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Programme Specification: Part II Biochemistry

This course is taught by the Department of Biochemistry.


  1. to provide an advanced understanding of the principles and topics of biochemistry and their experimental basis;
  2. to provide training in research skills through an eight-week research project, together with journal clubs and data handling exercises;
  3. to provide analytical and oral and written presentational skills.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding in a number of core areas;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the objective, methods, results and conclusions of their research project;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of the written presentation of research through the production of a report on their research project;
  4. analyse critically research literature and contemporary biochemical topics, and present such analyses in both written and oral formats;
  5. adopt a problem-solving approach to experimental data;
  6. explain the importance and impact of scientific topics to the non-specialist.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, journal clubs with guided detailed analysis of a research paper, classes in data handling and scientific writing, problem-based learning exercise in bioinformatics, research work, small group teaching with occasions for oral presentations and debate of contemporary biochemical topics and issues of science that affect society.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • four unseen essay examination papers (for aims 1-3 and learning outcomes 1 and 4);
  • one data handling examination paper (for aims 1-3 and learning outcomes 1, 4 and 5);
  • a dissertation of no more than 5000 words, based on a research project undertaken over an eight-week period (for aims 2 and 3 and learning outcomes 2-5);
  • a critical essay of no more than 3000 words (for aims 1 and 3 and learning outcomes 1, 4 and 6).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part IA Biology of Cells;
either NST Part IB Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or NST Part IB Cell and Developmental Biology;
or Parts IA and Part IB of the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos.
Recommended: Knowledge of A Level Chemistry is assumed.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.