The Student Room Group

What is a biochemistry degree like?

I wanted to know more about some of the topics of the course and the different types of assignments you are set. I also wanted to know about any of the future prospects for the degree (e.g job placements and any graduate training programs)
A biochemistry degree is a very challenging but also rewarding degree. The coursework covers a wide range of topics, from basic chemistry to more specialized courses in biochemistry. The assignments are usually very challenging, but they can be very rewarding when you complete them. There are many future prospects for the degree, from job placements to graduate training programs.
Original post by ax4
I wanted to know more about some of the topics of the course and the different types of assignments you are set. I also wanted to know about any of the future prospects for the degree (e.g job placements and any graduate training programs)


Hey @ax4

I've just finished my first year of biochemistry at Lancaster.

Lancaster offers "pathways" within their biochemistry course that allow you to tailor your degree (it basically allows you control how much chemistry you do). Biochemistry usually focusses on cellular and subcellular biology and processes within cells; some universities offer chemistry modules as well but this does vary by university.

In my first year I studied of mix of biology and chemistry modules (note: I chose Lancaster because of the chemistry modules in first year, after first year there are fewer chemistry modules, different "pathways" would lead to a different experience). Biology-wise I studied molecular processes in the cell, cell structure and function, microbiology, the immune response (which was then followed by lectures on specific viruses, bacteria, and parasites and what diseases they cause and why) genetics, biotechnology, and proteins/enzymes. In chemistry I studied spectroscopy (analytical chemistry is the main part of chemistry in my biochemistry degree going forward), kinetics, thermodynamics, co-ordination chemistry, organic structure, reactivity, and mechanisms.

In terms of assignments, this will vary between universities so I can only give my own experience. From what I can see the distribution of assessment and style of coursework changes after year one to be more lab report and essay focused, and modules have either an end of module or end of year test, as opposed to both like in first year. I had to write lab reports based on scientific data I had collected, or had to fill in a sheet from the practical, sometimes I'd get given a data set and have to manipulate and analyse the data and then answer some questions from the data and my own research. Some modules would have mini quizzes based on a specific sub-topic (I sat an online quiz on karyotyping). I had one piece of group work, but it was more of a teaching lesson on communication and referencing. Chemistry gave a lot of problem solving worksheets based on workshops from that week. Most modules had an end of module test and an end of year test as well.

I am about to start applying for placement years at some biopharmaceutical companies (GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca) which I'm hoping will allow me the opportunity to gain some work experience and network. A lot of these companies offer graduate programmes and placement years can allow you to pass the first stage of application (assuming they like you)! After my degree obviously I could continue with further study, or scientific research and development, but I've also been briefly researching graduate programmes into finance, management, and patent law, as science degrees are pretty employable and have lots of transferrable skills.

I hope I could help!
Rebecca :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hey @ax4

I've just finished my first year of biochemistry at Lancaster.

Lancaster offers "pathways" within their biochemistry course that allow you to tailor your degree (it basically allows you control how much chemistry you do). Biochemistry usually focusses on cellular and subcellular biology and processes within cells; some universities offer chemistry modules as well but this does vary by university.

In my first year I studied of mix of biology and chemistry modules (note: I chose Lancaster because of the chemistry modules in first year, after first year there are fewer chemistry modules, different "pathways" would lead to a different experience). Biology-wise I studied molecular processes in the cell, cell structure and function, microbiology, the immune response (which was then followed by lectures on specific viruses, bacteria, and parasites and what diseases they cause and why) genetics, biotechnology, and proteins/enzymes. In chemistry I studied spectroscopy (analytical chemistry is the main part of chemistry in my biochemistry degree going forward), kinetics, thermodynamics, co-ordination chemistry, organic structure, reactivity, and mechanisms.

In terms of assignments, this will vary between universities so I can only give my own experience. From what I can see the distribution of assessment and style of coursework changes after year one to be more lab report and essay focused, and modules have either an end of module or end of year test, as opposed to both like in first year. I had to write lab reports based on scientific data I had collected, or had to fill in a sheet from the practical, sometimes I'd get given a data set and have to manipulate and analyse the data and then answer some questions from the data and my own research. Some modules would have mini quizzes based on a specific sub-topic (I sat an online quiz on karyotyping). I had one piece of group work, but it was more of a teaching lesson on communication and referencing. Chemistry gave a lot of problem solving worksheets based on workshops from that week. Most modules had an end of module test and an end of year test as well.

I am about to start applying for placement years at some biopharmaceutical companies (GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca) which I'm hoping will allow me the opportunity to gain some work experience and network. A lot of these companies offer graduate programmes and placement years can allow you to pass the first stage of application (assuming they like you)! After my degree obviously I could continue with further study, or scientific research and development, but I've also been briefly researching graduate programmes into finance, management, and patent law, as science degrees are pretty employable and have lots of transferrable skills.

I hope I could help!
Rebecca :smile:

Thank you this is very helpful ! Could I ask what you studied in the biotechnology and thermodynamics part of the course?
Original post by ax4
Thank you this is very helpful ! Could I ask what you studied in the biotechnology and thermodynamics part of the course?


In thermodynamics we discussed enthalpy, entropy, free energy, and equilibrium, and how things affected them (e.g. pressure/temperature). The module had a lot of different rules/laws, equations, and graphs (I found this one quite hard). Biotechnology was a follow-on from/linked well with the genetics module, so involved genetic engineering, recombinant plasmids, genome sequencing, and different techniques to study DNA, RNA, and protein expression levels.

I'd really recommend looking carefully at the modules when picking a biochem degree - despite finding the chemistry harder, I do think I would've missed it so I'm glad I chose the Lancaster course.
Rebecca :smile:
Reply 5
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
In thermodynamics we discussed enthalpy, entropy, free energy, and equilibrium, and how things affected them (e.g. pressure/temperature). The module had a lot of different rules/laws, equations, and graphs (I found this one quite hard). Biotechnology was a follow-on from/linked well with the genetics module, so involved genetic engineering, recombinant plasmids, genome sequencing, and different techniques to study DNA, RNA, and protein expression levels.

I'd really recommend looking carefully at the modules when picking a biochem degree - despite finding the chemistry harder, I do think I would've missed it so I'm glad I chose the Lancaster course.
Rebecca :smile:


Thank you so much this is very helpful !

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending