In the School of Biosciences, we have a community spirit and students learn with and from each other. We are also renowned for our innovative teaching methods, including:
new ways of using IT in lectures, which allow you to revisit the teaching at a later date
academic-developed animations to help explain tricky concepts
final-year communication projects teaching you how to share scientific knowledge with the public.
Our Biochemistry degree is recognised by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).
Our degree programme
In your first year, your modules give you an insight into various biological and chemical disciplines, including biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, microbiology and physiology. Your second year builds on this knowledge and covers areas such as gene regulation, cell biology and metabolism.
In your first and second years, you also take specific modules to develop your skills as a bioscientist.
In your final year, alongside your compulsory modules, you conduct a research project. There are three types of project: laboratory; literature and data analysis; or communication. From the many areas of research covered in the School, you can choose to focus on an area that interests you. You also choose two optional modules from a range that covers areas such as the biology of ageing, cancer biology and neuroscience.
Your placement year is taken between your second and final years. It provides an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience in industry in the UK or abroad. During your placement you are paid by your employer and produce an independent research project.
Alternatively, you can study or work abroad as part of your degree on our Biochemistry with a Year Abroad degree. You can also take our three-year Biochemistry degree, without a year abroad or a sandwich year.
We also offer between 20 and 30 paid Summer Studentships each year. You can apply to work in our research labs during the summer holiday and gain hands-on research experience before your final year of study.
You can join BioSoc, a student-run society. Previous activities have included research talks and social events.
We also encourage our students to attend outside conferences and events. In 2015, Kent students competed with 280 teams and won the gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree in the USA.
Our modern teaching labs ensure you have a state-of-the-art working and learning environment. The School attracts a lot of research funding, and this provides for well-equipped research labs and first-class research facilities.
Kent & Medway Medical School
is moving forward with the Kent & Medway Medical School (KMMS), due to take
the first cohort of students in September 2020.
Medical School will be a significant addition to the University, with exciting opportunities
for education and research in the School of Biosciences.
Our school collaborates with research groups in industry and academia throughout the UK and Europe. It also has excellent links with local employers, such as:
Public Health England.
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.
The Sandwich Year is assessed by a presentation and a written report, and contributes 10% to your overall mark.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the main metabolic pathways used in biological systems in catabolism and anabolism, understanding biological reactions in chemical terms
- the variety of mechanisms by which metabolic pathways can be controlled and the way that tissue specific functions can be co-ordinated with the needs of the rest of the human body
- the genetic organisation of various types of organism such as microbes and humans, and the way in which genes can be expressed and their expression controlled
- the structure and function of the main classes of macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids and polysaccharides
- protein structure and function, especially enzymes
- the structure and function of biological membranes
- the main mechanisms by which cells in the human body can communicate with each other
- the main principles of cell and molecular biology
- the way a professional biochemist can contribute to the organisation in which they work
- the basic principles of microbiology
- the main experimental techniques used in the study of biochemistry
- the principle methods for communicating aspects of biochemistry.
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- understand the scope of teaching methods and study skills relevant to a biochemistry degree
- understand the concepts and principles in outcomes, recognising and applying biochemistry specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles, for example, the relationship between genes and proteins
- acquire the skills for analysis, synthesis, summary and presentation of biochemical information
- demonstrate competence in solving extended biochemical problems involving advanced data manipulation and comprehension using biochemical specific and transferable skills
- integrate scientific evidence, to formulate and test hypotheses
- structure, develop and defend complex scientific arguments
- plan, execute and interpret the data from a short research project
- recognise the moral and ethical issues of biochemical investigations and appreciate the need for ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
- handle biological material and chemicals in a safe way, thus being able to assess any potential hazards associated with biochemical experimentation
- perform risk assessments prior to the execution of a biochemical experimental protocol
- use basic and advanced experimental equipment in executing the core practical techniques used by biochemists
- find information on biochemical systems from a wide range of information resources such as journals, books, electronic databases and maintain an effective information retrieval strategy
- plan, execute and assess the results from biochemical experiments using acquired subject-specific knowledge
- identify the best method for presenting and reporting on biochemical investigations using written, data manipulation/presentation and computer skills
- awareness of the employment opportunities for biochemistry graduates with a Sandwich Year.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- the ability to receive and respond to a variety of sources of information including textual, numerical, verbal and graphical
- communicate effectively to a variety of audiences using a range of formats and approaches
- problem solve by a variety of methods, especially numerical, including the use of computers
- the ability to use the internet and other electronic sources critically as a means of communication and as a source of information
- interpersonal and teamwork abilities that allow you to identify individual and collective goals and recognise and respect views and opinions of other team members
- self-management and organisational skills, and the capacity to support life-long learning
- awareness of information sources for assessing and planning future career development
- the ability to function effectively in a working environment.
The programme aims to:
- instil a sense of enthusiasm for biochemistry, confront the scientific, moral and ethical questions raised by your studies and engage in critical assessment of the subject material
- provide a stimulating, research-active environment for teaching and learning in which you are supported and motivated to achieve your academic and personal potential
- educate you in the theoretical (subject-specific knowledge) and practical (laboratory skills and methods) aspects of biochemistry
- facilitate your learning experience (integration and application of knowledge) through a variety of teaching and assessment methods
- provide experience of undertaking an independent research project whether laboratory, library, computer, business or school based
- prepare you for further study, or training, and employment in science and non-science based careers, by developing transferable and cognitive skills
- provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable
- provide the opportunity to gain experience as a biochemist working in a professional environment such as industry, hospital research laboratories and government research laboratories
- develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structure and function in an organisation, via a sandwich year.