Biochemistry BSc (Hons) or MSci (Hons) – 2022 entry

Key information

Start date: October 2022

BSc (Hons) UCAS: C700

3 years

View KIS data set

BSc (Hons) UCAS: C702

4 years with professional training

View KIS data set

BSc (Hons) UCAS: C705

4 years with foundation year

View KIS data set

MSci (Hons) UCAS: C703

4 years

View KIS data set

BSc (Hons) UCAS: C706

5 years with foundation year and professional training

View KIS data set

MSci (Hons) UCAS: C704

5 years with professional training

View KIS data set

Why choose this course

  • Explore the fundamental processes of life at a cellular level, from simple existence to the coordination of billions of living cells, finding the answers to everyday questions like ‘Why do we feel ill after getting a Covid jab?’
  • Delve into advanced technologies in gene expression, clinical immunology and immunohaematology, human genetics, mechanistic toxicology and pharmacokinetics, neuroscience, virology and more.
  • Play a crucial role in the development of new treatments for a range of diseases, including cancer, studying the chemical and physical principles of living things and biological processes.
  • Learn from research-active biochemists who have expertise in ageing, genetic engineering, immunology, pharmacology, plasticity, sleep, toxicology and more.
  • Complete an integrated masters and a laboratory-based dissertation, exploring topics like antibody class switching in B cells and neurodegenerative diseases, in preparation for a technical research career in industry or academia.
  • Apply for one of our award-winning Professional Training Placements, which prepare students for roles in various sectors.
  • Enter the jobs market with confidence. Surrey was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

A week in the life of a biochemistry student

What you will study

Biochemistry is at the heart of life and the explanation of all life processes. Both health and disease, and ageing and development are complex biochemical processes. By understanding more about these, we can generate more effective ways to help humanity.

During your first two years, you’ll develop a broad understanding of biochemistry, its methodology and some of its most intriguing applications. You’ll get to choose optional modules in bacteriology, biodiversity, neuroscience and virology.

In your third year, you’ll select five optional modules, exploring topics such as genetics, immunology, pharmacology, systems biology and toxicology. You’ll also complete a research project, bringing together all the practical, analytical and presentation skills you’ve developed. Previous students have had their work published in top-tier journals, including the European Journal of Neuroscience, the Journal of Virology and Sleep.

Facilities and experiments

You’ll benefit from hands-on learning in our Innovation for Health Learning Laboratory. Depending on the optional modules you chose, you’ll get to carry out some of the following experiments:

  • Buccal smear staining and analysis, using light microscopy
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Flow cytometry
  • Genomic polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Liquid-based cytology for cervical screening
  • Ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation, quantification and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
  • Thin-layer chromatography
  • Urinalysis.

Find out more about biochemistry experiments.

Teaching staff

We have a research-led focus to our teaching, ensuring everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to employers. You’ll be taught by staff who are active researchers. These may include:

Taster lectures

Integrated masters

You can choose to complete an integrated masters, which is an additional research-focused year of study. This will prepare you for a technical research career in industry or academia.

You’ll cover advanced techniques in biochemistry and you’ll further enhance your scientific communication skills.

During the year, you’ll be presented with:

  • Several therapy areas and drug targets that you’ll develop a portfolio review for. You’ll then present your work to industry experts in a bid for funding.
  • A research problem that you’ll propose a critical experimental plan for, incorporating a range of appropriate biochemical techniques.

You’ll also complete a laboratory-based dissertation investigating topics like:

  • Antibody class switching in B cells.
  • Structural cells (fibroblasts) in heart tissue and their role in the contraction of the heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes).
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (diseases characterised by the progressive death of areas of the brain).

Read our biochemistry project blog to find out more about what our students are researching.

Professional recognition

BSc (Hons) - Royal Society of Biology
Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting, in part, the academic and experience requirement of membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

Over the last decade, our employment figures have been among the best in the UK. This was a key factor in Surrey being named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Typical graduate roles include:

  • Clinical data managers
  • Clinical research associates
  • Clinical trial associates
  • Customer service analysts
  • Pharmacy assistants
  • Quality engineers
  • Research laboratory assistants.

Our alumni can be found in academic and industrial research laboratories around the world, with recent graduates working for:

  • inVentiv Health
  • Novartis
  • Sanofi
  • The Body Shop International plc.
  • The Institute of Cancer Research.

Many of our graduates also go on to PhD study, or apply for graduate dentistry and medicine courses.

Once you’ve graduated, you can also apply for associate membership with the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

Find out more about biochemistry careers on the Prospects website.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

Modules

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.

We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2021/22. This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available. 

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:

Optional modules for Foundation - FHEQ Level 3

For further information relating to FHEQ levels 4, 5 and 6, including learning outcomes, aims and module information please view the BSc (Hons) Biochemistry.

Timetables

Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).

Teaching

Your teaching will be delivered through a combination of:

  • Group work (e.g. discussion groups)
  • Laboratory-based practicals
  • Lectures
  • Online learning
  • Role plays
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials.

Outside of these, you’ll be expected to carry out independent study, including coursework, essays, laboratory write-ups and reading.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.

Assessment

We use a variety of methods to assess you, including coursework, essays, examinations (essay questions and multiple choice), practical write-ups and presentations.

Contact hours

BSc (Hons)

  • In your first year, you’ll have approximately 20-25 contact hours each week. You’ll spend a significant part of your first-year teaching in laboratory-based practicals.
  • In your second year, you’ll have approximately 15-20 contact hours each week.
  • In your final year, you’ll have approximately 15 contact hours each week. In addition, you’ll be expected to spend a minimum of one full day each week working on your research project.

MSci (Hons)

You’ll have the same contact hours as the bachelors course (above), in addition to:

  • 36 contact hours each week in Semester 1.
  • Completing your research project in Semester 2.

Entry requirements

A-level

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): BBC.
    • Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry at grade B and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.
  • MSci (Hons): BBB.
    • Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Foundation year: A-level CCD (or equivalent) to include one Science A-level.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at grade C(4) (or equivalent).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): DMM in Applied Science (please contact us if you are taking a different BTEC).
  • MSci (Hons): DDM in Applied Science (please contact us if you are taking a different BTEC).

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): 31.
    • Required subjects: HL5/SL6 in Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics.
  • MSci (Hons): 32.
    • Required subjects: HL5/SL6 in Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English and Maths HL4/SL4. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): 72%.
    • Required subjects: At least 7.5 in Biology or Chemistry and at least 7.5 in a second science or Mathematics (5 Period).
  • MSci (Hons): 75%.
    • Required subjects: At least 7.5 in Biology or Chemistry and at least 7.5 in a second science or Mathematics (5 Period)..

GCSE or equivalent: English 6 (Language 1/2) or 7 (Language 3), and Mathematics 6. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): QAA-recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits overall including 21 at Distinction and 24 at Merit.
    • Required subjects: This must include 15 credits in Biology or Chemistry and 15 credits in a second science or Mathematics.
  • MSci (Hons): 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit - 45 Level 3 credits overall including 27 at Distinction and 18 at Merit.
    • Required subjects: This must include 15 credits in Biology or Chemistry and 15 credits in a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Scottish Highers

Overall: 

  • BSc (Hons): BBBBB.
    • Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics.
  • MSci (Hons): ABBBB.
    • Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Maths Scottish National 5 - C. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with BBC from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics ­– Numeracy as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. Please check the A-level drop down for the required GCSE levels.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

This route is only applicable to the MSci course. 

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will receive our standard A-level offer, plus an alternate offer of one A-level grade lower, subject to achieving an A grade in the EPQ. The one grade reduction will not apply to any required subjects.

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

We normally make offers in terms of grades.

If you are a suitable candidate you may be invited to an Applicant Day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.

Foundation

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, you may be able to apply for this course with a foundation year. This is an extra year of study, designed to develop your skills and make it easier for you to get started on a biochemistry degree. Watch a short video with Programme Leader, Dr Robert Hatch, to discover more about the about our biochemistry foundation year.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please contact Admissions on +44 (0)1483 682222 with any queries.

Fees

The annual tuition fees for courses starting in October 2022

BSc (Hons)

UK £9,250

Overseas £23,100

BSc (Hons) (with professional training year)

UK £9,250

Overseas £23,100

Professional training To be confirmed

BSc (Hons) (with foundation year)

UK £9,250

MSci (Hons)

UK £9,250

Overseas £23,100

BSc (Hons) (with foundation and professional training year)

UK £9,250

Professional training To be confirmed

MSci (Hons) (with professional training year)

UK £9,250

Overseas £23,100

Professional training To be confirmed

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

  • Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms. 
  • Fees for EU students: The UK is now no longer part of the EU, we are awaiting further instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. Find out more information about Studying in the UK and the Scholarships for EU students.
  • Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements. 
  • Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements. 

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.

Payment schedule

  • Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
  • International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
    • 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
    • 50% in January of the same academic year.

The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.

If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.

Professional Training placement fees

If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.

See the information about 2022/23 academic year Professional Training placement fee.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this course:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £20 – equipment pack (includes laboratory coat, laboratory glasses, laboratory book, pen and padlock). You are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing/replacing any equipment.

Grand total: £20

These additional costs are accurate as of September 2020 and apply to the 2021 year of entry. Costs for 2022 entry will be published in September 2021.

Scholarships and bursaries


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

Placements

You have the option to complete a Professional Training placement as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, helping to prepare you for your future career.

A significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.

Biochemistry placements

You can choose to work for a range of employers, including:

  • Biotechnology companies
  • Food suppliers
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical organisations.

We also have an extensive number of partner institutions that offer placements exclusively to Surrey students, giving you access to research laboratories across the world. These include:

  • Gothenburg University, Sweden
  • Medical University of Lublin, Poland
  • Ramón y Cajal Health Research Institute, Madrid, Spain
  • University of Turku, Finland
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
  • University of California, San Francisco, USA.

You can also explore your transferrable skills by working in other fields, like scientific communications, marketing and data analysis.

Applying for placements

You can apply for numerous opportunities via an open and free-to-all process. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way.

Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement.

Find out about more about the application process.

Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and procedures, the student regulations , and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) from the 2020/2021 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.

Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.

Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us and before you accept an offer. Read more.

In particular we wish to draw your intention to the following matters affecting the academic year 2021/2022:

  • Covid-19 - In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/2021 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach, details of which can be found here [link]. It is anticipated that these programme changes and the hybrid learning approach will be adopted throughout the academic year 2021/2022, however, given the changing nature of the pandemic, this is being kept under continuous review. Detailed information on all changes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is available at the coronavirus course changes page. The linked pages set out information relating to general University changes and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
  • Brexit - The UK is now no longer part of the EU. We are awaiting further information and instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. EU students applying for programmes in the academic year 2021/2022 and students applying for courses with placements abroad should visit our dedicated webpages for the latest information on how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect their courses.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Placement location

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.

University of Surrey Admissions
Contact Admissions Team
Address

University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey GU2 7XH