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Department of Biochemistry


Departmental Seminars

Members of the Part II class are expected to attend the Departmental Seminars and are strongly encouraged to take part in the discussion. A list of upcoming seminars can be found on the Departmental web site, as well as advertised on the electronic notice boards in the Department.

  • The Tuesday Seminars, which take place in the Thomas Lecture Theatre (Biochemistry Sanger building), are usually given by an outside speaker and consist of a paper on original research followed by a general discussion.

  • The Friday Seminars, which also take place in the Thomas Lecture Theatre (Biochemistry Sanger building), are usually given by a member of a research group from the Biochemistry Department. Again, these seminars consist of a paper on original research followed by a general discussion.

  • Visiting speakers – there are also ad hoc seminars given in the Department by visiting academics. Details of these seminars are communicated on the electronic notice boards in the department, via email, and on the website.

  • Additional seminars will be held in many of the neighbouring Departments and Institutes (e.g. Genetics, Gurdon, Pharmacology, Pathology, PDN, Plant Sciences, Stem Cell, Zoology and slightly further at Addenbrooke’s) that may be of interest to you. A list of most Cambridge Seminars is available on  


Examinations are sat in the Easter Term. There are three elements to the assessment for Part II Biochemistry:

  • unseen written examinations (5 papers),
  • a project report (dissertation), and
  • a prepared essay.


Advice and information about assessments:

  • The formal structure of the examination is described in a form and conduct notice.
  • Some advice about the examinations is available in the course handbook and on the course Moodle site. Past examination papers are available in Moodle.
  • General information about NST assessment is on the NST website.
  • Specific criteria used for marking and classing Part II exams are provided by the Management Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos - found HERE.

Specialist supervisions

Students are expected to arrange specialist supervisions with lecturers on topics that particularly interest them. These are an important part of the course. Supervisions are generally conducted in small groups (3-6 students), although larger ones may be appropriate in some situations.

Reading Lists for Part II Biochemistry

Unlike Part I courses, very detailed and comprehensive lecture handouts are generally not provided. However, most lecturers will provide copies of their lecture slides, which are available on Moodle prior to the lecture(s).

At the start of their lectures, lecturers will provide short lists of references to the relevant literature, with titles. Members of the class are not necessarily expected to read all the papers included in these lists. With this in mind, the lecturers are asked to give an indication of their contents, and annotate the list to indicate which references they regard as the more important; they and everybody else in the Department are aware that the literature of Biochemistry is so large that nobody can effectively cover the whole subject. The references provided will allow individual members of the class to pursue different topics down to basic publications, and thus to read in detail about an aspect that may particularly interest them.

The Colman Library (in the Hopkins building) is the departmental library. The Part II Biochemistry Moodle site provides information regarding recommended books and journals and for advice on accessing and using  electronic library resources. Part II and Part III Biochemistry students have priority over Part I students for seating in the library.


The University Careers Service will talk to the class about career opportunities, the kind of choices biochemists have made in recent years, where to look for jobs/studentships and what employers/supervisors want to see in applications.  The Careers Service provides (free) seminars and workshops on career choice, interviews, CVs, and particular career options, as well as one-to-one consultations.

The Biochemistry department postgraduate and research pages carry information about current research and post-graduate research opportunities. Students apply for such posts themselves, but members of staff will be pleased to advise.