Biochemistry MBiol, BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAA (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview


Biochemistry will help you face some of the greatest issues of our time, from the discovery of vaccines and drugs to treat diseases, through to the development of green biofuels and drought-resistant crops. On this course, taught by world-leading experts, you’ll build the theoretical knowledge and skillset, critical to addressing these challenges. 

You’ll develop a deep understanding of biochemical reaction mechanisms, genetic engineering, protein structure and function, biophysical methods and biochemistry of health and disease, whilst gaining subject-specific skills highly valued by prospective employers. This course has excellent career prospects with graduates entering a range of scientific and non-scientific careers with top employers.

You can tailor the course to suit your interests by combining your study of core biochemistry modules with a choice of optional and discovery modules.

This integrated Masters (MBiol) gives you an additional year of specialist training, to study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project. You may also choose to apply for our 3 year BSc and transfer to an MBiol up until the end of your second year, subject to suitable academic performance.

Course highlights

  • Develop research-led skills in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology, and microbiology.
  • Gain practical experience through our year in industry programme.
  • Choose your pathway as your knowledge grows and make the most of our flexible degree structure in all years of study.
  • Carry out an independent research project under the supervision of a field-leading academic, further developing the transferable skills that will set you apart in the graduate job market.
  • One year of additional specialist training culminating in an extended research project.

Flexible degrees

Biochemistry is a specialist degree within the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, which offers you flexibility throughout your time at Leeds.

Many of our degree courses share the same set of compulsory modules in the first year. A key benefit of having a common first year is that at the end of year 1, there may be opportunities to transfer onto degree courses in Biological Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology with Enterprise. Course transfers must happen prior to the commencement of Year 2 and are subject to space and academic background approval.

Wellbeing afternoons

Here at the University of Leeds, we are acutely aware that teaching is only part of a healthy, engaging university lifestyle. Activities which contribute to your wellbeing are vital, and so we have created Wednesday Wellbeing Afternoons.

These afternoons are a period of time with as much teaching as possible removed to give you the chance to pursue your passions. This may be a competitive sport for the university, a social sporting activity, or indeed any activity which contributes to positive mental health. We want your degree to be as flexible as possible so that you can make the most of your time here with us.


Accredited by The Royal Society of Biology

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

This accreditation is applicable to the following course variants: BSc Biochemistry (Industrial); MBiol BSc Biochemistry; MBiol BSc Biochemistry (Industrial); MBiol BSc Biochemistry (International).

Course details

Year 1

The first year lays the foundations of subject knowledge, practical skills and problem solving required for later years of the course and your future career.

The core lecture material builds on your existing knowledge of chemistry, whilst exploring the biochemical basis for enzyme function, DNA replication, protein synthesis, cellular energy production and metabolic pathways.

You will be given the chance to develop practical skills during six hours of contact time per week. Experiments build on the core lecture material and include protein chromatography, enzyme kinetics and genetic engineering.

In weekly tutorials with an academic member of staff you will develop your numeracy and problem-solving skills whilst reinforcing your understanding of the core lecture material.

During semester 2 you will explore your own interests by selecting two optional modules from a choice of six. Examples include “biology of the mind” and “introduction to pharmacology”. Alternatively, you can swap one optional module for a discovery module from across the University.

At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer to degree courses in Biological Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology with Enterprise. Course transfers are subject to space and academic background approval.

Year 2

The second year involves in-depth and increasingly research-led study of the major areas that underpin modern biochemistry: Protein Structure and Function, Gene Regulation, Genetic Engineering and Biochemistry of Health and Disease.

During the second-year practicals you will spend one full day per week working on both lab-based and computational practicals. Experiments typically run over several weeks, requiring you to utilise multiple approaches and take greater responsibility for your experimental design. One example is a drug discovery project, where you will identify and test potential inhibitors of a therapeutic target protein.

The core lecture material is reinforced with tutorials on topics such as organic reaction mechanisms, plant biology, and strategies for gene cloning and protein expression. Additional tutorials provide training in transferable skills required to compete successfully in the employment market. These include mock interviews, report writing and the design and delivery of presentations.

You will also select optional and discovery modules from across the University to further develop and broaden your expertise in biochemistry or subjects further beyond.

At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.

Year 3

You will undertake a practical project that introduces you to increasingly sophisticated techniques and provides the opportunity to become familiar with the cutting-edge research facilities available at Leeds, including bio-imaging and flow cytometry facility, protein production facility, biomolecular interaction facility, and nuclear magnetic resonance facility. You will also conduct a literature review of your proposed extended final-year research project, with the support of your supervisor. Alongside this, you will select the advanced topic BSc modules and study skill BSc modules aligned with your choice of theme.

Year 4

Spend approximately 6 months working on your extended research project in your supervisor’s laboratory. As you are fully integrated into a research group, you will contribute to internationally competitive research which can result in the first publication of your career. MBiol projects are varied: from molecular characterization of chancer associated signalling pathways and investigation of bacterial outer membrane protein folding, to identification and development of new biopharmaceuticals. You will gain experience in a range of advanced techniques such as CRISPR, advanced DNA/RNA sequencing techniques, structural biology, bioinformatics and many more, depending on the project. Alongside you will study a skills module designed to prepare you for a career as a professional scientist.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biochemistry MBiol, BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introductory Biochemistry: Practical Skills 20
Introductory Biochemistry: Problem Solving and Data Handling 20
Introductory Integrated Biochemistry: the Molecules and Processes of Life 50
Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Tissues 10

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Genetics 10
Biology of the Mind 10
Introduction to Pharmacology 10
The Microbial World 10
Introduction to Immunology 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Intermediate Biochemistry: Practicals 20
Intermediate Biochemistry: Skills 20
Intermediate Biochemistry 30
Genetic Engineering 10
Biological Membranes and Cell Signalling 10
Cell Biology of Disease 10

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Chemotherapy 10
Skills in Communicating Research beyond the University 10
Medical Immunology 10
Medical Virology 10

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry I 20
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry 2 20
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry 3 20
Advanced Biochemistry: Skills 20
Research Tools and Applications 20
Extended Research Project Preparation 20

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Extended Research Project 90
Specialised Research Topics and Skills 30

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and practicals. Your first and second years will focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge in preparation for your final year research project, which will see you take on independent research and learning with the guidance of leading experts.

Across all years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures, lab practicals, and private study.

A typical week in your first year includes nine to twelve hours of lectures, three to six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, tutorials, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.

Independent study and research are crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers comprehensive training.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

Including chemistry and another science subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.

We accept the following:

  • Science: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.

  • Science-related: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, statistics.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.

When an applicant is taking any of the following:

  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

  • Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ)

  • Core Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)

  • AS Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)

  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

It will be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be a 1 grade drop from the standard offer. For example an A in one of the above qualifications with AAB at A-level (MBiol applicants).

GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English. The Faculty of Biological Sciences will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Alternative qualification

Cambridge Pre-U

BSc: D3/D3/M1 including chemistry plus one other science subject. Global Perspectives excluded.

MBiol: D3/D3/D3 including chemistry plus another science subject. Global Perspectives excluded.

When an applicant is taking Global Perspectives this can be considered alongside Pre-U subjects and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. This would be D3/M1/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (BSc applicants) or D3/D3/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (MBiol applicants).

International Baccalaureate

BSc: 6,6,5 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science subject.

MBiol: 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

BSc: H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 chemistry and another science at higher level.

MBiol: H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H2 in chemistry and another science at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BSc: Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AB in 2 Advanced Highers including chemistry and another science. General studies and critical thinking excluded.

MBiol: Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including chemistry and another science. General studies and critical thinking excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer

Specific A Level subjects required – see entry requirement section above.

GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.

Access to Leeds: Pass

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We welcome applications from mature students. We welcome applications from mature students from all backgrounds onto both full-time and part-time students.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions guidance

Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Application process

The Faculty of Biological Sciences may consider applications submitted after this date. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed by UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.

Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants

As per the information detailed in the corresponding section of the University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy the Faculty of Biological Sciences will consider prospective students via the Alternative Entry Scheme run by the Lifelong Learning where appropriate applicants will be referred to the Lifelong Learning Centre, who will advise the applicant further.


Except for those courses detailed below, interviews do not form part of the Faculty of Biological Sciences’ standard admissions process however, in some cases, an applicant may be invited for an interview if it will help inform whether or not an offer should be made.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Contact us

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office


Career opportunities

We aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem solving.

Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the faculty student opportunity team, Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.

A Leeds biochemistry degree is respected by scientific and non-scientific employers alike, due to the analytical, technical and quantitative character of the course. Our graduates have, for many years, experienced high employment rates and a high proportion quickly gain employment upon graduation.

Typical graduate careers include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Biomedical Scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Forensic scientist
  • Teaching
  • Science communication

Examples of recent graduate destinations include:

  • Molecular Biologist
  • Medical Sales Representative
  • Graduate Entry Medicine
  • PGCE - Teaching
  • PhD Biological Sciences

Careers support

We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.

We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. These include our annual student-alumni networking event, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield NHS Ecological consultancies, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Industrial placements are taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, the staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and recruitment process and provide details of organisations.

Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.

Combined study and working abroad

Our new module allows you to combine both a study abroad and industrial work placement into one additional year of study. Over the year you will study for a semester at one of our partner universities and complete an industrial work placement for 6 months abroad or in the UK.

Find out more about Combined study and work abroad.

Student profile: Justin Wong

We are supported in developing scientific advances, and making an impact by taking the lead on tackling many of the world’s problems.
Find out more about Justin Wong's time at Leeds