The path to becoming a biochemist is a challenging but rewarding one. It takes several years of education to become a professional in the field. Whilst studying, you will learn about the cutting-edge research whilst working with high-tech scientific equipment in real laboratory environments.

Here is what you will need if you want to study biochemistry after school.

GCSEs or equivalents

Your teachers will be able to inform you of what options are available and will help you decide what is best for you. However, to study biochemistry, you should take either:

  • 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.

A Levels, equivalent qualifications and science foundation years

The most common route to a biochemistry-related degree is to take an acceptable combination of A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.

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

  • Biology is a prerequisite for almost all biochemistry degrees. It will provide you with a sound knowledge of biochemical interactions as well as an introduction to genetics, cell biology and enzymology, all key Biochemistry topics.
  • Chemistry is another essential prerequisite to study biochemistry at most institutions. It will teach you skills you will need for working in a lab, such as calculating sample concentrations, and provide you with a good understanding of the chemical principles that underpin Biochemistry.
  • Mathematics 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.

Read about what a typical  biochemistry degree course looks like with Studying Biochemistry at Undergraduate Level.

Search UCAS for biochemistry degrees to find the exact requirements for individual universities and higher education institutions and read our Biochemistry Courses for 2015 guide.

Stand out from the crowd

It is important to show universities that you have enthusiasm for the molecular biosciences when you apply for a course. Applicants who have already completed some work experience will stand out.