BSc Medical Biochemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Our BSc Medical Biochemistry course looks at the functioning of normal and diseased organisms from a biochemical point of view.

You will receive a fundamental grounding in the principles of biochemistry, such as protein structure and function.

As you progress, optional course units may show you how biochemistry allows us to understand and treat diseases. Subject areas include the molecular biology of cancer, cell cycle control and genetic diseases.

This course is designed for biochemists considering a career in research into the biochemical basis of disease and therapeutic medicine.

Special features

A range of study options

You can extend your degree by a year to undertake an  integrated master's  or gain  industrial/professional experience .

It is possible to broaden your degree by taking units from the University College , Business and Management for all Programmes or the University Language Centre in exchange for a few units from your degree.

Foundation year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our  foundation course  first.

Flexibility to transfer between courses

You can transfer between most of our biological sciences degree courses at the end of your first year or, in some cases, later.

Teaching and learning

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit.

These range from lectures and tutorials to practical and research projects, including the  final year project .

Find out more about how you will learn and see a typical Year 1 timetable on our  teaching and learning  page.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. 

  • Lecture units are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), which are held at the end of an academic semester in either January or May/June.
  • Field courses are usually assessed via oral and written presentations, group work and/or projects.
  • Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam.
  • The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.

Year 1

Lecture units are usually assessed by e-learning activities during the unit and multiple choice exams at the end of the semester. 

If you wish to continue on the modern language or industrial/professional experience course, you must normally obtain a mean mark of at least 60% in Year 1.

Year 1 contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

Year 2 contributes 30% to your overall degree mark.

Final year

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam. Students also take two 'honours' papers: degree programme-specific examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems.

A significant part of the year (accounting for one-quarter of the overall degree mark) is the project, which is assessed by literature review and a written report.

The final year contributes 60% to your overall degree mark.

Course unit details

This course is modular. You will study compulsory course units and choose some optional units.

Most units are assigned 10 credits and you will take 120 credits each year.

Course content for year 1

You will gain a broad introduction to biological sciences, covering key concepts such as:

  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • pharmacology
  • molecular biology.

You will also study chemistry topics relevant to biology.

Year 1 also provides an introduction to the essential data handling and laboratory skills required for all biological scientists.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 1 BIOL10000 10 Mandatory
Biochemistry BIOL10212 10 Mandatory
Molecular Biology BIOL10221 10 Mandatory
From Molecules to Cells BIOL10232 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Laboratory Science BIOL10401 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Molecular & Cellular Biology BIOL10412 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Mandatory
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 10 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 10 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 10 Mandatory
A History of Biology in 20 Objects BIOL10381 10 Optional
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Optional
Microbes, Man and the Environment BIOL10532 10 Optional
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 10 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. You will also undertake a dissertation.

In the Research Skills unit, you have the opportunity to carry out techniques that are widely used in current biological science research.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 2 BIOL20000 10 Mandatory
Molecular and Cellular Biology EDM BIOL21041 10 Mandatory
Dissertation BIOL21090 10 Mandatory
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Mandatory
Proteins BIOL21111 10 Mandatory
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Mandatory
Molecules and Cells in Human Disease BIOL21351 10 Mandatory
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Mandatory
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Optional
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Endocrinology BIOL21261 10 Optional
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Final year topics reflect the current hotspots of bioscience endeavour and the research interests of our staff, and are constantly being updated.

You will undertake an independent in-depth  research project  that may involve supervised practical work in a laboratory, or you may choose to work on e-learning, educational, data analysis, bioinformatics or enterprise topics. 

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 3 BIOL30000 0 Mandatory
Projects BIOL30030 30 Mandatory
Project Literature Review BIOL30101 10 Mandatory
Biochemical Basis of Disease (E) BIOL31332 10 Mandatory
Post-Genome Biology (L) BIOL31301 10 Optional
Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E) BIOL31311 10 Optional
Glycobiology: Glycan Function in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31321 10 Optional
Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L) BIOL31341 10 Optional
Advanced Immunology (E) BIOL31371 10 Optional
Gene Regulation & Disease (E) BIOL31381 10 Optional
Protein Sorting (L) BIOL31411 10 Optional
Cell Signalling (E) BIOL31441 10 Optional
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Human Reproductive Biology (E) BIOL31561 10 Optional
Advanced Endocrinology (L) BIOL31571 10 Optional
Cardiovascular Systems (E) BIOL31582 10 Optional
Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E) BIOL31602 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Cell Adhesion (L) BIOL31771 10 Optional
Immune Response & Disease (E) BIOL31802 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 22 course units for year 3

What our students say

The choice of units we get is astounding. These units all tend to have some sort of applicability towards a clinical setting and allow you to get a degree which is really finely honed in a certain field of biology.

I'm looking forward to taking the Molecular Biology of Cancer lecture unit, as I wrote my dissertation on this subject and found it interesting. I never thought I'd be able to enjoy writing a ten-page essay!

Dom Trewartha

I enjoyed the variety of modules we were able to take in Year 1, as it gave us a broad understanding in different fields of biology.

The tutorials were my favourite part of the course because the topic of discussion was very specific to my course and I enjoyed how it challenged me to think and learn in different ways.

Courtney Thwaites

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the  Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog .

Facilities

Learning facilities

Our modern teaching labs are equipped for a range of biological and biomedical techniques. The following are just a few of the techniques you could undertake during your degree:

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • DNA sequencing
  • gel electrophoresis
  • spectrophotometry
  • dissection and histology
  • electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG)
  • immunofluorescence microscopy.

Our computing facilities include access to over 200 PCs in dedicated clusters and e-learning tools including online lecture notes, discussion boards, lecture podcasts and quizzes.

You will also have access to the University's other  facilities for undergraduate students .

Research facilities

As a final year student, you have the opportunity to undertake a project in the labs of our world-class bioscience researchers.

To support our research, we have extensive  research facilities  equipped with high-quality technology.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk