Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2023/24>Biochemistry (MBiochem)

MBiochem (Hons) Biochemistry

Prepare to be a biochemist by reaching new frontiers - understand how chemical compounds form living organisms, and grasp the fundamental, physical nature of life itself.

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

C706

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£26,800 per year

Meet us

Find out more about life at York, online and on campus.

Discover York

in the Russell Group

for 'overall satisfaction' in Biosciences of the Russell Group universities included in the National Student Survey 2022

in the UK for Biological Sciences

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

in the UK for Biology

Complete University Guide 2023

Biochemistry sits at the boundary between the physical and life sciences. It concerns the molecular basis of health and disease, contributing to the discovery of new medicines, the growth of biotechnology, and the feeding of a growing population.

You will learn how knowledge of DNA sequences and appreciation of the structure and function of proteins are enabling us to better understand how living systems work, guiding the design of drugs to combat disease, and the engineering of biomolecules to enhance industrial processes.

You’ll work in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry and experience their excellent facilities for teaching and research. Both Departments provide you with the opportunity to learn in new, spacious and modern teaching laboratories which provide excellent facilities for practicals and small group project work, alongside state-of-the-art computing facilities.

The integrated Masters course introduces a four-year programme that specifically focuses on the skills needed for a career as a research scientist. During this time you will carry out an extended project and learn specialised techniques; you will gain experience in a research lab doing pioneering work at the forefront of their field. You will also undertake specialist research training and take Masters-level modules.

Adding a year in industry or a year abroad are options with this course, so you can benefit from the advantages that a year away can bring.

Accreditation

All of our undergraduate courses are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. As a graduate, you will meet in-part the academic and experience requirement for membership and chartered biologist (CBiol).

£23 million investment

New investment in buildings housing teaching and state-of-the-art teaching laboratories

Committed to equality

We were the first university Biology department in Britain to receive an Athena SWAN Gold Award, which recognises our continued commitment to gender equality

Course content

This is a flexible and modular course which offers you choices in what you can study. There is the option to spend an additional year in industry or a year abroad as part of this course. If you do not go away for a year, you will continue to progress through your studies within the University.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

We also offer this course with a year abroad.

Spend time in industry

You can also apply for a year in industry with a range of employers including pharmaceutical companies, medical research institutes, environmental organisations and professional services networks.

Year 1

Stage 1 (the first year) consists of core modules which are designed to give you an excellent basis on which to build your future studies and develop your interests.​

Core modules

  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry for Biochemists 1
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry for Biochemists 2
  • Cells to Organisms
  • Becoming a Bioscientist: Core Skills
  • Becoming a Bioscientist: Grand Challenges

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study two option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Year 3

Core modules

  • Research Project

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Year 4

Core modules

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Provide systematic explanations that demonstrate a deep understanding of the principles, concepts and theories on the structure, function, and distribution of the chemical building blocks of life, the macromolecular constituents of living organisms, and the chemical reactions that drive biological processes in cells and organisms, through critical evaluations of the scientific literature at the forefront of Biochemical research.
  • Formulate hypotheses, design and execute experiments for the collection, analysis and modelling of biochemical data, that tests the current understanding of biochemical molecules and reactions, and produce figures, graphs and tables explained in comprehensive research reports.
  • Identify and critically evaluate state-of-the-art experimental, analytical and quantitative techniques and methodologies, by engaging with practical experience and training in laboratories, demonstrating a deep understanding of the application of cutting-edge research in tackling the major interdisciplinary challenges in Biochemistry of the 21st century.
  • Work effectively as an individual, a team member or leader in collaborative groups, by applying logical and critical thinking and reflection to develop creative and innovative solutions to complex problems in biochemical research, and proactively develop and implement safe, ethical, sustainable and socially responsible solutions that would benefit humankind.
  • Communicate and interpret complex information with confidence, clarity and precision through written and oral critical review, questioning dogma and thoroughly evaluating the impact of biochemical research in real-world and global issues, to expert, professional, business, industrial and lay audiences.
  • Demonstrating self-direction, originality, creativity, and a critical understanding of cutting-edge practice and technology in biochemical research, and apply numerical, quantitative, and computer-based transferable skills to a range of academic and non-academic working environments.
  • Specialise in research topics through in-depth critique of the literature, acquisition of advanced data analysis skills, sustained independent investigation of a research question, developing research proposals to solve interdisciplinary challenges and reflecting on their own and other's research processes and approaches.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £26,800

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Text books and course books are all available in the library or online. We do recommend books you might find useful, reading lists are provided to you when you start your modules, but it is not compulsory for you to buy the books. You will have access to a course ebook at no additional cost.

Costs for students going abroad or into industry will vary depending on what sort of placement it is and what sort of financial assistance is available.

Field courses are an optional element of this course. If you undertake the field course within the Animal and Plant Biology module, the costs will be entirely met by the Department. The Department will also meet the costs of other field courses, apart from some transport and any required vaccinations which you will need to fund yourself. The costs of transport and vaccinations for these trips can vary.

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Teaching is delivered by academic scientists with additional contributions from clinical researchers. Throughout your course there will be strong links between your studies, scientific research and clinical applications. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. You may be taught by the following methods:

Tutorials 

Cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities, and our friendly, approachable, and accessible staff are experts in their respective fields. Small-group teaching and tutorials for five students are an important part of our courses. There is a very wide range of tutorials to choose from and they help develop your essay writing, problem solving and communication skills. Tutorials are one of the opportunities we offer to have informal scientific discussions with a member of staff about topical issues.

Lectures

You will attend lectures where we will deliver stimulating and thought-provoking perspectives on the major global challenges in biosciences of the 21st century.

Practicals

Practicals are designed to help you to develop laboratory skills and to become familiar with a wide range of practical techniques, training you to use methods precisely and encouraging you to objectively assess the reliability of your results. 

Workshops

Workshops are also an important feature of our programme and they provide an additional dimension to most modules. You will often collaborate in small groups in problem solving and other learning activities in our flexible learning workshops. You will design your own experiments and work together on the findings from the latest research papers, or investigate the application of new technologies to the global challenges in the biosciences.

Skills and group work

Each term during the first two years, students take modules designed to develop more generic scientific and transferable skills. Some modules focus on specific scientific techniques, while others develop skills in problem solving, experimental design and data analysis. 

We encourage you to develop important communication skills, including working in groups to plan and carry out experiments that investigate a scientific problem, and you will present your work as an oral presentation or poster.

What the integrated Masters year looks like

The final year of an integrated Masters focuses on research. Much of the time, about four days of the week, is spent on your own research project. The rest of the week is spent hearing about research in seminars and journal clubs, writing about research and working in groups on research grant applications.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures9-10 hours per week
Tutorials3 hours per term
Workshops3-4 hours per week
Practicals3-6 hours per week
Feedback sessions2 sessions

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Facilities

Teaching and learning in the Department of Biology is based in a £23m state-of-the-art facility, which is equipped with laboratories, a flexible workshop and creative learning lounge, computer rooms, specialist tissue culture and fluorescence microscopy suites.

Facilities also span York's research centres, such as the York Biomedical Research Institute and Centre for Novel Agricultural Products. The University's new Eleanor and Guy Dodson Building houses a cryo-electron microscope, as well as facilities for protein crystallography and high-field NMR spectroscopy.

Teaching location

This course is based in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry which are on Campus West. The majority of teaching takes place within Biology, with some additional teaching taking place at other locations on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

​You will be assessed via a mixture of closed exams and continuous assessment. Although you must perform to a satisfactory level, Stage 1 (which is your first year) does not count towards the final degree. Your degree classification is determined by work in Stage 2 (25%), Stage 3 (37.5%) and Stage 4 (37.5%). If you undertake a year abroad or in industry this is marked by pass/fail.

Throughout your course we will provide you with feedback on your work and assignments, which will give you an indication of the progress you are making in your studies.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams77%52%72%17%
Coursework15%48%26%76%
Practical exams8%0%2%7%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Biology lab virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of one or our modern, dedicated laboratories showing a typical range of lab equipment and facilities that you'll use.

Careers and skills

A degree in Biochemistry provides an excellent basis for science or health-related careers, and for a wide range of other occupations and professions from management and finance, to journalism and teaching. 

Studying Biochemistry will develop your critical thinking and research skills, and prepare you to be competitive for entry into relevant postgraduate degree programmes.

Employment opportunities are diverse, ranging from biochemical research and development, to careers in science communication, the health service, forensic science, environmental health and wildlife conservation. Our graduates are not confined to science-related careers, and a significant number enter jobs within finance, public and private sector management, social and health service work, the media and law.

Career opportunities

  • Experimental officer
  • Research analyst
  • Graduate purchaser
  • Business development executive
  • Accountancy
  • Laboratory technician
  • Clinic coordinator
  • Data manager
  • Postgraduate study
  • PhD

Transferable skills

  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Teamworking skills
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Data interpretation and presentation
  • Independent study skills
  • Logical and critical thinking
  • Creativity and innovation
  • IT literacy
  • Research skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAA including grade A in Chemistry, plus a second science

We accept the following subjects as a second science: Biology, Further Mathematics, Geology, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics or Statistics.

Access to Higher Education Diploma 39 credits at Distinction and 6 credits at Merit or higher. Must include Level 3 modules in Chemistry and a second science.
BTEC National Extended Diploma BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD. We consider BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (2016 syllabus) with all 7 mandatory units plus 4-6 units from 8,9,10,11,12,13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23 and no more than 2 units from 15,16,21,22,24,25,26. We consider BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (2010 syllabus), please contact us for information on the units we accept. A level Chemistry at grade A is also required.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including Chemistry, plus either Biology, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, including 8.5 in Chemistry and 8 in either Biology, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
International Baccalaureate 36 points including 6 in Higher Level Chemistry and 6 in Higher Level Biology, Geology, Physics or Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations). If English is not your first language then we require 5 in English B.
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless additional A Levels (or equivalent qualifications) in Chemistry and a second science or mathematics subject have been taken.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other qualifications To secure a place as a mature student on this course you will need recent qualifications in Chemistry and a second science (Biology, Geology, Mathematics, Physical Education or Physics) at a sufficiently advanced level to cope with the course, together with evidence of some of the key skills needed for studying at degree level.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve B or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Biology

Discover York

Accommodation

We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

Meet us

Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.