Modern biochemistry uses molecular tools to investigate the chemical basis of living processes. It is a rapidly-moving field, which the course at Oxford reflects.
Undergraduates study all aspects of modern biochemistry from structural biochemistry, metabolic processes, gene function and flow of genetic information to cell biology, together with related chemistries such as biophysical and biological chemistry. In the fourth year, students carry out a laboratory-based research project on a topic of their choosing within the Department of Biochemistry – this enables them to contribute to Oxford's internationally recognised biochemical research. Biochemistry students here show enthusiasm for the subject, and strong chemical ability. An understanding of biological systems and an innate curiosity about life are also important.
Biochemistry at Oriel is taught by a team of experienced tutors, all of whom are active researchers in the fields of molecular cell biology, molecular immunology, metabolic biochemistry and structural biology. The expertise of the teaching team means that students benefit from specialist support throughout their studies. The tutorial program in Oriel is designed to complement and extend the learning from the Departmental lectures and practical classes. Oriel Biochemists benefit from the large biomedical community within the college, which currently includes Lecturers and Tutorial, Research and Professorial Fellows. This offers a wider interdisciplinary forum for academic and social events.
Biochemists from Oxford are highly valued by employers for the skills they have acquired during the course. While many of our students become academic or industrial researchers, their logical, analytical, information-processing, and presentation skills also equip Biochemistry graduates for diverse careers which have recently included finance and patent law.
It is essential to have A-level, or the equivalent, in Chemistry. The course has significant maths and biology content, so Biology and Maths and/or Physics at A level, though not requirements, are very helpful. However, the first-year course provides the necessary background in biology, physics and mathematics for those who have not studied these subjects beyond GCSE.