Biochemistry is the study of the fundamental processes of life. Biochemists seek to answer questions about life, health, disease, the natural environment, and materials and compounds, using scientific techniques developed in chemistry and biology. After an initial grounding in chemistry, genetics, cell biology, microbiology and human physiology, you’ll learn the complex biochemical processes that underpin the very latest discoveries. Explore how biochemistry affects the quality of people’s lives, from the discovery of new drugs and the design of medical treatments to the industrialisation of laboratory processes. Our strong links with industry offer you fantastic opportunities to gain valuable experience during your placement year. This degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.
Eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry on graduation. All Biosciences graduates in Biochemistry are eligible for the Royal Society of Biology.
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.
Our Biosciences graduates are highly sought after by employers in the industry due to the reputation of our teaching, the vocational element to our degrees and the fact that many of our students already have a year's work experience when they graduate which they gained in the sandwich year. Graduates can find employment in the pharmaceutical, food and drink, agrochemical and biotechnology industries as well as in industrial, academic and charity funded research. Some graduates also go on to work in health care and environment agencies.
Typical job titles of recent graduates:
Trainee Biomedical Scientist,,
Clinical Trials Associate,
Drug Safety Coordinator,
Tissue Culture Technologist,
Donor Transplant Assistant.
Typical employers of recent graduates:
Denfleet Pharma Ltd,
Health Protection Agency,
What job can I get?
Our graduates are highly sought after. They find employment in the pharmaceutical, food and drink, agrochemical and biotechnology industries, as well as in industrial, academic and charity-funded research. Jobs include drug safety coordinator, lab scientist, microbiologist, research assistant and donor transplant assistant.
You will develop your capacity for independent study and interpersonal skills on this programme. There is an emphasis on structured research, well-prepared written and verbal presentations and computer literacy.
You will experience a wide variety of teaching styles on the programme including:
individual and group projects
In your final year you will normally have the opportunity to hone your independent study and interpersonal skills by undertaking a major project or dissertation.
If you are studying part-time you will have up to 7 years to complete your course from registration. You will complete 60 credits per year and the modules you will study each year will depend on how they fit together on the timetable. For some modules there are several sessions run for each workshop and practical. As a part-time student you will be able to choose the slots that fit best with when you are at the University for other teaching sessions
All Biosciences students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or study overseas in Europe or North America during their 3rd year.
Work placements are usually paid. Current employers and job titles are listed below:
GlaxoSmithKline: Data Management - Uxbridge,
Guy's Hospital: Drug Research Unit - London,
Imperial College: Toxicology Unit, Faculty of Medicine - London,
Medical Research Council - Mill Hill,
Medifix Adhesive Products - Luton,
Mount Vernon hospital: Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust Institute of Reconstructive, Plastic and Burns Surgery Research - Middlesex ,
MRC: Human Genome Project - Hinxton,
National Biological Standards Board - Potter's Bar,
Roche UK - Welwyn Garden City,
St. Bartholomew's & The Royal London: School of Medicine - London and St.George Medical School - London,
St.George's Hospital: Analytical Unit - London,
Syngenta Seeds - Cambridge,
University of Hertfordshire: Biodeterioration Centre - Hatfield.
This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in the Sandwich Year through the University's study abroad programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme. Find out more about Study abroad opportunities
Our overseas partners include:
Université Libre de Bruxelles - Brussels, Belgium,
Universidad de Alcalá de Henarez - Madrid, Spain,
Universidad Católica San Antonio De Murcia, Spain,
Linkping Universitetet - Linkping, Sweden,
Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen - Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Bemidji State University - USA,
Bishops University, Canada,
Central Connecticut State University - USA,
Concordia University, Canada,
Ecole Polytechnique - Canada,
ETS - Canada,
Kansas State University - USA,
Laval University - Canada,
McGill University - Canada,
Oklahoma State University - USA,
Sherbrooke University - Canada,
University of Missouri at Rolla - USA,
University of Montreal - Canada,
University of Oklahoma - USA,
University of Toledo - USA,
University of Wisconsin at Au Claire - USA,
University of Wisconsin at Whitewater - USA,
UQTR - Canada,
West Virginia University - USA.
Human Physiology with Pharmacology - 30 Credits
This module has been designed to provide students with an understanding of human physiology, enabling them to describe physiological processes at cell, tissue, organ and organism levels.
Topics covered will include:
* Homeostasis and control mechanisms
* Cell differentiation, basic tissues and musculature
* Nervous system (electrical signalling, autonomic nervous system and central nervous system)
* Cardiovascular system and blood
* Respiratory system
* Digestive system
* Renal system
* Endocrine system and reproduction
* Immune system
* Integrative physiology
* Basic pharmacology including receptor theory and pharmacokinetics to show how medicines may be effectively used to treat disease.
*Drug discovery, design and the process of drug development. The importance of clinical trials
Practical and Transferable Skills - 30 Credits
The content of this module is designed to develop:
Practical laboratory skills in:
o Safe laboratory practice
o Accurate pipetting and measurement, making up solutions.
o Measurement of pH
o Sample preparation, staining and microscopy
o DNA isolation and analysis
o Cell counting methodologies
o Chemistry methodologies to include purification, extraction, synthesis and analysis of biological molecules
o Analytical techniques including centrifugation, chromatography, spectroscopy and electrophoresis
o Use of dye-binding assays and standard curves in biological measurement
o Microbiology skills including aseptic technique, viable counting, diagnostic methods
o Enzyme activity assays and enzyme kinetic s methodology
o Measurement of physiological parameters
Transferable skills/Graduate attributes as follows:
o Mathematics required for biological calculations, statistical analysis, scientific recording, presentation of data, scientific writing, use of literature and literature searching, referencing, avoiding plagiarism
o Development of graduate attributes around research skills, professionalism, employability and enterprise.
Molecular Biology and Genetics - 15 Credits
The genetics component covers: Mendelian inheritance including meiosis and the production of primordial germ cells and gametes (oogenesis, spermatogenesis); linkage and basic human genetic epidemiology. The relationship of mutation to genetic variation and disease is included as well as an introduction to gene regulation. Molecular methods used to study DNA and inheritance are covered and the application of these methods to research, diagnosis and treatment of disease is discussed.
Molecular Structure and Reactivity - 15 Credits
The module covers aspects of :
Organic, structural and physical chemistry appropriate for the biochemical and pharmaceutical sciences
including: a study of the key organic functional groups, introductory kinetics and thermodynamics and their role
in the biomolecular and pharmaceutical sciences and an introduction to the chemistry associated with basic
This module will cover introductory chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, the structural basis of organic
chemistry and the relationship of physical properties to chemical structure and organisation, the properties of
solutions, buffers, electrolytes and associated properties (pH, pKa, LogP).
Core Biochemistry - 15 Credits
The module will provide an introduction to biochemistry and will also incorporate aspects of chemistry specific to the study of biological systems. Subjects covered will include: the structure of key macromolecules and how this relates to their function in a cell or organism; major catabolic and anabolic pathways and their integration including glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, the TCA cycle, substrate and oxidative phosphorylation, oxidation of fatty acids, storage and mobilisation of glycogen, triglyceride storage and mobilisation, proteins for energy; kinetics including Michaelis-Menton kinetics of enzymes and the calculation of key enzyme parameters; radioactivity and its application to the study of biochemistry, thermodynamics and its application to bioenergetics.
Cell and Microbiology - 15 Credits
The module will cover key areas of cell biology and microbiology: the nature of cells, how they grow, their organization and classification.
Key topics covered will include the following:
1. How genetic information in cells is converted into functioning components.
2. The structure and nature of cells (prokaryotes and eukaryotes) with an emphasis on cell components and functions.
a. The structure and components of bacteria and viruses with relation to their identification and disease causing ability.
b. The basic principles of microbial growth.
c. Microbes as infectious agents; transmission and control to include basic principles of public health and epidemiology.
d. An introduction into fungi and their benefits and harm
e. An introduction into the organization and behaviour of eukaryotic cells
Bioscience Research Methods - 15 Credits
In this module the principles and methods that underpin ethical scientific research are explored. This knowledge provides a foundation upon which students can build in order to successfully complete their final year project and contributes to the professional development of the student as a bioscientist. A knowledge of research methods enables students to: build new sets of critical thinking skills that can be used to better comprehend the academic literature; and to test established theory as well as recognise new questions that need to be investigated. A very important aspect of this course is that it provides an overview of the reality of being a researcher and can therefore help students with their career choice.
Principles of Immunology - 15 Credits
Anatomy and physiology of the immune system: cells, primary and secondary lymphoid tissues, leukocyte circulation and key phenomena including; chemotaxis, opsonisation, phagocytosis, inflammation, antigen processing and clonal expansion. Natural immunity: role of phagocytic cells, the complement system, cytokines, chemokines and the acute inflammatory response. Hypersensitivity reactions. Adaptive immunity: antigen specificity of B and T cells. Antibody structure and effector functions. T cell subsets; antigen processing and presentation to T cells, the role of the major histocompatibility complex. T-helper cell subpopulations and cytokines in determining the immune response. Immunity to microbial pathogens including bacteria, and viruses. Vaccine design strategies. Inflammation: immunology of chronic inflammation; immunopathology of selected chronic inflammatory diseases. Anti-inflammatory therapies; steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Genes and Genomes - 15 Credits
Chromosome structure, gene organisation and regulation of expression including basic intercellular signalling, epigenetics, transcription factors, differential mRNA processing and microRNA. Gene and gene family evolution. Repetitive DNA sequences. The elucidation of the organisation of eukaryotic genomes from DNA
reassociation kinetics to the human genome sequence. Whole genome analyses and comparative genomics.
Recombinant DNA technology and the manipulation of DNA. Introduction to databases and bioinformatics tools and resources for the analysis of biological sequence data. Methods for the analysis of DNA and RNA (including real-time PCR, DNA microarrays, mouse knockout technology, RNAi). Cytogenetics. Principles of population genetics, DNA polymorphism and human diseases. An introduction to pharmacogenetics, personalised medicine and molecular diagnostics.
Cell and Molecular Biology - 15 Credits
Functions of proteins in the cell. Relationship between protein structure and function. Protein structure and disease. Introduction to protein transport. Techniques for protein purification and characterisation: liquid column chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry. Proteomics.
Signal transduction pathways in eukaryotic cells (including G-protein coupled pathways, pathways involving receptor tyrosine kinases, cytokine-activated pathways, cell death pathways) and how they affect cell proliferation, differentiation, motility and viability. Cell division and cell cycle regulation. Functional units of the cellular cytoskeleton and their dynamic organisation.
Chemistry and Analytical Science - 30 Credits
The module builds on first year chemistry foundations to prepare students for final year study of advanced biochemical and molecular biology topics. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the analysis of organic compounds including chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques together with an ability to interpret the data thus generated. An understanding of the chemical structure and reactivity of some organic molecules of biological relevance will be communicated. Students will gain practical experience of the synthesis and characterisation of organic molecules and techniques for their analysis.
Bioscience Work Experience - 15 Credits
This module provides opportunities for the student to reflect on the experience they have gained in undertaking paid or voluntary employment outside their studies, to analyse the personal and key skills that work experience has helped develop and to articulate the ways in which it has enhanced their career development. Suitable work experience would include: student ambassadors, UH mentoring schemes, voluntary work organised by the UHSU Volunteer Centre and any part-time work. Students will compile a portfolio of evidence, which will include: evidence of the work undertaken, e.g. a letter from the company, the student's role within the company and the nature of the tasks undertaken, a reflective evaluation on the ways in which the work experience has enhanced the student's employability, and a current curriculum vitae. This module will also offer an array of potential opportunities for continuing development of their personal transferable skills.
Biochemistry - 30 Credits
The module will build on the core biochemistry studied at level 4. Metabolic pathways including those involved in carbohydrate and lipid assimilation, their integration with catabolic pathways and importance in selected metabolic states will be considered. Nitrogen metabolism will also be considered including the process of protein degradation. Selected metabolic pathways involved in disease will also be explored. In addition the role of selected vitamins and cofactors in metabolism will be addressed. Enzyme regulation and inhibition will be considered including the methods involved in their study, the determination of Ki values, and their importance in the treatment of disease. The regulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression and the regulatory mechanisms involved in translation, including the role of transcription factors and how they regulate gene expression will be explored. The module will also cover the interaction of small molecules with macromolecules.
Project - 30 Credits
The Project provides the opportunity for extended, in-depth study on a selected aspect from those disciplines within the Bioscience Programme and may address one or more of the School’s research objectives. Projects may be laboratory or non-laboratory based and the experimental work will be of 22 days duration but all students are encouraged to work on their project preparation from the beginning of their final year.
All students have a University supervisor allocated to them in the level 5 module, Bioscience Research Methods. Tutorials with supervisors will include discussion on aims, objectives current theories, research design, data collection and analysis, and the structure of the report. Lectures/ workshop sessions provide support in aspects of analysis and presentation of results.
Molecular Medicine - 15 Credits
The use of various host organisms and gene modifications for the production of heterologous proteins - expression systems in bacteria, fungi and animal cell culture systems, gene re-engineering for purification and expression; antibody engineering, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, Fab, Fv, humanisation of mouse antibodies, recombinant phage antibody (phage display) for the production of ScFv antibodies and applications. The molecular basis of selected diseases will include diseases such as AIDS, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease. Embryonic induced pluripotent stem cells and tissue specific stem cells will be discussed.
Cell Differentiation and Development - 30 Credits
This module will provide an advanced understanding of the biochemical/molecular basis of cellular differentiation and development. Genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques of investigation will be considered in relation to studying gene regulation and discovering new genes, proteins & signalling pathways involved in aspects of development. Mechanisms of gene expression and control will be considered. Differentiation and development in microbial cells (e.g. B. subtilis and yeast) is considered including extrapolations from yeasts to understanding aspects of human cell molecular biology. C. elegans as a model for microbial pathogenesis (innate immunity) will be covered. Differentiation & development in multicellular organisms will be covered including a discussion of the role of stem cells, body plans (dorsal/ventral; anterior/posterior; left/right axis formation) cell fate determination, cell polarity mechanisms and cell-cell communication. The major ligand-receptor systems involved in development will be considered including a discussion of their role in embryology and human disease.
Applied and Integrated Molecular Science - 15 Credits
The module will bring together theory and practice in molecular biology and biochemistry equipping students to apply an integrative approach to areas such as enzyme technology, clinical diagnostics, and protein synthesis and purification. The practical work will typically include analysis of nucleic acids, protein analysis and immunochemical techniques. Applications of bioinformatics will also be included. The students will have the opportunity to design and implement experiments to answer a scientific question. Skills in the evaluation, interpretation and communication of data will also be developed.
Advanced Biochemistry - 30 Credits
The module covers advanced aspects of biomolecular structure/function, aspects of cellular regulatory mechanisms and techniques used to study those aspects. Biomolecular examples are taken from the areas of lipid membranes, membrane proteins, ligand-binding proteins and protein engineering, while mechanisms discussed are from the areas of protein folding, trafficking, post-translational modification, degradation, signal transduction and metabolic control. Laboratory and computer-based techniques required to investigate biomolecular systems and mechanisms are covered in lectures and/or practical sessions. Experimental and computational structural biology techniques, advanced kinetics and site-directed mutagenesis are addressed.
Year Abroad: Bioscience - 0 Credits
Learning and teaching methods may include taught courses, a research project, field studies or a mixture of
these components. The Year Abroad will be for two academic semesters or their equivalent. The students will
therefore follow a programme negotiated by the Associate Head of School or nominee and an equivalent
representative of the host institution. Prior to commencement of the Year Abroad, the student, the programme
officers from the University of Hertfordshire and from the host institution will agree a learning agreement and
mode of attendance.
Sandwich Placement; Bioscience - 0 Credits
The sandwich placement will provide students with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in the taught years of the degree in a work-based situation. The
establishment will appoint a work-place supervisor, and the student will also have a University supervisor. During the placement the student will return to the University to a one day Symposium which all placement students attend. During this day they will present a poster about their placement and attend talks on future employment.
In particular, all students will spend a minimum of 36 weeks on placement. Applied Biomedical Students will spend a minimum of 36 weeks on a training placement in an approved diagnostic laboratory performing routine diagnostic tests. In the process they will: gain an understanding of the workings of a professional, clinical laboratory; develop the skills necessary to be an independent and safe practitioner; perform various analyses in order to demonstrate competence in the use of specialist laboratory equipment.
Fees & funding
£9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
£1155 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year
£12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year
£1540 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year
£30 deposit for chemistry locker covering years 1 and 2 of study – refundable
There are no other compulsory additional expenses for this course. Where you will use an EVS handset, Lab coats and log books, these will be provided as part of your course fees.
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
Including 2 science GCE A Levels (or equivalent) one of which must be a grade C in Chemistry (acceptable Science A levels are Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Maths, Physics, Geography, Psychology, ICT, Sports Studies).
BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science with a minimum DMM profile to include a minimum of 4 chemistry-titled units at merit or above.
Access to Science
Access to Science Diploma with a merit profile in 45 credits at Level 3, 12 of which must be in Chemistry titled modules with a minimum of merit grade.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
IB offer 104 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above to include chemistry and one other Science (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core) Plus GCSE English language, mathematics and double science at grade 4 (C) or above (or 2 single sciences).
A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is required for those for whom English is not their first language.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.