Woman looking into microscope

BScBiochemistry & Immunology

Why this course?

This joint Honours degree course combines biochemistry and immunology.

Biochemistry is the study of how cells work at molecular level. Biochemistry, and the related field of molecular biology, are important in understanding the molecular basis of life and its role in the disease process.

Immunology is the study of how the body defends itself against disease. It helps us understand how the immune system is tricked into attacking its own tissue, leading to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or allergy.

The opportunity to choose specific degree combinations will allow you to go into specialist biomedical science areas such as neuroscience, cardiovascular research, immunopharmacology, industrial immunology, drug research, biochemistry, microbiology and bacteriology.

What you’ll study

Years 1 & 2

Students on all the biosciences degrees study the same classes in the first two years. This means you can defer your ultimate choice of degree until the end of Year 2.

Subjects include molecular bioscience, biology of organisms, chemistry for bioscience, an introduction to infection and immunity, nutritional biochemistry and metabolism, cell and molecular biology and human physiology.

You also choose two elective subjects from other departments across the University.

Years 3 & 4

You'll specialise in the area in which you plan to graduate. In the Honours year, you’ll carry out a research project in either subject and present a dissertation of your work. This could be lab-based research.

You can also take part in enterprise projects of commercial significance for a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company in the west of Scotland. Student exchange programmes offer the chance to study and take part in lab-based research abroad.

Transfer to the MSci Biochemistry or Innumology may be possible at the end of Year 4, subject to performance.

High Flyer Programme

Well-qualified applicants with appropriate A Levels and Advanced Highers will be admitted to the Faculty of Science prestigious 'High Flyer' Programme, which allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four. If you are studying the relevant subjects you may receive a dual offer, specifying grades to direct entry to Year 2 as a High Flyer and also standard Year 1 entry.

Find out more about our High Flyer Programme.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.

Course content

Year 1

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 1

This class aims to give students:

  • the foundation practical skills required for a biological biochemistry
  • the foundation practical skills based around 'health and the body'
  • foundation presentation skills
Cells & their molecules

The aims of this class are to:

  • provide Foundation level knowledge relating to basic functions of cells
  • set out principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • expose students to the basic suite of teaching, learning and assessment paradigms used throughout their degree with particular focus on oral communication and presentation
Organisms & Disease

From this class, students will gain:

  • foundation level knowledge relating to basic evolution, species diversity, development, homeostasis, and infectious disease
  • principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • learn about methods of teaching, learning and assessment used throughout the degree, with particular focus on finding, citing and using information, and teamwork
Bio-Organic Chemistry

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand nucleotide/nucleic acid molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of nucleic acid chemical and biological potential
  • understand amino acid/protein molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of protein chemical and biological potential
  • understand monosaccharide/polysaccharide molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of carbohydrate chemical and biological potential
  • understand the chemistry, stereochemistry and biological roles of polyketide/polyisoprene natural products and their biosynthetic origins

Year 2

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 2

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a biochemist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for an immunologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a microbiologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a pharmacologist
  • give students fundamental skills in presentation and teamwork
Introduction to Biochemistry

The aims of this class are:

  • to understand gene structure and function and the regulation of gene expression
  • to understand how human genetic variation arises and its uses in medicine and forensics
  • to understand the basic structure and function of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates
  • to appreciate the key metabolic pathways in the absorptive and post-absorptive states
  • to understand the pathways involved in cell growth and cell death
Introduction to Immunology

By studying this class, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of how immune cells recognise antigens
  • an understanding of key concepts in induction of acquired immunity
  • an understanding of effector mechanism of the immune system
  • an understanding of helpful immune responses
  • an understanding of harmful immune responses
Introduction to Microbiology

The aims of this class are to help students to:

  • understand the fundamental taxonomic grouping and evolutionary relationships of microbes
  • appreciate physiological, structural and molecular differences between different microorganisms
  • understand the role and control of microorganisms in disease
  • learn how organisms adapt to hostile environments and appreciate the biotechnological exploitation of extremophiles
Introduction to Pharmacology

This class aims to:

  • develop understanding of systems biology and homeostasis
  • develop understanding of the somatic, autonomic and central nervous systems
  • develop understanding of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • develop understanding of the hepatic and renal systems
  • develop understanding of the endocrine and reproductive systems

Year 3

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 3

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students generic practical skills in biomolecular science
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (A) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (B) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students presentation skills
Fundamental Biochemistry

The aims of this class are to:

  • demonstrate an appreciation of the key features of protein structure, properties and interactions
  • know the principles underlying successful protein purification
  • demonstrate an appreciation of the key principles of enzymology
  • understand protein structure-function relationship
  • understand the properties, function and localisation of the major cellular macromolecules
Biomedical Biochemistry

The aims of this class are:

  • to understand and appreciate the key features of cellular signalling and associated molecular mechanisms that regulates gene transcription
  • to understand the key features of membrane and organelle trafficking
  • to understand the basis of molecular and cellular toxicity underlying tissue/organ dysfunction and organism pathologies
  • to understand the genomic basis of eukaryotic/human disorders and disease
  • to understand and appreciate the biochemical approaches that underpin drug discovery
Fundamental Immunology

The aim of this class are:

  • to provide students with an understanding of how pathogens are recognised
  • to provide students with an understanding of how immune cells are activated
  • to provide students with an understanding of the cytotoxic mechanisms used by immune cells
  • to provide students with an understanding of how the immune system is regulated
  • to provide students with an understanding of immunological memory
Biomedical Immunology

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students an understanding of Immunodiagnostic: Principles of immunoassays: homogeneous and heterogeneous immunoassays, Examples of clinical immunoassays
  • to give students an understanding of hypersensitivity
  • to give students an understanding of Immunopathology and Immunity to infections
  • to give students an understanding of mucosal immunology
  • to give students an understanding of immunopharmacology

Year 4

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 4

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students the opportunity to carry out original research
  • to provide students with the skills to critically interpret data and develop conclusions or hypotheses based upon their findings
  • to provide students with the skills to analyse and present their data
  • to provide knowledge in a key area that is relevant to the career aspirations of the student
Advanced Biochemistry

The aims of this class are to:

  • describe the underlying molecular pathology of cardiovascular disease and be able to discuss the causes of the disease and the rationale for new therapies
  • understand the genetic basis of metabolic and endocrine disorders and be able to discuss recent advances in diagnosis and treatment
  • demonstrate an appreciation of the molecular mechanisms underlying brain function and the effect of excitotoxicity and neurodegenerative processes
  • understand the molecular basis of cancer and appreciate recent advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • understand key examples of recent advances in molecular biotechnology that can be used for improved diagnostics (pharmacogenomics / personalised medicine) or therapeutics (drug design, optimisation, medicine based on genetics)
Advanced Immunology

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students an understanding of immune responses that occur against viral infections
  • to give students an understanding of immune responses that occurs against bacteria
  • to give students an understanding of immune responses that occurs against protozoan parasites
  • to give students an understanding of immune responses that occurs against helminth parasites
  • to give students an understanding of Immune responses induced by vaccination

Optional classes

Choose one class from the following:

Clinical Biochemistry

This class aims to provide:

  • an understanding of the aetiologies, pathologies, and symptomatologies of the major disorders that are diagnosed through sample analysis within a Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory
  • a theoretical and practical understanding of the diagnostic assays and assay parameters that are used in a Clinical Biochemistry laboratory
  • experience of the arrangement and workflow of a typical Clinical Research laboratory gained through a visit
Applied Biochemistry

The aims of this class are to provide an:

  • understanding of the key concepts and biochemical approaches that underpin protein crystallography and associated protein structure modelling as applied to basic research and drug discovery/development
  • understanding of the basics of commercial drug discovery and the application of biochemical techniques to recombinant production of drugs/therapeutics and genetically modified crops
  • understanding and recognition of the impact of biochemical approaches in the development and maintenance of genetically modified cell models for basic and applied medical research
  • understanding and recognition of the impact of biochemical approaches in the development and maintenance of genetically modified animal models for basic and applied medical research
  • understand and recognition of the impact of genome editing and advanced tissue culture in basic research and regenerative medicine

Choose one class from the following:

Clinical Immunology

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students an understanding of the immune responses associated with Immune responses associated with transplantation
  • to give students an understanding of the immune responses associated with cancer
  • to give students an understanding of the immune responses associated with autoimmunity
  • to give students an understanding of the immune responses associated with immune responses associated with allergy
  • to give students an understanding of the immune responses associated with immunodeficiency
Applied Immunology

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students an understanding immunotherapy in disease
  • to give students an understanding of the production of immunological reagents
  • to give students an understanding of the use of immunological assays
  • to give students an understanding of vaccination strategies

Assessment

Knowledge and understanding are assessed by written examinations, essays, presentations and computer-aided learning (CAL) exercises and quizzes, available on our virtual learning environment, Myplace.

Competence is assessed through practical tests, practical write-ups, project reports and CAL exercises and quizzes.

Communication skills are assessed through essays and oral presentations.

Project work is assessed from project reports and oral presentations.

There’s an individual research project in the final year of the course where you’ll demonstrate research skills, problem solving and a research approach.

Learning & teaching

You’ll have around 240 hours of lectures, including review-type lectures, practical classes, tutorials and computer-aided learning per year, in Years 1 to 3.

In your Honours year, you'll carry out a research project in one of your specialisations and write this up as a short thesis.

To allow you to prepare, class handouts are available in advance from Myplace. Handouts will be supported by essays, oral and tutorial/workshop presentations.

Quantitative skills are taught by the Department of Maths & Statistics, the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry as well as the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

Most laboratory classes, including the chemistry classes in Year 1, include number and numeracy and statistical skills that are used in the institute. Communication skills are taught throughout the course. Information retrieval, interpretation and research skills are gained through project work which also develops team-working skills.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.

Highers

Year 1 entry: AABB or AAAC (two sciences, including Biology/Human Biology B or Chemistry B; Chemistry |(if not at Higher) National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B; Maths National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B; English National 5 B/Standard Grade 2/Int 2 B) 

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: BB (Chemistry B and Biology/Human Biology B, in addition to requirements for Year 1 above) 

A Levels

Year 1 entry: BBB (two sciences, including Biology B or Chemistry B; Chemistry (if not at A Level) GCSE B, Maths GCSE B, GCSE English Language B or English Literature B

Typical entry requirements: ABB

Year 2 entry: ABB (Chemistry and Biology (AB/BA), Maths and English as for Year 1 entry) 

Typical entry requirements: AAA

Please note if you are taking the newly reformed Biology A level, we'll require you to pass the practical assessment included in the A level.

International Baccalaureate

32 (two sciences, Biology/Chemistry/Physics HL5; Maths SL5, English SL5) 

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry: relevant HNC, B in Graded Unit

Year 2 entry: relevant HNC, A in Graded Unit or relevant HND, BB in Graded Units

Year 3 entry: relevant HND, AB in Graded Units  

Additional information

  • Deferred entry is accepted

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre.

You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • 2017/18 - £1,820

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £9,250

Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.

International

  • 2017/18 - £18,000 

Additional fees  

Course materials & costs 

Lab coats and safety goggles 

  • approx £25 

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) 

Masters of Pharmacy students must pay for a PVG certificate during their first semester at a cost of £57.  This is applicable across all schools of pharmacy.  

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Careers

You could be involved in the development of drugs, food processing, protecting the environment, fighting disease or even slowing down the ageing process.

Our graduates find jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical industries, hospitals and public service laboratories, environmental centres, analytical and forensic science labs, universities, the scientific civil service and teaching at all levels.

Many students also continue onto postgraduate studies and research.

The transferable skills you gain from this course will not only prepare you for a career in science but also in areas such as finance, management, marketing, sales, business and media.

Where are they now?

87.5% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

Recent job titles include:

  • Serology Technician
  • Lab Technician
Recent employers include:
  • Aviagen UK Ltd
  • E&O Diagnostics Limited


**Based on the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2021/13, 2011/12 (aggregated data).

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

Discover more about Strathclyde