Biochemistry Molecular and Cellular

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 12 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 33 k / Year(s) Deadline: Oct 15, 2024
1 place StudyQA ranking:5295 Duration:3 years

Photos of university / #oxford_uni

The study of living things at the molecular level has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years, leading to ever-increasing insights into topics as various as the origin of life, the nature of disease and the development of individual organisms. Powerful new techniques, such as those of molecular genetics and NMR spectroscopy, enable us to analyse biological phenomena in more and more precise molecular terms. These studies have led to commercially valuable developments in drug design and synthesis, forensic science, environmental sensing and a whole range of other areas. Furthermore, advances in biochemistry are largely responsible for the breakdown of traditional boundaries between cell biology, medicine, physics and chemistry as their applications become increasingly wide reaching.

The Biochemistry Department in  Oxford is one of the largest in Europe, and is subdivided into research areas: Cell Biology, Development and Genetics; Chromosomal and RNA Biology; Infection and Disease Processes; Microbiology and Systems Biology; and Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics. The department is extremely active in research, with about 300 postgraduate students and research staff. The breadth and excellence of these activities are reflected in the scope of the undergraduate course and underpin the teaching.

The department has superb research and teaching facilities and excellent IT resources together with access to a wide range of online and hard-copy journals.

An important aspect of the Oxford Biochemistry course is its fourth-year project, lasting 18 full-time weeks, which allows you to explore in detail both laboratory-based research and specific recent advances in biochemistry. You choose the project yourself. Under the supervision of a group leader, you will design your own experiments and will learn to plan research programmes and present your results and ideas – orally and in written form – to other workers in the field. The experience gained is much valued by employers. The project also gives you the opportunity to reflect on your aptitude and enthusiasm for a research career.

Research placements/international opportunities

A wide choice of fourth-year research projects is available both within the Biochemistry Department and in related departments, such as Molecular Medicine, Clinical Biochemistry, Pathology and Pharmacology. Currently, about ten students each year can carry out their project in selected European universities under the Erasmus exchange scheme, and at Princeton University in the US, although the availability of the programmes may change.

Biochem Careers

Biochemists are playing an increasingly wide role in biological, environmental and clinical fields, with employment areas stretching from healthcare through forensic science to the food and pharmaceutical industries. Typically about 60% of our biochemistry graduates go on to do research or further study, mostly in the biochemistry field, while others find employment in industry, commerce or other areas, such as finance and law. Further details of careers in biochemistry can be found on the UK Biochemical Society website www.biochemistry.org.

Recent Biochemistry graduates include a PhD researcher in clinical medicine, a financial analyst, a market research executive, and a research assistant at a Chinese university.

Erin, who graduated in 2010, is a clinical scientist for the NHS. She says:  ‘My degree not only gave me the knowledge and qualification necessary for a career in Clinical Biochemistry, but the methods of teaching employed at Oxford University have helped me develop an investigative and independent way of thinking, perfect for this career which applies scientific principles to clinical situations.’

Years 1-3

There are three terms in the Oxford academic year, each eight weeks long. Students usually arrive a week early in the first term of their first year for welcome and induction activities. 

During years 1–3, your work is divided between lectures (about ten a week), tutorials (one or three a week) and practicals (averaging one full day a week). The remaining time is spent on private study (set reading, or problem-solving exercises).

Year 4: Extended terms

In the final year of the Biochemistry course, students also work an extended first term to begin their research project. You will need to be in Oxford for 12 weeks in the first term, followed by a two-week break over Christmas. You will then complete your project in the first six weeks of the second term, and then submit your project dissertation and deliver an oral presentation at the beginning of the final term.

In the remaining two weeks of the second term, and throughout the eight weeks of your final term, you will study two further courses that you choose from a list of options (see table below). These are assessed at the end of the final term.

This additional work in your final year means that you will graduate with an MBiochem - a masters degree - as well as invaluable research experience that will be excellent preparation for further study or a range of careers.

Your final degree class is derived from a combination of marks from second, third and fourth-year courses.

1st year
Courses

Five courses are taken:

  • Molecular cell biology
  • Biological chemistry
  • Biophysical chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Mathematics and statistics

Assessment

First University examinations:Five written papers; satisfactory practical record

2nd and 3rd years
Courses

Five courses are taken:

  • Structure and function of macromolecules
  • Energetics and metabolic processes
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Cell biology and integration of function
  • Data analysis and interpretation

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part 1: Six written papers; satisfactory practical record

4th year (extended first term)
Courses

A research project (full time, 18 weeks) plus two courses taken from a list of six options. The list typically includes subjects such as:

  • Bionanotechnology
  • Cancer biology
  • Clinical and applied immunology
  • Membrane transport
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Signalling and coordination in plants
  • Structural proteomics
  • Virology

These options are illustrative and may change. A full list of current options is available on the Biochemistry website.

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part II:

Project dissertation and oral presentation; options written papers and/or submitted cou

  • Attestat o Srednam Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) would not be sufficient for candidates to make a competitive application. If your qualification is listed as being insufficient to make a competitive application to Oxford, then you will need to undertake further study if you wish to apply.You could take British A-levels (the British Council may know where you can take A-levels in your country), the International Baccalaureate (IB), or any other qualifications listed as acceptable on this page. The first year of a bachelor's degree from another university could also be an acceptable alternative.
  • IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600 with a Test of Written English score of 5.5
  • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • English Language GCSE, or O-level: grade B (for IGCSE, please see below)
  • International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)
  • European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.

Hill Foundation Scholarship

Russian nationals wishing to study for a second undergraduate degree. 

Palgrave Brown Scholarship

Students must be ordinarily resident in and/or educated in the following countries:

Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Georgia; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Rep.; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia;  Moldova; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan. 

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