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Biochemistry at Imperial College London

Imperial College London offers a course in Biochemistry. Students who are studying biochemistry or biotechnology programme follow the same core modules in the first two years and consequently specialize spending one year in industry or heading overseas. Core modules in the first term include Molecular Biology, Biological Chemistry, Molecular Cell Biology and Enzymes and Proteins. The second year includes five core modules and an optional course taken from outside of biochemistry.

A broad range of optional courses are available for students to choose from in subsequent years including subjects such as Genetics and Genomics, Damage and Repair in Biological Systems, Cancer, Cellular Neuroscience, Drug Design and Protein Engineering, Biotechnology and Business.

Course structure

The BSc Biochemistry is a three-year degree programme. In the first two years, students deal with core subjects to make sure that they receive a strong grounding in the fundamentals. Subsequently, they specialize in the final year, making their choice from a broad range of research projects and options. The biotechnology and biochemistry courses include topics covering all aspects of the biotechnology industry and the applied biochemistry. In the final year of the biotechnology programme, students are expected to take course options and a project in subjects involving major elements of biotechnology.

The BSc Biochemistry with Management starts with the first two years of the Biochemistry degree. The BSc Biochemistry with Management is a four-year degree. A year in Research/Industry and the BSc Biochemistry with Management follow the two years of the Biochemistry degree. Students need to spend the final year of this four-year programme in the Business School. The BSc Biochemistry with a Year in Industry/Research involves a year spent completing research in a medical, industrial or any other biochemical work environment.

The BSc Biochemistry with Research Abroad includes a year spent performing research in a medical, industrial or any appropriate biotechnological/biochemical work environment overseas. The department has links with universities in the EU for the abroad cultural and scientific module of the year in Europe/Research Abroad degrees.

First Year

These courses offer the fundamental building block of biochemistry. Students need to take the following courses that are run in parallel:

  • Molecular Biology I
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Proteins and Enzymes
  • Molecular Cell Biology I

Second Year

Students need to take the following five core subjects:

  • Molecular Biology II
  • Immunology
  • Physical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Cell Biology II
  • Protein Science

Besides the core subjects, one course is generally taken from subjects outside biochemistry, for example, a language, finance, philosophy or communication skills.

Final Year

In the first two terms of the final year, students need to choose one course from each session. This allows students to specialize in an area of relevance and interest to their future career plans. Biotechnology and Biochemistry students are given guidance on the selection of four courses from those mentioned below. Each course includes a half-term's work.

Session 1

  • Damage and Repair in Biological Systems
  • Stem Cells, Regeneration and Ageing
  • Macromolecules in Three Dimensions
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Advanced Topics in Plant Molecular Biology

Session 2

  • Cancer
  • Integrative Systems Biology
  • Cellular Neuroscience
  • Mechanisms of Gene Expression

Session 3

  • Molecular Basis of Development
  • Bioreactor and Bioprocess Technology
  • Molecular Neurobiology
  • Medical Glycobiology
  • Synthetic Biology

Session 4

  • Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
  • Biochemical Pharmacology and Drug Action
  • Biotechnology and Business
  • Protein Engineering and Drug Design

Laboratory practical exercises are extended to students throughout the final year courses. Students carry out either a literature-based dissertation or a full-time laboratory-based research project after their final year exams.

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