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Department of Biochemistry



Structure of the Part III Biochemistry course

Biochemistry is the study of living organisms at the molecular and cellular level. As a core course for the whole of biological sciences, a training in Biochemistry leaves you with the widest choice when you come to select an area of cell/molecular biology in any subsequent research programme or career. Recruiters in industry, government, investment management, regulatory authorities, and industrial law appreciate the breadth and diversity of biological knowledge that Biochemistry provides. 

The Part III Biochemistry course aims to build on Part II Biochemistry to deepen and extend your knowledge and understanding of  further specialised aspects by means of lecture courses, and to develop your research skills and knowledge of research techniques and instrumentation by means of group supervisions, colloquia, seminars, lectures and a two-term research project.

Students choosing to take Part III Biochemistry will graduate with both a B.A. and M. Sci. degrees.

General overview of the course

There are four main strands to the teaching: lectures, seminar series, research work and Peer Groups. There are no lectures or research work during the Easter Term, i.e. after the Easter Vacation: the early part of that term is available for general reading and revision.

Lecture Topics

The course aims to provide students with an advanced integrated knowledge and understanding of biochemistry. Students select two 12-lecture modules – one in Michaelmas Term and the other in Lent Term.

Michaelmas Term options:

  • Molecular Recognition and Interaction
  • Cell Fate

Lent Term options:

  • The Biochemistry and Biophysics of Neuronal and Metabolic Disorders
  • Contemporary Cancer Studies

For more details about these topics, go to the Course Overview tab.

The Part III Biochemistry Moodle Site

The Part III Biochemistry course is supported by a comprehensive Moodle site that contains a range of materials that aim to support a variety of learning styles. The Moodle site contains key teaching materials, such as lecture handouts, links to lecture recordings, and practical notes. The course handbook can also be downloaded from the Moodle site. Other key materials, such as safety information, past exam papers, and more, are also available on Moodle. 

Students enrolled on the Part III Biochemistry course at the start of Michaelmas Term are automatically subscribed to the Part III Biochemistry Moodle site. If there are any issues reaching the Moodle site, the Undergraduate Teaching Administrator will be able to help.

Entry Criteria for Part III Biochemistry

In general, acceptance for Part III Biochemistry is conditional upon performance at II.1 (upper second) or better in Biochemistry in Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos. However, a student who has not met the required standard or who has not done Part II Biochemistry, or who has not complied with the published deadline for receipt of applications, may request consideration as a special case. Please note that students may only request consideration as a special case if they have undertaken a research project (and associated dissertation) in their Part II course. Unfortunately, this means students from subjects such as Part II Chemistry or Part II BBS are not eligible to apply.

A request for special consideration should be forwarded by the student’s Director of Studies or Tutor to the Secretary of the Biological Sciences Committee (for the Faculty Board of Biology), using the pro forma provided, at the earliest opportunity and, at the latest, by 31st May. Please also ensure that the Undergraduate Teaching Office in Biochemistry ( is copied into all correspondence. This request should include the following information:

  • A statement from the student outlining their motivation for doing Part III Biochemistry.
  • The Director of Studies or Tutor should state the reasons for requesting dispensation, confirm that the College supports the request and is able to support the student, and believes that the student will be capable of undertaking the Part III course successfully.
  • The application must be accompanied by copies of supervision reports, and a detailed breakdown of the student’s marks, year by year and subject by subject.

As soon as the Part II marks are available, the student should forward these to the Undergraduate Teaching Office in Biochemistry to confirm that they have achieved a II.1 or above in their Part II course.

The Committee nominated by the Faculty Board to consider special cases is not expected to consider circumstances of a nature on which the Applications Committee would normally make a judgement.

Representations regarding progression decisions are allowed for under the Procedure for the Review of Decisions of University Bodies.

For more information about admission to Part III Biochemistry, click HERE.

All queries about the Part III Biochemistry course should be directed to the Undergraduate Teaching Office.