The unique aspect of Biochemistry at the University of Surrey was the chance to get a taste of real life by doing a professional placement. The diversity of the programme enabled me to gain insight into different scientific fields such as pharmacology, molecular biology and genetics. As a result of this, I was able to decide where in this vast field my specific interests lie.
We now know the order of the three billion letters of genetic code that make up the human genome. But what do they mean? By answering one question, we have created thousands of new ones. In addition to their traditional roles in areas such as clinical diagnosis and pharmacological research and development, biochemists will be responsible for tackling many of these questions.
Biochemistry encompasses the study of the chemical changes needed for life processes, such as providing energy and building block molecules from our diet, so that we may grow, move and reproduce. Biochemistry is the study of the fundamental processes of life at the cellular level. It is, therefore, the most important and broadest of the life sciences, dealing with subjects such as cellular chemistry, as well as the Human Genome Project.
As a Biochemistry degree student, you will be uniquely prepared to work at the forefront of these developments. You will gain extensive practical skills in our internationally renowned, research-oriented environment, and upon graduation, you will be among the most employable graduates in the UK.
Our Biochemistry degree programme offers you the opportunity to specialise within the exciting areas of medical biochemistry, pharmacology, neuroscience and toxicology, with a broad base at the beginning of your programme followed by later opportunities for specific module choices. We also offer you optional modules from other related degree programmes including Microbiology, Nutrition and Biomedical Science.
Our Biochemistry programme is designed to make you a well-rounded, knowledgeable and eminently employable biological scientist. You will develop the intellectual foundations and practical experience to enter the exciting world of the new biology, as well as the transferable skills to make you successful in other fields such as management, medicine and teaching.
This programme will give you a very sound and broad background in biochemistry. You will have opportunities to familiarise yourself with state-of-the-art biochemical methodology and sample some of its most exciting applications.
The modular structure of our programme, with a broad base at the beginning, ample opportunities for specialisation at the end, and the professional placement in the middle, will give you both breadth and in-depth knowledge. This is part of the secret behind the outstanding employability of our graduates. You will have the chance to choose from a wide variety of specialised subjects, allowing optimum flexibility to create particular module combinations according to your own interests and aspirations. As a versatile and knowledgeable biochemist, you will have a broad choice of careers upon graduation.
In Year 1, you will be given a broad base of knowledge and skills. You will study eight core modules. Much of the teaching is practical-based, taking place in our state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. Starting from the basis of A-level Chemistry, you will be guided towards the specific chemistry of biological molecules and biological processes. You will also follow other key modules, covering topics such as Microbiology, Cell Biology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics.
The majority of our students choose to do our Professional Training placement year – and for very good reasons. Our experienced Professional Training tutors will help you to apply to and choose between a selection of excellent placements in industry, hospitals and academia.
During Year 2, you will be exposed to more in-depth knowledge where you will apply basic theories to more complex scenarios in problem-solving exercises. You will study subjects such as Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Physiology in greater depth, and acquaint yourself with important novel subjects such as Pharmacology and Immunology, all of which are important in preparing you for your Professional Training placement year. Finally, you will study numerous aspects of biochemistry itself, including Analytical Biochemistry, Enzymology and Metabolism in Health and Disease.
In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to tailor your own degree by choosing optional modules in specific topics that are of particular interest to you. You will be able to select specific module choices from the areas of Neuroscience, Toxicology, Pharmacology and Medical Biochemistry, all of which are supported by a strong teaching structure and state-of-the-art research.
The largest single component of the year is the research project, carried out as a member of a research group under the supervision of academic staff. This will give you the opportunity to explore a research area in which you are especially interested and develop specialised lab-based skills and experience.
Most of our Professional Training placements are salaried roles, with opportunities in the UK including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and research institutes. We also have an increasing number of international placements in institutions such as Cornell University, Washington State University, Harvard Medical School (USA), the University of Turku (Finland) and several other European universities.
We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study, which offers you the flexibility to study other subjects of interest. During your first year, a significant part of the teaching is spent in laboratory practicals. In the second year, this decreases to about a quarter of your time, whereas in your final year, you will be performing your own scientific research project, usually in one of our research laboratories.
On average you will have approximately 18 hours of contact time each week (lectures, practicals and tutorials), and you will also be expected to undertake private study such as laboratory write-ups, essays and other coursework.
Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.
Our teaching laboratories have recently been refurbished to provide you with state-of-the-art learning environments. You will spend a significant proportion of your time within them during your first and second years. In your final year, you will spend 25 per cent of your time on your research project. This research will be carried out in one of our 4*-rated research groups. Several million pounds has been spent on refurbishing and equipping these laboratories.
Our Biochemistry graduates are found in academic and industrial research laboratories throughout the world. You will also find them in the City, in schools, hospitals, cockpits, submarines and boardrooms. Look for us amongst the top universities for employment in the league tables.
The majority of our graduates go immediately into the job market, but further study comes a close second. This includes taught MSc programmes, PhD studentships and fast-track medical degree programmes.
Our graduates find jobs in a wide variety of health and life science industries, with recent examples including Quintiles (Clinical Trials Assistant), AstraZeneca (Analytical Chemist) and GlaxoSmithKline (Bioanalyst).
Our recent Biochemistry graduates have gone on to roles such as:
You will be allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and to advise on option and career choices, helping you to get the most from your studies with us. You will also be paired with a student from the year of study above you, so that you may benefit from their recent experience on the programme.
As a Biochemistry student at Surrey, you will be treated as an individual. You will feel welcome from your very first day, and our low student-to-tutor ratio ensures that you will get to know your personal tutor and other academic staff members well during your years with us.
Come to one of our Open Days, when you can tour the campus, speak to students and academic staff, see our student accommodation and ask as many questions as you like. In the meantime, order a personal prospectus – tailored to only include the subjects that interest you.
We offer a range of bursaries, scholarships and other financial support.
GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent). Two science/mathematics A-levels, including Chemistry.
Offers are normally made in terms of grades. Suitable candidates may be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.
Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill (or equivalent).
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
|Award||Course Length||Professional Training||UCAS code||KIS code|
|BSc (Hons)||3 years||C700||View KIS data set|
|BSc (Hons)||4 years||C700||View KIS data set|
Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.
See course information for students applying to start in September 2013.
Michael Bois, BSc Biochemistry, talks about his Professional Training placement year at Sanofi.