(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
All applications for degree courses with a foundation year will be considered individually, whether you
- think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
- have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
- are returning to university after some time away from education; or
- are looking for more support during the transition into university study.
Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent, to include a science subject.
Examples of the above tariff may include:
- A-levels: DDD (including a science subject)
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP (in a science subject)
- T-levels: Pass with E in core, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
For this course we require level 3 (i.e. A-level, BTEC, etc.) scientific study.
Considered science subjects from all qualifications include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Maths, Geography, Sports Science and Applied Science.
All applicants must also hold GCSE Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in an OFQUAL regulated Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.
If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.
Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:
We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.
We might not need evidence of level 3 scientific study where you have relevant work experience in a scientific field, or where you have previous successful study at degree level.
You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.
Essex Pathways Department can consider those with EU nationality and residence in the EU. If you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements for Essex Pathways Department, including if we could consider an application from you, please get in touch for advice.
We will require the equivalent of the entry requirements detailed above from an acceptable high school qualification, including a specified grade in Maths and an acceptable science subject.
Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Dr Thomas Clarke
Senior lecturer/associate professor University of East Anglia
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
- An understanding of the molecular principles that underlie biochemical reactions and processes.
- An understanding of biochemical methods and approaches and of the main body of biochemical, molecular biological and genetic knowledge.
- An ability to apply this understanding to critically analyse current biochemical problems and suggest solutions.
- A general scientific education including training in handling and interpretation of quantitative information and the ability to plan and carry out desk- or laboratory- based research under supervision.
- The key skills of communication, numeracy, ITC use, problem solving, working with others, self-evaluation and self-improvement, and autonomous learning using biochemistry as a context and focus.
- The key laboratory and workplace skills required for careers in biochemistry and related subjects that require an integrated understanding of biological and molecular processes.
- A foundation of knowledge, understanding and skills required for further study and research.
- An awareness of the need for compliance with health, safety and ethical policies in biological work.
- An appreciation of the need for, and importance of, lifelong learning and personal development planning.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: Basic physics, maths and chemistry that are relevant to biochemistry
A2: The different levels of organisation and complexity, from molecules, through cells, tissues and organs to organisms
A3: The structures and functions of biological molecules and their assemblies.
A4: Key metabolic reactions involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of biological molecules, including energy transduction
A5: key processes involved in the control of metabolism, including signal transduction and the arrangement, expression and regulation of genes.
A6: Appropriate practical scientific methods and approaches: observation, experimentation, modelling; and techniques used in their analysis
A7: Key biochemical issues facing society (e.g. organ transplantation, drug performance enhancement, biological warfare)
Lectures are the principal method of delivery of A1 to A7.
Lectures direct students to textbooks and on-line material (Years 1 to 3), and research papers (Year 2 and particularly Year 3).
Laboratory practicals in Years 1 and 2 complement lectures and develop A1 to A6.
Coursework associated with lecture modules in Year 2 and Year 3 develop A1 to A7.
The research project in Year 3 teaches and develops A6 and also a range of A1 -A5 and A7 (depending on project topic).
Seminars with small groups are used in A1 (mathematics and chemistry).
A1 to A7 are assessed by:
Multiple Choice Questions (Year 1)
Timed and un-timed essays (Years 2 and 3)
Verbal and written practical reports (Years 1 and 2)
Exercises in data analysis and interpretation (DAI), (Years 2 and 3)
Unseen written exams: short answer, essay (Years 1 and 2) and questions involving DAI (Years 2 and 3)
The individual Year 3 research project, covering a range of A2 to A7 (depending on project topic) tests understanding in depth and is assessed by an individual written report and oral presentation.
Oral and written presentations in the Issues module in Year 3 are used to assess A7.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Retrieve, select and collate appropriate biochemical and biological information
B2: Evaluate primary and secondary evidence and arguments
B3: Analyse and interpret quantitative information in graphs, figures, tables and equations.
B4: Integrate and link information across course components, including material met in different years and from different disciplines
B5: Plan and conduct a research task (including risk assessment and ethical approval where appropriate)
B6: Present data correctly, choose and apply an appropriate statistical test and interpret the output
B1, B2 and B4 are assessed by coursework and exam essays (Years 1 to 3).
B2 and B3 are assessed by coursework and exam DAI tasks (Years 2 and 3), practical reports (Years 1 and 2) and research project reports (Year 3).
B4 is assessed by integrative exam questions and coursework B1 to B4 are also assessed in the Year 3 individual research project and coursework in the Issues module in Year 3
B5 is assessed in the Year 3 Research Project module.
B6 is assessed in Year 1 & 2 practicals and Year 1 LSKS module, and in the Year 3 research project.
C: Practical skills
C1: Design, plan and carry out appropriate experiments in the laboratory effectively, working within current technical, regulatory, safety and ethical frameworks.
C2: Use appropriate laboratory equipment safely and efficiently
C3: Able to explain the principles and limitations of a range of more advanced practical techniques
C4: Able to use appropriate software packages for simulations, modelling and statistical analysis.
Skills C1 to C3 are taught in supervised practicals in Years 1 and 2.
Lectures in Years 1 to 3 teach aspects of C1 and C3 Independent project work in research laboratories in Year 3 also teaches and develops C1 to C3.
As part of C1 to C3, safety and ethical issues are addressed through practical documentation (Years 1 and 2) and developed by students preparing risk assessments and ethical permissions and consents where appropriate for research projects (Year 3).
C4 is addressed through IT and statistics training in Year 1, and the use of more specialised software is taught or developed in practicals, the summer laboratory course in Year 2 and in projects in Year 3.
C1 is assessed through Year 1 and Year 2 practicals and the Year 3 research project.
C2 is assessed in some Year 1 practicals.
C3 is assessed in many practicals in Year 1 and Year 2 and in theory exams in Years 1 to 3.
C4 is assessed in several Year 2 practicals, the summer course, and may be part of the Year 3 individual project.
D: Key skills
D1: Able to write clearly in: a) logically argued essays; b) longer reports, including basic scientific papers; c) a variety of other pieces of work for different target audiences; d) e-communications, in particular email. Plan, write and give oral presentations
D2: (i) Use of current networked PC operating systems for normal file management,
(ii) Use current common word-processing, spreadsheet, web browsing and email packages,
(iii) Ability to locate and use on-line catalogues and databases
D3: (i) Use appropriate precision, scales, units, scientific notation, ratios, fractions, powers of 10, logarithms and exponentials.
(ii) Use simple algebra and trigonometry and elementary calculus, (simple differentiation and integration).
(iii) Use approximations for mental arithmetic estimation and verification.
D4: Explore, analyse and find effective solutions for problems involving reasonably complex information
D5: Work effectively as part of a team to collect data and/or to produce reports and presentations
D6: Study independently, set realistic targets, plan work and time to meet targets within deadlines. Reflect on assessed work, feedback, and progress; Plan, record and document personal development
Written skills (D1) are assessed through essays in coursework and exams (Years 1 to 3) and in practical reports (Year 1 and Year 2), in the Issues module and the research project report (Year 3).
Oral presentation skills (D1) are assessed in some of the practical courses (Year 2) and in the Year 3 year Research Project module.
IT and Maths skills (D2 and D3) are assessed through worksheets and exams in Year 1.
Thereafter, practical work, coursework and exam questions throughout the degree course assess numerical skills..
Most coursework from year 2 onwards has to be prepared by computer and submitted on-line.
Problem solving (D4) is assessed in some of the Year 2 practicals, in the Year 3 Issues Module, in DAI questions in Years 2 and 3 exams and in the final year research project.
D5 is assessed through team presentations in some Year 2 practical work and in the Issues module.
D6 is assessed by examining directed learning material (Years 1 and 2), by awarding marks for evidence of additional reading, and by imposing strict deadlines for coursework assignments.
D6 PDP is assessed in year 1 LSKS through the development of a cv and e-portfolio, and is developed in Year 2 Skills module.
The planning component of D6 is assessed in the Year 3 Research Project module