MSci Biochemistry with a Year Abroad

Full Time
Degree of Master of Sciences

UCAS Course Code
A-Level typical
AAB (2018/9 entry) See All Requirements
Visit Us


Biochemistry connects major themes in Biology and Chemistry, providing extraordinary insight into advances at the cutting-edge of science and technology. Learn more about studying Biochemistry at UEA.

Watch It


With global battery markets expected to reach $86.6 billion by 2018, environmental concerns around their production and disposal are grave. Scientists at UEA are helping to understand how clean energy may be generated with help from a surprising source - bacteria.

Read It

Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)


Knowing how tumours form helps us to break them down. Biologists at UEA have shown how cooperating cancer cells help each other survive by sharing growth factors; understanding this process could lead to new forms of cell therapy that would make breaking down tumours easier.

Read It
Join our internationally renowned School of Biological Science based at the heart of the Norwich Research Park, the most cited research centre for science outside of London and Oxbridge, with 100% of our biological recognised as internationally excellent (REF 2014). Our integrated Biochemistry course gives you plenty of optional modules, giving you the opportunity to study many different branches of both biology and chemistry up to Masters level in your final year. In addition, the year abroad - which is spent in either Australasia, Europe or North America - will allow you to broaden your personal horizons and gain a new perspective of your subject.

We are home to world class academics and some of the best facilities in the country. The majority of learning will take place in lectures, seminars and practical laboratory classes providing you with invaluable contact time with lecturers, while learning through first-hand experience.


Biochemistry is a broad and fascinating area of science, spanning many themes in biology, chemistry and even physics.

That’s why we’ve designed our Biochemistry degrees to give you plenty of choice in what you study – both the BSc and MSci include lots of optional modules, and their common first and second years allow you to switch between them once you’ve started studying. So, you’ll have plenty of scope to satisfy your interests in both biology and chemistry.

This MSci is similar in content to the BSc but includes an additional year that allows you to spend an entire year at a university abroad. This degree is perfect for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of biochemistry and experience a different culture during your studies.

Study life and the chemistry that underpins it

The degree is taught by the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Chemistry, which gives you a flexible, diverse programme as well as the benefit of both Schools’ world-renowned expertise.

You’ll be taught the fundamental chemical principles that underlie biochemistry alongside aspects of cellular and molecular biology. This provides your foundation to study more specialist topics that address contemporary developments in the field, from medicinal chemistry and genetics to protein engineering and microbial biotechnology.

Course Structure

The degree is a four-year programme that consists of an in-depth introduction to fundamental biochemical science in the first year, followed by a flexible second year that allows you to tailor your course to chemistry, biology or a balance of both.

You’ll spend the third year abroad at a university of your choice and, in the fourth and final year, you will select from a range of advanced level taught modules and undertake an advanced project. You will become directly involved in an active research group, investigating a topic at the forefront of modern biochemistry.

First year

The first year is designed to give you a grounding in fundamental biochemistry, incorporating compulsory modules such as: Fundamentals of Molecular Biology and Genetics; Fundamentals of Cell Biology and Biochemistry; Chemistry of Carbon-Based Compounds; Bonding, Structure and Periodicity; Practical and Quantitative Skills in Chemistry; and Physical and Analytical Methods in the Biomolecular Sciences.

Second year

Your second year will build upon the skills gained in year one with further compulsory modules (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biophysical Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry), while allowing you to begin focusing your attention on biology, chemistry or both through options including: Cell Biology, Genetics, Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry.

Third year

The third year is your chance to study at a completely different institution in a completely different country. We have links with a wide range of universities in Australasia, Europe and North America that can host you for an entire year, where you’ll be exposed to a different culture and a different academic environment.

For many students, the Year Abroad is one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences they take away from university.

Fourth year

The final year is based around an in-depth, advanced research project that will allow you to get to grips with a genuine problem at the cutting edge of biochemistry. You’ll get involved in a working research group and contribute to their ongoing work – there’s a wealth of really exciting research taking place at UEA that could form the basis of your project.

Alongside the research project, you will also take three optional advanced modules across chemistry and biology, from a range including: Medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, biological chemistry, microbiology, biotechnology and molecular medicine.

Practical lab-based teaching

Throughout your time at UEA you’ll have regular access to our amazing facilities including state of the art undergraduate practical laboratories. Your research project may also benefit from access to our research electron microscopes, mass spectrometers and high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers.

We aim to give our students as much time in the lab as possible, so we’re not just transferring knowledge but also developing skills. We believe hands-on experiments, backed by thought-provoking seminars and lectures, give you the best possible education.

Join a world-renowned research environment

The facilities and faculty at UEA are among the best in country – both Schools are internationally renowned for their research excellence thanks to their contributions to the big problems facing scientists today.

We’re based at the heart of Norwich Research Park – one of the most cited scientific research centres in the country, which specialises in the life sciences. The School of Chemistry is ranked 4th in the UK for the quality of its research output, and 100% of our research in Biological Sciences is internationally recognised (REF 2014).

Norwich Research Park is also home to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and four independent world-renowned research institutes – the John Innes Centre, Institute of Food Research, The Sainsbury Laboratory and The Earlham Institute (nee The Genome Analysis Centre). As well as housing over 40 science and technology based businesses, the Norwich Research Park is one of Europe’s leading centres for research in food, health and the environment, exposing our students to cutting-edge developments in biology.

This prestigious environment produces some ground-breaking research that has a real impact and gives our students access to academics at the top of their field.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


After a shared introduction to chemical bonding, atomic and molecular structure and chemical principles, this module will provide you with an introduction to the structures, properties and reactivities of molecules and ionic solids. The first few lectures of this module are integrated with the module 'Chemistry of Carbon Based Compounds'. The course is supported and illustrated by the bonding, structure and periodicity experiments of the first year practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory A or Research Skills in Biochemistry. The latter part of the course will concentrate more on fundamental aspects of inorganic chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the relationships between chemical bonding and the structures and properties of molecules. This module is the prerequisite for the 2nd year Inorganic Chemistry module.




After a shared introduction to atomic structure and periodicity, you will be introduced to the concepts of bonding and hybridisation, conjugation and aromaticity, the mechanistic description of organic reactions, the organic functional groups, the shapes of molecules and stereochemical issues including the concepts of enantiomers, diastereoisomers and racemates.




You will explore the principles of how information is stored in DNA, how it is expressed, copied and repaired, and how DNA is transmitted between generations. You will gain an introduction to fundamental aspects of biochemistry and cell biology. The essential roles played by proteins and enzymes in signalling, transport and metabolism will be considered in terms of their structures. You will discover how living cells are visualised and the nature of the cell's component membranes and organelles.




To understand Life we have to study and understand the molecular properties of life's components. For any biochemist these are cells, energy, macromolecules, biochemical reactions and transport (of energy or chemical components). The tools we use as scientists in our quest for understanding life are various physical and analytical methods. You will be introduced to the basic principles of thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, and reaction kinetics. You will conclude the module by having a look at various physical and analytical techniques that are being used in current Biochemistry. This lectures will introduce you and provide you with essential information about some of the physical principles that underpin our understanding of molecular and cellular systems. The complementary seminar series will help to consolidate your understanding through applying this knowledge to selected topics in biochemistry and provide you with the opportunity to develop skills in problem solving, data analysis, scientific writing, and presentation. The module is also enriched with six math workshops. In these workshops you are going to consolidate but also further develop basic and more advanced mathematical skills that directly relate with this module but that will also assist you for the duration of your degree.




If you are a Biochemistry student, this module will provide you with practical and research skills. In the laboratory, you will experience experimental and computational aspects of different areas of chemistry: organic, inorganic, analytical and physical. The experiments and simulations provide practical chemistry skills, complementing lectures in other first year modules. In seminars and workshops, you will develops skills such as analysing data, using references critically, and presenting results in different formats.



Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


You will develop further understanding of contemporary biochemistry, especially in relation to mammalian physiology and metabolism. With a particular focus on proteins and their biochemical activities, you will examine their involvement in cellular reactions, bioenergetics and signalling processes.




This module will equip you with an understanding of the principles and techniques used in contemporary biophysical chemistry. You will learn experimental techniques for measuring thermodynamic and kinetic properties of biological molecules. You will gain firm grounding in the physical principles describing those properties and their use to provide quantitative descriptions of those properties. Using predominantly examples from protein biochemistry you will explore three major themes; i) spectroscopic properties of biomolecules, ii) thermodynamic and kinetic properties of proteins and enzymes, and, iii) methods defining biomolecule size and mass. Through weekly seminars you will benefit from putting your knowledge into practice, communicating your ideas and growing your confidence in quantitative data analysis and problem solving. During laboratory based practical work, you will develop your skills in sample preparation together with the collection and interpretation of spectroscopic data. Your participation in this module will give you the knowledge to appreciate how, and why, biophysical chemistry contributes to advances in medicine, sustainable energy solutions and healthy ageing.




Medicinal chemistry is a highly interdisciplinary area and this module is designed to introduce a variety of topics in the field of medicinal chemistry. Some of the topics that will be discussed in a series of lectures include: - Molecular and biomolecular interactions - Biomolecules: Proteins and nucleic acids - Basic cell biology from a medicinal chemistry perspective - Basic processes in biology: Replication, - Transcription and Translation - Phases of drug action - Pharmacokinetics - Proteins and receptors as drug targets - DNA as a drug target and development of antitumor agents.




You will be given a background to the fundamental principles of molecular biology, in particular the nature of the relationship between genetic information and the synthesis, and three dimensional structures, of macromolecules. You will also gain practical experience of some of the techniques used for the experimental manipulation of genetic material, and the necessary theoretical framework. The module also includes an introduction to bioinformatics, the computer-assisted analysis of DNA and protein sequence information.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module explores the molecular organisation of cells and the regulation of cellular changes, with some emphasis on medical cell biology. Dynamic properties of cell signalling, growth factor function and aspects of cancer biology and immunology. Regulation of the internal cell environment (information flow, cell growth, division and motility), the relationship of the cell to its extracellular matrix and the determination of cell phenotype. Aspects of cell death, developmental biology, mechanisms of tissue renewal and repair. It is suggested that students taking this module should also take Molecular Biology (BIO-5003B) and/or Genetics (BIO-5009A).




In this module, you'll study the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds. This module is a prerequisite for the 3rd level inorganic course Inorganic Compounds: Structure and Functions. You'll cover the electronic structure, spectroscopic and magnetic properties of transition metal complexes (ligand field theory), the chemistry of main group clusters, polymers and oligomers, the structures and reactivities of main group and transition metal organometallics, and the application of spectroscopic methods (primarily NMR, MS and IR) to inorganic compounds. You'll have laboratory classes linked to the lecture topics and so you will need to have completed either of the level 4 practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory (A) or Research Skills in Biochemistry.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


The aim is to provide you with an appreciation of genetics at a fundamental and molecular level and to demonstrate the importance and utility of genetic studies. Genetics and molecular biology lie at the heart of biological processes, ranging from cancer biology to evolution.




This course builds on Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds (the first year organic chemistry course). You will cover four main topics. The first 'aromaticity' includes benzenoid and hetero-aromatic systems. The second major topic is the organic chemistry of carbonyl compounds. Spectroscopic characterisation of organic compounds is reviewed and the final major topic is 'stereochemistry and mechanisms'. This covers conformational aspects of acyclic and cyclic compounds. Stereoelectronic effects, Neighbouring Group Participation (NGP), Baldwin's rules, Cram's rule and cycloaddition reactions are then discussed.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


You will undertake a full academic year of approved study at a specified Australian or New Zealand University.




You will undertake a full academic year of approved study at a specified European University.




Students undertake a full academic year of approved study at a specified overseas university. Module choices at different institutions will vary. However you will be required to take a selection of modules consistent with the UEA level 6 modules. Upon choosing your overseas modules, you must complete a Learning Agreement form, to be countersigned by the Course Director. Students will take assessments, as required by the host institution. The final marks and/or Grade Point Averages will be translated into a UEA equivalent once their year abroad is completed




You will undertake a full academic year of approved study at a specified University in North America.



Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


Gain further experience of biological research, including the formulation of hypotheses and appreciation of the processes involved in designing and carrying out experiments and determining outcomes. You will also explore skills associated with the communication of data resulting from scientific work.




You will build upon your knowledge of important biophysical concepts and methods that are widely employed in Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. There are two main areas upon which you will focus: The first focusses on biological systems covering key areas such as the role of metal-containing proteins; biocatalysis, membrane proteins, including transport across biological membranes and modern developments in chemical biology. The second part of the module develops further your understanding of key biophysical characterisation tools used in chemical and structural biology. It develops the spectroscopic/structural theme covered in the B.Sc. course by providing an in depth, specialist view of selected key biophysical methods at the forefront of research. These include (i) high resolution crystallographic techniques and x-ray spectroscopic techniques (ii) magnetic resonance techniques (both advanced nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) methods); (iii) advanced optical techniques (eg MCD and Mossbauer), (iv) Computational approaches (eg molecular dynamics) for structure determination and structure-function studies as well as understanding and determining protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions.




You will work with a supervisor to deliver a supervised research project. This module is only available to students registered for the MChem programme.



Students will select 0 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module will help you to understand human diseases at the molecular and cellular level throughout the body. You'll gain knowledge of the normal tissue function in question and how it changes in disease. You'll also learn how research can identify molecular mechanisms underlying the diseases and lead to the design of tools for disease diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention. You'll benefit from world-renowned experts in their field across the Norwich Research Park. You'll learn about the usefulness of model organisms in research and become an expert in the gut, the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system. Up-to-date knowledge on infection, ion channels and metabolism will complement and link the body system. A substantial part of the module is dedicated to stem cells and their risk and potential as therapeutic target. You'll be assessed through an essay (30%) and a course test (70%) On successful completion of this module, you'll have a solid background on the structure and function of various organ systems, associated diseases and get insight how disease mechanisms are identified in translational research. This will be transferable into your future career as a PhD student or medical-related work setting.




This is a compulsory module for the MSc in Molecular Medicine. You will learn and gain practical experience in experimental techniques widely used in Molecular Medicine, including mammalian cell culture, gel electrophoresis, Western blotting, transfection of cells with GFP-protein constructs, microscope imaging, live cell imaging and RT-PCR.



Students will select 0 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module is an option for all final year students on our integrated Master's degree. It builds on previous modules to present commercially relevant cutting edge science. You will learn how to tailor homogeneous catalysis to control the properties and value of commodity polymers. You will be able to describe the applications and suggest solutions to challenges in dehydrocoupling. You will be able to design novel combinations and explain the remarkable catalytic and stoichiometric reactivity of frustrated Lewis pairs. You will spectroscopically characterise and interpret multi-nuclear NMR. Your knowledge of the unique chemistry of gold complexes will equip you to explain the versatility of gold to treat cancer and prepare novel OLEDs.




Organic chemistry differs from most other areas of science in that we study what we create using the power of synthesis. In this context this module on advanced organic chemistry is the study of supermolecules - catalysts and supramolecular structures - and the methods and principles required to understand how these work. The topics are related closely to the research interests of the lecturers involved, and we hope that our enthusiasm for, and specialist knowledge of, the subjects covered will create an interesting and rewarding course that extends beyond organic chemistry to several other areas of science. In the Autumn semester the topic is asymmetric catalysis, a discipline that is increasingly utilised in organic synthesis. In Part A the principles of asymmetric catalysis will be introduced and exemplified using metal catalysis, organo catalysis and enzyme catalysis. Such is the importance of catalysis to life that this part will include an investigation into asymmetric catalytic reactions of relevance to the origins of life. In Part B the course will revisit palladium catalysed reactions studied in Year 3 and describe how these can be extended to the synthesis of chiral non-racemic molecules, including bioactive compounds and natural products of relevance to drug discovery programmes. In the Spring semester Part C will cover how the mechanism of an organic reaction, including a catalysed reaction, may be determined. This physical organic chemistry component of the course will provide a detailed insight into techniques and principles of use in several other areas of chemical science. Finally, in Part D, supramolecular structure will be discussed, including methods of synthesis, together with the application of these molecules in areas including materials chemistry.



Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Students cannot take BIO-7004A if they have already taken BIO-6013A and cannot take BIO-7007B if they have already taken BIO-6010B

Name Code Credits


This module will provide you with detailed knowledge of the biological analysis of genomes. The module is split into three sections centred on: a) Genome organisation, evolution and expression; b) Maintaining genome integrity; and c) Regulation of gene Expression. Your lectures will cover core processes and techniques central to genomics in biological disciplines. The later lectures you'll have on the module will be devoted to research-led teaching with many discussing genomics and new research from UEA scientists. A practical associated with this module will provide you with experience of molecular biology and the ability to critically analyse experimental data related to the taught component.




Learn the biology of selected infectious microorganisms in the context of host and responses to pathogens. You'll explore the properties of organs, cells and molecules of the immune system, along with the mechanism of antibody diversity generation and the exploitation of the immune response for vaccine development. Examples of pathogens will illustrate major virulence strategies.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • University Taster Events

    Come to one of our taster events and experience university life for yourself. Book now.

    Read it University Taster Events
  • UEA Award

    Develop your skills, build a strong CV and focus your extra-curricular activities while studying with our employer-valued UEA award.

    Read it UEA Award
  • Our Students

    Hear from Gemma about studying Biochemistry at UEA

    Read it Our Students
  • Our Students

    Hear from Joe about studying Biochemistry at UEA

    Read it Our Students

Entry Requirements

  • A Level AAB including Chemistry and one other Science or Mathematics. Science A-levels must include a pass in the practical element.
  • International Baccalaureate 33 points with HL 6 in two subjects including Chemistry and another Science or Mathematics. If no GCSE equivalent is held, offer will include Mathematics and English requirements.
  • Scottish Highers Only accepted in combination with Scottish Advanced Highers.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BBC including Chemistry and one other Science or Mathematics. A combination of Advanced Highers and Highers may be acceptable.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate AAAABB or 4 subjects at H1 and 2 at H2, including Chemistry and one other Science or Mathematics
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 36 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 9 credits at Level 3 including 12 Level 3 credits in Chemistry and 12 Level 3 credits in one other Science or Mathematics
  • BTEC DDD in a relevant subject. Excluding Public Services and Forensic Science. Applied Science and Applied Science (Medical Science) preferred. BTEC and A-level combinations are considered - please contact us.
  • European Baccalaureate 80% overall, with at least 70% in Chemistry and one other Science or Mathematics

Entry Requirement

GCSE Requirements:  GCSE English Language grade 4 and GCSE Mathematics grade 5 or GCSE English Language grade C and GCSE Mathematics grade B.  

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.  

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

Applicants with Access or BTEC qualifications who receive an offer will also be asked to complete a chemistry test at the University during the Summer.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 6.0 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Please click here for further information.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not meet the academic and/or English language requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme. Depending on your interests and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

INTO UEA also offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:



The majority of our candidates will not be called for interview. However, for some students an interview will be requested. These are normally quite informal and generally cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.


Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year, believing that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry and may wish to contact the appropriate Admissions Office directly to discuss this further.

Special Entry Requirements

You are also required to have achieved a GCSE Grade B in the language of your chosen country if studying in Europe.


The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

We encourage you to apply if you have alternative qualifications equivalent to our stated entry requirement. Please contact us for further information.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Office prior to applying please do contact us:

Undergraduate Admissions Office (Biological Sciences)
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Please click here to register your details online via our Online Enquiry Form.

International candidates are also actively encouraged to access the University's International section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515