MSci Biochemistry with a Year Abroad

Full Time
Degree of Master of Sciences

A-Level typical
ABB (2020/1 entry) See All Requirements
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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.

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Hear from Gemma about studying Biochemistry at UEA.

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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.

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Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)

Immerse yourself in the wonder of biological organisms and processes at the molecular level. Explore all aspects of life from molecules to cells, tissues and organisms, right up to populations and ecosystems. Learn from leading research scientists who are specialists in their fields of study. Spend a year living and studying abroad, gaining a unique, career-shaping insight into the teaching, research and culture of another country.
This course is for you if you have a strong background in chemistry and are enthusiastic about applying this to the study of biological systems. It is ideal if you want to go on to work in industry, or to progress to a PhD and a career in research.
Biochemists have won six of the Nobel Prizes for Chemistry in the last 10 years. As a biochemist you’ll have the potential to make an impact on many areas of contemporary science, including health, nutrition, clean energy and tackling pollution.


On this course, you’ll follow the same programme as our MSci Biochemistry students, but you will spend your third year studying abroad at a partner university in Europe, Asia, Australia, USA or Canada. You will experience and learn from the differences in teaching, research and culture – and make valuable contacts for your career. Our biochemistry degrees are taught jointly by the Schools of Biological Sciences and Chemistry. This dual approach means that in all elements of the course you benefit from subject-specific experts who inform our undergraduate teaching. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 100% of our biological sciences research environment and impact was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent, and the quality of our chemistry research output was ranked fourth in the UK (Times Higher Education REF 2014 subject rankings). Our research makes use of a wide array of facilities such as multi-photon and laser scanning confocal microscopes for the study of cells and tissues at the molecular level, high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, pulsed electron parmagnetic resonance spectrometers and X-ray diffractometers for the study of molecular structure, mass spectrometers, liquid and gas chromatography systems, and fluorescence and electron microscopes. You will benefit from our enviable position as an integral partner of the Norwich Research Park, which is also home to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and independent, world-renowned research institutes such as the John Innes Centre, the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Earlham Institute, and the new £75-million Quadram Institute.

Course Structure

Year 1

In your first year you will learn the fundamentals of biology and chemistry that underpin the study of biochemistry.

Year 2

As you progress you will choose from a broad range of modules across topics such as cell and molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, genetics, protein engineering and microbial biotechnology along with a wide range of optional modules

Year 3

You will spend your third year living and studying abroad. You can choose from a broad range of partner universities in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.

Year 4

In your final year you’ll undertake a year-long independent research project, as well as having the opportunity to study advanced biochemistry modules at Master’s level.

Teaching and Learning

Our school has world-class academics and excellent facilities, including our undergraduate practical laboratories. The majority of learning will take place in lectures, seminars, practical laboratory classes and fieldwork, providing you with invaluable contact time with lecturers while learning through first-hand experience. Intellectual skills are developed by direct contact with lecturers who are frequently internationally recognised researchers. Throughout the programme, each module involves applied work in collecting, analysing or reviewing data and observations on biological processes, with particular emphasis on the critical assessment of existing knowledge. Many modules bridge traditional disciplines. Skills in asking and solving questions are promoted through seminars and group discussions. Mathematical and statistical skills are a major focus of both semesters in the first year. Research design and analysis are brought together in the final year undergraduate dissertation project, where independent thought and application are further developed.

Independent Study

The course provides opportunities for independent study within our state-of-the-art university library. Guidance throughout is provided through regular contact with your Academic Adviser.


We use a number of assessment methods: formal examinations, project reports, course tests, practical and fieldwork reports, poster and oral presentations, essays and worksheets. The balance of coursework and examinations varies dependent upon module choices. For example, at Level 5, the majority of modules are assessed through 40% coursework, 60% examination, although a small number of modules are 100% coursework.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year

This course gives you the opportunity to live and study abroad in your third year at one of our partner universities in Europe, Australia, Asia, Canada or the United States. It’s a fantastic chance to show future employers you have what it takes to succeed in an international setting.

For further details, visit our Study Abroad section of our website.

After the course

Your MSci Biochemistry with a Year Abroad could lead to a broad range of employment and postgraduate opportunities. You may go on to work in forensic science, the brewing and food industries, medical biochemistry, science patenting or teaching. Alternatively, you might choose to progress to a PhD and a successful research career. A number of our graduates have gone on to doctoral study and then have taken up posts in university, medical or industrial research laboratories. We work with UEA’s Careers Service to offer you support at every stage of your course, from choosing a career through to applying for graduate jobs and further study.

Career destinations

Examples of careers that you could enter include:

  • Forensic science
  • Brewing and food industries
  • Medical biochemistry
  • Science patenting
  • Teaching
  • Medical or industrial research

Course related costs

You are eligible for reduced fees during the year abroad. Further details are available on our Tuition Fee website. There will be extra costs related to items such as travel and accommodation during your year abroad, which will vary depending on location.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module will provide 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 cell membranes and organelles.




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' and 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 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.




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.




This module explores how information is stored in DNA, how it is expressed, copied and repaired, and how DNA is transmitted between generations. It has significant focus on the application of molecular biological and genetics knowledge, including animal, plant and microbial biotechnology and synthetic biology.




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


This module aims to develop your understanding of contemporary biochemistry, especially in relation to mammalian physiology and metabolism. There will be a particular focus on proteins and 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, 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 BIO-5003B (Molecular Biology) or BIO-5009A (Genetics).




In this module, you'll study the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds. The 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 re-activities 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.




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



Students must study the following modules for 100 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 develop your knowledge on 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 being 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. You will develop on 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 (e.g. molecular dynamics) for structure determination and structure-function studies as well as understanding and determining protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions.



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

Name Code Credits


This module will involve both reading and summarising set research papers and attending microbiology research seminars on the Norwich Research Park. You will be exposed to world-leading advances in microbiology and will summarise the main points for a general scientist audience either in a series of short written articles and orally in two hour weekly seminars hosted by the module organiser. At the end of this module you will be able to understand primary research from papers or talks and be able to present this to a general audience. You will also be able to think critically and imaginatively about your own research project and contribute ideas for taking it forward.



Students will select 0 - 20 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.



Students will select 0 - 20 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 synthesis and catalysis, a discipline that is increasingly utilised in organic chemistry. 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 we review other methods of asymmetric synthesis, such as the use of chiral auxiliaries, and the use of asymmetric methodology for the synthesis of 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 select BIO-7004A if they completed BIO-6013A, BIO-7007B if they completed BIO-6010B or BIO-7008A if they completed BIO-6017A. Please consult with your academic adviser for further advice.

Name Code Credits


The module provides up-to-date learning in evolutionary medicine and the evolution of disease. The module examines how evolutionary principles illuminate and provide fresh insight into a broad range of contemporary health problems including infectious, chronic and nutritional diseases and disorders. Topics are introduced in a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the relationship between biology and society. The module covers 5 areas: (i) principles of evolutionary medicine - humans in their evolutionary context; (ii) evolution and non-infectious diseases (cancer, lifestyles, ageing); (iii) evolution and infection (vaccines, antibiotics, pathogens, emerging diseases); (iv) personalised medicine and social context of evolutionary medicine; (v) case studies in ancient DNA and human evolution.




This module provides a Master's level introduction to the structure and function of DNA. You will cover the mechanisms of inheritance in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms and receive an introduction to the study of model organisms and their genomes. This will be followed by lectures that cover the contemporary 'omics' technologies used for the analysis of whole genomes, gene function and expression. Lectures and seminars that introduce the role of bioinformatics in genome biology and evolution will also be included, together with an opportunity to gain practical experience in bioinformatics. These lectures and seminars will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills for more in-depth coverage of these topics later in the academic year, including your laboratory-based research project.




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 are 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

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Entry Requirements

  • A Level ABB including Chemistry or BBB including Chemistry with an A in the Extended Project. Science A-levels must include a pass in the practical element.
  • International Baccalaureate 32 points with HL 5 in Chemistry.
  • Scottish Highers AAABB including grade B in Chemistry.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BCC including Chemistry.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 3 subjects at H2 and 2 at H3, including Higher Level Chemistry.
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 30 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 15 credits at Level 3 including 12 Level 3 credits in Chemistry.
  • BTEC DDM in Applied Science or Applied Science (Medical Science). Excluding Public Services, Forensic Science, Uniformed Services and Business Administration.
  • European Baccalaureate 75% overall, including 70% in Chemistry.

Entry Requirement

A-Level General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Science A-levels must include a pass in the practical element.

You are required to have English Language at a minimum of Grade C/4 or above and Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above at GCSE.

If you do not meet the academic requirements for direct entry, you may be interested in one of our Foundation Year programmes.


Biological Sciences with a Foundation Year

Biochemistry with a Foundation Year

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 5.5 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 yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study: 




If you do not meet the academic and or English requirements for direct entry our partner, INTO University of East Anglia offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a preparation programme. Depending on your interests, and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree: 



The majority of candidates will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some students an interview will be requested. You may be called for an interview to help the School of Study, and you, understand if the course is the right choice for you.  The interview will cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.  Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry on your UCAS application.


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

Alternative Qualifications

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.

GCSE Offer

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

Course Open To

UK and Overseas applicants.

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.


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 application 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 is sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.


Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

    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