With over 100 years of staggering advances in the field, the time to study biochemistry and biotechnology is now. At Essex, you’ll have the opportunity to explore how the processes of life function at molecular level and learn how biotechnology is addressing real-world problems and challenges.
The subjects of biochemistry and biotechnology are continually expanding, and our curriculum constantly evolves to reflect the latest findings and their applications. You’ll learn in a friendly and supportive atmosphere and benefit from a research-led education, taught by world-leading experts at the forefront of their fields.
At Essex, we specialise in structure-function relationships of biomolecules and use computational approaches and bioinformatics to complement our research. You’ll find that our course has a very high proportion of practical work that provides valuable experience for your career and our research-led teaching addresses the latest challenges and breakthroughs. Topics include:
- Molecular enzymology
- Structural biology
You’ll also learn about and appraise the approaches that can be used to address the challenges facing our planet, including:
- The development of biofuels, pharmaceuticals and crops to support and feed the growing human population
- Industrial, plant and medical biotechnology
- Gene and protein technology
- Synthetic biology
With our Integrated Masters you’ll be able to fast track your degree and complete your final year in nine months compared to a regular MSc which usually takes twelve months. The course will cover key skills in biochemistry and biotechnology and provide you with the knowledge, understanding and hands-on experience required in this rapidly growing area of technology.
When you combine your undergraduate and postgraduate study in one degree you’ll be equipped with a strong theoretical background, specialist expertise through independent research and practical insights into current commercial applications. This combination makes graduates from our course attractive candidates for many employers.
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 five-year version of our Integrated Masters allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year Integrated Masters.
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
You can spend your third year on a placement year with another external organisation. This is usually focused 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 first-year students will have the opportunity to participate in the Science Week at Public Health England (PHE) in Colindale. We have fantastic collaboration with several hospitals in the Eastern Region and beyond, and part of this collaboration is to send all of our second-year students to visit hospitals to have a clear picture about the biomedical science profession. Our final-year undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in our Employability Day at Essex, and also contribute to the IBMS Congress.
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
- 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
- Learn to use state-of-the-art equipment
Our graduates are well placed to find employment in the ever-growing bio-based economy, and postgraduate study is often a requirement for becoming a researcher, scientist, academic journal editor and to work in some public bodies or private companies.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations including Bupa and SAL Cambridge (microbiology samples). We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Network with the technology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as other employers.
- Work with internationally recognised researchers who are at the cutting-edge of their fields.
- 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 compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. The first three undergraduate years listed below are an example structure from the current academic year. Your course structure could differ from this if modules change from year-to-year. The final Masters year shows you all of the modules currently available (compulsory and optional) so you can see the breadth of what is on offer.
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.