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Medical Biochemistry BSc (Hons)
Undergraduate, Single Honours
How long it takes:
Undergraduate (3 Year)
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
The first year offers a set of modules that explores the full spectrum of biochemistry, from the physiology of living organism to the molecular details of particular biochemical reactions and the enzymes that catalyse these reactions. A key element is the Chemistry module. You will also have the opportunity to explore the content of other courses offered by this University as part of the Modules Outside the Main Discipline (MOMD) programme.
First year modules
Fundamentals of Biochemistry – Fundamental biochemical processes taking place inside cells
Cell Biology and Physiology – Tissues, organelles, reproduction and development
Chemistry I – Inorganic and organic chemistry, including practical training.
Genetics I – Storage of genetic information, gene expression and regulation, mitosis and meiosis, gene linkage and chromosome mapping.
Metabolism – Enzyme catalysis and regulation, metabolism of carbohydrates and vitamins, experimental techniques to study metabolic reactions.
Physical Biochemistry – The fundamental laws governing biochemical reactions and how we can explore them experimentally.
Personal and Academic Skills: Communication and Data Analysis
Personal and Academic Development
The second year features a combination of core modules that all biochemistry students follow, and two elective modules, where you can start to define your personal direction in the field.
Second year modules
Topics in Medical Biosciences – Neurobiology and neurotransmitters, pharmacology and anaesthetics, blood constituents and haemostasis, complement and immunity.
Microbes and Man – The impact of microbes on humans, bacteria, fungi and viruses, common themes of infectious disease mechanisms.
Core modules (taken by all students on the Biochemistry programme)
Proteins and Enzymes – Protein structure and evolution, mechanisms of enzyme catalysis, techniques to determine protein structures.
Membranes, Energy and Metabolism – Biological membranes and their role in energy metabolism, regulation of metabolism by hormones and other factors
Molecular Biology and its Applications – Genetic analysis and gene cloning, DNA fingerprinting and forensics, genomics and computational approaches to genetics
Chemistry II – Spectroscopic techniques, synthesis of peptides, oligonucleotide and aromatic compounds, determining structures of simple organic molecules.
Communications and Skills in Biosciences – Science communication in writing and oral presentations, ethics in science, analysis of the scientific literature.
Choose elective* modules from:
(*the two key modules listed above are recommended, but not compulsory for Medical Biochemistry. You can still elect to do one or two modules of the ones listed below)
Cell and Developmental Biology – Development of multicellular organisms, interaction between cells and the cellular matrix, regulation of stem cell function.
Genetics II – Organisation of genes and genomes, generation of genetic diversity, gene transmission and analysis of problems in transmission and molecular genetics.
The core component of the final year is the Project, which covers 40 of 120 final year credits. In dialogue with a lecturer or professor, you will do your own research and be led to independence as a biochemist. The Medical Biochemistry course also includes one core module focussing firmly on analytical skills. Finally, a diverse spectrum of elective modules allows you to explore individual facets of biochemistry according to your personal preference and interests.
You may choose between a laboratory project, a two-part library research or a computing-based project. Students choose their project from an extensive list near the end of their 2nd year. Some even arrange a project independently in collaboration with an academic member of staff. Whichever path you choose, you will find that the project is particular highlight of your academic training and experience.
Final year modules
Experimental Design, Analysis and Interpretation of Biochemical Data – Lectures and practicals focussing on analysing data from biochemical experiments, from considering experimental design, to preparing reagents to composing an experimental report.
Choose three** elective modules* from:
(**In order to be awarded the Medical Biochemistry degree title you need to select two qualifying modules)
Modules qualifying for the Medical Biochemistry degree
Structures of Destruction – Bacterial and viral pathogens explored from the perspective of their molecular structures, protein misfolding and amyloid diseases.
Cancer Biology – Regulation of cell division and aberrations in malignant tumours, genetic bases of tumourigenesis, programmed cell death.
Molecular and Cellular Immunology- Evolution of the immune system, innate immunity, cell biology of immunity, structural basis of discrimination between self and non-self.
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection- Evolution of bacterial virulence, antibiotics and antibiotics resistance, genomic data in analysing pathogenicity.
Cellular Neurobiology- Neuronal function and neural development, synaptic function, transmitter receptors and ion channels.
Other elective modules
Cellular Signalling – Signal transduction in and between cells, G-protein coupled receptors, phospholipid and Ca2+ signalling, ligand-gated ion channels and electrical responses.
Eukaryotic Gene Expression – Control of gene transcription, chromatin structure, pre-mRNA processing, mRNA translation and degradation.
Omics for Biomedical Research
Research Methods in Microbiology
Evidence-Based Literature Review
Critical analysis: Developing a research proposal
Introduction to Teaching Biosciences in Schools
* Modules run either in Semester 1 or Semester 2. Particular combinations of modules may not be advisable, especially if all 3 choices were to run in the same semester.
Applicants should normally have one of the following:
- A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
- A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
- An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.
If you intend to become a Solicitor
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.
See further details of our English Language requirement
USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)
International students starting 2019/20 (per year)
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
We are ranked Top 5 in the Russell Group for UG graduate prospects – Complete University Guide 2019
Graduates of the University of Newcastle are highly regarded among employers in the UK, and a Biochemistry degree from Newcastle is an excellent qualification for securing your future career in a diverse range of industries and employment sectors. Our graduates have done consistently well over the last several years, ranking 5th in the Russell Group in terms of Graduate Prospects. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Newcastle degree, our careers and employability service, known as Careers Network, can help you achieve your goal.
Almost 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating 2015/16 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey
Advances in the biosciences are having a profound impact on our daily lives in areas from human health to conservation. Biotechnology, biological pharmaceuticals, and personalised medicine are key growth areas in the health sector. Over the next decade our increasing understanding of how genomes are regulated will revolutionise how we interact with the natural world. Environmental remediation, climate change and related themes pose multi-faceted challenges for the coming decades. Expert knowledge in biology and the life sciences will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, with excellent prospects for exciting and rewarding careers in research, education, media, industry, the NHS and the public sector.
A significant number of our graduates choose to take a further degree, a postgraduate Masters or PhD. For many career paths, a further degree is an essential stepping-stone, including (but not limited to) careers in research. While many of our graduates remain in Newcastle and join one of our prestigious research groups, they are also highly sought after by universities around the world.
Careers Network, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.