Biochemistry

A biochemistry degree from Bristol will give you a unique insight into life at a molecular level and prepare you for a career in any of the major biosciences.

Student satisfaction

Bristol's School of Biochemistry scores highly in student surveys, receiving 94% overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020.

Learn at the cutting edge

Join a community of experts working on ground breaking research into the molecules of life – from antibiotics to SARS-CoV-2.

Leading department

Bristol is in the UK's top 10 for Biological Sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022).

Biochemistry at Bristol

Biochemistry is a broad discipline with the ultimate aim of understanding life's processes at a molecular level. It encompasses:

  • the chemical nature and structure of biological molecules and how they interact with each other;
  • complex cellular reactions and the generation of energy to power cellular activity;
  • communication and coordination within and between cells;
  • the replication, expression and repair of genetic material.

Our teaching is informed by a wealth of wide-ranging and cutting-edge research. The school's research groups investigate some of the major challenges in modern biochemistry using problem-solving approaches ranging from a detailed examination of biological processes at the level of single molecules to exploring the complex organisation of cells and whole organisms.

Everything in our school is under one roof, including our café, library, and student support, so you’ll find everything you need to excel and feel part of our welcoming community.

We also offer Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Physiological Science and Psychology.

Bristol has a very inclusive community – in my faculty, pretty much everyone knows everyone, and all the lecturers are very easy to talk to. If you don’t understand something, your lecturer can answer in depth because they’re working on that specific research.

Laura, MSci Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry

Career prospects

A student using a pipette.

Biochemistry graduates forge careers in a broad range of scientific and related disciplines, such as in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, medical and agricultural research establishments, as well as the scientific and medical publishing sector.

More than one third of our graduates undertake further training and gain a higher degree in biochemistry or a related science, or go on to study in areas such as medicine.

We provide dedicated transferable and employability skills training on all our biochemistry courses and you’ll receive career-specific support and guidance including careers events and advice on developing your CV, applying for internships and preparing for interviews.

Our graduates also enter professions such as teaching, law, finance and other non-scientific careers. Biochemists are very employable; 95% of our graduates were employed or undertaking further study when surveyed fifteen months after graduating (Graduate Outcomes survey, 2017/18 graduates).

One of our recent Biochemistry graduates from Ukraine wants to develop the biotech and entrepreneurial culture there to help his country rebuild. Find out more about his story.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

A student looking through a microscope.

Each of our three-year biochemistry BSc courses includes the option of transferring to our research-intensive, four-year MSci.

During your first year, you will receive a comprehensive introduction to the subject through biochemistry and biological chemistry units. You also have a choice of other units, dependent on your degree pathway.

In your second year you will study biochemistry and molecular genetics units, as well as gaining research, employability and enterprise skills, and taking optional units.

The final year of our BSc degrees comprises core lectures in advanced biochemistry and the opportunity to study specialist areas. You will carry out an original research project and undertake a final-year literature project on a specialist area of biochemistry.

MSci students follow a similar third year to the BSc final year, but will undertake a research training module in place of the research project. In the fourth year you will study core and optional units and carry out an extended research project.

Sample units may include:

  • Gene Expression and Rearrangement
  • Recombinant DNA Technology
  • Science and Society
  • Protein Assemblies and Molecular Machines
  • Molecular Basis of Disease
  • Cancer.

Practical experience

A student dressed in lab coat and goggles focuses on adding liquid to a beaker while other students work around her

You will learn through lectures and practicals, as well as small-group tutorials where you can give presentations and develop transferable skills. Practicals in our well-equipped teaching laboratories allow you to develop your experimental skills.

Our commitment to teaching innovation includes eBiolabs, our interactive lab manual, which will help you build confidence, learn at your own pace and try out virtual experiments as you prepare for upcoming lab sessions.

Choose our Study in Industry option to spend your third year in a full-time research placement, often paid, in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, or at a research institute in the UK or overseas. Recent placement destinations have included GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Procter and Gamble, Kyushu University and the Max Planck Institute.

Biochemistry

Bristol's School of Biochemistry has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and its research. We score highly in student surveys, receiving 94 per cent overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020.

Our courses offer a great deal of flexibility and choice, allowing you to explore a wide range of subjects and to tailor your degree to your own interests. Each of our three-year biochemistry BSc courses includes the option of transferring to our research-intensive, four-year MSci.

We also offer the opportunity of spending a year in an industrial or research placement as a component of your BSc degree.

Why study Biochemistry at Bristol?

Biochemistry is a scientific discipline with the ultimate aim of understanding life's processes at a molecular level. Broadly, it encompasses:

  • the chemical nature and structure of biological molecules and how they interact with each other;
  • complex cellular reactions and the generation of energy to power cellular activity;
  • communication and co-ordination within and between cells;
  • the replication, expression and repair of genetic material.

Our teaching is informed by a wealth of wide-ranging and cutting-edge research, ensuring our undergraduate students receive rigorous and relevant tuition.

The school's research groups investigate some of the major challenges in modern biochemistry using problem-solving approaches ranging from a detailed examination of biological processes at the level of single molecules, to exploring the complex organisation of cells and whole organisms.

International students who are offered a place on courses within the School of Biochemistry can apply for an Undergraduate International Scholarship.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Our biochemistry courses are ideally suited to you if you have a strong interest in cutting-edge biosciences research. You need to be a motivated, independent learner with good numeracy skills.

How is this course taught and assessed?

We provide an excellent teaching framework to support your learning through lectures, practicals, workshops and small-group tutorials. You will receive thorough training in experimental techniques in our modern teaching laboratories.

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will provide support throughout your degree and our courses are supported by specialised online tools.

Your research training culminates in a final-year practical project which may be undertaken in one of our research labs. There are a range of options, including computer-based (bioinformatics) practical projects.

You will also undertake a final-year literature project in which you review current scientific literature and write a report on a specialist area of biochemistry.

Assessment is usually via unseen exams, which may include essays, multiple choice questions, calculation questions and coursework.

What are my career prospects?

Our graduates forge careers in a broad range of scientific and related disciplines. You may be employed in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries or in a medical or agricultural research establishment. Biochemists are also employed in the scientific and medical publishing sector and as patent examiners.

More than one third of our graduates undertake further training and gain a higher degree in biochemistry or a related science, or go on to study in areas such as medicine.

We provide dedicated transferable and employability skills training on all our biochemistry courses and our graduates also enter professions such as teaching, law, finance and other non-scientific careers. Biochemists are very employable; more than 90 per cent of our graduates were employed or undertaking further study when surveyed fifteen months after graduating.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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