Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2021 entry
The BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry entails the study of the biochemical mechanisms involved in all life processes covering a broad spectrum of fields, from viral replication to neurobiology. You will investigate the biochemical aspects of cell and organismal function and regulation including protein function, molecular genetics, membranes and cell communication, bioenergetics and pharmacology as well as a final-year laboratory project with one of the relevant research groups in the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex.
Students interested in this course may also be interested in the Biochemistry Integrated Masters course, which allows you to graduate with a Master in Biochemistry.
Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- Standard entry grades: AAAB, including Biology (or Human Biology) and Chemistry
- Minimum entry grades: AABB, including Biology (or Human Biology) and Chemistry
- Gateway entry grades: BBBB
- Standard entry grades: AAB, including Biology and Chemistry
- Minimum entry grades: ABB, including Biology and Chemistry
- Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5), including HL6 in Biology and HL6 in Chemistry
- Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in Biology and HL5 in Chemistry
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.
Direct entry to second year
Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.How to apply
Do I need to have studied this subject before?
Students must have studied Biology (or Human Biology) and Chemistry at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent. Preference will be given to candidates offering strong science qualifications over and above the stated minimum requirements.
General entry requirements
All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.
More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% of St Andrews final-year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The School of Biology conducts world-class, innovative multidisciplinary research, and in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014, Biology was ranked second in the UK based on the impact of its research.
Find out more about studying biology at St Andrews.
In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Biochemistry alongside modules in at least one other subject.
Typically, you will take core Biochemistry modules during your first two years, and advanced modules during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).
In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all biology degree programmes.You will also take two introductory Chemistry modules. The following modules are compulsory.
- Biology 1: provides an introduction to molecular and cellular biology. It covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.
- Biology 2: provides an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth and addresses key elements of organismal and ecological aspects of life.
- Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the Periodic Table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
- Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: covers the structure and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, basic stereochemistry, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.
In second year, modules are chosen which will best prepare you for your intended degree (or group of possible degrees), and new topics are introduced in some second-year modules such as evolutionary biology and ecology. Students intending to study Biochemistry at Honours level must take the following compulsory modules:
- Applied Molecular Biology: examines case studies to provide examples of how molecular biology techniques are applied in research to address real-life questions and problems.
- Biochemistry: a number of central metabolic pathways and their control are studied in detail, alongside examples of their importance in disease and recent metabolomic studies.
- Molecular Biology: provides an introduction to modern molecular biology, covering fundamental biological processes such as transcription, translation, and DNA replication and repair.
- Research Methods in Biology: develops essential academic and transferable skills, with major emphasis on problem solving. This is achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, independent data-handling workshops and group work on a mini research project.
- Organic Chemistry 2: covers carbon-carbon bond formation, interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy.
In third year, you will continue to specialise in Biochemistry via a wide range of modules covering core topics. Modules that have been offered in previous years include:
- Advanced Biochemistry
- Infection and Disease
- Gene Regulation
- Membranes and Cell Communication
- Protein Structure and Function.
In fourth year, you will study your chosen subject area at a deeper scientific level and will also have the opportunity to select from a wide range of small, group-specialised modules. These modules are taught by academics at the forefront of their discipline.
In this year, students also undertake a substantial final year research project. This research project is designed to develop skills in experimental design and problem-solving, the evaluation and interpretation of data, and communication skills. The project is selected and supervised by a member of academic staff. This project occupies half of the year.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.
"A big motivation of mine for studying at St Andrews was the excellent research that is being carried out. As a biologist with the aim of going into research, it was important to me that the university had the facilities and people that would drive me in that direction. I love how personal the teaching style is here – students are welcome to chat to the lecturers and they are always happy to help."
Rebekka (Vienna, Austria)