Skip to main content
Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


Ready to Apply?

Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAA
International Baccalaureate 37

Course details

Biochemistry plays a vital role in scientific and medical developments. It is the force behind many life-improving advances, from vaccines that protect against disease to the analysis of forensic samples used to help solve crimes.

Combining aspects of life sciences and chemical sciences, the BSc in Biochemistry explores processes that are key to our understanding of life at a molecular level. This wide-ranging degree will build your understanding of a diverse range of topics from genetics and biotechnology to physiology and metabolism. It develops the analytical and practical skills you will need to address the challenges of the modern world.

The first year covers fundamental aspects of the molecular basis of life including an introduction to core biochemical and biological concepts.

Second-year modules provide integrated skills training in oral and written presentation, science communication, data analysis and critical analysis skills through tutorials and workshops. Optional modules allow you to broaden your knowledge in areas such as cell biology, development, physiology, plant biology, and the biology of disease. At this stage you have the option to apply for a work placement or a year abroad, extending the course from three years to four.

The final year strengthens the link between learning and research, with taught content directly linked to the research being carried out in the Department. You also complete a research module, which can be either a five-week laboratory-based Research Project or Biological Enterprise, where you will develop the science and business case for a potential biotech-based product.

Biochemistry is a great choice if you are interested in both biology and chemistry. It leads to many careers including product development, health sciences, forensics, pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition. The transferable skills gained also prepare you for a career in sectors such as business, finance and education. 

Course Structure

Year 1 

Core modules:

Molecules and Cells examines the fundamentals of life at the level of cells and their molecular components. This module introduces protein structure and function – from simple biochemistry to complex functional biological molecules; cells and membranes; basic concepts of metabolism and metabolic processes; and the functional properties of cells.

Genetics looks at the development of genetics as a science, from the experiments of Mendel to genome sequencing. It introduces the processes which link genotype to phenotype in living organisms, and provides an overview of the modern technologies used for genetic analysis and manipulation.

Introduction to Physiology studies mammals as a model for physiological processes in other organisms. It covers a range of tissues and physiological processes in mammals and looks at the ways in which physiological processes relate to their bases at the molecular and cellular levels.

Core Chemistry I introduces the fundamentals of chemistry. Areas covered include structure and bonding, chemical periodicity, coordination chemistry, organic chemistry, chemical kinetics, units and dimensions, spectroscopy and proof of structure.

Practical Chemistry 1A develops the basic manipulative, procedural and soft skills required for practical chemistry. The module provides a foundation in research-led practical chemistry.

Year 2

Core modules:

Metabolism provides a global view of the functioning of the metabolic network in the cell, through an exploration of catalysis and biochemical pathways in depth. This module also explores relationships between protein structure and function.

Biomolecules – Structure and Function includes the analysis of biomolecular structures; enzyme catalysed reactions; enzyme inhibition and regulation; protein-nucleic acid interactions; and enzyme catalysis and replication, repair, transcription, translation.

Molecular Biology examines the central role of molecular biology in modern biosciences and methods of gene analysis and gene manipulation. In this module you will cover recombinant DNA techniques, transcription and translation in eukaryotes, principles of gene regulation and bioinformatics.

Cell Signalling looks at the different mechanisms by which cells respond to external stimuli. You will also study the steps of signal transduction mechanisms and comparative aspects of signalling processes in organisms from different kingdoms.

Research Skills for Biosciences explores the whole biological research process from generating ideas to disseminating results. You will develop skills in data-gathering, literature analysis, presentation and scientific writing for different audiences.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Plant and Algal Physiology 
  • Development
  • Cell Biology 
  • Integrated Physiological Systems 
  • Microbiology 
  • Immune Systems. 

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad)

Core modules:

Biochemistry and Biotechnology will look at recombinant protein production and manipulation in industrial, pharmaceutical and research uses. You will also learn about yeast cell biology and about aspects of biochemistry which are relevant to biotechnology, such as microbial transport and roles of metal ions in biological processes.

Advanced Biochemistry examines the biomolecular processes involved in cellular function and molecular communication in representative organisms. It also compares biomolecules and biochemical processes between cell types and under changing environmental conditions.

In the Literature Review you will carry out research in a topic associated with biological sciences and present the results as a critical review article.

The Workshop module develops your knowledge of the advanced practical techniques used to undertake research in biological sciences, including biological, biochemical and molecular biological techniques. You will use relevant online resources and learn how to analyse and interpret data collected in the laboratory.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Research Project
  • Biological Enterprise
  • Advanced Topics in Development 
  • Stress and Responses to the Environment 
  • Crops for the Future 
  • Ageing 
  • Advanced Cell Biology 
  • Genomics 
  • Biology of Disease. 

Additional pathways

Students on the BSc in Biochemistry can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


Lectures, form the factual basis of this science subject. Hands-on learning is an essential part of training in an experimental subject like biochemistry so you will also spend a significant proportion of contact hours in practical classes.

Year 1 classes teach basic techniques required for experimental work in biochemistry and molecular biology. Building on this knowledge and understanding, Years 2 and 3 focus on more specialised modules and experimental techniques. 

Year 3 sees more research-led lecturing so practical classes are replaced with workshops, research-based projects and literature reviews. This independent approach to learning provides an opportunity to further develop your interests and research skills as you start to prepare for postgraduate life and employment.

At all stages of the course the Department offers small-group tutorials. This allows for greater academic support and is supplemented by one-to-one support from academic advisers.


Modules are assessed via a combination of examinations and coursework including essays, practical reports, analytical exercises, case studies and oral presentations.

Literature reviews, project reports and laboratory workshop reports also play an important part in Biochemistry.

Entry requirements

A level offer – AAA including Chemistry and Mathematics.

Contextual offer – ABB including Chemistry and Mathematics.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD and A level requirements as above.

IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects including Chemistry and Mathematics.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We also consider other level 3 qualifications, including T-levels.
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2025/26 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Department of Biosciences

Students receive an outstanding education in biosciences, also gaining valuable transferable skills to prepare them for future challenges, enhancing personal development and improving their employment prospects. These skills can be applied to roles across a range of sectors preparing students to be active thinkers and future leaders.

Graduates have gone on to roles in teaching, the health sector, industrial R&D and biotechnology, management, accountancy, conservation, ecological and environmental services, broadcast and print science journalism, environmental and biological patent law, the pharmaceutical industry, the civil service, and the armed services. Graduates have also entered the NHS scientist training program. A large number also progress to postgraduate study at universities across the UK and overseas.

Of those students who graduated in 2020-21:

  • 82% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 89% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £29,550

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information

Department of Biosciences

The ever-changing discipline of Biosciences gives us valuable insight into life in its many different forms, from molecules to global populations. Biosciences explores many of the fundamentally important questions facing humankind – finding the answers will shape the future of life on Earth.

The discipline of Biosciences is wide ranging, with many different branches of study. Spanning topics from botany to food science, immunology to zoology, it has the potential to transform societies, economies and tackle global challenges. In a changing world, bioscience has never been more important. 

We are a community that shares a passion for education and development. Our work addresses many of the important challenges facing humankind, including climate change and biodiversity conservation, developing new technologies for healthcare, and feeding an increasing human population. 

Our research-led approach to teaching has been designed to immerse you in a mix of theoretical and practical learning from day one, equipping you with a wide range of analytical and practical skills that will prepare you to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

You can choose to follow a three-year BSc route, add a work placement year or a year abroad, or take a four-year MBiol route with a research focus. Students have the option to undertake a residential field course as part of the degree, with recent locations ranging from South Africa to Scotland and the neo-tropics where students learn how to use tools that can measure the carbon flux induced by climate change.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2024

  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the Biosciences Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 100% internationally recognised research environment (REF 2021)


We are located just a short walk from the historic centre of Durham, with other academic departments and university services nearby.

We are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology. Our equipment includes electron and confocal laser scanning microscopy, transgenic studies, genomics, DNA analysis and proteomics, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological field sampling and computer modelling. Teaching and research in the Department covers the breadth of the biological sciences, and often collaborate on projects with other disciplines such as the physical sciences.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Register for an Undergraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

Similar courses

Biological Sciences - BSc

UCAS Code: C103
Start: September 2025
Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences with Foundation - BSc

UCAS Code: C104
Start: September 2025
Biological Sciences with Foundation

Biosciences - MBiol

UCAS Code: C107
Start: September 2025