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Department of Biochemistry



General Structure of the Part II 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. 

Students undertaking Part II Biochemistry will graduate with a B.A. However, students may wish to continue to Part III Biochemistry (fourth year), which leads to a M. Sci. In this instance, students will graduate with both B.A. and M.Sci. degrees.


There are three main strands to the teaching in Part II Biochemistry:

  • lectures
  • eight-week research project - Students choose from an array of dry (e.g. bioinformatics) and wet-lab projects, across a wide range of research areas.
  • small group teaching – 'Peer Groups' (includes Journal Clubs)

Students may also attend specialist supervisions, with lecturers, following particular lecture blocks.

Core Lecture Topics

The course aims to provide students with an advanced integrated knowledge and understanding of core topics, with general principles set in particular contexts:

  • Module A – Structural and Chemical Biology: includes nucleic acid structure and interactions, signaling proteins and membrane proteins, enzyme kinetics and drug discovery and protein design.
  • Module B – From Genome to Proteome: includes all steps in eukaryotic gene expression from chromatin accessibility to translation and mRNA turnover.
  • Module C (core) – The Dynamic Cell: includes the dynamics of proteins and membrane-bound organelles in eukaryotic cells.
  • Module D – Cell Cycle, Signalling and Cancer; includes cell and molecular biology of signaling and cancer, DNA repair and apoptosis.


Specialised Topics

  • Module C1 – Bioenergy: includes the exploitation of plants and algae for renewable energy generation.
  • Module C2: Molecular Microbiology of Infectious Disease: includes the examination of prokaryotes as agents of disease and as source of antibiotics, of virulence and resistance, and the molecular aspects of eukaryotic protozoan pathogens.

The Part II Biochemistry Moodle Site

The Part II Biochemistry 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.

The Part II Biochemistry course is supported by a comprehensive Moodle site that contains a range of materials that aim to support a variety of learning styles. Other key materials, such as safety information, past exam papers, and more, are also available on Moodle. 

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

Entry Criteria for Part II Biochemistry

The subject Part IB Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is the normal precursor to the Part II course but alternatively, Part IB Cell and Developmental Biology is an adequate background to Part II Biochemistry. MedST and VetST students who are considering a career in medical research after qualifying will find the Part II course an excellent foundation. 

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

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