student experimenting in a laboratory

Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

Become a professional scientist on this accredited degree. Explore the latest biochemistry techniques in our molecular biology labs and be eligible to apply for membership of the Royal Society of Biology when you graduate.

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, including Biology or Chemistry, with 40 UCAS points in specific subjects

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

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Discover life at its most fundamental level.

On this BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), you’ll learn how biochemists fight disease, edit genomes, understand human and animal development and apply synthetic biology to current problems in biotechnology.

By exploring the latest scientific theory through lab training, you'll gain the skills and expertise to become a professional biochemist and apply for Associate Membership of the RSB on graduation.

Course highlights

  • Experiment with the latest biochemistry techniques in lab practicals, such as protein purification and genome editing, both vital processes in the development of plastic-digesting enzymes and medical testing.
  • Study genes and clone DNA in our molecular biology research labs, globally regarded as some of the best available at a university
  • Learn from academics involved in trailblazing research at our Institute of Life Sciences and Healthcare and Centre for Enzyme Innovation
  • Get involved with the European Xenopus Resource Centre, one of the largest frog genetics resource facilities in the world
  • Have the opportunity to study abroad on a summer research placement at a European university
  • Undertake a work placement or study abroad year or experience a summer research placement
Royal Society of Biology (RSB) 
Accredited Degree


Overall student satisfaction

(NSS, 2022)

Accredited by:

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

Explore BSc (Hons) Biochemistry at Portsmouth

Biochemistry video thumbnail

Discover how our BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree course will equip you with the skills and experience you need to fight disease, edit genomes, develop new fuels, and understand human and animal development.

Colin Sharpe: What we do in biochemistry is we look at how cells and organisms are put together and how they work.

The thing that makes students want to study the course is an interest, not just in chemistry and not just in biology, but how these two relate to each other.

What is the process of life?

The course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.

Some of the topics that are covered in the course include looking at macromolecules, things like proteins, DNA and RNA and how they all interact.

Then, we move into cell biology, how cells work, and then we move on to systems like chemistry topics like immunology, microbiology and how embryos develop which also comes into biochemistry too.

I think one of the things that students enjoy most about this course is the laboratory practical work.

It's an opportunity to actually do the experiments, use equipment and make findings.

We have the possibility of doing a one year placement. Our students in the past have gone to some of the large pharmaceutical companies.

There are lots of career opportunities for biochemists.

We've had students who go to work for some of the big pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline. We've had students go to work for the big sequencing company Illumina.

Also for other smaller companies that are involved in protein engineering, as well as obviously working for the NHS in analytical laboratories.

Portsmouth is a great place to be. Lots of things going on.

A vibrant student community and also there are lots of things happening in the department too so it's a good place to come in and work as an undergraduate.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, including Biology or Chemistry, with 40 points from either A level Biology or Chemistry. For A levels which include a separate science practical component, a pass is desirable and may strengthen an application. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit. Acceptable T Level Subjects: T Level in Health, T level in Science

    Applications with Merit can be considered, but applicants will require adequate qualifications in chemistry

  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

Your facilities

Biophysical laboratories

Use professional-standard equipment to explore how the structures and functions of molecules change under different conditions.

Female student  on computer in biology lab
Explore labs

Institute of Life Sciences and Healthcare

We're exploring disciplinary boundaries to discover, understand and develop knowledge for the benefit of the environment and humankind.

Close up of a gloved hand and some petri dishes
Read more

European Xenopus Resource Centre (EXRC)

Discover the world’s largest Xenopus research facility and access different Xenopus specific resources, including antibodies, wild-type strains, DNA resources and egg extracts.

Marine research tanks
Explore the centre

Studying BSc (Hons) Biochemistry at Portsmouth

Find out more about the facilities, lab equipment, research opportunities and career paths you could experience when you study BSc (Hons) Biochemistry at Portsmouth.

A video showing highlights of studying Biochemistry at the University of Portsmouth - a top 3 bioscience course (Guardian University Guide 2020), with pioneering facilities, world leading research, and graduate outcomes in many industries. (No dialogue.)

Careers and opportunities

Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry within living things – everything from humans and animals, to plants and cells. It combines biology, chemistry and molecular analysis to develop new approaches within many scientific fields, including healthcare and medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and the environment. 

This means there is a huge range of sectors you can go into with a biochemistry degree, and there will always be a high demand for your skills.

Once you complete your BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, you’ll be ready for a career in scientific research, forensic science or pharmaceuticals. With specialist modules like Business for Biosciences and Mechanisms of Development, you’ll have many opportunities to discover your niche.

In the UK, you could earn an average of £24 000 as a newly-graduated biochemist and an average of up to £50 000 with more experience.

What I loved the most about this course was being able to work among senior scientists and assist in investigations addressing global issues and human diseases.

Rebecca Cimaroli, BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

What can you do with a biochemistry degree?

There are many career paths a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree can lead you to.

Previous students have gone on to do valuable work in fields such as:

  • industrial research
  • academic research leading to a PhD
  • biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
  • science teaching
  • the health service
  • scientific writing and the media

Graduates have gone on to work in roles including:

  • research scientist
  • sequencing and validation scientist
  • research and development leadership programme scientist
  • pharmaceutical data analyst
  • site intelligence specialist
  • phlebotomist
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Graduate destinations

Organisations our graduates have gone on to work in include:

  • Pall Europe
  • Oxford Nanopore Technologies
  • MedPharm
  • Celgene

Placement year (optional)

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students. 

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.

Summer research placement

You'll also have the opportunity to apply to a study exchange scheme, which involves a summer research placement at a European university.

Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

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


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits, usually 20 or 40.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Outline the mechanisms underlying the process of evolution.
  • Recall how biodiversity has evolved over Earth's history.
  • Outline the Tree of Life and how phylogenetic relationships can be reconstructed.
  • Summarise the characteristics and evolution of archaea, bacteria, fungi, algae and protists.
  • Define the evolutionary relationships between and within major metazoan phyla and list their features.
  • Summarise the evolution of land plants and list the features of major groups.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Acquire core laboratory practical skills, recognise that safety procedures must be complied with in the lab, identify and implement good laboratory practice (GLP).
  • Demonstrate skills in statistical methods, including mean, mode, median, STdev, data management, statistics programs, regression correlation, Chi-squared, T-test and ANOVA methods.
  • Rigorously communicate experimental findings in written form, and appropriately place them within the wider context of relevant scientific literature.

The learning outcomes of this module are to be confirmed.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe and explain the origins of eukaryotic cells.
  • Describe the biochemistry and cellular function of lipids , nucleic acids and proteins.
  • Describe and explain the endomembrane system and its role in the synthesis of secreted protein.
  • Describe and understand the basic laboratory techniques to analyse specialised cells in multicellular eukaryots.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Become competent in basic microbiology laboratory skills, such as aseptic technique, preparation and maintenance of pure cultures, Gram-staining and microscopy.
  • Define the main types of microbiology culture media and identify the main methods of sterilisation and decontamination.
  • Describe and understand the main concepts of microbiology, including diversity of microbial life, pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, microbial growth requirements, control of microbial growth, diversity and replication of viruses.
  • Recall and understand the structure and organisation of genetic material and explain the mechanisms of inheritance.
  • Describe and understand the processes of DNA replication, transcription and translation.
  • Recall and understand the control of cellular processes at the molecular level and the nature of genetic damage and its repair.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe key experimental approaches that have been used to understand the roles of various biological molecules.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the scientific method as displayed by Nobel prize winning research.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a range of important biochemical terms and ideas.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic chemical concepts and application of data analysis.

Core modules

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Reinforce theory of tissue staining, observation and description and Western blotting using antibodies.
  • Explain the mechanisms involved in cell communication.
  • Illustrate the cellular and genetic mechanisms of cell-cycle regulation, differentiation, and cancer.
  • Review the cellular mechanisms of immunity.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the structure and function of enzymes.
  • Analyse enzyme kinetics from practicals and workshops.
  • Develop a wide and deep understanding of key metabolic processes.
  • Build practice and experience in finding, interpreting and communicating information on enzymes.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate appraisal of the main theories behind and evaluate data generated from, a typical gene cloning and protein expression experiment.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theory behind methods for generating transgenic organisms and their applications.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the practical skills and theory behind gene cloning and protein expression techniques by presenting the data obtained in a group presentation format with individual questioning.
  • Discuss the principles of protein structure and discuss the relationship between structure and function.
  • Discuss the principles and practice of macromolecular purification and protein characterisation.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in research skills.
  • Plan the experimental approach for a scientific investigation, including ethics and risk assessment.
  • Analyse and interpret scientific data.
  • Communicate results from scientific research in writing and graphical form.

Optional modules

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to generate and integrate a variety of business information in an oral presentation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to generate and integrate a variety of business information in written form.
  • Interpret business information in the preparation of a convincing argument for the success of a small business venture.
  • Demonstrate successful cooperative working using enhanced communication, problem solving and team working skills.
  • CoReflect on your own and others' performance to constructively make "Smart Actions" for the future.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe the phases of vertebrate/human development from fertilisation to organogenesis and explain differences between vertebrates.
  • Discuss key concepts in the mechanisms of embryonic development.
  • Describe experimental strategies in developmental biology and discuss the use of model organisms.
  • Independently study a current problem in developmental biology.
  • Design a team presentation on experimental approaches and suitable models.
  • Apply basic laboratory skills in tissue preparation, observation and description.
  • Discuss the application of developmental biology in understanding birth defects and in regenerative medicine.

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Develop an understanding of the big issues and contemporary debates in education and teaching.

  • Apply the fundamental concepts of teaching and learning theory to the planning and evaluation of a lesson plan.

  • Understand the importance of safeguarding children.

  • Reflect on current developments in teaching and learning.

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Show competence in safe and effective handling of microorganisms in the laboratory and be able to independently obtain, analyse and evaluate data.
  • Understand the differences between bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses, and appreciate their diversity and different roles in environmental processes, global health and disease.

  • Synthesise knowledge of microbial metabolic activities and the environmental effects in functional microbial ecology.

  • Recall and understand microbial physiology and growth, and how this affects the environment and industrially relevant applications.

  • Critically evaluate and reflect upon the evolution and phylogeny of microbial life.

  • Develop an awareness of critical environmental issues in microbiology - such as nutrient cycle alterations associated with climate change and antimicrobial resistance in food chains.

Core modules

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Analyse and interpret data reflecting gene expression processes and techniques to analyse these.
  • Critically analyse and interpret experimental data in eukaryotic genome organisation and gene expression.
  • Discuss the processes involved in the expression of a gene from DNA to protein.
  • Discuss the mechanisms by which eukaryotic gene expression can be regulated at different levels.
  • Evaluate experimental techniques for analysing genome organisation and gene expression.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically evaluate strategies to sequence human genomes.
  • Evaluate the application of genomics to the analysis of normal and diseased gene function.
  • Explain the concept of the transcriptome and the epigenome and how it is used to explain genetic disease.
  • Analyse the wider application of genome analysis to complex, polygenic diseases and inherited traits.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Design an effective approach to investigate a significant topic or problem in their chosen area of study in accordance with current Health and Safety and ethical regulations.
  • Plan and organise their time in order to meet the requirements of the study.
  • Demonstrate skills in data handling and critical analysis of data using appropriate quantitative and qualitative tools.
  • Demonstrate an ability to interpret their own and other results in a critical manner, including demonstrating a level of expertise in the techniques used in the study appropriate to the acquisition of data.
  • Conduct an effective literature search using the relevant library and electronic databases.
  • Produce a report and poster of professional standard to stated specifications in a given time.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically appraise the methods for determining biomolecular structure at atomic resolution.
  • A critical appreciation of the means to investigate biomolecular interactions.
  • Describe the significance of, and investigations into, biomolecular kinetics.
  • Demonstrate the application of biophysical methods to probing thermodynamics.

Optional modules

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the major developmental mechanisms in embryos from a range of model organisms.
  • Assess the relationship between developmental biology and evolution.
  • Propose appropriate experimental systems to investigate specific problems in developmental biology.
  • Analyse and interpret data relating to developmental biology.
  • Critically assess the main lines of reasoning in landmark papers in developmental biology.
  • Identify and access relevant literature and information sources including online databases.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Understand the nature and interactions of whole microbial communities in environmental and host systems.
  • Gain an overview of modern approaches and techniques to study microbes in their natural habitats.

  • Appreciate the critical functions of microbes in key Earth and host systems.

  • Acquire basic skills in bioinformatic/computational analyses of microbiome data.

  • Prepare a written report of a laboratory investigation, incorporating a critical discussion of the findings and supported by background research.

Optional modules

This is an optional sandwich (placement) year.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify and demonstrate skills developed in the work place (e.g. professional autonomy and accountability, language and/or interpersonal communication, time management and planning, assessment and analytical skills – while evaluating the impact of your actions).

  • Demonstrate the ability to manage and complete tasks in a business/work environment relevant to your course, with an appropriate level of skill, initiative, independence and performance.
  • Identify and reflect on your learning experience and the relevance of this learning to future employability and personal development, identifying areas for improvement or further training.
  • Evaluate how work placement activities relate to knowledge and practice covered on your course, and/or broader perspectives on the world of work.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify and demonstrate skills developed through the study abroad placement (e.g. professional autonomy and accountability, language and/or interpersonal communication, time management and planning, assessment and analytical skills – while evaluating the impact of your actions).
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage and complete tasks in a business/work environment relevant to your course, with an appropriate level of skill, initiative, independence and performance.
  • Identify and reflect on your learning experience and the relevance of this learning to future employability and personal development, identifying areas for improvement or further training.
  • Evaluate and communicate how the study placement activities relate to knowledge and practice covered on your course, and/or broader international perspectives.

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

  • coursework, essays and write-ups
  • presentations
  • online exams
  • data analysis problems
  • research project
  • written exams
  • multiple choice tests

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.



Teaching methods on this course include:

  • workshops
  • lectures
  • computer classes
  • seminars
  • practical lab work
  • one-on-one tutorials

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Biochemistry degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops and guided independent study sessions for about 13.5 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International (non-EU) students – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional course costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

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.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – C700
  • our institution code – P80

 Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.