In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all Biology degree programmes. Both of 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 will address 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, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, 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 modules:
- Research Methods in Biology: helps you develop 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.
- Molecular Biology: covers fundamental biological processes such as transcription, translation, DNA replication and repair.
- 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.
- Applied Molecular Biology: examinescase studies to provide examples of how molecular biology techniques are applied in research to address real-life questions and problems.
In third year, you will have the opportunity to begin specialising in Biochemistry via the wide range of modules provided. Modules that have been offered in previous years include:
- Protein Structure and Function
- Gene Regulation
- Infection and Disease
- Membranes and Cell Communication.
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
- Metabolic and Clinical Biochemistry
- Eukaryotic Chromosome Replication and Genome Stability
- Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Trafficking
- Neurodegeneration and Aging.
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.