The Student Room Group

which uni for biochemistry? and other stuff

Hi :smile: I was wondering what the best unis to study biochemistry would be - i don't want to go to London at all! I am not too big on social life but would like it to be fairly decent, and i want somewhere that has a lot of career prospects and good placements - i had a look at bath and it seems good but was wondering your thoughts.
Also, i like chemistry and learning the biology behind viruses, bacteria and cells as well as genetics and diseases - would this be the right course for me? i would be doing an integrated masters in it :biggrin: And does it have good career prospects? thank you
Bath has a good placement scheme from what I've heard - and there are many good unis for biomed outside London so don't worry :smile: The main question is what are you planning to do after your degree? You'll need IBMS accreditation if you want to work in the NHS - is this something you're interested in? If you want to enter research or academia, you don't need it. Your career prospects depend on what you'll be using this degree for.

Different unis offer different modules so I would advise you to go over them in detail and see which ones complement your interests. A biomed degree is broad and it includes all the topics you've mentioned; biochem is a narrower subset and may not include all of them, though of course this varies by uni. Have you thought about microbiology?
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi :smile: I was wondering what the best unis to study biochemistry would be - i don't want to go to London at all! I am not too big on social life but would like it to be fairly decent, and i want somewhere that has a lot of career prospects and good placements - i had a look at bath and it seems good but was wondering your thoughts.
Also, i like chemistry and learning the biology behind viruses, bacteria and cells as well as genetics and diseases - would this be the right course for me? i would be doing an integrated masters in it :biggrin: And does it have good career prospects? thank you

Hi @oort.cloud

I currently study biochemistry at Lancaster (I'm on placement year right now at a biotechnology company) and I've loved it here! I'd recommend reading through the modules at all the universities you are considering as not all biochemistry degrees are the same - I chose Lancaster because it offered the option to study a pathway where I get to take pure chemistry modules, which I enjoy - although chemistry at university is harder for me than my biology modules!

Having a good placement team in the bioscience department definitely makes applying for a placement easier. At Lancaster they ran several lectures throughout first year, gave me amazing CV advice, and sent out a weekly bulletin with placement opportunities throughout second year. However, as long as you are willing to put in the effort, and you are enrolled on a "with placement" degree it's likely you can get a placement even without that extra support.

If you have any questions about studying biochemistry at university, please let me know!
Rebecca (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi :smile: I was wondering what the best unis to study biochemistry would be - i don't want to go to London at all! I am not too big on social life but would like it to be fairly decent, and i want somewhere that has a lot of career prospects and good placements - i had a look at bath and it seems good but was wondering your thoughts.
Also, i like chemistry and learning the biology behind viruses, bacteria and cells as well as genetics and diseases - would this be the right course for me? i would be doing an integrated masters in it :biggrin: And does it have good career prospects? thank you

Hi oort.cloud,
I am a current 3rd Year Biochemistry student on the integrated masters course at the University of Sheffield. I have loved studying Biochemistry here. I have found the course very varied with many different modules available from areas of genetics to cell biology and microbiology. There are also employability events which have helped me develop the skills I need for a future career. Sheffield itself is the perfect mix of city-life and green spaces. There is lots to do in the centre of the city but the beautiful Peak District is also very close and perfect for hiking and relaxing amongst nature. I would highly recommend Sheffield to anyone looking to study Biochemistry.
Sofia (3rd Year Biochemistry student)
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi :smile: I was wondering what the best unis to study biochemistry would be - i don't want to go to London at all! I am not too big on social life but would like it to be fairly decent, and i want somewhere that has a lot of career prospects and good placements - i had a look at bath and it seems good but was wondering your thoughts.
Also, i like chemistry and learning the biology behind viruses, bacteria and cells as well as genetics and diseases - would this be the right course for me? i would be doing an integrated masters in it :biggrin: And does it have good career prospects? thank you


I would suggest you to check the course content and the amount of practicality it involves. There are various optional modules as well, offering flexibility for you to choose your interest. The University of Birmingham offers various integrated Biochemistry courses with Professional Placement and an International Year Abroad, focusing on enhancing career prospects. Birmingham being the second largest city in the UK after London, there are plenty of career opportunities for you to pursue.


I believe the best way to learn more about a course and the University is to visit them and talk to the academics and students. We are having an Open Day on 11th November 2023 and you are more than welcome to attend :smile:.
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hi @oort.cloud
I currently study biochemistry at Lancaster (I'm on placement year right now at a biotechnology company) and I've loved it here! I'd recommend reading through the modules at all the universities you are considering as not all biochemistry degrees are the same - I chose Lancaster because it offered the option to study a pathway where I get to take pure chemistry modules, which I enjoy - although chemistry at university is harder for me than my biology modules!
Having a good placement team in the bioscience department definitely makes applying for a placement easier. At Lancaster they ran several lectures throughout first year, gave me amazing CV advice, and sent out a weekly bulletin with placement opportunities throughout second year. However, as long as you are willing to put in the effort, and you are enrolled on a "with placement" degree it's likely you can get a placement even without that extra support.
If you have any questions about studying biochemistry at university, please let me know!
Rebecca (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Hi I’m considering doing Biochemistry at university starting in 2025 (I’m in year 12 now) and I have a load of questions……

is Lancaster hard to get into?

What are the lab facilities like?

Do you get much feedback on your work?

How much time a week do you spend actually in classes or lectures or labs?

What are the assessments like?

What is the accommodation like?

Is the amount of work very overwhelming compared to a-levels?

I’d be really grateful for answers to any of all of these questions!!
Original post by University of Sheffield Students
Hi oort.cloud,
I am a current 3rd Year Biochemistry student on the integrated masters course at the University of Sheffield. I have loved studying Biochemistry here. I have found the course very varied with many different modules available from areas of genetics to cell biology and microbiology. There are also employability events which have helped me develop the skills I need for a future career. Sheffield itself is the perfect mix of city-life and green spaces. There is lots to do in the centre of the city but the beautiful Peak District is also very close and perfect for hiking and relaxing amongst nature. I would highly recommend Sheffield to anyone looking to study Biochemistry.
Sofia (3rd Year Biochemistry student)
Hi Sofia, I’m considering doing Biochemistry at university starting in 2025 (I’m in year 12 now) and I have a load of questions……

How hard was Sheffield to get into? (Grades, extracurriculares, interviews etc)

Are the lab facilities good?

Do the professors give very much feedback on work?

How much time a week do you spend actually in classes or lectures or labs?

What are the assessments like? (Essays, multiple choice etc , how many?)

What is the accommodation like?

Is the amount of work very overwhelming compared to a-levels?

I’d be really grateful for answers to any or all of these questions!!
Original post by LittleFire10
Hi Sofia, I’m considering doing Biochemistry at university starting in 2025 (I’m in year 12 now) and I have a load of questions……

How hard was Sheffield to get into? (Grades, extracurriculares, interviews etc)

Are the lab facilities good?

Do the professors give very much feedback on work?

How much time a week do you spend actually in classes or lectures or labs?

What are the assessments like? (Essays, multiple choice etc , how many?)

What is the accommodation like?

Is the amount of work very overwhelming compared to a-levels?

I’d be really grateful for answers to any or all of these questions!!

Hi LittleFire10,
I would be happy to answer these questions for you!

1) Admission requirements can vary, so if you have questions about this you can ask admissions questions online at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/study/askus. Please include as much information as you can including your name, application number or UCAS ID if you know these. Also include your course title in the email you send. You will then receive an automatic email from [email protected] to tell you that you message has been received. In terms of interviews, I do not remember having to do an interview when applying for Sheffield, but this may have changed so do check with admissions if you are still unclear on this.

2) The lab facilities are very good! You learn in specialist state of the art teaching labs which allows you to develop your lab skills! There are regular lab sessions throughout the degree and the opportunity to learn many key techniques.

3) This depends on what year of your degree you are in and what modules you are taking. I had about 3 lectures per module per week and two 3 hour lab sessions a week in my first and second year.

4) There is a mix of different assessment types with essays, posters, lab reports, presentations, exams etc. You will be told by the lecturer how you will be assessed for each module :smile:

5) I really enjoyed staying in uni accommodation in my first year. I stayed in Froggatt in Endcliffe and I really enjoyed the community feel. I also liked how close I was to amenities like the village shop and the Edge!

6) Obviously, you go into more depth as an undergraduate than at A level. However, it is a different kind of learning than A levels, which can take some getting used to. You may need to experiment with some different learning techniques to see what works for you. Everyone in first year is in the same boat and lecturers are always happy to offer guidance in terms of learning techniques. For example, everyone is assigned a personal tutor, who you could ask about this if needed. There is also the 301 centre which is there to help students with study skills!

I hoped this helped and please don't hesitate to ask me any other questions you may have,
Sofia (3rd Year Biochemistry Student) :smile:
Original post by LittleFire10
Hi I’m considering doing Biochemistry at university starting in 2025 (I’m in year 12 now) and I have a load of questions……

is Lancaster hard to get into?

What are the lab facilities like?

Do you get much feedback on your work?

How much time a week do you spend actually in classes or lectures or labs?

What are the assessments like?

What is the accommodation like?

Is the amount of work very overwhelming compared to a-levels?

I’d be really grateful for answers to any of all of these questions!!

Hey @LittleFire10

I'd be happy to answer your questions!

1) It's very difficult to say if a university is "hard to get into" as it really varies person to person and what they are looking for. The entry requirements are AAB and you need A level Chemistry and one other science subject from Biology, Mathematics or Physics. When I applied (2021) there were a few places available in clearing and it filled up pretty fast.

2) In my experience the lab facilities are amazing. All of my biology labs have occurred in one of the teaching labs which are large labs designed for undergraduates. They're split into multiple large benches and have screens beside each bench so you can see any slides/info that the demonstrator is showing to the group. The chemistry labs are in a different building and in slightly smaller groups but are equally as nice. All the equipment I've used and spaces I've been in are super modern and the practicals are well organised. I'll link you to the gallery on the website! https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/biomedical-and-life-sciences/about-us/facilities/

3) It depends on the work submitted. For essays/lab reports I'll typically get annotations to my documents along with a brief summary of feedback at the end highlighting my strengths and weaker areas. For worksheet style coursework, a lot of the marking is done using marking proformas which will divide the coursework up into sections and have multiple "levels" you can reach on each section so you would know for example that your answer to question 1 was well written but maybe you struggled with interpreting the graph on question 2. Feedback comes throughout the year so I had time to process it before my next essay/end of year exams.

4) It really varies week to week. From what I remember I had higher contact hours in year 1, because a lot more independent study was required in year 2. Some weeks I would be in 9-6 nearly every day and some weeks I'd have three things the whole week! I definitely felt like I had enough contact hours, and they were a mix of lectures, practicals, and workshops.

5) In terms of assessments. it depended on the module. You're typically assessed through coursework, end of module tests, and end of year exams. Coursework could be worksheets, essays, lab reports. presentations, or smaller online quizzes.

6) I loved accommodation at Lancaster, it all felt clean and modern and I love the community aspect the collegiate system brings. I was in ensuite accommodation in Fylde college but I remember visiting my friends in shared bathroom accommodation and thinking how nice it looked! I'll link the accommodation page here too so you can have a look for yourself if you're interested. https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/accommodation/undergraduate/. If you scroll down it has links to images and also a price breakdown.

7) In my experience, first year felt like less work than A levels honestly, second year was a big jump up due to the increased independent working (everyone always warns you that second year is hard but you don't believe them till you're there haha) and I've heard people say that third year is easier than second year (so I'm looking forward to that)!

I hope I could help, let me know if you have any more questions!
Rebecca (Lancaster Student Ambassador)

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