques and methods as well as scientific communication.
Core units include:
- The extended research project
- Literature review
- Biochemistry research methods & techniques
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: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 81% 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
- Year four students: 6% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 94% 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
- online multiple choice questions
- data analysis problems
- research project in the third and fourth years
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: 62% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 30% by coursework
- Year three students: 42% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 55% by coursework
- Year four students: 0% by written exams, 37% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
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
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.
For my project I had all the specialist equipment I needed to complete my research and learnt skills that I can use in my PhD studies.
Jack Phillips, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry student 2013
Budgeting for your studies
There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
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.
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.
Other costs to consider
There are optional learning activities in the fourth year including short external courses or field work. These range in price from £200 - £1200, depending on the activity. The cost of all core activities are included in the standard tuition fee.
Careers & Opportunities
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
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.
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.
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