Biochemistry is the branch of science that explores the fundamental chemical processes within living organisms. Biochemistry considers molecular-level processes across a range of disciplines including genetics, microbiology, forensics and medicine. Because of this breadth, biochemistry is hugely important, and advances in this field over the past 100 years have been staggering. It’s an exciting time to be part of this fascinating area of study.
At Essex, we specialise in structure-function relationships of biomolecules which offers insight into the interactions that occur in the complex cellular pathways that control vision and cell death. We also use computational approaches and bioinformatics to complement our research. On our BSc Biochemistry you study areas including:
- Molecular enzymology
- Structural biology
In our large, friendly School, you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical lab sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and develop skills by doing experiments at the laboratory bench.
You gain a solid grounding across a range of related topics, with the chance to contribute to real-world research projects in your final year of study.
Visit our biochemistry subject page for more information and content.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation. This is usually focussed around your course, and enables you to learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.
Organisations our students have recently been placed with include GlaxoSmithKline, Proctor & Gamble, Aquaterra, Astrazeneca, Genzyme, Reckitt Benckiser, Thermofisher, and Isogenica.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.
Our research covers a wide spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Key academic staff for this course include Dr Jonathan Worrall, who is researching new biotechnological applications of the antibiotic-producing actinobacterium Streptomycetes, and Dr Mike Hough, who is working on high-resolution structural biological methods (x-ray crystallography) to determine protein and enzyme structures.
The University of Essex has a Women’s Network to support female staff and students, and our School was awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award in October 2020, which reflects the work carried out by staff in our School to continue to improve equality, including a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff, and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.
Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Life Sciences, including:
- Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
- Conduct your final-year research alongside academics and PhD students in shared labs
- State-of-the-art research facilities, from protein crystallisation robots, protein over-production facilities, to CO2 incubators, to cell imaging microscopes
- Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories
- Receive training in your first year on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genomes in real time
You graduate ready to move into a wide variety of industrial and public sector environments, from the NHS to pharmaceuticals, forensic science, health and safety, teaching.
Our students have gone on to work in a number of laboratory-based roles in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in hospitals, clinics and healthcare companies. Others have gone on to work in sales, publishing and management, while others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc or PhD degrees.
Biochemistry and biomedical science courses also provide the ideal background for entry onto postgraduate medicine programmes, and eight of our 2011 graduates obtained places at medical schools across the UK.
Other recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high profile organisations:
- SAL Cambridge (microbiology samples)
- Postgraduate Pharmacology
- Postgraduate Nutrition
We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
For more information on careers in Biochemistry and Biomedicine, visit the websites of the Biochemical Society and the Institute of Biomedical Science.
Why we’re great
- Our teaching is underpinned by research – new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
- We insist on small-group tutorial teaching to complement your formal lectures.
- We are ranked top 25 for overall student satisfaction for Biology in the National Student Survey 2021.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
- Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely
- Degrees are awarded on the results of your written examinations together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework
- Contribute towards real-world research projects in your final year of study