Biochemistry BSc (Hons) – 2017 entry

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.

What you'll study

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 solving one question, we have created thousands of new ones. Biochemists seek to unravel the answers.

Programme overview

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 fascinating subjects such as:

  • Cellular biochemistry
  • Metabolism
  • Enzymology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Neurobiology
  • Toxicology
  • Sleep

As a Biochemistry degree student, you will gain extensive practical skills in our internationally renowned, research-­oriented environment so that you are prepared to work at the forefront of developments in this exciting field.

This programme will give you a very sound and broad background in biochemistry. You will have opportunities to familiarise yourself with state­of­the­art biochemical methodology and sample some of its most intriguing applications.

The modular structure of our programme, with a broad base at the beginning, ample opportunities for specialisation at the end, and the optional Professional Training placement in the middle, will give you both breadth and in-­depth knowledge.

This is part of the secret behind the outstanding employability record of our graduates.

You will have the chance to choose from a wide variety of specialised subjects, including the exciting areas of pharmacology, neuroscience and toxicology, allowing optimum flexibility for you to explore module combinations according to your own interests and aspirations.

Our Biochemistry programme is designed to make you a well­rounded, 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.

Read about the experiences of Biochemistry student Josephine Amosah.

New Engineering for Health courses

Our pioneering Engineering for Health programmes will be available to undergraduate students from 2017 and aim to address the challenges faced by the UK’s healthcare service. Discover more about our Engineering for Health project, which is designed to produce graduates who will drive the future of healthcare.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

In Year 1, you will develop a broad base of knowledge and skills. You will study eight core modules. 

Much of the teaching is practical and takes place in our state­of­the­art teaching laboratories. Starting from the basis of A­level 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.

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

During Year 2, you will gain more in­-depth knowledge and apply basic theories to more complex scenarios via problem­-solving exercises.

You will study subjects such as molecular biology, 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.

Finally, you will study numerous aspects of biochemistry itself, including analytical biochemistry, enzymology and metabolism in health and disease.

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

The majority of our students choose to undertake a Professional Training placement to gain vital work experience and develop professional skills required by employers.

Most of our Professional Training placements are salaried roles, with opportunities in the UK including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and research institutes.

Recent placements have taken place at international institutions including Cornell University, Washington State University, Harvard Medical School (USA), the University of Turku (Finland) and several other European universities.

Our experienced Professional Training tutors will help you apply to, and choose between, a selection of excellent placements in industry, hospitals and academia.

Watch a video featuring Biochemistry students on placement in America..

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to tailor your degree by choosing optional modules from the areas of neuroscience, toxicology, pharmacology and cancer, 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 of particular interest and develop specialised laboratory-­based skills and experience.

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Global opportunities

Our international exchange programme offers you the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university for either one semester or a full academic year as part of your degree.

For Biosciences students, this might be possible for one or two semesters during your second year at one of our partner institutions in the USA (for example Texas or Florida) or in Singapore.

The exchange programme enables you to study and live in another country, and earn credits that contribute towards your Surrey degree, without paying additional tuition fees.

It gives you the chance to broaden your horizons, meet other students from around the world and experience student life in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Studying abroad also enables you to become more independent, teaching you how to adapt and adjust to the culture and climate of another country.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. Students have travelled to the USA, Canada, Australia and many European countries, and typically work in a research laboratory at a partner institution.

If you work in another part of Europe in a foreign university laboratory you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement.

This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.

Learn more about the Erasmus programme or discover where our global opportunities can take you.


We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study. During your first year, a significant part of teaching time is spent in laboratory practicals, 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 20 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.

Watch a video of a Biochemistry laboratory session.


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.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 1 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 1 per cent medium group teaching
  • 20 per cent large group teaching
  • 78 per cent studying and revising in your own time


Our teaching laboratories have recently been refurbished to provide you with state­of­the­art 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.

Academic support

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 can 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.

Career opportunities

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.

The majority of our graduates go immediately into the job market, but further study comes a close second. This includes taught Masters programmes, PhD studentships and fast­-track medical degree programmes.

Graduate prospects

Our recent Biochemistry graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • AstraZeneca, Analytical Chemist
  • GlaxoSmithKline, Bioanalyst
  • Public Health England, Medical Technical Officer
  • Procter & Gamble, Researcher
  • Cancer Research UK, Junior Clinical Research Associate
  • Fast­track Medical School graduate entry
  • ICON, Clinical Project Administrator
  • Aventis Pasteur MSD, Pharmacovigilance Coordinator
  • Wockhardt UK, Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance Executive
  • Gloucester Hospital, Medical Laboratory Assistant
  • PhD studies

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

Applicants taking either Physics, Biology, Chemistry or Psychology, a pass in the Science Practical Certificate is desirable.

Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit - QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 Credits at Merit.

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent-74 per cent

International Baccalaureate

35-34 points

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB-Scottish Advanced Highers ABB/Scottish Highers AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA-Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AB

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above

Two Science A Levels which must include Chemistry and a second science (Applied Science, Biology, Further Maths, Human Biology, Maths, Physics or Psychology)

Selection process

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.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall (or equivalent)

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill (or equivalent)

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BSc (Hons) 3 years C700 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 years C702 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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