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BSc Hons Biochemistry

Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Biomedical and Life Sciences (Division of)
UCAS Code: C700 Duration/Length: 3 Year(s)
QAA Subject Benchmark: Biosciences Director of Studies: Dr KL Wright
Total Credit Points: 360 Credit Points Year 2: 90
Credit Points Year 3: 150

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Biochemistry examines the structure and function of living organisms at the molecular level. It is an exciting and rapidly developing subject and the primary investigative science within biology and medicine. Our Biochemistry degree is flexible and provides students with core modules in Biochemistry and Chemistry coupled to a solid background in other related fields. In first year, students gain a good overview of key modern biochemical concepts such as Protein Biochemistry, Cell Structure and Function, and Genetics. In second year, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Medical Microbiology modules are taken, as well as practical-orientated laboratory modules. In the final year, students have the opportunity to focus on their biochemical interests, selecting from a diverse range of subjects including Cell Signalling, Cancer, Biology of Ageing, and Neurobiology.

    The programme aims to:

    • Provide a structured and broad understanding of biochemical processes, including a molecular and genetic knowledge of living organisms both in health and disease.
    • Encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning.
    • Offer all students the opportunity to conduct a substantial research project.
    • Equip students with the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate study.
    • Prepare graduates for careers with a wide variety of employers such as pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, government agencies and hospitals.
    • Develop critical and analytical problem-solving skills as well as general/transferable skills so as to prepare students for more general, non subject-specific graduate employment.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Graduates will be able to:

    • Recognise the fundamental structures and functions of biological macromolecules and apply this knowledge to their relationships in health and disease.
    • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of: Biochemistry, Genetics, Cell Biology, Biomedicine and Microbiology; as well as applying knowledge from additional optional topics. 
    • Analyse and interpret a range of biochemical processes and apply biochemical principles and methodologies to the solution of problems.
    • Reason critically and demonstrate awareness of biomedical ethics.
    • Use spectroscopic and instrumental methods for the monitoring and measurement of biomolecules.
    • Carry out risk assessments and list appropriate safety precautions associated with practical or project work
    • Demonstrate the skills necessary to plan, conduct and report a substantial individual investigation.
    • Demonstrate the ability to formulate and test concepts and hypotheses. 
    • Collect, analyse and present observations and experimental data
    • Retrieve, select, syntheses and critically evaluate information from a variety of sources; including from relevant information technology.
    • Apply quantitative techniques in biochemical analysis and interpret numerical data.
    • Communicate effectively through written and oral presentations.
    • Work within a team and assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others.
    • Learn independently, manage their time and work to deadlines. 

Learning and Teaching Strategies and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding, Skills

  • Acquisition of knowledge is mainly through lectures and student-centred learning. Fundamental information in lectures is expanded by further reading which, by year 3, will include primary research papers.

    Teaching is hierarchical with a broad first year, becoming progressively deeper and more specialised in years two and three. Workshop sessions develop problem-solving and analytical skills connected with the lecture material. Students complete laboratory-based research projects and associated literature reviews in year 3 which develop a wide range of intellectual skills. Practical classes throughout the curriculum involve the generation and interpretation of numerical data.

    In summary the following teaching methods apply:

    Knowledge and understanding is developed through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical sessions, coursework exercises and undertaking reading from a range of literature sources. 

    Intellectual skills are developed as follows:

    • Analytical skills are developed through workshop sessions, projects and practical classes and are informed by lectures and reading. 
    • Skills in interpretation of numerical data and testing and forumulating hypotheses are developed through practical classes and projects. 
    • Problem solving skills are developed through workshops, practical classes and projects.
    • Skills in critical evaluation are developed through lectures, workshops, practical work, projects and through reading of primary research papers.

    Practical skills are developed as follows: 

    • Test, measurement and evaluation skills are developed through lectures, workshops, practical classes and projects. 
    • Experimental and risk assessment skills are developed through practical classes and projects.
    • Skills in project management techniques are developed through practical work and individual projects.
    • Numerical skills are developed through practical classes and workshops. 

    Transferable skills are taught explicitly in first year tutorials and in a first year compulsory module. These are also embedded and developed in modules throughout the curriculum:

    • Communication skills are developed through instruction and practice in writing reports, essays, projects and giving presentations.
    • General ICT skills are developed through use of computers in several aspects of the course and for communication in the University and beyond.
    • Information retrieval skills are developed in coursework and projects.
    • Data manipulation and presentation skills are developed through practical classes, report writing and projects.
    • Independent-learning skills are developed through coursework and projects.
    • Time management skills are developed through coursework and student projects.
    • Employability skills and team working are embedded throughout the curriculum and developed in a compulsory third year module.

Assessment Strategy and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Knowledge and understanding is assessed through unseen examinations and end of modules tests (multiple choice or short answer questions). Examinations are mainly of the essay type but also include short answer questions in second year and data analysis in years 2 and 3. Coursework assignments, which include: laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, poster presentations and oral presentations, also test students' knowledge and understanding. The relative weight of these components varies according to the type of module and its intended outcomes.

    Intellectual skills are assessed by a combination of coursework exercises, practical and project work and written examinations. 

    Practical skills are assessed by a combination of practical and project work, a written dissertation and data analysis examination questions. 

    Transferable skills such as written and oral presentation skills, graphical presentation of data, general IT skills and information gathering are assessed by a variety of coursework assignments, e.g. essay writing, practical reports, oral presentations, research poster design, dissertation.

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