Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

UCAS code F115

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About this course 2019/20

Biochemistry provides a foundation to our understanding of all cellular life.  By combining aspects of biology and chemistry, this course studies modern biochemistry at the molecular level, to enable students to understand the biological processes that influence all living organisms. 

As a Biochemistry graduate, you will leave Northumbria University with the skills to prepare you for a future of life-long learning and a choice of careers, across a variety of scientific discipline areas including the chemical and pharmaceutical industries; food and nutrition industries; healthcare, as well as research and academia.

As part of the course students have the option to undertake an industrial placement year between the 2nd and final years. Placement opportunities exist with many companies and students from the Department of Applied Sciences have had successful placements with global organisation such as Proctor & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck, as well as local small companies. This placement option, combined with a year-long laboratory based project in the final year, creates focused, high quality, analytically and technically minded graduates, with the practical skills and knowledge to forge a successful career in today’s competitive market.

Modules & Learning

Students begin their course with an introduction to the range of subjects fundamental to the application of biochemistry, covering biological, medicinal and analytical chemistry, together with cell biology and genetics. First year students will actively participate in laboratory practical sessions, to assist their understanding of the theoretical material delivered in lectures.   

In the second year, students will further their knowledge and skills base across a range of topics integral to the study of biochemistry including human metabolism, molecular biology, cellular and molecular analysis, genetics, bioinformatics, organic chemistry and analytical methods.

Prior to the third year, students can choose to complete a placement year either in the UK, or internationally. The prospect of gaining industrial experience is a fantastic opportunity and it can make a real difference at the job application and interview stage, when students enter the post-graduation marketplace.

During the final year of the programme there is a chance for students to specialise their studies, when they undertake a year-long, laboratory based, research project in a particular biochemical discipline. The project is individual to each student and is designed to accelerate learning, technical ability and confidence. The projects are conducted each Friday across both semesters of the final year, in modern, well equipped laboratories housed in the Department of Applied Sciences at the City Campus of Northumbria University. Furthermore, students have the option to pick modules designed to suit their specific interests and begin to develop their own specialisms, the option choices include Genomics and Industrial Biochemistry and Bio-catalysis. 

Independent learning is a key component of the programme and a number of modules are based around this premise, leading to students being able to problem solve and work independently – skills much sought after by the employers of today.

The advantage of a nurtured curiosity, generated from a range of problem-solving modules, is that it creates analytical and critical thinking graduates with clearly evidenced opinions. Graduates of the Biochemistry course will have developed an ability to recognise, apply and adapt biochemical concepts in the wider scientific community, including those that are specifically related to the real world.

Teaching Staff

The highly qualified, research leading staff in the Department of Applied Sciences academic team, are a group of experts from varied scientific discipline areas, with a wealth of knowledge, as well as industrial and academic experience. They share a knowledge of, and passion for science, which is passed on to our undergraduate students, via a variety of teaching and assessment methods.

Our staff members are at the forefront of scientific research and have helped the University move into the top 50 research Universities in the UK, strongly contributing to the University’s very successful submission to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, notably in the discipline relevant category of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, in which we were placed within the top quartile by research power.

As well as staff from the Department of Applied Sciences, the Biochemistry programme has been specifically designed to incorporate input from industrial scientists, who offer their sector specific knowledge and experience to the more applied areas of the programme. For over 20 years the department has welcomed external professionals from the NHS, Proctor & Gamble, Akzo Nobel, and other innovative businesses at the cutting edge of bio-sciences, to share their knowledge and industrial experience with our students. 


The Department of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University offers state-of-the art facilities, for both teaching and research.

The BSc Biochemistry programme has a strong hands-on practical component throughout, so students can learn the latest techniques and practical laboratory based skills. Teaching sessions are conducted in recently refurbished, well-equipped laboratories and lecture theatres with leading audio-visual facilities to enhance the learning experience.

The department has invested heavily in its facilities, acquiring some of the latest high tech scientific equipment, required for research in this discipline area.  In 2018 a new tissue culture suite was added to the extensive number of teaching and specialised research laboratories within the department. The Department of Applied Sciences also hosts an ‘Omics laboratory facility, with a range of next generation sequencing equipment, supported by excellent technical staff. This laboratory facilitates proteomic and metabolomic research, supporting our world class academics and keeping at them at the forefront of research in this fast evolving scientific field. Facilities and equipment are key when it comes to students undertaking their final year research project. Access to specialised scientific equipment allows students to gain hands on experience using equipment such as NMR, HPLC-MS, as well as data from the ‘Omics facility, leading to excellent project opportunities. All this provides Northumbria students with a high quality research experience, which is directly applicable to the biochemical discipline area and will enhance future career opportunities for our graduates.

Research-rich Learning

Research is embedded throughout the BSc Biochemistry course, to ensure that the skills and knowledge that students will acquire are at the forefront of this key scientific discipline area.

As the course has been developed and is delivered by our research-active teaching team, we have ensured the integration of our research knowledge and experience into all areas of day-to-day teaching. Having access to research-active mentors means that students pursue contemporary research areas and disciplines throughout the programme.

In the final year, alongside their project, students will participate in the ‘Current topics in Biochemistry’ module, designed and taught by research academics, to discuss and deliver real examples of the latest research in biochemistry by the researchers themselves. Students get the opportunity to delve deeper into specific topic areas within Biochemistry, thus gaining a greater understanding of the issues and the very latest research. After an introduction to the topic area by an academic, students then independently review the latest publications from leading scientists, then present their finding to their peers. This module is designed to allow students to embrace independent research and also helps to prepares them for their final year projects and potentially a future research career.

Career Edge

As a Biochemistry graduate you will not only have gained expert, subject-specific knowledge, but you will have also secured a whole host of wider skills to support your future career choices. The interactive nature of this course, with its research informed teaching, alongside the final year project means graduates from the programme will have the edge they need to stand out within a competitive employment marketplace.  

Students who undertake a placement year are more likely to secure employment after graduating and the majority of students who embrace this opportunity find the insight into working life extremely worthwhile.

The fact that 94.7% of Northumbria University students are in work or further study six months after graduation, speaks for itself (*DLHE Survey 2013/14).

Your Future

There are a wide-range of possible employment and study options post-graduation from the Biochemistry course. The programme acts as a feeder route for graduating students to enter Northumbria’s Post-Graduate opportunities in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Forensic Science or Nutritional Science and other developing post graduate opportunities at Northumbria. Equally for those who are eager to go straight into employment, graduates can chose a whole range of career paths in the chemical, pharmaceutical, nutritional, health sciences or research arenas.

Business is booming in the Science sector and the Department of Applied Sciences students thrive post-graduation!

Course info

UCAS Code F115

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)

Department Applied Sciences

Location Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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