Biochemistry (MSci Hons) C702

MSci Honours



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Key Course Information

Entry Year


Course length

4 year(s)

A-Level Requirements *



Medicine, Health and Life Sciences



Professional Year Out





Biological Sciences

*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.


Biochemistry is the molecular basis of life. It applies chemical principles to some of the most exciting problems in the life sciences, explains how drugs work, helps us understand what goes wrong in diseases and enables 'genetic engineering'. Consequently, the subject is essential to drug discovery, biotechnology and biomedical research.

Biochemists investigate the structures, functions and biological roles of molecules involved in metabolism, cell signalling and the transmission of genetic information.

The MSci Honours degree, which is an integrated, undergraduate Masters degree, is aimed at high-achieving students who are considering careers in biochemical research. 

Why Queen's?

Degree recognition: these degrees conform to the Biochemical Society's core curriculum in biochemistry.

Placement: students can complete an optional 16-week work placement period as a component of Stage 2. Biochemistry with Professional Studies students, on completion of Stage 2, undertake a 46-week period of work experience. Past students have gained work placement within organisations such as Almac, Warner Chilcott, Randox, Norbrook Laboratories, Altnagelvin Hospital and Belfast City Hospital.

Research experience: the full-time research project in the final year of the MSci offers considerably greater research experience than that offered by most other MSci Biochemistry degree programmes in the UK.

Did you know?

Queen's University is in the top 1% of Universities in the World.

QS World Rankings 2015/16

Course Content (including module information)

Stage 1

  • Molecular Basis of Life
  • Basic Chemistry 1
  • Structure, Reactivity and Mechanism in Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry
  • The World of Microorganisms

Stage 2

  • Cell Biology 2
  • Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Experimental Biochemistry
  • Microbes in Action
  • Work Placement

Stage 3

  • Research Project
  • Biomolecules in Health & Disease
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Immunology & Virology
  • Bacterial Genetics & Genetic Manipulation

Stage 4 (MSci only)

Students carry out a full-time research project under the supervision of academic staff based in one of the School's biochemistry research laboratories. There are no taught modules or examinations in this year, thereby allowing students to concentrate fully on their research projects.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment (general):  The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  The majority are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.  This is also available online on our School website.

Feedback (general):  As you progress through your course you will receive general and specific feedback about your work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers.  As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work.  Feedback may be provided to you in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.

Once you have reviewed your feedback, you are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to quality of your work. 

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.

On the BSc in Biochemistry we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts – including several leading researchers in Biochemistry, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work.  Students can make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.   Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments.  In addition to “traditional” lectures you will also have classes where discussion is encouraged or problems are worked through as a group.
  • Practical classes:  where you will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles.  Every first and second year module has at least six practical classes associated with it.  Practical classes reinforce lectures and teach skills which are greatly valued by employers.
  • E-Learning technologies:   Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.
  • Self-directed study:  This is an important part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment preparation is carried out.
  • Work placements:  Students taking Biochemistry may undertake an optional work-placement module in the summer between second and third years.  This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.  It counts towards your final degree mark and is assessed as a second year module.  Students may transfer to Biochemistry with Professional Studies if they wish to undertake a longer, year out placement.
  • Research (Honours) projects:  In final year, you will undertake a project in one of the research laboratories in the School.  You will be given a real problem to work on – i.e. something that we genuinely do not, yet, know the answer to.  Your Supervisor will support you and guide you in carrying out your research.  Feedback will be provided on draft write-ups.  This project counts for 20% of your final degree mark.
  • Personal Tutor:  Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.  Further details are shown in the section on the Student Guidance Centre.  We take pride in the openness of all our staff:  students can approach staff at the end of lectures or in other classes if they wish to ask questions.  They can also make appointments to discuss the lecture material or more general aspects of the subject.

Entry Requirements


Selection Criteria

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.


Entrance Requirements


  • AAB including Chemistry and Biology + GCSE Mathematics grade C


  • AAA including Chemistry and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Biology grade C or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC + GCSE Mathematics grade C.

Note: where A-level Biology, Mathematics or Physics are not offered, A-levels in three other subjects including Chemistry and AS-level Biology would be considered.

Irish Leaving Certificate: 

  • H2H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H2 and H3 in any order in Chemistry and Biology + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Mathematics 


  • H2H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H2 and H3 in any order in Chemistry and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Biology and Mathematics. 

Note: applicants for the the MSci degree will automatically be considered for admission to the BSc degree if they are not eligible for entry to the MSci degree both at initial offer making stage and when results are received.


International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Engineering and Science.


For students whose first language is not English

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English 

How To Apply

Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate courses at Queen’s should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.

The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. A Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

Studying Biochemistry at Queen‘s develops the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions – particularly analytical and numerical skills. 

Biochemists can gain employment in growth areas such as the biotechnology, food and pharmaceutical industries, biomedical research, the NHS and research and development in academia and industry. Approximately one third of our graduates go on to further study before entering specialist employment. 

Although the majority of our graduates pursue careers in the molecular life sciences, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors such as science communication, education, legal services, journalism, finance and management. The subject is also widely accepted for graduate entry to medical, dental, veterinary and pharmacy schools – an increasingly common route into these professions, with many universities in the UK and Ireland offering four-year graduate programmes.

Those wanting a career in biochemistry research will normally obtain a PhD, and we anticipate that the majority of MSci graduates will either progress directly to research roles in biochemistry laboratories or to PhD programmes. Both BSc and MSci Biochemistry graduates are well-placed to obtain places on PhD programmes in biomedical research, biotechnology, drug discovery and agri-food research as well as in ‘pure‘ biochemistry.

Masters programmes offer the opportunity to train in specialist areas (eg forensics, nutrition, biotechnology) in order to enter professions in those fields or to further enhance academic and research skills before embarking on a PhD; see the School website for further study information.

Biochemistry graduates are eligible to study for a PGCE (a qualification enabling graduates to teach in schools) in either Biology or Chemistry – subjects in demand in schools across the UK. 




Our dedicated Careers and Placement Advisor (who works only for students in the School of Biological Sciences) works closely with many local, national and international employers in the life sciences sector.  A number of events are organised each year to enable the exchange of views and ideas between the School and employers.

Placement Employers

Our past students have also gained work placements with organisations such as:

  • Almac 
  • Hospitals – including Altnagelvin and Belfast City
  • Other Universities
  • Warner Chilcott



Further study is a common option open to Biochemistry graduates. For those wanting a career in biochemistry research, the normal route is to obtain a PhD (a three year postgradute degree which involves intense research into a topic under the supervision of one or more academics).  Every year, some of our Biochemistry graduates have secured fully funded PhD studentships at Queen’s University (not just in the School of Biological Sciences, but also in Medicine, Pharmacy and Chemistry). 

Our graduates are also highly competitive in securing funding at other leading universities, such as Manchester and Cambridge. 

The Biochemistry degree also provides a route into professions which require a  knowledge of the subject.  Biochemistry graduates are eligible to study PGCE (a qualification to enable graduates to teach in schools) in either Biology or Chemistry.  Both subjects are in demand in schools across the UK. 

The subject is also widely accepted for graduateentry to medical and dental schools.  This is an increasingly common route into medicine and dentistry with many universities in the UK and Ireland offering four year, graduate-only programmes.  Masters courses offer the opportunity to train in specialist areas (e.g. forensics, nutrition, biotechnology) in order to enter professions in those fields or to further enhance academic and research skills before embarking on a PhD.  Details of relevant courses offered by the School of Biological Sciences can be found on the school website. provides information concerning the types of jobs that attract Biochemistry Graduates.



Queen’s University places a strong emphasis on Employability. Our graduates are highly valued by many employers, locally, nationally and internationally. 

Queen’s is member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  As a Queen’s student, you will be advised and guided about career choice and through the Degree Plus initiative, you will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skill development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. 

Recognising student diversity, promoting employability enhancements and other interests is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe and learning development supports as well as involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies,  and sports. 

Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others e.g. employers

Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers. Further information is available at

Fees & Scholarships

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.

Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.

Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.

For international students, information on tuition fees, can be found here. Information on scholarships for international students, can be found here.

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