BSc Molecular Biology with a Modern Language / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Our BSc Molecular Biology with a Modern Language course will enable you to develop your language skills while studying the structure and function of biologically important molecules, giving you a range of theoretical knowledge and practical lab skills.

You will learn about DNA, RNA and proteins and the molecular events that govern cell function while exploring the relevant aspects of biochemistry, genetics and cell biology.

You will also find out how the completion of large genome projects has helped us to begin to understand the molecular basis of illnesses and use genetic manipulation in biotechnology to make valuable products including blood clotting factors, insulin and vaccines.

We offer French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin for the language component of the course, which includes a year abroad on a research placement.

Our course has Advanced Accreditation from the  Royal Society of Biology , which recognises academic excellence in the biosciences and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future.

Special features

Connect with other languages students

Learn alongside other students taking a variety of language degrees at the University, giving you the opportunity to practise your skills with your fellow students and make new friends.

Study abroad

Placements are available at 20 universities throughout Europe and in China and Japan.

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 sciences degree courses at the end of your first year or, in some cases, later. You can only transfer onto this course if you have completed the required language units in Year 1.

Teaching and learning

The course consists of two-thirds of biological sciences learning and one-third modern language learning. You will learn your modern language alongside other students taking a variety of language degrees at the University.

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 practicals 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.
  • 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. Year 1 contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam, and some units also include a coursework element. Year 2 contributes 30% to your overall degree mark.

Placement year

You will complete a scientific report and undergo an oral examination on your research that contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

You will be marked out of 110% for your whole degree.

Year 4

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

You will also take two honours papers and 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 through a presentation and a written report.

Year 4 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 science units are assigned 10 credits and you will take 120 credits each year.

For most languages, you will need to acquire 20 credits per year, but this can be higher for certain other languages, such as Japanese and Mandarin, which require 40 credits per year.

Course content for year 1

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

  • basic molecular biology
  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • microbiology

You will also study topics in chemistry that are relevant to biology.

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

You will spend approximately one-third of your time studying course units related to your chosen language.

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
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Mandatory
Microbes, Humankind and the Environment BIOL10532 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Health & Safety online course BIOL12000 0 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 10 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 10 Mandatory
Displaying 10 of 12 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 Science Communication unit.

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 Biology RSM BIOL20352 10 Mandatory
Molecular and Cellular Biology EDM BIOL21041 10 Mandatory
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Mandatory
Proteins BIOL21111 10 Mandatory
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Mandatory
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Mandatory
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Mandatory
Science Communication BIOL21392 10 Mandatory
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
Principles of Developmental Biology BIOL21172 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Introduction to Cancer BIOL21742 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Subject to satisfactory academic performance and placement availability, you will spend this year overseas on your modern language placement.

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 40 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
Biochemical Basis of Disease (E) BIOL31332 10 Optional
Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L) BIOL31341 10 Optional
Gene Regulation & Disease (E) BIOL31381 10 Optional
Protein Sorting (L) BIOL31411 10 Optional
Cell Signalling (E) BIOL31441 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Cell Adhesion (L) BIOL31771 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

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. 

What our students say

I went to Paris on my placement year and worked on stem cell research. The year gave me valuable experience working as a research scientist and helped me decide which PhD to do once I finish my degree. I also saw a big improvement in my French.

I am still in contact with my colleagues from the lab and they have offered me a post-doctoral research job if I decide to go back to Paris after my PhD.

Claire Gaffney

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.

Our experimental grounds include a variety of plants and controlled growing conditions used in research. These facilities complement resources at the Manchester Museum where you have access to important natural history collections and a tropical frog conservation centre .

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