Molecular Biology (BSc): 3-year full-time

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

UCAS Code

C700

Duration

Three years full-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week, with some daytime attendance on some modules, October to July

This course will give you a deep insight into the functioning of living systems depends upon a thorough knowledge of the chemical and physical principles that govern the structure and behaviour of biomolecules.

Molecular biology encompasses those areas of science devoted to a detailed understanding of the fundamental molecular and biochemical components of living systems and of how these components interact in the functional (healthy) and dysfunctional (diseased) organism. Such understanding finds application in numerous areas including basic biotechnology, diagnostics and forensics, and drug discovery.

Upon completion you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills essential to embark on a career in these or other exciting areas of science.

This course is also available for part-time evening study over four years and six years.

Highlights

  • Birkbeck's Department of Biological Sciences provides state-of-the-art, specialist laboratories and facilities at the heart of academic London.
  • You will be taught by internationally distinguished experts, who work with governments and institutions around the globe to extend the boundaries of knowledge.
  • Working in close collaboration with the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint institution between Birkbeck and UCL, our Department is recognised for the excellence and international impact of its research.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
  • You'll receive training in practical skills and lab work, including microscopy and tabulating data.
  • You will be able to access a wide range of subject-specific help and support from the Department of Biological Sciences.

Course structure

The BSc Molecular Biology is composed of compulsory and core modules studied at Levels 4, 5 and 6 to a total of 360 credits. You complete 120 credits per year. Modules are worth 15, 30 or 60 credits each.

In Year 1, you take eight compulsory modules, each worth 15 credits.

In Year 2, you take two compulsory modules worth 30 credits each and a core module worth 60 credits.

In Year 3, you take two compulsory modules worth 30 credits each: Structural Molecular Biology and one other from either Advanced Cell Biology or Microbes and Antimicrobials. You also complete a 60-credit laboratory research project. Alternatively, based on your academic performance, you may elect to instead undertake an independent research project, mentored by a member of academic staff.

Module groups

The Level 4 syllabus of the BSc Molecular Biology is shared with that for the BSc Biomedicine; this makes it possible to elect to change programmes at the end of Year 1, if desired.

  • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    UCAS tariff points

    112

    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

    Applicants are usually expected to have achieved A-level grades of BBC with a majority of science-related subjects (biology, chemistry and/or mathematics or physics). A-levels in general studies and critical thinking are not accepted. Applicants with only two full A-levels will be considered on an individual basis. In addition, we require GCSEs in English, mathematics and double science (or two single sciences), all at grade C or better.

    Foundation Year Degrees

    You can progress onto this degree if you successfully complete the foundation year of our BSc Molecular Biology with Foundation Year course. This is an ideal route onto an undergraduate degree if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree.

    Alternative entry routes

    BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science with Distinction or Merit; Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in science units.

    Mature applicants with experience are expected to have a strong interest in molecular/biochemical sciences. Previous personal experience of the biological, biomedical, pharmaceutical or health-science fields is desirable.

    We are committed to making the biological sciences accessible to students from a wide range of backgrounds and with diverse career aspirations.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.

    Fees

    To be confirmed.

  • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Classroom teaching is through combinations of lectures, laboratory sessions, computer exercises and seminars in proportions appropriate to the academic level and the demands of the topic.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Assessment methods include in-class short-answer tests, computer-based tests (accessed remotely or in class), practical reports, essays, problem-solving and data analysis assignments, oral communication and poster presentations, internet surveys, and unseen, or open-book, written examinations.

    The mix of assessment types, and the specific tasks required, are matched to the academic level and to the learning outcomes of the module.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in scientific research, public health or the health sector more generally. This degree may also be useful in becoming a healthcare scientist, clinical research associate, health promotion specialist or higher education lecturer.

    Visit our list of biology careers websites to find out more.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

    How to apply

    If you are applying for a three-year, full-time undergraduate degree at Birkbeck, you have to apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). To apply, go to the UCAS homepage and click on 'Apply and Track'. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you complete an application form.

    Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    UCAS Code

    C700

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.

    We make decisions based on your grades (achieved or predicted), your personal statement and your references. Before making you an offer, we will invite you to visit Birkbeck and to have an interview with the admissions tutor.