- Focuses on understanding biological systems at a cellular and biochemical level
- Emphasises cellular biochemistry, with specialist modules covering key topics aimed at understanding why the cell is the functional unit of life
- Four-year programmes include a year working on a research project in industry or a year studying at a partner institution overseas
- This degree leads to career opportunities in biotechnological, pharmaceutical and other industries, as well as many further study options, including PhD, MSc or MRes programmes
10th for Biological Sciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
92% of Biosciences students agreed they were satisfied with the quality of their course
National Student Survey 2019
Taught by scientists from the fields of genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and organic, inorganic and physical chemistry
Opportunities to undertake study abroad or a year’s placement in business or industry
|Qualification||Required grades||Required subjects|
|A-Level||AAB - ABB
AAA (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
B in Biology and B in Chemistry
A in Biology and A in Chemistry (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
|IB||34/665 - 32/655
36/666 (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
HL 5 in Biology and HL 5 in Chemistry
HL 6 in Biology and HL 6 in Chemistry (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
|BTEC||DDD - DDM
DDD (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve GCE A-level grade B in Biology and B in Chemistry
Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE A-level grade A in Biology and grade A in Chemistry (with Industrial Experience/Study Abroad)
|GCSE||C or 4
B or 5
C or 4 in English Language, and either Double Award Science or Chemistry
B or 5 in Mathematics
Specific requirements must still be achieved, therefore where a grade A is required, offers will be ABC or ACC. Find out more about contextual offers.
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
The degree programme in Biochemistry focuses on understanding the biochemical control of biological processes, particularly in the cell, and the tools for investigating these mechanisms. After a broad first year, this degree focuses on cellular biochemistry providing specialist modules aimed at understanding key topics at the frontiers of cell biology. As you progress through years two and three, a wide choice of biochemistry module options is available.
This programme is also available as a four-year degree with the third year spent studying at a partner university abroad, or on an industrial placement - see Course variants for more information.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
Gives a firm foundation for your degree with modules in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, microbiology, organic and inorganic chemistry. Options available in physical chemistry and plant biology.
In addition to biochemistry, organic chemistry and cell biology, you will choose three optional modules in subjects ranging from biological chemistry through medical and general microbiology to evolutionary biology.
Find out more about placement and study abroad options under Course variants.
with Industrial Experience
with Study Abroad
Put your analytical and experimental skills to use through a research project around the core topics of Horizons in Biochemical Research and Energy Metabolism. Optional modules cover biochemistry, molecular cell biology and biological chemistry.
UCAS code: C737
Why choose a year in industry?
The ‘with industrial experience’ degree programme accommodates an industrial placement year during the third year of the degree, making a four year degree overall.
You’ll spend a year working on a research project in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical sectors, gaining valuable experience, improving personal and transferable skills, making new contacts and enhancing your employability.
Where can I do my placement?
We have established collaborations with local, national and multinational companies, and have successfully placed students within multinational organisations.
Previous placement destinations include:
- Abbott Diabetes
- Astra Zeneca
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl)
- Jansen Pharmaceuticals
- Johnson and Johnson
- Merck Sharp & Dohme
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
What support is available during my placement?
During your year in industry you are paid by the company and take two modules: Learning from Industrial Experience and Industrial Placement and Report. You will have regular contact with an academic supervisor in addition to an industrial supervisor at the company.
Is the year in industry paid?
It is your responsibility to decide which placements will be suitable for you financially. We present ideas of paid placements and those that have a stipend and/or accommodation.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Biochemistry with Industrial Experience directly through UCAS using the code above. Once at Exeter, progression to the Industrial Experience year is dependent upon successful completion of your Year 1 studies, with an average mark of at least 60%.
How are the placements organised?
The placements are sought during the second year of study and commence the following October. You are responsible for applying for positions, with direct guidance from the Industrial Placements Co-ordinator.
UCAS code: C732
Why study abroad?
Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.
Where can I study abroad?
If you choose to take the four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree, you have the option to spend your third year abroad, studying in a university with which we have established links. We have over 30 partner institutions around the globe; you can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the International Exeter website (click on the College of Life and Environmental Sciences link).
What will I study whilst I am abroad?
All of our study abroad partners offer approved training in relevant subjects and also include new opportunities (e.g. palaeontology), programmes with specialisms (e.g. natural sciences) and courses with local expertise (e.g. shark biology). Students are also encouraged to choose subjects outside science for a (programme-specific) fraction of each term. Scuba diving, comparative theology, photography and astronomy are a few recent choices by Exeter students.
Does it count towards my degree?
Credit for academic work during your year abroad is arranged by agreement between the University of Exeter and the host institution. These marks are then translated back into your degree at Exeter.
Transferring to a Study Abroad programme
If you are not sure about studying abroad when you apply for your degree, it may be possible to apply to transfer to a four-year programme at the end of the first year of a three-year programme. Permission to take part in Study Abroad in all cases will depend on your academic progress and the places available in your chosen country.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more information.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Biochemistry with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. Once at Exeter, progression to the Study Abroad year is dependent upon successful completion of your Year 1 studies, with an average mark of at least 60%. Information about applying can be found on the Study Abroad website.
See our study abroad information on the Biosciences Current Students page for information about your tuition fees and additional information from some of our students who have studied abroad during their Biosciences degrees.
For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.
Tuition fees for 2020 entry
UK and EU students: £9,250 per year
International students: £22,950 per year
Please note that these figures may be subject to change.
Year abroad or on work placement
If, as part of your four-year degree programme, you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Learning and teaching
How will I learn?
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent study
Over the course of your degree, you will participate in a mix of larger lectures to smaller, focused sessions based around the latest research topics. In the teaching laboratory you will develop the necessary skills to become a professional biologist; you will then put these to use while undertaking your independent research project. We encourage students to publish their results in the scientific literature and make a real contribution to the fields of Biosciences.
We frequently introduce new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.
Learn from experts
We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-led culture and being taught by experts. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be an active member of a research team. Our academics bring their results from the laboratory and the field directly to their teaching, and our students also help to collect this data. The complementary expertise of our staff ensures a vibrant, collaborative research culture within our research groups, made up of researchers at all stages, from Masters to Post-doctoral scientists.
Our staff have close links with a wide range of industrial, medical and conservation organisations, with whom there may be the chance to collaborate for your final year research project. Many of our students work with these organisations during their vacations and others build experience through one of our four-year programmes with industrial experience.
Your first year does not count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. All marks after your first year count towards your final classification.
Modules are assessed using a variety of methods including essays, exams, presentations, laboratory reports and a dissertation.
As well as more than 15 hours per week of direct contact time with your lecturers, all students have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
Over the course of your degree programme, you will have access to our multi-million pound teaching, learning and research facilities, including our:
- State-of-the-art teaching laboratories
- World-class Aquatic Resources Centre
- State-of-the-art bioimaging facility, incorporating confocal and electron microscopy
- Next-generation DNA sequencing and mass spectrometry facilities
- Plant growth rooms and greenhouse facilities
Employer-valued skills this course develops
A degree in Biochemistry will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biosciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Supporting your career in Biosciences
Each year Biosciences students are able to access a huge range of opportunities to support their future career options. Sector related careers and employability sessions are put on for the students over the course of their programme which include: career talks and networking events with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, employability seminar series events hosted by employers, ‘Dragons Den’ style assessment days, mock interviews and an annual College of Life and Environmental Sciences Careers Fair where students can develop networking skills.
We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Many of our graduates are employed in discipline relevant roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, conservation management, ecology, teaching and nursing. Others use the skills gained on their course to enter widely different career paths in law, business or management. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biosciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Biosciences undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Bioinformatics Research Assistant
- Cardiac Physiologist
- Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate
- Clinical Exercise Specialist
- Development Chemist
- Graduate Teacher Training Scheme (Science)
- Lab Technician
- Management Consultant
- Pharmacovigilance Associate
- Policy Adviser
Recent graduates are now working for:
- Ambios Ltd
- BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
- Cancer Research UK
- Johnson and Johnson
- Sangar Institute
- The Pirbright Institute
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
- The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17.
- BVetMed Graduate Accelerated
- MPhil Biological Sciences
- MRes Tropical Forest Ecology
- MSc Climate Change Science and Policy
- MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
- MSc Conservation Science and Policy
- MSc Ecological Consultancy
- MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
- MSc Marine Environmental Management
- MSc One Health (Infectious Diseases)
Fantastic facilities, outstanding teaching, world-leading research and exceptional graduate employability are just a few of the reasons we think you'll love it here. Find out what our students say about choosing Exeter.
Studying at our campuses in Devon or Cornwall means you'll have some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the UK on your doorstep. Find out about student life at Exeter and the huge range of sports, clubs and societies on offer.
One University, two locations
We have around 20,000 students across our three campuses in Devon and Cornwall which means we offer the academic excellence and facilities you'd expect of a major university but also a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.