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 origin of the elements and the periodic table, atomic structure, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics, and mathematical tools for chemistry.
- 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.
- Organic Chemistry 2: covers methods for carbon-carbon bond formation and interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, retrosynthetic analysis, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy.
- 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.
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, students typically undertake an independent 7 to 12-month research placement hosted by an external institute or company. The external placement gives students the opportunity to practice and learn a range of scientific and generic skills, including an element of independent working in a working environment outside of St Andrews.
Students will find out more about these placements once they have completed their first two years.
During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality. Advanced modules offered in the past include:
- Antimicrobials - Mode of Action and Resistance
- Maladaptive changes in the nervous system
- Metabolic and Clinical Biochemistry
- Molecular and cell biology of eukaryotic DNA replication
- Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Trafficking.
In fifth year, you will also undertake an advanced laboratory research project to investigate a defined problem within biochemistry. The project will involve initiative and independence in experimental design and in pursuing the literature, excellent experimental and analytical techniques. Students will be allocated to a member of staff within the School of Biology who will guide and advise them in research activities throughout the academic year. The project will be presented in the form of a proposal, a research dissertation, an oral presentation and a viva.