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Medical Biochemistry BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time C740 2017
4 years full time including sandwich year C741 2017
4 years full time including foundation year C743 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017

Why choose this course?

This course emphasises the importance of biochemistry in medicine, focusing on our understanding of the molecular processes in both health and disease, and how this can lead to the development of new treatments. It will equip you with the practical skills needed to investigate disease in the laboratory.

Course ranking

The course scored 93% for student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey.

What you will study

Year 1 will provide you with a firm foundation in the biological and chemical principles upon which the life sciences are based. You will gain a comprehensive overview of biochemistry from the molecular level to that of the whole body. Subject areas include physiology, chemistry for life sciences, cell and tissues, molecular biology and biomolecules. You will then progress to a detailed study of biochemistry, physiology, cell biology and genetics

In Years 2 and 3 you will study specialist, medically related subjects, covering areas such as immunology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, haematology and parasitology.

  • Immunology examines the tissues involved in the immune system, how the body fights infections and the technologies used in the immunology laboratory.
  • Microbiology covers the importance of micro-organisms in health and disease, the routes of transmission of infectious diseases and the molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenicity, as well as controls used to overcome them.
  • Clinical chemistry involves the study of blood and other biological samples for biochemical markers that assist in the investigation and diagnosis of human disease.
  • Haematology covers the study of haematopoiesis (normal blood cell production), the functions of the various blood cells and the pathophysiology of haematological diseases (including malignancy).
  • Parasitology provides insights into human parasites of global importance, the diseases that they cause, and the role of vectors in transmission.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module introduces basic cell biology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, molecular, organismal and population genetics, germ layers and basic tissue types in the human body, and a variety of microorganisms. The laboratory work incorporates selected current techniques used to study cells, tissues, chromosomes and microbial organisms.  

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the major cell components and discuss their functions in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of basic concepts in molecular, population and evolutionary genetics.
    • Perform simple calculations relating to inheritance and population genetics.
    • Display a basic knowledge of the early development and structure and functions of major tissue types in the human body.
    • Recognise and discuss the characteristics of a variety of medically important microorganisms.
    • Demonstrate a comprehension of selected current techniques in light microscopy, histology, cytogenetics and microbiology and explain their relevance in employability.
  • This module introduces basic chemistry from first principles with particular emphasis on application to biology and biochemistry. An introduction to the structure and function of the major classes of biological molecules is also covered.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of atomic structure and bonding and how molecules interact with one another.
    • Understand basic chemical reactions including making and breaking of bonds.
    • Understand the conformations and stereochemistry of molecules.
    • Describe, recognise and understand the structural properties and functions of the major classes of biologically important molecules.
    • Summarise general aspects of energy metabolism.
    • Demonstrate the key communication skill of report writing and develop laboratory and independent learning skills.
  • This module provides a foundation in general scientific and laboratory skills. In addition, the module includes basic research skills such as practical skills in the laboratory, the principles of experimental design and the statistical analysis of data.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Manage their time to become effective independent learners.
    • Exhibit competence in basic numeracy and scientific calculations, and to statistically analyse and interpret data.
    • Use word processing and spreadsheet packages to present text, graphics and data competently.
    • Write succinct scientific reports with appropriate referencing.
    • Locate contemporary research publications both in text and electronic format.
    • Explain the theory behind biological experimental design, carry out basic laboratory procedures safely and accurately, and demonstrate the application of good laboratory practice.
  • This module introduces fundamental physiological concepts which underpin the co-ordinated functioning of the human body, including homeostasis, cellular communication and movement of molecules through body compartments. The module progresses through to the main physiological systems of the body to include the nervous, muscle, endocrine, respiratory, cardiovascular, renal and digestive systems.

    On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental physiological concepts.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the functioning of selected human physiological systems, and an appreciation of some of the experimental observations from which this knowledge is derived.
    • Write clear explanations of physiological mechanisms.
    • Understand how to perform simple physiological experiments and clearly and accurately record, analyse and interpret experimental data.
    • Demonstrate skills that will enhance employability.

Year 2

  • This module further develops the knowledge of genes, cells and tissues and explores more advanced concepts in cell and molecular biology. The module provides an insight into the structure and function of cells, and takes an integrated approach to looking at how cells respond to changes in their environment - from receptor interactions and intracellular signalling pathways through to the regulation of gene expression and changes in cellular processes.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Explain cell structure and function and the techniques that have allowed them to be determined.
    • Describe in molecular detail cell cycle processes and cell death.
    • Discuss the structure and function of receptor proteins and mechanisms of intracellular signal transduction.
    • Evaluate the role of DNA packaging, chromatin modification and epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of gene expression.
    • Discuss processes involved in DNA replication, transcription, translation and the regulation of gene expression.
    • Interpret data related to practical and theoretical aspects of the module.
  • This module provides the knowledge of the structure and methods of analysis of proteins, with particular emphasis on enzymes. The module includes the study of the major catabolic and anabolic pathways and investigates how organisms obtain and use energy. These processes and their regulation in health and disease are considered at the molecular level which involves many proteins including enzymes.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the structure of proteins, including enzymes, and have a comprehensive knowledge of practical and graphical methods involved the investigation of enzyme activity.
    • Understand the principles of methods involved in the analysis of proteins.
    • Define free energy and describe the relationship of the chemiosmotic theory to mitochondrial electron transport.
    • Identify and describe the major pathways of carbohydrate, amino acid and lipid metabolism and comprehend the role of compartmentation, allosterism and covalent modification in metabolic regulation.
    • Develop practical skills involved in protein biochemistry and metabolism.
    • Manipulate and critically interpret data related to methods covered in this module.
  • This module builds upon the knowledge of scientific and research skills and application of these skills to study and research in physiology. Research methods and employability skills are taught within the context of physiology, biomedical and associated employment opportunities. The module also develops the study of human physiology covering topics such as reproductive physiology, endocrinology, neurophysiology, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, renal & acid/base physiology and gastrointestinal physiology.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Appreciate the importance of experimental design in physiological and biomedical research, and select, apply and interpret appropriate statistical tests for data analysis.
    • Locate, analyse and critically evaluate research papers, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues relating to in physiological and biomedical research.
    • Present concise, analytical and objective scientific information relating to physiology in the form of essays, reports, scientific literature reviews, posters and/or oral presentations.
    • Reflect on their personal and academic skills, and to research potential employment opportunities in the physiological and biomedical industries, demonstrating an awareness of the attributes and skills needed to achieve their aspirations.
    • Discuss selected specialised physiological systems and pathological changes in such systems.
    • Perform selected physiological experiments accurately and safely, and record and analyse experimental data.
  • This module aims to extend existing knowledge of the structure and function of microbiological agents in health and disease and the immunological responses raised as a consequence by the human body. Microbiological processes will be examined along with methods of controlling the organisms responsible in the laboratory environment as well as within a patient. The module also deals with the  different cells and organs of the immune system and how these function and interact to protect the body from infection. An introduction to molecular processes and signalling events that are important in communication between cells of the human immune system are studied.


Optional sandwich year

Year 3/4

  • This module considers the scientific basis of recent technological advances in biomolecular science through selected example of contemporary scientific research and its impact on society. The module consolidates previous knowledge in order to demonstrate the application of theory to current research, developments in the bioindustry and the effect of advancements on society. In addition, the module looks at the interaction of science and the media, public engagement and how this can guide scientific policy and the challenges facing the bioindustry, including intellectual property rights, bioethics and enterprise.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the scientific basis underlying selected recent advances in biomolecular science.
    • Identify and critically evaluate the impact of selected recent advances in biomolecular science on society and the challenges facing the bioindustries.
    • Interpret and critically assess the role of intellectual property rights, bioethics and enterprise in translational research.
    • Recognise the role of communicating scientific information to the public and its effect on public engagement and scientific policy.
    • Develop and apply scientific and professional skills to enhance employment opportunities along with a demonstrated knowledge of the diverse employment opportunities within the biomolecular sciences.
  • This module evaluates the contribution of laboratory investigations to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in key areas such as renal disease, diabetes, anaemia, and haematological malignancies. The module also considers the role of the transfusion laboratory in the treatment of selected disorders.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Identify and evaluate critically the diagnostically useful changes which occur in normal body chemistry in selected examples of disease/trauma.
    • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the regulation of haemopoesis and haemoglobin production, and the interrelationships of the processes involved.
    • Determine the classification and investigation of haematological malignancy.
    • Assess, select and apply the practical skills involved in the investigation of biochemical and haematological disease.
    • Interpret and evaluate the investigations that can aid the management of key examples of disease.
    • Evaluate the processes involved in the investigation of blood groups, and describe the techniques used in blood transfusion.
  • This module forms a major part of the degree; involving several types of projects that may be offered; a laboratory project, a library-based dissertation, or the production of a multimedia resource from blended learning or a website contributing to public engagement with science or public health awareness, with accompanying documentation. The project will require a review and critical evaluation of data generated from the determined research sources and culminating in a written report.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Devise, develop and implement a plan of research.
    • Undertake a critical and analytical evaluation of research literature; acquire primary and/or secondary sources of information and data; analyse and evaluate data and other sources of information.
    • Prepare a structured, critical evaluation of a research topic in the form of a written report.
    • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a selected research topic both orally and in writing.
    • Demonstrate key communication skills (written and oral) and appropriate ICT skills. Present scientific information in a variety of contexts and to different audiences. You will be expected to demonstrate independent learning skills throughout the course of the module.  Numeracy skills will also be required to successfully acquire, analyse and/or evaluate data.
  • Clinical Immunology and Medical Microbiology
    This module builds on and applies the learning achieved in the Level 5 Infection and Immunity module which is a prerequisite.

    The module initially explores in detail diseases of: overactive immunity (eg autoimmune disease and hypersensitivity); and of immune deficiency (eg AIDS). It also explores other key areas of clinical immunology such as cancer immunology, monoclonal antibodies and laboratory diagnostics. The module then explores infectious diseases and the principles and practise of the medical microbiology. Selected infectious diseases and their laboratory diagnosis are studied in depth using an organ system approach; for example, infections of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary tract.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Discuss the pathogenesis and control of diseases associated with inappropriate immune responses and immunodeficiencies. 
    • Discuss the immunology of cancer and differentiate types of malignancy of the immune system.
    • Demonstrate safe practical skills involved in the investigation of immunological and microbiological disease, and critically evaluate the theoretical and practical basis of procedures employed in the clinical immunology and diagnostic medical microbiology laboratories.
    • Evaluate relevant laboratory data; write coherent and analytical laboratory reports, and demonstrate skills in communication and independent learning.
    • Review the aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis control and treatment of a variety of infectious diseases.

    Medical Parasitology
    This module provides contemporary insight into human parasites of global importance, the diseases that they cause, and the role of vectors in transmission. Arthropod borne viruses (arboviruses) are also considered, particularly in the context of co-infection with human parasites. The epidemiology of parasitic disease, morbidity, mortality and socioeconomic impacts are discussed, with an emphasis on recent advances in control measures.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Critically evaluate the nature and importance of animal parasites, and vectors involved in human disease.
    • Discuss in detail parasite and vector structure, life cycles and ecology.
    • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of parasite-induced pathology.
    • Critically evaluate the measures used in parasite and vector control.



You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

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Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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