Learn about the molecular foundations of life itself with our BSc Biochemistry course.
Molecules are at the centre of all life from the smallest virus to the largest animal. Biochemists seek to understand how molecular processes control life at various levels; how do molecules make cells work, how do these cells coordinate in an organ and finally, how do these organs signal and work together for life to function? Biochemistry is at the forefront of understanding how molecules control and affect life, and an appreciation of these concepts allows biochemists to answer life’s fundamental questions and contribute to resolving critical biological problems such as designing drugs to treat cancer or even bacteria that can clean up an oil spill.
Through your lectures at Reading you will explore and discuss these biochemical concepts, accumulating in an in-depth understanding of the subject. 98% of students in the School of Biological Sciences said our teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2023).
You'll have the opportunity to study your subject in a layered approach where you will focus on the molecular and cellular concepts of biochemistry in Year 1, followed by discussions of the organ and organism effects of these biochemical processes in Year 2. Finally, in Year 3 you will study topics at the forefront of biochemistry from cutting-edge research to human disease and structural biology. During Year 3, you will also take part in an 11-week research project where you will draw on all your skills and knowledge to tackle a biochemical research question. All graduates are eligible for membership of The Royal Society of Biology and can apply for Chartered Biologist status.
Our new £60m Health and Life Sciences building is the home of the School of Biological Sciences. It offers state-of-the-art research and teaching laboratories, seminar rooms, and plenty of study and social space, including a café. The building also houses the Cole Museum of Zoology. The collection, featuring more than 3,500 natural history specimens, provides a fantastic resource for biological scientists and the wider community.
You will have the opportunity to carry out a year-long industrial placement between your second and final year. There is also the opportunity to undertake a 3-8 week summer placement between either Part 1 and 2 or Part 2 and 3. Students in previous years have worked on industrial and summer placements at Diamond Light Source (the UK’s national synchrotron), Public Health England, GSK, AstraZeneca and Covance. You can also choose to spend a year abroad.
You will also have the opportunity to undertake paid vacation studentships funded by external organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and the Biochemical Society. Additionally, the University of Reading offers the UROP scheme (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme) that also offers paid studentships at the University. These studentships take place over a period of 6-10 weeks during the summer break. During studentships you will normally work on a set project and benefit from valuable training in techniques, experimental design and the interpretation of data.
Our Department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
For more information, please visit the School of Biological Sciences website.