• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: Life Sciences
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Biochemistry explores chemical processes within and related to living organisms. It is a laboratory based science that brings together biology and chemistry.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework
Royal Society of Biology Accredited Degree

What are Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology?

Biochemistry involves the study of complex processes in cells and organisms at the molecular level. Molecular genetics is concerned with the structure and function of the genetic material, and molecular biology with the functions of the cell's macromolecules.

The boundaries between Biochemistry and its related disciplines are, however, becoming less distinct. We reflect this by providing a common structure to the degree programmes for these subjects in your first three years of study.

Depending upon your choice of project and taught topics at Level 4 you can graduate with a degree in either Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or Molecular Genetics.

International reputation

The University of Dundee is recognised internationally as one of the leading centres for biochemical research, including areas such as cell signalling, cell and developmental biology, cell division, diabetes and cancer research.

Our teaching is research-led, meaning that the degree programmes benefit from association with research of international standard and its commercial and biomedical applications, and from the active participation of many leading scientists in the field.

Practical experience

Dundee can offer you a range of Level 4 Research Projects in leading laboratories because of its high level of top-rated research activity in these areas.

Mhairi Towler, Biochemistry, Class of 1996

I AM...

Former ‘Independent Woman of the Year’ - Women Ahead Awards.

Mhairi Towler, Biochemistry, Class of 1996

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Courses starting 2018
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher AABB at Higher including biology and chemistry, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C) AB at Advanced Higher including biology and chemistry, plus BB at Higher in different subjects, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C)
GCE A-Level ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4 ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) H2H2H3H3 at Higher Level including biology and chemistry, plus Ordinary Level mathematics at O2 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4.
A combination of IB Certificate plus other qualifications, such as A-Levels, Advanced Placement Tests or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), will also be considered.
34 points at Higher Level grades 6, 6, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4
Graduate Entry
BTEC BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma can be considered for the Foundation Year in Life Sciences. Level 2 Entry is not possible with this qualification
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit and 120 SCQF Credits or A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C) Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C)
SWAP Access Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Advanced Diploma Applicants with this qualification would be considered for Level 2 entry Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4 Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry 75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry
Other Qualifications
Notes

 EU and International qualifications



English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers

 

English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

There are regular meetings of staff-student liaison committees. While this provides a forum for formal contact, there is also opportunity for informal contact between you and academic staff, whom you will find friendly and approachable.

How you will be taught

We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use workshops, tutorials, computer-aided learning, and field excursions, as appropriate to each module.

How you will be assessed

All modules are assessed by a combination of in-course and end-of-course procedures. Regular in-course assessments (e.g. practical reports, computer-based exercises, essays and data processing exercises) provide feedback on your progress and help you prepare for end-of-module examinations.

On-line assignments are used extensively at Levels 1 and 2, with access via a PC on or off campus. Peer assessment operates in many team projects.

Level 1 entry

With highers, A-levels, Irish Leaving certificate, IB Diploma, HNC, etc

Level 1

Life Science core theory and practical modules.

You can also study subjects from other schools such as languages

Advanced entry (to level 2)

With advanced highers, A-levels, IB diploma, HND, etc

Level 2

Semester 1: Core theory, practical and outside subject

Semester 2: Biomedical or biological modules

Level 3

Choose to specialise in the subjects that excite you in Biomedical or Biological Sciences

Graduate BSc

Bachelor of Science (Ordinary Degree), Biomedical Sciences, or Biological Sciences

Year in industry

Opt to have a year in industry or study abroad

Level 4

Research project on current research in Life Sciences.

Graduate BSc Hons

With named specialist degree

Level 5

Extend research projects, research seminars in your chosen area, research skills and planning.

Graduate MSCi

in a specialist subject

What you will study

Typical course structure

The modules are running during the 2016-2017 academic year. We refresh our modules every year to keep our courses up to date, so your modules may be different.

Levels 1 and 2

All Life Sciences degree programmes share common core modules at Level 1 that provide a general introduction to the life sciences through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, practical work and field excursions.

Level 1 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

This is a module that introduces aspects of two major concepts: the basics of heredity and evolution. For basics of heredity, an introduction to genetics, inheritance of traits, and the fidelity of genetic information over generations will be given. The concept of evolution will consider Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection, the nature of variation, the ways in which selection acts upon variation and descent from a single common ancestor. Finally the concept of molecular evolution explores how genes and genomes evolve to produce the diversity of life systems observed today.

Credits: 10

Semester: 1

This is a module that introduces aspects of major concepts: The Gene, Evolution and Biological Organisation. The concept of the Gene covers major topics such as DNA, genes, genomes, reproduction and heredity. The concept of Evolution introduces the topics of multicellularity and the benefits of being multicellular. The concept of Biological Organisation introduces the topic of chemical transmission and how characteristics are retained from simple animals such as the coelenterates to more complex animals such as the chordates. The need for a nervous system and the early development of nervous systems including simple nerve nets are explored from an evolutionary perspective.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will start with a mandatory introduction to health and safety and basic lab skills. There will be one field excursion and a series of practical classes that will cover techniques of isolation and culture of microorganisms and gram staining. Other set practical classes include: arthropod diversity and insect dissection, forensic entomology and the analysis of DNA.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop the generic skills introduced in BS11003 with specific emphasis on health and safety and basic laboratory practice. The ability to work effec tively as part of a group will form a significant part of this module. Students will extend their information literacy skills by locating and accessing scientific resources to support their learning.

To support the group lab project, students will receive guidance on lab- book/record keeping, experimental design and project planning, in addition to interpretation of data and presentation of project results. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on and evaluate their own learning throughout the semester, identifying areas for development and consolidation.

Semester 1:

Number of credits: 20

This module introduces the application of the physical  sciences and mathematics to the Life Sciences. T he module covers aspects of basic  physics, chemistry and mathematics including numeracy and mathematical application; biophysics; organic; and physical chemistry and the introduction to and  use of numeric and scientific literacy. The use of technology to support and enhance application within the Life Sciences will form a significant part of this module, which  will be both theoretical and practical in delivery.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module develops aspects of four major concepts:  The Cell, the Gene, Evolution and Biological Organisation. The concept of the Cell  covers major topics such as cell division, chromosome structure, sexual  reproduction, germ cells, meiosis and fertilisation. The concept of the Gene covers  the major topic of genetics, introducing genes and alleles and gives a functional  explanation of Mendel’s Laws. The concept of Evolution introduces topics such as  the Mesozoic ecosystem structure and the transition of life to land, including the  dominance of insects, amphibians and reptiles. Consideration will be given to the  physiological problems of life on land (reproductive freedom from water, breathing air  [especially during the mid- Devonian drop in global oxygen levels], water conservation  and the emergence of the mammal -like reptiles). The concept of Biological  Organisation covers topics such as changes in posture, heart anatomy, respiratory  capacity, temperature regulation and endothermy in terrestrial vertebrates. Fluid  balance, homeostasis and the basic principles of endocrinology are introduced,  together with the basic concepts of neurophysiology, muscles and  movement.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module develops aspects of three topics: i)  Energy and Metabolism, ii) The Cell and its Environment, and iii) Animals: Form and  Function.

Energy and metabolism introduces the major topics of chemical and biological  thermodynamics covering enzymes (as biological catalysts, their structure and basic  mechanisms), enzyme kinetics, energy  flow and transfer and the basic principles of  metabolism in autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms.

The Cell and its Environment develops the topic of cell structure, covering  intracellular compartmentalisation and trafficking; lipids and membranes, with specific  emphasis on the biochemical and biophysical properties of membranes.

The Animals: Form and Function topic starts with the basic concept that specialised  cells form tissues and organs which in turn interact at the level of the whole- organism. Phys iological systems (endocrine, nervous, circulatory, gas exchange and  excretory) in animals of increasing complexity are used as examples, highlighting  links between form and function and to illustrate the importance of homeostasis.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop laboratory and research skills introduced in semester 1 of Level 1

  • Optical techniques – Students will use a spectrophotometer to produce a standard absorbance spectrum, apply the Beer -Lambert Law to derive unknown concentrations from known values of absorbance and perform a Bradford Assay
  • Protein purification – Students will experience two techniques that are commonly used to separate mixtures of proteins: size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS PAGE) 
  • PCR - In conjunction with its associated workshop, this laboratory exercise aims to give students a basic understanding of the practical application of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the use of agarose gel electrophoresis for the analysis of DNA samples.
  • Enzyme kinetics – Students will gain practical experience of a typical enzyme assay procedure.
  • Digital skills – online scientific literature searches
  • Protein expression – Students will learn how to purify and analyse a recombinant protein.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop the generic  skills introduced in BS12003 with specific emphasis on data presentation,  interpretation and analysis. The ability to work effectively as part of a group and the  application of peer support and peer-assessment will form a significant part of this  module. Students will extend their information literacy and scientific writing skills by  researching and presenting an area of current research in poster format, giving due  attention to scientific writing protocols. Students will be encouraged to reflect on  and evaluate their own learning throughout the semester, identifying areas for  development and consolidation and setting appropriate targets.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 20

This module outlines the historic development of  the Life Sciences from alchemy with its origins in ancient Egypt to the present day. It  covers key milestone events such as identifying the structure of DNA and cloning of  Dolly the sheep and includes pivotal figures such as da Vinci, Darwin and Watson and Crick. The module explores the relationship between art and science through  botany, anatomy and forensic art and reviews modern popular science writers such  as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins and Nick Lane. The module goes on to  examine the significance of the philosophical framework within which science is  developed and how this has impacted upon the direction of scientific thought. The  moral and ethical implications of scientific research and devel opment are analysed  within traditional and contemporary contexts such as bodysnatchers, stem cell  research, use of animals and humans in research and the nature/nurture debate.  The role of the media in shaping society’s opinion and interpretation of scienc e is  discussed in relation to the  public understanding of science .

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 20

The purpose  of this module  is to inspire students to  think beyond  their programme of studies and plan their own business/research idea.  This module  will consist  of:

  • Inspire  Dundee - Lectures  from inspirational members of staff who run their  own companies.
  • Intellectual Property -  discovering  what people want to think about when  protecting their  own ideas, an overview of patent law.
  • CV Writing skills
  • The Money Pot - where  to obtain funding and how to  write a successful proposal.  
  • The Plan - writing business plans and discovering how much money is needed  to set up  a business/run a lab.

Level 1 - optional modules

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 20

This module  offers a science based optional module  which may be of particular interest to those students who intend to specialise in  later years in either pharmacology or drug discovery. The module will look at  several classical English texts in which poisonings play a pivotal role in the plot. After examination of the text, the symptoms will then be  unpicked and possible poison molecules identified along with their source. Students  will be able to explore the darker side of pharmacology and look at the importance  of  dosage and how molecules used to cure can also kill.

Level 2 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

The module will be covering the evolution of life in the Cenozoic era. The first half of which will be a general to specific introduction to statistics for the biosciences, bringing students up to speed on the structure of datasets and how one infers differences. This will also include an introduction to the design of experiments, concepts of randomisation and blocking; regression, anova and principle tests of signal versus noise. The second half of the module will address the geological, climatic and biological changes that have led to the modern disposition of the continents. This will cover major climatic themes that have shaped modern life including sea level change and glaciation; evolutionary development of birds and mammals; the evolution of endothermy; the biogeographic distributions of biota; and the adaptive radiation/evolution of the mammals. This will also include a comprehensive introduction to human origins and the impact this species has on nature. Topics including the evolution of the hominid lineage; predation/parasitism, and disease/population dynamics. Students will be expected to complete a substantial piece of coursework related to a component of the indicative content.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

This module builds the foundations for our understanding of genetics and molecular biology. DNA is at the core of explaining who we are and how we are different and this module explores the role of DNA in transmitting information from generation to generation, how that information is copied and used, and how that use is regulated. With that foundation the module explores how we can manipulate the genetic code of an organism to take on new functions and respond to stimuli, and what happens when the regulation of the cell goes wrong.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop laboratory and research skills introduced in Level 1 (direct Level 2 entrant students will have an opportunity to learn skills and techniques at the start of semester 1).  There is specific emphasis on the following subject areas: comparison of kinetic and thermodynamic control in protein folding, use of aseptic techniques through the use of bacteria, the broad use and application of antibodies in Life Sciences, introduction of the concepts of osmolarity and tonicity and retrieval and analysis of sequence information (genetic, cDNA and amino acid) from online databases.  A significant component of the taught element of this module is devoted to the study and application of statistics, data analysis and representation, using the R-Studio software tool.  A summatively assessed lab skills test is set at the end of the module.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

Students will carry out two laboratory projects which will allow them to gain experience in the use of laboratory equipment and techniques.  The projects will cover basic organic synthesis of biological molecules and also a forensic chemistry investigation.  These projects will allow them to improve their experimental planning, risk assessment, report writing and data analysis skills.  Group work will involve oral and written presentation skills and provide team building experience.

Module not available to non-Life Science students except forensic anthropology and anatomical science students

Semester 2

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to introduce students to specific topics within the Biomedical Sciences.  Topics will include: Nerve and muscle: the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), muscle contraction and body movements; Cardiovascular system: heart function and integrated control of blood pressure; Pharmacology of NMJ and heart muscle; Effects of exercise on cardiovascular systemSkills - Students will develop and apply skills in problem solving, teamwork and IT and be encouraged to develop self-reliance and independent study skills.

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to give students a sound foundation in biomolecular mechanisms and processes.
This module will study the main mammalian metabolic pathways and their control including the molecular processes involved.  The module will also look at current topics in microbiology including disease and resistance and introduce immunology and virology.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to broaden and strengthen both the practical and generic skills of students by building on experience gained at level 1 and semester 1 of level 2.

The module will expand on techniques and skills introduced in earlier practical modules.  Practicals will be accompanied by data handling and manipulation workshops.  Basic concepts in ethics in the Biosciences will be introduced in a workshop.  Careers and employability exercises will help students to decide on their future career paths.  Generic skills will be reinforced by updating students’ PDP.

Module not available to non-Life Science students except forensic anthropology and anatomical science students

Level 2 - optional modules

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will consist of one tutorial session every  week covering: 

  • A recap on the fundamentals of molecular orbital theory, acids and bases and  physical chemistry as applied to Biology
  • Inorganic chemistry with particular reference to metals in biology such as iron,  copper and zinc and chelation therapy.
  • Trends in the periodic table will be looked at in-depth.
  • Organic chemistry content will focus on fundamental mechanisms, molecular struc ture, stereochemistry, and functional groups with a focus in  carboxylic acids.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This  module  will  provide  a general introduction to  statistics with specific examples for the biosciences, bringing students up to speed  on the structure of datasets and how one infers differences.  This will include an  introduction to the design of experiments, concept s of randomisation and blocking; Regression and Multiple regression; ANOVA (including posthoc testing); principle  tests of signal versus noise. Students will also be introduced to appropriate graphing  and representation of data. Students will be expected to complete a substantial  piece of coursework related to a component of the indicative content.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module focuses on the development of basic  programming skills using Python 3 for use in Life Sciences applications. The intention  is to provide a basic understanding of programming. This will be achieved by a  comprehensive hands-on experience of the use of these languages. The course is intended to provide a hands -on introduction to programming in Python  3. The expectation is that the skills acquired will provide a basic competency that will  enable the development of Python scripts that may be embraced in problem solving  and data analysis beyond this module.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will consist  of:  

  • Theoretical concept of an entrepreneur – introduction to the current theory of what  makes an entrepreneur.
  • Research techniques – how to complete market research in order to evaluate the  feasibility of a business proposal and market the b usiness proposal once developed,  and how to conduct interviews in order to evaluate the entrepreneurial characteristics  of an individual.
  • Developing the business idea – Taking a basic business idea and adding flesh in the  form of determining the market, refining the processes, and understanding the key  components of the business model.
  • Numbers count – an introduction to key accounting models such as costing and  break -even analysis to allow students to financially evaluate their proposals.
  • Business Risk – how to evaluate and mitigate the business risks relating to individual  business proposals.  

Biochemistry levels 3 and 4

Level 3

At Level 3 you specialise much more in biochemistry, molecular genetics and molecular biology, and you choose additional subjects that interest you to study alongside your main subject.

Level 3 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of molecular structure and interactions analysis that will underpin the more specialised areas which students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4. The module also aims to introduce students to the study of interactions that underpin biological events or early stage drug discovery and strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are High-throughput DNA sequencing and genome annotation, Secondary structure, disorder, post-translational modification, cloning, single crystal X-ray diffraction methods, Use of bioinformatics resources and databases, Scientific paper analysis.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Biochemistry and Cell Biology that will underpin the more specialised areas that students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4.  The Module also aims to strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are how proteins function at the molecular level, protein folding, targeting, posttranslational modification and turnover, the cytoskeleton, molecular motors, cell division and how cells form tissues, cell signalling and regulation of metabolism, bioenergy and photosynthesis, systems biology approaches.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will study model genetic systems, genome structure and evolution, genetic polymorphism, genetic markers and mapping, population genetics, genetic networks, and reverse genetics. 

Topics covered in the module are the important main threads of modern genetics, how DNA becomes damaged, genetic mapping, dissecting genetic networks, model Genetic systems, Genome analysis, genetics and genomics of populations.

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression including examples of how defects at the molecular level result in disease. Topics will include transcription, translation, mRNA processing, RNAi and miRNA function and utilisation, DNA recombination and Epigenetics and genetic disease,

Students will understand the fundamental processes in molecular biology that are critical for gene expression in relation to cellular function

To be able to apply this knowledge and other information to explain the mechanism by which at least one disease state is manifest by perturbation and mutation of the apparatus to allow normal function.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will cover methods of cell-to-cell communication, signal transduction pathways, key proteins in signal transduction and downstream effects.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

 Project Titles include:- Applied Bioinformatics / Microbial Cell Biology / Molecular Biochemistry

Level 3 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will give an understanding of the process involved in identifying drug targets and developing drugs against that target including assay development.  The main topics discussed include target identification, assay development, pharmacokinetics, and structure activity relationships (SAR).


Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the drug development process from target identification to assay development and pre-clinical trials.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module is to introduce students to the specialist area of study of developmental biology building on their core curriculum in levels 1&2 and Semester 1 of Level 3.  To give the student an understanding of the stages and processes involved in the development of organisms. Topics include: Morphogenesis, patterning embryos, patterning tissues, morphogenetic movements, development and diseases stem cells.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of the development of vertebrates and invertebrates and what happens when these processes go wrong and will develop their literature review skills, and group working and ways of presenting information in an informative manner.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will study the structures and diversities of plant genomes, plant sexual strategies, plant responses to the environment, hormonal signalling, developmental programming, seasonal change, symbionts and pathogens.  Learning Outcomes include plant genomes, plants and the environment, plants and human welfare, plant development, plants and their biotic environment and plant improvement.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in immunology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of  immunology that the students will encounter in their Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. The module aims to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature and will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease.

Students will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease, innate immune mechanisms that sense and eliminate pathogens, processing and presentation of antigenic material to drive immune responses, antibody-mediated protection, development and activation of B and T lymphocytes, lymphocyte function, mucosal immune defences, immunological memory and vaccination, immunity to viruses, immunodeficiency diseases, autoimmune diseases and immune hyper reactivity.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module build on the basic bioinformatics introduced in Years 1 and 2, and give students a broad understanding of modern bioinformatics using Python programming and bioinformatics toolkits to study algorithms used for phylogeny, data mining, interpretation of high throughput data  including next generation sequencing analysis and  statistical evaluation of the relevance of results.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

Project Titles include:-

  • Plant Science
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Drug Discovery and fragment synthesis

Level 4 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 40

Building on their prior knowledge and skills, students will expand their research experience by participating in a semester long research project based around one chosen area of Life Sciences. Depending on the type of project chosen, students will learn advanced practical techniques and/or enhance their data interpretation skills, analysis of current literature, scientific writing and communication skills. All students will enhance their skills in planning and time management. Four main types of projects are available to students:

A) Individual lab based research - students will carry out research into a current topic allied to and within a research group in the Schools of Life Sciences or Medicine

B) Group lab based research - students will plan and carry out investigations into a current area of research. They will work cooperatively to carry out investigations and produce data but write individual reports.

C) Science communication and/or education - students will prepare materials to communicate current research topics and techniques to a public audience. The project must include a data analysis component.

D) Data analysis project which must include analysis of published and/or unpublished scientific data and will contribute towards the body of knowledge in a specific field.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to use the vibrant research environment of the School of Life Sciences, James Hutton Institute, and the School of Medicine, to expand student experience of current research and provide an opportunity to be part of the wider research culture. After instruction in proposal writing, students will prepare a grant or outreach proposal based on their research project. Students will attend seminars given by internal and external researchers on a wide range of bioscience topics. A summarized account of one selected seminar will be submitted for assessment. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of current research by applying this to current "big questions" in Life and Biomedical Sciences in a general examination paper held during semester 1. A final synopsis of their Honours year project will be displayed as a poster during the Honours Year Symposium at the end of the project research period.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide an opportunity for students to carry out an in- depth study of specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression and of the advanced technologies and experimental design that underpin them. Students will gain an understanding of selected topics in cell and molecular biology at the level of contemporary, cutting-edge research in these areas. Specialist topics offered as part of this module will typically be drawn from the following areas: transcriptional regulation, chromosome biology, nuclear structure and gene expression, chromatin structure and gene regulation, DNA damage response, control of DNA replication, advanced topics in cell division, advanced proteomics, quantitative and high-resolution microscopy.

Level 4 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide specialist knowledge and understanding of frontier topics in bioinformatics. It will explore key technologies and applications in modern biological research and build familiarity with state of the art processes. This module will be delivered by specialists in specific fields, addressing areas such as Genome Assembly, Proteomics, Structural analysis and Systems modelling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide students with an in depth view of cutting edge plant science research. Topics covered in this module include plant-environment interactions (perception and response to bacterial oomycete; fungal and insect pathogens; plant symbiote interactions; plant detection of and responses to abiotic stress), use of genome sequencing and association genetics for plant breeding and biotechnology, and regulation of gene expression and plant development in changing environments.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of a variety of major topics in immunology and to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning. Topics covered in this module include innate immune mechanisms, Toll-like receptors and signalling, inhibitory/activatory receptors, immunoglobulin biology, antibody engineering for therapy and research, lymphocyte activation and signalling, T cell mediated immunity, immune hyper reactivity and immunodeficiency, cross-talk between autophagy and immunity pathways, and cytokine receptor signalling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in cancer biology. Topics covered will include an introduction to cancer pathology, an introduction to the molecular biology of cancer, cancer treatment – chemotherapy and radiotherapy: mechanisms of action, oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, growth factors, cell signalling pathways, cancer viruses, environmental carcinogenesis, and DNA damage and repair.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on the students’ knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for the students to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies. The module will explore the basics of what stem cells are, and the molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages, covering embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states. Topics will reflect the following areas: Introduction to stem cells, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells, Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells, Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on the students’ knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for the students to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies. The module will explore the basics of what stem cells are, and the molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages, covering embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states. Topics will reflect the following areas: Introduction to stem cells, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells, Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells, Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to molecular, cellular and biochemical studies on selected parasitic protozoa. Students will gain an understanding of selected parasites, common approaches to their study and development of chemotherapies against them. Topics covered will reflect key areas such as genetic approaches, immune evasion, drug delivery, drug targets and drug mode-of-action.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build on Level 3 studies of Cell Signalling, and take students close to the forefront in selected areas of cell signalling research. The module will cover protein kinase families; recognition of substrates by protein kinases; regulation of protein kinases; protein phosphatase families; targeting of phosphatases via regulatory subunits; sensing of energy by AMPK; organization of protein phosphorylation networks by 14:3:3 proteins; signalling in the innate immune system; and analysis of T cell signalling by phosphoproteomics.

The aim of this module is to provide students with advanced research-led teaching of key topics in cancer pharmacology and treatment. This module will build on previously encountered specialised areas of pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular cell biology and genetics. Topics will include cancer pathology and the molecular biology of cancer, cancer treatment - chemotherapy and radiotherapy: mechanisms of action, pharmacogenetics - inherited differences in drug response, mutational signatures in common cancers - identification and prioritisation of novel drug targets, cancer stem cells, drug resistance mechanisms, individuality in treatment response, and the role of tissue banks and the research ethics service.

Molecular Biology levels 3 and 4

Level 3 - core modules

Please note that you can choose either Practical Project A or Practical Project B

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of molecular structure and interactions analysis that will underpin the more specialised areas which students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4. The module also aims to introduce students to the study of interactions that underpin biological events or early stage drug discovery and strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are High-throughput DNA sequencing and genome annotation, Secondary structure, disorder, post-translational modification, cloning, single crystal X-ray diffraction methods, Use of bioinformatics resources and databases, Scientific paper analysis.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Biochemistry and Cell Biology that will underpin the more specialised areas that students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4.  The Module also aims to strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are how proteins function at the molecular level, protein folding, targeting, posttranslational modification and turnover, the cytoskeleton, molecular motors, cell division and how cells form tissues, cell signalling and regulation of metabolism, bioenergy and photosynthesis, systems biology approaches.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will study model genetic systems, genome structure and evolution, genetic polymorphism, genetic markers and mapping, population genetics, genetic networks, and reverse genetics. 

Topics covered in the module are the important main threads of modern genetics, how DNA becomes damaged, genetic mapping, dissecting genetic networks, model Genetic systems, Genome analysis, genetics and genomics of populations.

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression including examples of how defects at the molecular level result in disease. Topics will include transcription, translation, mRNA processing, RNAi and miRNA function and utilisation, DNA recombination and Epigenetics and genetic disease,

Students will understand the fundamental processes in molecular biology that are critical for gene expression in relation to cellular function

To be able to apply this knowledge and other information to explain the mechanism by which at least one disease state is manifest by perturbation and mutation of the apparatus to allow normal function.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce students to specialist topics within the areas of bacterial and fungal microbiology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of molecular microbiology that the students will encounter in their Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. The module aims to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of microbiology and relate this to protein structure / function and molecular genetics. Students will understand the principles that underlie the processes of how bacteria sense, respond and move to environmental stimuli, nutrient sensing and uptake by bacteria, how, why and when antibiotics are produced by bacteria, the bacterial cytoskeleton, molecular motors, and the process of cell division in prokaryotes, multicellular and community behaviour in bacteria and fungi, geomicrobiology and its applications, fungal cell wall biosynthesis and the molecular basis of pathogenicity and virulence in bacteria.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

 Project Titles include:- Applied Bioinformatics / Microbial Cell Biology / Molecular Biochemistry

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

Project Titles include:-

  • Plant Science
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Drug Discovery and fragment synthesis

Level 3 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will give an understanding of the process involved in identifying drug targets and developing drugs against that target including assay development.  The main topics discussed include target identification, assay development, pharmacokinetics, and structure activity relationships (SAR).


Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the drug development process from target identification to assay development and pre-clinical trials.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module is to introduce students to the specialist area of study of developmental biology building on their core curriculum in levels 1&2 and Semester 1 of Level 3.  To give the student an understanding of the stages and processes involved in the development of organisms. Topics include: Morphogenesis, patterning embryos, patterning tissues, morphogenetic movements, development and diseases stem cells.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of the development of vertebrates and invertebrates and what happens when these processes go wrong and will develop their literature review skills, and group working and ways of presenting information in an informative manner.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will cover methods of cell-to-cell communication, signal transduction pathways, key proteins in signal transduction and downstream effects.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module should give an in-depth understanding of the main organic reactions used in modern synthetic laboratories with particular respect to the design of molecules for drug discovery.

Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the main organic reactions and mechanisms. They will be able to predict products of reactions and represent the mechanisms of the reactions using curly arrow notation and be able to design a synthetic strategy to produce a desired product.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will study the structures and diversities of plant genomes, plant sexual strategies, plant responses to the environment, hormonal signalling, developmental programming, seasonal change, symbionts and pathogens.  Learning Outcomes include plant genomes, plants and the environment, plants and human welfare, plant development, plants and their biotic environment and plant improvement.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in immunology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of  immunology that the students will encounter in their Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. The module aims to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature and will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease.

Students will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease, innate immune mechanisms that sense and eliminate pathogens, processing and presentation of antigenic material to drive immune responses, antibody-mediated protection, development and activation of B and T lymphocytes, lymphocyte function, mucosal immune defences, immunological memory and vaccination, immunity to viruses, immunodeficiency diseases, autoimmune diseases and immune hyper reactivity.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module build on the basic bioinformatics introduced in Years 1 and 2, and give students a broad understanding of modern bioinformatics using Python programming and bioinformatics toolkits to study algorithms used for phylogeny, data mining, interpretation of high throughput data  including next generation sequencing analysis and  statistical evaluation of the relevance of results.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide the anatomical background to the human systems studied in the Biomedical Stream at level 3.

After study of this module, students will be able to; recognise the gross anatomy and histology of the systems covered, describe the pathology of these systems and explain the development of systems during the first trimester

Semester: 2

Credits: 15

This module will provide a firm grounding in key molecular mechanisms and pathways  underpinning proliferation and survival relevant to the development of cancer and other  disease-related themes at levels 3 and 4. Additionally, it will  provide  an insight into the  experimental appr oaches that have advanced the field of cancer biology . Topics  covered will include  reversible post-translational modification of proteins and the  nature/function of the enzymes that mediate these processes, with emphasis on their  dysregulation in cancer; major pathways controlling proliferation and survival including  cell cycle regulation and programmed cell death; key principles by which transcriptional  regulation underpinning the control of gene expression is perturbed during cancer   development;  pathological mechanisms (with emphasis on post-translational  modification) by which stimulatory and inhibitory signals regulate cell cycle control  through selective gene expression in cancer ; and general therapeutic strategies in  cancer based on the understanding of these pathways.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 15

This module  will  provide  a broad  knowledge  base  in data analysis for students of life sciences.  Aspects of generalized linear modelling using datasets will be revisited and  extended . Topics explored will include generalised linear modelling using error  structures that aren’t normally distributed; analysis of data with  fixed, random and mixed  effects; principal component analysis  and other clustering techniques; and analysis of  experimental designs that involve nested, split plot or non-orthogonal data.

Level 4 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 40

Building on their prior knowledge and skills, students will expand their research experience by participating in a semester long research project based around one chosen area of Life Sciences. Depending on the type of project chosen, students will learn advanced practical techniques and/or enhance their data interpretation skills, analysis of current literature, scientific writing and communication skills. All students will enhance their skills in planning and time management. Four main types of projects are available to students:

A) Individual lab based research - students will carry out research into a current topic allied to and within a research group in the Schools of Life Sciences or Medicine

B) Group lab based research - students will plan and carry out investigations into a current area of research. They will work cooperatively to carry out investigations and produce data but write individual reports.

C) Science communication and/or education - students will prepare materials to communicate current research topics and techniques to a public audience. The project must include a data analysis component.

D) Data analysis project which must include analysis of published and/or unpublished scientific data and will contribute towards the body of knowledge in a specific field.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to use the vibrant research environment of the School of Life Sciences, James Hutton Institute, and the School of Medicine, to expand student experience of current research and provide an opportunity to be part of the wider research culture. After instruction in proposal writing, students will prepare a grant or outreach proposal based on their research project. Students will attend seminars given by internal and external researchers on a wide range of bioscience topics. A summarized account of one selected seminar will be submitted for assessment. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of current research by applying this to current "big questions" in Life and Biomedical Sciences in a general examination paper held during semester 1. A final synopsis of their Honours year project will be displayed as a poster during the Honours Year Symposium at the end of the project research period.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on the students’ knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for the students to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies. The module will explore the basics of what stem cells are, and the molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages, covering embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states. Topics will reflect the following areas: Introduction to stem cells, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells, Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells, Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide an opportunity for students to carry out an in- depth study of specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression and of the advanced technologies and experimental design that underpin them. Students will gain an understanding of selected topics in cell and molecular biology at the level of contemporary, cutting-edge research in these areas. Specialist topics offered as part of this module will typically be drawn from the following areas: transcriptional regulation, chromosome biology, nuclear structure and gene expression, chromatin structure and gene regulation, DNA damage response, control of DNA replication, advanced topics in cell division, advanced proteomics, quantitative and high-resolution microscopy.

Level 4 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide specialist knowledge and understanding of frontier topics in bioinformatics. It will explore key technologies and applications in modern biological research and build familiarity with state of the art processes. This module will be delivered by specialists in specific fields, addressing areas such as Genome Assembly, Proteomics, Structural analysis and Systems modelling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build upon prior understanding of the process involved in identifying drug targets and developing drugs against those targets. The module will address key aspects of drug development beyond lead optimization, providing an understanding of the drug discovery and development process, from target identification through to assay development and lead optimisation.

Topics covered in this module include detailed receptor pharmacology, special considerations for specific drug discovery programmes, including Central Nervous System targets and biologicals, detailed understanding of what makes a good drug target and a potential drug molecule, an introduction to nonclinical development with specific emphasis on safety pharmacology, safety assessment and more detailed Drug Metabolism Pharmacokinetics study requirements, and finishing with a case study assessment.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide students with an in depth view of cutting edge plant science research. Topics covered in this module include plant-environment interactions (perception and response to bacterial oomycete; fungal and insect pathogens; plant symbiote interactions; plant detection of and responses to abiotic stress), use of genome sequencing and association genetics for plant breeding and biotechnology, and regulation of gene expression and plant development in changing environments.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of a variety of major topics in immunology and to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning. Topics covered in this module include innate immune mechanisms, Toll-like receptors and signalling, inhibitory/activatory receptors, immunoglobulin biology, antibody engineering for therapy and research, lymphocyte activation and signalling, T cell mediated immunity, immune hyper reactivity and immunodeficiency, cross-talk between autophagy and immunity pathways, and cytokine receptor signalling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in cancer biology. Topics covered will include an introduction to cancer pathology, an introduction to the molecular biology of cancer, cancer treatment – chemotherapy and radiotherapy: mechanisms of action, oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, growth factors, cell signalling pathways, cancer viruses, environmental carcinogenesis, and DNA damage and repair.

Molecular Genetics Level 3 and 4

Level 3 - core modules

Please note: you can select either Practical Project A or Practical Project B

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of molecular structure and interactions analysis that will underpin the more specialised areas which students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4. The module also aims to introduce students to the study of interactions that underpin biological events or early stage drug discovery and strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are High-throughput DNA sequencing and genome annotation, Secondary structure, disorder, post-translational modification, cloning, single crystal X-ray diffraction methods, Use of bioinformatics resources and databases, Scientific paper analysis.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Biochemistry and Cell Biology that will underpin the more specialised areas that students will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4.  The Module also aims to strengthen students’ skills in scientific writing, critical analysis of scientific literature and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are how proteins function at the molecular level, protein folding, targeting, posttranslational modification and turnover, the cytoskeleton, molecular motors, cell division and how cells form tissues, cell signalling and regulation of metabolism, bioenergy and photosynthesis, systems biology approaches.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will study model genetic systems, genome structure and evolution, genetic polymorphism, genetic markers and mapping, population genetics, genetic networks, and reverse genetics. 

Topics covered in the module are the important main threads of modern genetics, how DNA becomes damaged, genetic mapping, dissecting genetic networks, model Genetic systems, Genome analysis, genetics and genomics of populations.

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression including examples of how defects at the molecular level result in disease. Topics will include transcription, translation, mRNA processing, RNAi and miRNA function and utilisation, DNA recombination and Epigenetics and genetic disease,

Students will understand the fundamental processes in molecular biology that are critical for gene expression in relation to cellular function

To be able to apply this knowledge and other information to explain the mechanism by which at least one disease state is manifest by perturbation and mutation of the apparatus to allow normal function.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

 Project Titles include:- Applied Bioinformatics / Microbial Cell Biology / Molecular Biochemistry

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will build on practical experience in Years 1 & 2 and provide training for the final year research project. This module will offer a range of projects related to specialist modules in semester 2.

Project Titles include:-

  • Plant Science
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Drug Discovery and fragment synthesis

Level 3 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will give an understanding of the process involved in identifying drug targets and developing drugs against that target including assay development.  The main topics discussed include target identification, assay development, pharmacokinetics, and structure activity relationships (SAR).


Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the drug development process from target identification to assay development and pre-clinical trials.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to introduce students to specialist topics within the areas of bacterial and fungal microbiology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of molecular microbiology that the students will encounter in their Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. The module aims to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of microbiology and relate this to protein structure / function and molecular genetics. Students will understand the principles that underlie the processes of how bacteria sense, respond and move to environmental stimuli, nutrient sensing and uptake by bacteria, how, why and when antibiotics are produced by bacteria, the bacterial cytoskeleton, molecular motors, and the process of cell division in prokaryotes, multicellular and community behaviour in bacteria and fungi, geomicrobiology and its applications, fungal cell wall biosynthesis and the molecular basis of pathogenicity and virulence in bacteria.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module is to introduce students to the specialist area of study of developmental biology building on their core curriculum in levels 1&2 and Semester 1 of Level 3.  To give the student an understanding of the stages and processes involved in the development of organisms. Topics include: Morphogenesis, patterning embryos, patterning tissues, morphogenetic movements, development and diseases stem cells.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of the development of vertebrates and invertebrates and what happens when these processes go wrong and will develop their literature review skills, and group working and ways of presenting information in an informative manner.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will cover methods of cell-to-cell communication, signal transduction pathways, key proteins in signal transduction and downstream effects.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module should give an in-depth understanding of the main organic reactions used in modern synthetic laboratories with particular respect to the design of molecules for drug discovery.

Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the main organic reactions and mechanisms. They will be able to predict products of reactions and represent the mechanisms of the reactions using curly arrow notation and be able to design a synthetic strategy to produce a desired product.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will study the structures and diversities of plant genomes, plant sexual strategies, plant responses to the environment, hormonal signalling, developmental programming, seasonal change, symbionts and pathogens.  Learning Outcomes include plant genomes, plants and the environment, plants and human welfare, plant development, plants and their biotic environment and plant improvement.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in immunology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of  immunology that the students will encounter in their Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. The module aims to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature and will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease.

Students will be able to explain central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease, innate immune mechanisms that sense and eliminate pathogens, processing and presentation of antigenic material to drive immune responses, antibody-mediated protection, development and activation of B and T lymphocytes, lymphocyte function, mucosal immune defences, immunological memory and vaccination, immunity to viruses, immunodeficiency diseases, autoimmune diseases and immune hyper reactivity.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module build on the basic bioinformatics introduced in Years 1 and 2, and give students a broad understanding of modern bioinformatics using Python programming and bioinformatics toolkits to study algorithms used for phylogeny, data mining, interpretation of high throughput data  including next generation sequencing analysis and  statistical evaluation of the relevance of results.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide the anatomical background to the human systems studied in the Biomedical Stream at level 3.

After study of this module, students will be able to; recognise the gross anatomy and histology of the systems covered, describe the pathology of these systems and explain the development of systems during the first trimester

Semester: 2

Credits: 15

This module will provide a firm grounding in key molecular mechanisms and pathways  underpinning proliferation and survival relevant to the development of cancer and other  disease-related themes at levels 3 and 4. Additionally, it will  provide  an insight into the  experimental appr oaches that have advanced the field of cancer biology . Topics  covered will include  reversible post-translational modification of proteins and the  nature/function of the enzymes that mediate these processes, with emphasis on their  dysregulation in cancer; major pathways controlling proliferation and survival including  cell cycle regulation and programmed cell death; key principles by which transcriptional  regulation underpinning the control of gene expression is perturbed during cancer   development;  pathological mechanisms (with emphasis on post-translational  modification) by which stimulatory and inhibitory signals regulate cell cycle control  through selective gene expression in cancer ; and general therapeutic strategies in  cancer based on the understanding of these pathways.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 15

This module  will  provide  a broad  knowledge  base  in data analysis for students of life sciences.  Aspects of generalized linear modelling using datasets will be revisited and  extended . Topics explored will include generalised linear modelling using error  structures that aren’t normally distributed; analysis of data with  fixed, random and mixed  effects; principal component analysis  and other clustering techniques; and analysis of  experimental designs that involve nested, split plot or non-orthogonal data.

Level 4 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 40

Building on their prior knowledge and skills, students will expand their research experience by participating in a semester long research project based around one chosen area of Life Sciences. Depending on the type of project chosen, students will learn advanced practical techniques and/or enhance their data interpretation skills, analysis of current literature, scientific writing and communication skills. All students will enhance their skills in planning and time management. Four main types of projects are available to students:

A) Individual lab based research - students will carry out research into a current topic allied to and within a research group in the Schools of Life Sciences or Medicine

B) Group lab based research - students will plan and carry out investigations into a current area of research. They will work cooperatively to carry out investigations and produce data but write individual reports.

C) Science communication and/or education - students will prepare materials to communicate current research topics and techniques to a public audience. The project must include a data analysis component.

D) Data analysis project which must include analysis of published and/or unpublished scientific data and will contribute towards the body of knowledge in a specific field.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to use the vibrant research environment of the School of Life Sciences, James Hutton Institute, and the School of Medicine, to expand student experience of current research and provide an opportunity to be part of the wider research culture. After instruction in proposal writing, students will prepare a grant or outreach proposal based on their research project. Students will attend seminars given by internal and external researchers on a wide range of bioscience topics. A summarized account of one selected seminar will be submitted for assessment. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of current research by applying this to current "big questions" in Life and Biomedical Sciences in a general examination paper held during semester 1. A final synopsis of their Honours year project will be displayed as a poster during the Honours Year Symposium at the end of the project research period.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide an opportunity for students to carry out an in- depth study of specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression and of the advanced technologies and experimental design that underpin them. Students will gain an understanding of selected topics in cell and molecular biology at the level of contemporary, cutting-edge research in these areas. Specialist topics offered as part of this module will typically be drawn from the following areas: transcriptional regulation, chromosome biology, nuclear structure and gene expression, chromatin structure and gene regulation, DNA damage response, control of DNA replication, advanced topics in cell division, advanced proteomics, quantitative and high-resolution microscopy.

Level 4 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide specialist knowledge and understanding of frontier topics in bioinformatics. It will explore key technologies and applications in modern biological research and build familiarity with state of the art processes. This module will be delivered by specialists in specific fields, addressing areas such as Genome Assembly, Proteomics, Structural analysis and Systems modelling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build upon prior understanding of the process involved in identifying drug targets and developing drugs against those targets. The module will address key aspects of drug development beyond lead optimization, providing an understanding of the drug discovery and development process, from target identification through to assay development and lead optimisation.

Topics covered in this module include detailed receptor pharmacology, special considerations for specific drug discovery programmes, including Central Nervous System targets and biologicals, detailed understanding of what makes a good drug target and a potential drug molecule, an introduction to nonclinical development with specific emphasis on safety pharmacology, safety assessment and more detailed Drug Metabolism Pharmacokinetics study requirements, and finishing with a case study assessment.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide students with an in depth view of cutting edge plant science research. Topics covered in this module include plant-environment interactions (perception and response to bacterial oomycete; fungal and insect pathogens; plant symbiote interactions; plant detection of and responses to abiotic stress), use of genome sequencing and association genetics for plant breeding and biotechnology, and regulation of gene expression and plant development in changing environments.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of a variety of major topics in immunology and to strengthen students’ skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning. Topics covered in this module include innate immune mechanisms, Toll-like receptors and signalling, inhibitory/activatory receptors, immunoglobulin biology, antibody engineering for therapy and research, lymphocyte activation and signalling, T cell mediated immunity, immune hyper reactivity and immunodeficiency, cross-talk between autophagy and immunity pathways, and cytokine receptor signalling.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this Module is to provide students with a broad understanding of key topics in cancer biology. Topics covered will include an introduction to cancer pathology, an introduction to the molecular biology of cancer, cancer treatment – chemotherapy and radiotherapy: mechanisms of action, oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, growth factors, cell signalling pathways, cancer viruses, environmental carcinogenesis, and DNA damage and repair.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on the students’ knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for the students to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies. The module will explore the basics of what stem cells are, and the molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages, covering embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states. Topics will reflect the following areas: Introduction to stem cells, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells, Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells, Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on the students’ knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for the students to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies. The module will explore the basics of what stem cells are, and the molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages, covering embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states. Topics will reflect the following areas: Introduction to stem cells, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells, Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells, Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build on levels 1-3 chemistry teaching and to provide students with the core skills required to design synthetic routes towards novel compounds. During this module students will work through examples of how organic chemistry can be used to answer biological questions using chemical biology methods. The module will provide an understanding of several advanced methods for organic synthesis and organic synthesis design theory, and will look at designing novel synthetic pathways to drug molecules using combinations of known synthetic procedures including Parallel synthesis, Fragment synthesis, Convergent synthesis, Functional group transformations, Protection groups and Radical chemistry.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to molecular, cellular and biochemical studies on selected parasitic protozoa. Students will gain an understanding of selected parasites, common approaches to their study and development of chemotherapies against them. Topics covered will reflect key areas such as genetic approaches, immune evasion, drug delivery, drug targets and drug mode-of-action.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build on Level 3 studies of Cell Signalling, and take students close to the forefront in selected areas of cell signalling research. The module will cover protein kinase families; recognition of substrates by protein kinases; regulation of protein kinases; protein phosphatase families; targeting of phosphatases via regulatory subunits; sensing of energy by AMPK; organization of protein phosphorylation networks by 14:3:3 proteins; signalling in the innate immune system; and analysis of T cell signalling by phosphoproteomics.

The aim of this module is to provide students with advanced research-led teaching of key topics in cancer pharmacology and treatment. This module will build on previously encountered specialised areas of pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular cell biology and genetics. Topics will include cancer pathology and the molecular biology of cancer, cancer treatment - chemotherapy and radiotherapy: mechanisms of action, pharmacogenetics - inherited differences in drug response, mutational signatures in common cancers - identification and prioritisation of novel drug targets, cancer stem cells, drug resistance mechanisms, individuality in treatment response, and the role of tissue banks and the research ethics service.

Summer work placements

Many students take advantage of opportunities for summer work placements, normally between Levels 3 and 4, which are available as externally-funded competitive placements, or as voluntary laboratory work.

MSci Integrated Masters Programme

Develop your own research project and work for five months in a lab with our MSci Programme.

The MSci Programme takes students coming from the Biological or Biomedical Sciences streams.

RSB Advanced Accredited logo

This programme provides an additional year of study in the indicated specialisms that is designed to increase your practical ability and employability, giving you focused training in laboratory research that results in the award of a Masters degree.

Based from the outset in one of our internationally renowned research laboratories, you will build on your Level 4 experience but go well beyond it: you will develop your own research project that you will write up in the form of a grant proposal, receive training in a variety of research skills and carry out a 5-month, full-time project in your host lab based on the proposal you have written.

In addition to enhancing your laboratory skills you will develop your ability to think critically and analytically, learn how to formulate new ideas and research hypotheses and develop skills in data analysis, interpretation and communicating scientific information.

Entry to the MSci Programme will be by interview and you must maintain a B3 average at first attempt across your Life Sciences Modules throughout Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 to be eligible.

Specialisms available:

  • MSci Biochemistry
  • MSci Bioinformatics
  • MSci Cell Signalling
  • MSci Cell & Developmental Biology
  • MSci Drug Discovery
  • MSci Immunology
  • MSci Molecular Biology
  • MSci Molecular Microbiology
  • MSci Neuroscience
  • MSci Pharmacology
  • MSci Physiological Sciences
  • MSci Plant Sciences

The Procedures for managing student applications to transfer to the SLS MSci Programme are available to download.

Students interested in applying for the MSci Programme should complete and return the MSci Application form with their CV by the last week of Semester 2, Friday, 27 May 2016 to Schooloffice-LS@dundee.ac.uk.  Late applications will be considered if space is available.

For more information contact:
David Norman
d.g.norman@dundee.ac.uk
01382 384798

Careers

A degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics or Molecular Biology opens the door to many career options. Graduates in these areas are in great demand in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, food, biotechnology and healthcare industries, with openings for laboratory work or in the marketing, sales and management areas. Comparable openings can be found in the various agricultural, medical and veterinary research institutes, hospitals and the scientific Civil Service.

Dundee is a rapidly expanding centre for biotechnology with new firms opening and forming links with our biochemists. Work placements are encouraged and provide an exciting taste of the new industries. Many of our students enter areas of employment not directly related to science, often as trainee managers or salespersons.

Postgraduate Study

Some of our students proceed to higher degrees (MSc or PhD) and go on to undertake or supervise original research, and others go on to take a degree in Medicine.

We offer a number of Masters level courses in addition to PhD research opportunities in Life Sciences.

One of Dundee’s strong points is the themed laboratory sessions from year one, allowing students to gain vital technical skills. As an advanced entrant, I really enjoyed this, as I felt I was already ‘becoming a scientist’ and it helped me to put theoretical learning from lectures into practice. It also helps you to become comfortable in a lab environment, which I feel is vital if you are undertaking a wet lab project in 3rd and 4th year. The honours project system is fantastic; I was treated as a member of the department and due to my previous years experience from the taught laboratory sessions, felt I was able to contribute to the lab overall whilst carrying out my honours project. I enjoyed the freedom and satisfaction this gave me.

Similarly, Dundee begins to prepare students for a wide variety of scientific careers out with the wet labs, with placements, weekly presentations, peer reviews, lab reports and literature reviews part of the curriculum. The range of module options and projects that students are able to choose from are fantastic, and ensure that there is something to suit everyone’s taste, whilst the core compulsory modules ensure that everyone has a competent level of transferable skills and a basis in basic science and mathematics.

Jenny Wood
BSc (Hons) Microbiology

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2017/18

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2016 entry). Fees for September 2017 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2017.
Rest of UK students £9,250 per year of study. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £17,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.


Unistats data set (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS) Unistats data set - formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)

  Degree UCAS Code Unistats Data
Apply NowBiochemistry BSc (Hons)C700
Apply NowMolecular Biology BSc (Hons)C720
Apply NowMolecular Genetics BSc (Hons)C431