Overview

Biochemistry is the molecular basis of life. It applies chemical principles to some of the most exciting problems in the life sciences industry, 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 BSc in Biochemistry enables students to gain an understanding of the concepts and theories relating to Biochemistry and the application of a range of practical laboratory skills. Students will explore the relevant analytical principles and techniques, and apply these in a research setting. You will understand collation, quantitative analysis and interpretation of experimental data, and the ability to problem solve. Additional skills such as; personal and team skills, data management, presentation skills, career management planning and applying your degree in the workplace will also be covered.

Biochemistry Degree highlights

Professional Accreditations

  • These degrees conform to the Biochemical Society’s core curriculum in biochemistry.

Student Experience

  • Biochemistry students, complete a 16 week work placement during Stage 2. Past students have gained work placement within organisations such as Almac, Warner Chilcott, Randox, Norbrook Laboratories, Altnagelvin Hospital and Belfast City Hospital.
 
Studying biochemistry at Queen’s really made my passion for the sciences come alive and gave me the confidence and necessary skills to branch out into the next stage of my life. If you are prepared to stay dedicated and work hard, the possibilities are endless. (Laura Witherow, BSc Biochemistry 2015)

Course content

Course Structure

Introduction
Throughout Stages 1 and 2 of the BSc Biochemistry degree, practical classes in Biochemistry reinforce and complement the theory, providing students with the solid foundation on which to build upon for Stage 3.

BSc Biochemistry students can transfer to the BSc Biochemistry with Professional Studies programme if they wish to take a year-long work placement and may be eligible to transfer to the same named MSci degree pathways provided they meet certain requirements. For 2016-17 this is a weighted mean mark of at least 60% at the end of Stage 2.
Stage 1
• Basic Chemistry 1
• Molecular Basis of Life
• Structure, Reactivity and Mechanism in Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry
• The World of Microorganisms
Stage 2
• Cell Biology 2
• Experimental Biochemistry
• Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
• Microbes in Action
• Work Placement (16 Weeks)
Stage 3
During stage 3, students carry out a two-module research project under the supervision of academic staff based in one of the School‘s biochemistry research laboratories.

In addition, there are four taught modules:
• Bacterial Genetics & Genetic Manipulation
• Biomolecules in Health & Disease
• Immunology & Virology
• Industrial Microbiology

People teaching you

Dr Christopher Law
Lecturer in Biochemistry
School of Biological Sciences

Contact Teaching Times

Large Group Teaching
12 (hours maximum)
Typically around 9 hours teaching [3 hours for each subject/module studied – see later information on course content] and 3 hours practical each week.
Personal Study
28 (hours maximum)
For private study and writing assignments each week.

Learning and Teaching

We provide a range of learning experiences on the BSc Biochemistry with Professional Studies programme, to enable students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip you for life and work.

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Innovative Technologies and a World Class Library

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: E-Learning technologies, lectures, personal tutor, practical classes, research projects, self-directed study and work placement.

Assessment

Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

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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

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:

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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: formal written comments, face to face comments, placement employer comments or references, online or emailed feedback, pre-submission advice, feedback and outcomes from practical classes, and others.

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
BBB including Chemistry and Biology + GCSE Mathematics grade C
OR
ABB 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.

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 requirements
H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Chemistry and Biology + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Mathematics
OR
H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Chemistry and at least one from Mathematics or Physics + Ordinary Level grade O4 in Biology + if not offered at Higher Level then grade O4 in Mathematics.

Access/Foundation Course
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 80% with no less than 70% in any module including sufficient relevant modules in Biology and Chemistry. GCSE Mathematics grade C or equivalent in Access Course.

Option to transfer
Transfers between BSc and MSci may be possible at the end of Stage 2.

Selection Criteria

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

How we choose our students

Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Biological Sciences. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for the School of Biological Sciences along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions and Access Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

For entry last year, applicants for programmes in the School of Biological Sciences must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.

Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though candidates offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis depending on the degree for which they have applied. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.

Applicants offering other qualifications, such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.

Those offering a relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) are considered individually on their own merits for entry to Stage 1. For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits. For those offering a HND, at least one of the units completed in the first year of the HND must be at Merit level. Where offers are made students would be expected to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year. For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.

Candidates offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits.

The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Biological Sciences, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview.

If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

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: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • 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.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - FOUNDATION AND INTERNATIONAL YEAR ONE PROGRAMMES

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction
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.

FURTHER STUDY

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.

Master's 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 University 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

Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee rates for undergraduate students who first enrol at the University in the academic year 2018-19 have not been agreed. Tuition fees for 2018-19 will be based on 2017-18 levels, normally increased by inflation and these are set out below.

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,030
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
Other (non-UK) EU £4,030
International £18,800

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

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Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Biochemistry costs

Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10 and an E-Book at a cost of £25. All students may apply to go on a School Workplace Tour at a cost of £100.

How do I fund my study?

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.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

Scholarships

Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

* information shown is for 2017-18 and should be used as a guide until 2018-19 scholarships are confirmed.

How and When to Apply

How to Apply

Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.

When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2018 from 1 September 2017.

Advisory closing date: 15 January 2018 (18:00).

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.

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

The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

Apply via UCAS
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.

Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

  1. Applying through UCAS
    Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2018.
  2. Applying direct
    The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
  3. Applying through agents and partners
    The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

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