Do you want to help solve 21st Century problems in health, agriculture and the environment? Study the way living organisms function at molecular level, from viruses and bacteria to humans, plants and other higher organisms. Use your knowledge and skills to make a positive change.
Learning from inspirational academics working at the cutting-edge of research, you will develop the practical experience, scientific knowledge and transferable skills needed to meet your goals, both academically and in your chosen profession.
Our Biochemistry degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RBS)
You’ll start by gaining an insight into key biological and chemical disciplines, including biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, microbiology and physiology.
Next you’ll build on this knowledge and develop your skills as a bioscientist to cover areas such as gene regulation, cell biology and metabolism.
In your final year, you will tailor your degree to your interests through optional modules and a research project of your choice based on laboratory work, literature or data analysis.
You can also tailor your degree to suit you with a sandwich year where you’ll undertake a paid role. This will give you the chance to put into practice the skills you’ve learnt and develop new ones as well as building important connections. You can also expand your horizons with our year abroad, where you'll study at one of our partner institutions for a year.
Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee
We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.
*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.
BBC including Biology (or Human Biology) grade B AND Chemistry grade B or Applied Science Double Award at BB, including the practical endorsement of any science qualifications taken.
Mathematics grade C
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made, candidates will be required to pass the Access to Higher Education Diploma with 36 level 3 credits at distinction and 9 at merit, and to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits in particular subjects at distinction or merit grade.
The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis. Subjects likely to be acceptable are Applied Science, Biomedical Science and Medical Science. Typical offers when made are Distinction, Merit, Merit. Please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.
30 points overall or 15 points at HL, including Chemistry and Biology 5 at HL or 6 at SL, plus Mathematics 4 at HL or SL
Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Skills for Bioscientists, Fundamentals of Human Biology and Life Sciences (plus 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).
The University will consider applicants holding T Level qualifications in subjects which are closely aligned to the programme applied for. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact the School for more information at email@example.com.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
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Duration: 3 years full-time
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
This course will provide an introduction to biomolecules in living matter. The simplicity of the building blocks of macromolecules (amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and purine and pyrimidine bases) will be contrasted with the enormous variety and adaptability that is obtained with the different macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids). The nature of the electronic and molecular structure of macromolecules and the role of non-covalent interactions in an aqueous environment will be highlighted. The unit will be delivered though lectures, formative practicals and related feedback sessions to ensure students fully understand what is expected of them. Short tests (formative assessment) will be used throughout the unit to test students' knowledge and monitor that the right material has been extracted from the lectures.
This course aims to introduce the 'workers' present in all cells – enzymes, and their role in the chemical reactions that make life possible.
The fundamental characteristics of enzymes will be discussed – that they are types of protein that act as catalysts to speed up reactions, or make unlikely reactions more likely. Methods for analysis of enzymic reactions will be introduced (enzyme kinetics). Control of enzyme activity, and enzyme inhibition will be discussed.
Following on from this the pathways of intermediary metabolism will be introduced. Enzymes catalyse many biochemical transformations in living cells, of which some of the most fundamental are those which capture energy from nutrients. Energy capture by the breakdown (catabolism) of complex molecules and the corresponding formation of NADH, NADPH, FADH2 and ATP will be described. The central roles of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation in aerobic metabolism will be detailed. The pathways used in animals for catabolism and biosynthesis (anabolism) of some carbohydrates and fat will be covered, as well as their control. Finally how humans adapt their metabolism to survive starvation will be discussed.
This module addresses key themes and experimental techniques in molecular and cellular illustrated by examples from a range of microbes animals and plants . It covers basic cell structure, and organisation including organelles and their functions, cytoskeleton, cell cycle control and cell division. The control of all living processes by genetic mechanisms is introduced and an opportunity to handle and manipulate genetic material provided in the laboratory. Monitoring of students' knowledge and progress will be provided by a multi-choice test and the laboratory report, with feedback.
Functional Geography of Cells: Introduction to cell organisation, variety and cell membranes. Molecular traffic in cells. Organelles involved in energy and metabolism. Eukaryotic cell cycle. Chromosome structure & cell division. Meiosis and recombination. Cytoskeleton.
Molecular biology: The structure and function of genetic material. Chromosomes, chromatin structure, mutations, DNA replication, DNA repair and recombination, Basic mechanisms of transcription, mRNA processing and translation.
Techniques in molecular and cellular biology: Methods in cell Biology - light and electron microscopy; cell culture, fractionation and protein isolation/electrophoresis; antibodies, radiolabelling. Gene Cloning – vectors, enzymes, ligation, transformation, screening; hybridisation, probes and blots, PCR, DNA sequencing. Applications of recombinant DNA technology.
Laboratory: PCR amplification of DNA and gel analysis.
This module will consider the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the aetiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient. It may also cover the diagnosis and treatment of the disease condition.
Indicative topics will include:
Cells and tissues
Cell communication and homeostasis
Introduction to the nervous system
The cardiovascular system
The respiratory system
The immune system and inflammation
Blood cells and clotting
The Urinary system
The digestive system, liver and pancreas
Subject-based and communication skills are relevant to all the bioscience courses. This module allows you to become familiar with practical skills, the analysis and presentation of biological data and introduces some basic mathematical and statistical skills as applied to biological problems. It also introduces you to the computer network and its applications and covers essential skills such as note-taking and essay writing.
Students with A2 Chemistry (equivalent) on entry take Phases 2+3+4
Biology students with A2 Chemistry (or equivalent) will obtain additional chemical concepts (Phase 4) as their chemistry qualification at A2 will already furnish them with concepts from Phase 1. All students will participate in the core section: Phase 2.
Phases 2+3+4 students will use the Phase 1 coursework test as a formative assessment to recognise their required chemical knowledgebase as obtained at A2 level. This provides an opportunity to identify students requiring additional support.
This module links to Biological Chemistry A with identically designed phases (1, 2 and 3) to maximise teaching efficiency across all programs in the School of Biosciences.
Phase 2: Autumn Term (9 lectures, 2 x 2 hr Workshop, 3 extra support lectures)
Chemical and biochemical thermodynamics. Topics covered are: (i) energetic and work, (ii) enthalpy, entropy and the laws of thermodynamics (iii) Gibbs free energy, equilibrium and spontaneous reactions, (iv) Chemical and biochemical equilibrium (including activity versus concentration and Le Chatelier's principle). The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications and practice of thermodynamics concepts.
Chemistry applied to biological concepts: bonding, valence, hybridisation as well as biological applied thermodynamic process (biomolecular association/dissociation).
Assessment feedback (1 session/lecture)
Phase 3: Spring Term (17 lectures, 2 x 2 hr workshop)
Fundamental organic chemistry with biological examples. Topics covered: (i) Introduction and basic functional chemistry, (ii) Isomerism and stereochemistry, (iii) Reaction mechanisms, (iv) Alkanes/alkyl halides/alkenes/alkynes, (v) Aromatic compounds, (vi) Heterocyclic compounds, (vii) Amines and alcohols (viii) Carbonyl compounds and carboxylic acids and (ix) Biological inorganic chemistry. The two workshops is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications of reaction mechanisms and reaction schemes.
Phase 4: Spring Term (8 lectures, 2 x 1 hr workshop)
This module is an introduction to Mendelian genetics, and it will also address human pedigrees, quantitative genetics, and mechanisms of evolution.
The module deals with the molecular mechanisms of gene expression and its regulation in organisms ranging from viruses to man. This involves descriptions of how genetic information is stored in DNA and RNA, how that information is decoded by the cell and how this flow of information is controlled in response to changes in environment or developmental stage. Throughout, the mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be compared and contrasted and will touch on the latest developments in how we can analyse gene expression, and what these developments have revealed.
The cell is the fundamental structural unit in living organisms. Eukaryotic cells are compartmentalized structures that like prokaryotic cells, must perform several vital functions such as energy production, cell division and DNA replication and also must respond to extracellular environmental cues. In multicellular organisms, certain cells have developed modified structures, allowing them to fulfil highly specialised roles. This module reviews the experimental approaches that have been taken to investigate the biology of the cell and highlights the similarities and differences between cells of complex multicellular organisms and microbial cells. Initially the functions of the cytoskeleton and certain cellular compartments, particularly the nucleus, are considered. Later in the unit, the mechanisms by which newly synthesised proteins are secreted or shuttled to their appropriate cellular compartments are examined.
This module will consider the anatomy and function of the immune system and immunopathology and then consider the diseases and microorganisms that affect the different organs and tissues of the human body. Indicative topics will include inflammation, innate and adaptive immunity to pathogens, immune defence mechanisms against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, antibody classes and functions, antigen processing and presentation, complement, the generation of antibody diversity, cell communication and immunopathology, including autoimmunity, hypersensitivity and transplant rejection. In the medical microbiology section of the module, indicative topics will include epidemiology, virology, parasitology, fungal infections, skin infections, GI tract infections, CNS infections, respiratory tract infections, UTI and STD infections.
This module will consider the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the aetiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient. It may also cover the diagnosis and treatment of the disease condition. Indicative topics will include the reproductive system; muscle; nervous system; and endocrine system.
This module covers the general principles of metabolic disorders and focuses on pathways, enzyme mechanisms, and diseases associated with defects in metabolism.
This module will cover the following areas:
* Principles of metabolic regulation: Allostery, cooperativity, phosphorylation, and hormonal control. Metabolic regulation in response to cellular energy status. Transcriptional regulation.
* Plant metabolism: Photosynthesis and carbon fixation.
* Microbial metabolism: Nitrogen metabolism, stress responses, metals, and secondary metabolites.
* Metabolism in biotechnology: Manipulating microbial metabolism for the production of useful compounds. Manipulating mammalian cell metabolism in biotechnology.
One-on-one meetings and small group tutorials focused on academic progression and the development of key skills to support the core curriculum and future study or employment. Students meet with their Academic Advisor individually or in small groups at intervals during the academic year. Individual meetings review academic progress, support career planning etc. Themed tutorials develop transferable skills; indicative topics are presentation skills, problem solving etc. The tutorials are informal involving student activity and discussion. Year group events deliver general information e.g. on University resources, application to 4-year programmes, module selection etc.
Communication Skills in Biosciences: Essay writing, oral presentations, laboratory reports, the scientific literature and literature reviews. Working in groups.
Techniques in Biomolecular Science: Immunochemistry. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production, immuno-chromatography, ELISA and RIA. Electrophoresis, Immunoblotting, Protein Determination, Activity Assays, Purification.
Computing for Biologists: Bioinformatics, phylogenetic trees, database searches for protein/DNA sequences.
Mini-project – introduction to research skills: Students will work in groups of eight to undertake directed experimental work (Group Project) before extending the project further through self-directed experiments working as a pair (Mini Project).
Careers: The programme will be delivered by the Careers Advisory Service and will review the types of careers available for bioscience students. The sessions will incorporate personal skills, careers for bioscience graduates, records of achievement, curriculum vitae preparation, vacation work, postgraduate study, interview skills and action planning.
Introduction and basic principles of drug action: key drug targets including major receptor subtypes, ion channels, transporters, and structure-function relationships
Systems pharmacology: the biological basis of diseases states affecting different physiological systems, therapeutic approaches to treating these diseases, and the cellular/molecular mode of action of drugs used. Indicative diseases may include hypertension, asthma, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, infertility, depression and anxiety.
You study the diversity of animal life throughout evolution, including elements of functional anatomy and physiology such as circulation and gaseous exchange, the digestive system, the nervous system and reproduction.
A. Comparative physiology - in this section the diversity of different physiological systems will be studied including circulation, gaseous exchange, feeding and digestion, excretion, nervous tissue and the senses, reproduction and immunology.
B. Form and Function - in this section a diverse range of taxonomic groups and their characteristics will be studied to understand the relationship between structure and function. How these characteristics equip the animal to survive and succeed in its particular environment will be explored.
The module deals with the molecular mechanisms underlying the ecological, medical, scientific and commercial importance of microorganisms (including prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms). This involves descriptions of how microbial genetic information is stored in DNA, how that information is decoded by the cell and how this flow of information is controlled in response to changes in environment. The Module also discusses microbial interaction with humans and the environment. Throughout the module, the mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be compared and contrasted and will touch on the latest tool development in microbiology.
This module will introduce students to the importance of genome-wide DNA sequence analysis in a range of different fields of study including forensic science, medical diagnosis and historical research. They will acquire a full grounding in the basic biology of how sequence data is acquired and analysed, and engage with up-to-date methods of DNA sequence analysis in the practical sessions. At the broad level, the module will be structured around the following 4 themes:
What is a genome? This addresses genome content and structure, including both functional and non-functional elements of the genome such as the simple "junk" DNA repeats used for forensic identification.
Understanding genomic variation. This addresses the molecular causes of genomic variation between individuals – i.e. what makes us all unique – and the technical methodologies used to detect genomic variation.
What are the implications of being able to read DNA? This covers the extent to which we can infer phenotype from genomic sequence – e.g. how much you can tell about a person once their genome has been sequenced. Specific examples may be drawn from forensic science, medical diagnosis and historical analysis.
What are the implications of being able to write or edit DNA? This addresses nascent and future technology for genome editing – what can it achieve, what are the risks, what are the ethical issues?
Projects are designed by individual members of staff in keeping with their research interests and fall into one of four categories:
• Wet/Dry Laboratory and Computing: practical research undertaken in the teaching laboratories, or on computers followed by preparation of a written report
• Dissertation: library-based research leading to production of a report in the style of a scientific review
• Business: development of a biotechnology business plan
• Communication: similar to dissertation projects but with an emphasis on presenting the scientific topic to a general, non-scientist audience
Cells and subcellular compartments are separated from the external milieu by lipid membranes with protein molecules inserted into the lipid layer. The aim of this module is to develop understanding of both the lipid and protein components of membranes as dynamic structures whose functions are integrated in cellular processes.
The module will cover the structural analysis of proteins and protein assemblies using techniques such as fluorescence, circular dichroism, mass spectrometry, atomic-force microscopy, cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography and NMR. It will also look at protein folding, molecular processing, de novo design, engineering and modelling. The module will also investigate the relationship between protein structure and function and cover the principles and practice of enzymology, ligand binding, and enzyme catalysis.
One-on-one meetings and small group tutorials focused on academic progression and the development of key skills to support the core curriculum and future study or employment. Students meet with their Academic Advisor or project supervisor individually or in small groups at intervals during the academic year. Individual meetings review academic progress, support career planning etc. Themed tutorials develop transferable skills; indicative topics are research and presentation skills. The tutorials are informal involving student activity and discussion. Year group events deliver general information, most at this stage focused on further study or employment.
Recent events have illustrated the importance of ensuring that science is communicated effectively to non-scientific audiences. This module considers best practice in science communication, making use of case studies that illustrate its importance in developing an informed and empowered public, while developing skills in different modes of communication that enhance future employability.
The module begins by overviewing the diverse mechanisms used by cells to communicate, considering the main modes of cell-cell communication, the major classes of signalling molecules and the receptor types upon which they act. It then focuses on nuclear, G-protein coupled, and enzyme linked receptors covering in molecular detail these receptors and their associated signal transduction pathways.
The module introduces the student to cell cycle and teaches how its precise regulation is essential for all life. The course will introduce to the students the current understanding of cellular reproduction and how it emerged. The initial lectures will describe the important breakthroughs in cell cycle research in their historical and experimental context. The course will go on to give the students a detailed understanding of the key events that occur and how they are regulated by mechanisms conserved from yeast to man. Key topics that will be discussed include:
Mitotic kinases (including Cdks, Polo, aurora).
Microtubule reorganisation (including spindle formation and regulation).
Actin reorganisation (including regulation of cell growth, endocytosis, and cell division)
Checkpoints (including Spindle assembly checkpoint, DNA damage checkpoint).
Organelle reorganisation (e.g. nuclear and golgi reorganisation).
Cancer and the cell cycle.
Cell cycle related pathologies.
The final lectures will then introduce the students to how generating computer models of the cell cycle are playing a crucial role in defining novel avenues for research into therapies for cell cycle related diseases.
The module will develop understanding and analytical skills in virology, based around interactive seminars wherein students will analyse, present, and discuss the relevant research literature. The students will gain experience in scientific design, literature analysis, scientific communication, and the analysis of experimental data.
The aim of this Advanced Immunology module is to review topical aspects of advanced immunology with emphasis on the regulation of the immune response, and the role of dysfunctional immune systems in the aetiology of a variety of disease states. Indicative topics include antigen processing and presentation, transplant rejection, autoimmunity, hypersensitivity, cell migration homing and extravasation, cytokines, tumour immunology, mucosal immunology and autophagy.
Bioinformatics Data sources & Sequence analysis: Databases and data availability. Using sequence data for analysis – sequence searching methods, multiple sequence alignments, residue conservation, Protein domains and families.
Protein Bioinformatics Methods: Protein structure and function prediction. Prediction of binding sites/interfaces with small ligands and with other proteins. Bioinformatics analyses using protein data.
Genomics: An introduction to the analysis of genomic data, primarily focussing on the data available from genome sequencing – how it can be used to study genetic variants and compare genomes (i.e. comparative and functional genomics).
Cancer formation and progression; underlying factors, cancer cell heterogeneity, uncontrolled cell division, invasive growth/metastasis formation.
The Molecular Biology of Cancer: (Proto-)oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, cell cycle control, cell death.
The module deals with basic neuroanatomy and molecular and cellular neurobiology, such as transmission of signals within the nervous system and sensory perception. It explores more complex functions of the nervous system, e.g. behavioural and cognitive functions including learning, memory, emotions and appetite control. Throughout the module both the normal nervous system and disorders that arise as a consequence of abnormalities will be covered.
The module provides a detailed molecular basis for the ageing process. It reviews the organisms and experimental methods used to study ageing, and discusses the findings of this work to provide both knowledge and context to the process of ageing.
Topics may include: Importance and principles of ageing research
Why do organisms age and theories of ageing
Overview of processes and pathways controlling ageing
How ageing and lifespan is measured.
Signalling pathways that control ageing
Diseases of ageing
Ethics of ageing research
There will be two workshops: Workshop 1: Data analysis session (whole class or 2-3 groups).
Workshop 2: Group discussion of key ageing research paper(s) (small groups ).
This module is designed to provide students across the university with access to knowledge, skill development and training in the field of entrepreneurship with a special emphasis on developing a business plan in order to exploit identified opportunities. Hence, the module will be of value for students who aspire to establishing their own business and/or introducing innovation through new product, service, process, project or business development in an established organisation. The module complements students' final year projects in Computing, Law, Biosciences, Electronics, Multimedia, and Drama etc.
The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only the 2021/2022 fees for this course were £9,250.
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
Teaching includes lectures, laboratory classes, workshops, problem-solving sessions and tutorials. You have an Academic Adviser who you meet with at regular intervals to discuss your progress, and most importantly, to identify ways in which you can improve your work further so that you reach your full potential.
Most modules are assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year exams. Exams take place at the end of the academic year and count for 50% or more of the module mark. Stage 1 assessments do not contribute to the final degree classification, but all Stage 2 and 3 assessments do, meaning that your final degree award is an average of many different components. On average, 29% of your time is spent in an activity led by an academic; the rest of your time is for independent study.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
The programme aims to:
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
You gain transferable skills in the following:
Biological Sciences at Kent scored 87% overall in The Complete University Guide 2022. It was also ranked 10th for research intensity.
Our graduates have gone on to work in research-based jobs in academic, government, industrial and medical labs. They have also gone on to work in:
Many of our graduates also go on to further study at MSc or PhD level.
The School of Biosciences runs employability events with talks from alumni outlining their career paths since graduation.
The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
You graduate with an excellent grounding in scientific knowledge and extensive laboratory experience. In addition, you also develop the key transferable skills sought by employers, such as:
You can also gain new skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
Our Biochemistry degree programme is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), and our four-year Biochemistry with a Sandwich Year programme has Advanced Accreditation.
If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.
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