Biochemistry with Research Placement BSc(Hons) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

Want to join us in September? You can now apply via Clearing

Royal Society of Biology Advanced Accredited Degree

Here’s what student Eleanor has to say about her course in the subject area of Biological Sciences.

Biological Sciences ‌Find out more about Biological Sciences at Huddersfield


About the course

Biochemistry is the investigation of the chemical processes that lead to life. The processes of metabolic regulation, nervous integration and information storage by biochemical systems leads to life. The ability of biological machines to reproduce and pass on information of our evolutionary history are all driven by chemical processes that are in themselves becoming very well understood and well characterised at the molecular level. The next leap for biochemistry will be to explain the complexity of living processes such as consciousness at the level of chemistry: this has the potential to revolutionize areas of science such as computation. Biochemical research has the capacity to unlock stem cell therapies and overcome cancer and dementia. It also has much to offer engineering in advanced materials and novel solutions to problems that have evolved over billions of years. The potential for biochemical research in the coming decades is vast and the course is the starting point for many areas of further study and application in industry.

This course has Advanced Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology. On successful completion of this degree you'll receive a Certificate of Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology and be eligible for Membership of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB).*

In the third year of your course, you'll have the chance to benefit from a research placement usually based in a university or a research institute. This placement year can be suitable if you are considering a career in research or further study. It can also help you to see your subject in action in the real world, gain relevant experience and enhance your future employment prospects.

All our teaching staff are educated to doctoral level in their respective subject areas and have expertise in most areas of biological sciences. You'll also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience using scientific instrumentation in our modern biological sciences labs. As a student on the course you'll be eligible for student undergraduate Associate Membership of the Biochemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry also recognises the course for admission as an associate member.

Course scholarships available – up to £3000. More details.

*Following two additional years of professional practice (this requires three additional years of professional practice from a non-accredited degree).

UCAS code:

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


4 years inc. placement year

Course type:

Inc. placement year


Clearing helpline:
03301 232 277

Course content

Watch our Biological Sciences subject area video to hear how student Eleanor has found her course at Huddersfield.

This course aims to develop your knowledge of chemistry, biology and biochemistry, as preparation for the more advanced topics of macromolecular structure, enzyme action, metabolism and gene cloning. You'll have the opportunity to develop technical and scientific competence, along with deductive, analytical and communication skills. The final year includes a major research project and addresses a number of important topics in modern biology including cancer, immunology and recombinant DNA technology.

Year 1

Core modules:

Biochemistry 1

This is a fundamental module for all biological sciences courses. Lectures and seminars provide insight into (i) the structure and function of biological macromolecules, including proteins and DNA; (ii) the processes by which the central biochemical pathways make energy, and build new cells from raw materials. Basic concepts in metabolism and metabolic regulation are introduced to show how biochemistry underpins a multitude of processes from athletic performance to human disease. Assessment is by coursework and exam.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

The module is designed to give a basic introduction to cellular biology and genetics. You’ll have the opportunity to study the cellular basis of life, comparing the simple prokaryotes with much more complex eukaryotic cells - looking at the structure and function of many of the sub-cellular organelles. You’ll also be introduced to simple Mendelian genetics, together with more complex linkage analysis and its use in identifying genes. You will be assessed by coursework and exam.

Analytical Science 1

In this module you’ll be introduced to analytical science. In the first half of the module you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the basic statistical concepts important in analytical science before going on to an introduction to a series of physical and spectroscopic analytical techniques. The second half of the module focuses on the use of various spectroscopic methods for the characterisation of known compounds and for the identification of unknown compounds. You will be assessed by coursework and exam.

Organic Chemistry 1

In organic chemistry, the focus is on the element carbon. The chemistry of carbon compounds is central to all living organisms. However, thousands of nonliving things (such as drugs, plastics and dyes) are also carbon compounds. This module focuses on the fundamental principles of organic chemistry including structure, bonding, functional groups and the basic language of chemical change. You'll have the opportunity to enhance your learning in a designated block of practical exercises (this element of the coursework is worth 20% of the module mark), which also helps you to develop your hands-on practical skills. Assessment is by coursework and exam.

Research Skills

This module enables you to develop the requisite background skills for successful completion of an Honours degree in which understanding of scientific research methods plays an important part. The type of skills that you’ll be encouraged to develop during the year can be divided into two areas, numerical skills and information and communication skills. The numerical skills component begins with some basic mathematical skills such as rearranging equations and working with logarithms and exponential data. You’ll then be introduced to a variety of statistical methods during lectures and tutorials. Assessment is by a series of coursework.

Physiology 1: Structure and Function

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to normal and abnormal human bodily functions. The module introduces basic physiological concepts and the clinical relevance of these will be highlighted using clinical examples. This insight into human physiology is designed to enhance your understanding of related subject areas such as pharmacology . A variety of teaching activities will be used on this module including lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes. The laboratory sessions help you to gain basic laboratory skills in physiological measurement through assessed written practical reports. You’ll also be assessed by a final examination.

Year 2

Core modules:

Molecular Biology

This module gives you an understanding of the fundamental processes involved in replicating and expressing genes in all living organisms and how this expression is controlled. You’ll have the chance to learn about the techniques used in biology to isolate and analyse genes for genetic manipulation. You’ll also have opportunities to learn this from a practical point of view, through tutorials based on experiments and by taking part in several practical sessions, involving actual genetic manipulation and analysis techniques. Assessment will be by coursework and exam.

Biochemistry 2

This module expands on your previous knowledge of protein structure and function. This is followed by an account of protein folding and how mis-folded proteins can cause disease. You’ll be introduced to more advanced techniques for studying protein structure such as X-ray crystallography, NMR and circular dichroism. The advantages and limitations of each technique are discussed. The structure and functions of mitochondria and chloroplasts are covered, including respiration and photosynthetic pathways, focusing on electron transport chains. The design of enzyme assays and kinetics of enzyme catalysis are described in lectures and problem based tutorials. You will be assessed by exam and practical laboratory exercises.

Genomes and Evolution

This module aims to provide an understanding of how the eukaryote genome is organized and how the information contained within it has changed and evolved over time. It describes the arrangement of genetic information in the major groups of living organisms, and recent fundamental changes in our understanding of them. The module introduces the concepts of sequence assembly and phylogenetic reconstruction, applying this to problems in molecular evolution, focusing ultimately on human origins. Theoretical aspects include Neutral Theory and some of the difficulties experienced when applying the ‘molecular clock’. Assessment is by coursework and exam.

Research Skills 2

Understanding and interpreting modern scientific data and literature is an important skill needed for modern careers in biological sciences. This module is designed to help you to develop key research and presentation skills that help prepare you for your final year research project, and also for interviews and careers in science. Topics are individually selected with guidance from the module leader. The main objective is to develop the core scientific skills of researching appropriate peer-reviewed literature, interrogating the primary research, meta-analysis and then building a detailed and focused report and scientific presentation.

Analytical Science 2

This module builds on your knowledge of molecular and atomic spectroscopy techniques. You’ll have the opportunity to develop more in-depth interpretation skills for spectroscopic data and be introduced to a range of separation techniques. You’ll also examine the principles and applications of a range of instrumental methods such as differential scanning calorimetry, atomic absorbance spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and polarography. The application of advanced statistical analysis to analytical data will also be introduced. The module is assessed on a mixture of coursework and a final exam.

Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-

Cell Biology

This module is an extension of the Molecular & Cellular Biology) module. You’ll be encouraged to study both cells and tissues in some depth, paying particular attention to the complex ways in which cells have evolved to communicate with each other at both intercellular and intracellular levels. You’ll also compare connective tissues and epithelial tissues, paying particular attention to the extracellular matrix proteins, which give each type of tissue is own unique properties. The module is assessed by an extended practical report and an examination.

Molecular Aspects of Drug Action

The module will start with an overview of fundamental concepts in pharmacology including the absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of drugs (ADME). The module will then explore the molecular aspects of drug action, with detailed examples of various targets (including receptors, ion channels, enzymes and transporters). You'll then have the opportunity to investigate the theoretical relationship between ligand concentration and binding-site occupancy (Hill-Langmuir equation). This will be combined with discussion in lectures of protein-ligand interactions and what factors may influence binding affinity. You'll also have the chance to learn about biopharmaceuticals and gene therapy. The module will conclude with a brief overview of the drug discovery industry and technologies involved (chemical screen libraries, assay development), including high throughput screening. The stages of development of a new drug with details of initial lead-finding, optimization, pre-clinical development, phase I, II, III trials and regulatory approval will be discussed.

Year 3 - research placement year

Supervised Research Experience

The aim of this module is to encourage you to apply your knowledge, skills and techniques gained during the first two years of your degree to your own supervised research project in a professional research environment. The placement is usually 48 weeks in duration.

Final year

Core modules:

Research Project

This module provides you with the experience of working independently on an open-ended research project depending on your career aspirations or interests. There is a choice available from a wide range of cellular, genetic, physiological and biochemical topics. You’ll be assigned to a supervisor who will give advice on both the day to day running of the project and the writing of the report. Tutorial support covers health and safety risk assessments, project planning, literature searching, writing a report and referencing. The module is assessed by coursework.

Applied Molecular Genetics

This module provides an in-depth description of many of the current applications of molecular genetics. Major areas covered are expression vector systems, next generation DNA sequencing techniques, advanced PCR methods and site-directed mutagenesis techniques. The application of molecular genetic techniques for medical research, the production of pharmaceuticals, the generation of transgenic organisms, metabolite engineering and protein engineering are described with illustrations of current research in these areas. Tutorials reinforce salient points in lectures and help you to develop problem solving and investigative skills. Assessment is by coursework and exam.


This module introduces you to genome and population–level biology. It concentrates on nucleic acids biology and introduces contemporary methods for DNA and RNA sequence acquisition and the multitude of genome sequencing and variation projects undertaken by the research community. It explores various technical aspects underpinning high–throughput methods and presents applications and challenges of genomic research using examples from a wide variety of model systems and application approaches. Finally, it considers the achievements and challenges of high-throughput biology and explores their societal and ethical implications. The computer laboratory part of the module concentrates on exploratory analysis of high–throughput data using publicly available databases and resources.

Biochemistry 3

The module starts with the basic definitions of the transcriptome, proteome and metabolome. There is then an overview of protein structure and how this is related to function. Protein supersecondary structure is discussed alongside various computational methods for secondary structure prediction (including alpha helix, beta strand, Coil-Coil, and disordered regions). This is followed by a description of domain classification schemes (SCOP & CATH). The concept of a priori protein structure prediction is introduced at a basic level. The computational challenge of finding the global energy minimum is described alongside attempts to simply the problem. The importance of membrane proteins in biology is illustrated with examples of bacterial, eukaryotic and mitochondrial proteins. Included in this are details of conformational change, control of protein activity and protein-lipid interactions. The use of X-ray crystallography, Cryo-EM, NMR and mass spectroscopy to solve chemical and macromolecular structures will be described, together with the use of this data in computational research. Structural databases (The Protein Databank) and molecular modelling software will be used to explore the 3D structure of proteins and molecular interactions of macromolecules and small compounds (e.g. enzyme-inhibitor complexes). You'll have the opportunity to will gain hands on experience of X-ray refinement using the widely used program COOT. You'll then have the chance to rebuild and optimise a model to maximise the fit to real experimental data. Structure will be related to protein function in areas such as metabolic regulation, chromatin remodeling and signalling. You'll have the opportunity to learn how protein structures reveal mechanisms of glucose regulation in the body. Examples will include the pioneering work of Dorothy Hodgkin on insulin, the domain structure of glucagon G-protein coupled receptor and the more recent atomic structure of human glucose transporter GLUT1. These structures reveal how mutations may lead to various metabolic diseases. You'll also study how structural genomics approaches to study chromatin remodeling complexes and protein kinases have informed the development of small molecule inhibitors and drugs.

Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-

Medical Genetics

The module introduces you to molecular genetic and cytogenetic techniques. You'll start with DNA technology in disease, gene mapping, cloning and sequencing, and the latest modern methods for disease diagnosis, including DNA chips. You'll then move onto prenatal diagnosis, population screening and developmental mutations, and will consider the current state of gene therapy and animal models for human disease. The module focuses on two particular diseases - cystic fibrosis and diabetes. Finally, you'll have the opportunity gain further understanding of the role of ethics in medical genetics. Understanding/problem solving will be assessed by examination (and via an in-class problem solving assessment).

Immunology and Infection

After a brief introduction to the nature of the immune system, you’ll have the opportunity to study the different ways in which the body has evolved to deal with infectious organisms. You’ll pay particular attention to the function of both B and T lymphocytes and their role in fighting of bacterial and viral infections. You’ll also have the chance to study some selected infectious agents including a range of bacteria, viruses, prions, protozoa and parasites, looking at the ways that these organisms have evolved to overcome detection by the immune system. Assessment is by coursework and exam.

Advanced Physiology

The module continues the theme of control mechanisms introduced in the module Physiology 2 whilst studying some physiological systems first encountered in the module Physiology 1. Major topics include renal physiology and in-utero programming of disease; the physiological basis for angiogenesis and; the regulation of transport across the gut. The module is assessed by coursework and an exam.

Cancer Biology

The module discusses our current knowledge on the process of cancer development. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about mechanisms that drive the cell cycle, including the role of key regulatory proteins that control specific checkpoints and DNA damage surveillance mechanisms. Other aspects you’ll become familiar with include the tumour microenvironment, deregulation of death, evasion of immunosurveillance and the role of stem cells. Assessment is by coursework and exam.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


The compulsory placement year (48 weeks) offers you the opportunity to apply what you have learned in Years 1 and 2 to the workplace through a research placement usually based in a university or research institute. This can help you to relate theory to practice and develop skills in a real-world environment.

We encourage you to gain this real-world experience as it may help to enhance your employability after graduation. We also provide guidance and support to help you secure a placement.

Career opportunities

Whilst this is a new course and therefore no graduate statistics for this specific course, 85% of graduates from courses in this subject area go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.

Graduates can consider a career in research in sectors such as agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry and medical research.

Professional links and accreditations

This course has Advanced Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology. On successful completion of this degree you'll receive a Certificate of Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology and be eligible for Membership of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB).*

As a student on the course you'll be eligible for student undergraduate Associate Membership of the Biochemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry also recognises the course for admission as an associate member.

*Following two additional years of professional practice (this requires three additional years of professional practice from a non-accredited degree).

Teaching and assessment

36% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions etc.

You will be taught through a series of lectures, seminars and laboratory work. Assessment will include project work, assignments, and examinations. The final year research project contributes to your degree classification.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the UK's only university where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching

How much will it cost me?

The full-time undergraduate tuition fee for 17/18 entry is £9,250.

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Course scholarships available – up to £3000. More details.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies. There may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.

Upon successful completion of your undergraduate studies, you may also be interested in training to become a secondary school teacher by taking a PGCE. Look at further details and entry requirements for Science with Biology or Science with Chemistry.


If you're an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree course. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

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