Studying Biochemistry

Undergraduate Studies

An undergraduate degree in Biochemistry

A biochemistry course will normally involve a broad first year, moving on to more detailed optional modules in the latter years. The first year will involve building on background knowledge in biology, chemistry, maths and computing alongside learning laboratory techniques and analysing data.

At some universities you can switch between similar courses (Biomedical Sciences, Molecular Bioscience) after the first year, and all provide you with the key skills you will need to work in the fields of molecular biosciences. Some universities also offer degrees with a built-in Master’s course, year in industry or year abroad.

Biochemistry degrees typically include topics such as:

  • Cell biology and signalling                          
  • Genetics and DNA
  • Structure and function of molecules
  • Enzymology
  • Proteins and membranes
  • Microbiology and viruses
  • Disease mechanisms
  • Metabolism
  • Plant biochemistry
  • Neurobiology


Read more in our guides to the typical undergraduate curriculum and our biochemistry career guide.


Undergraduate curriculum guide Biochemistry: the career guide


Search the UCAS website for biochemistry degree course structures and entry requirements for individual universities and higher education institutions 

  • Core Science GCSE plus Additional General Science GCSE
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics (as three separate GCSEs)
  • Applied Science Double Award (worth two GCSEs)
  • BTEC Diplomas may also be acceptable with good grades, in combination with other qualifications such as A levels.
  • A good grade in Maths GCSE or equivalent is also important if you want to study any of the sciences at a higher level.

Subjects you should consider studying prior to applying for university include:

  • Chemistry - is a prerequisite for most biochemistry degrees. It will provide you with a good understanding of the chemical principles that underpin Biochemistry and teach you skills such as calculating sample concentrations for lab work.
  • Biology - is a prerequisite for most biochemistry degrees, but not all. It will provide you with a sound knowledge of biochemical interactions as well as an introduction to genetics, cell biology and enzymology.
  • Maths - is not essential for many biochemistry courses but a lot of biochemistry revolves around interpreting statistical data and calculating concentrations, kinetics and constants. Studying maths will support the study of key biochemistry disciplines.
  • Communication subjects - such as English and History will teach you good communication skills which are highly valued in the scientific community

If you don’t have suitable qualifications, some universities offer a Science Foundation year. This will provide you with all the skills and qualifications you will need to move on to studying Biochemistry at undergraduate level, and often require GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.

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Thinking about your next steps?

Use our resources to explore different career paths open to you as a bioscience graduate.

Career Options

Undergraduate student support

The Biochemical Society offers a range of ways to support students with their studies and career development, which you can explore below.

Contact us

For further information and support please get in touch with the Education department.

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