Admissions

Our tutors welcome applications from prospective undergraduate students committed to hard but rewarding work, who have thought carefully about why they want to study Biochemistry, and who have a genuine interest in scientific research and writing. In addition, time-management skills and motivation are important, as at Oxford, you will be expected to work independently and be responsible for organising your own time.

The College’s central location means that students are only a five-minute walk away from the resources of the Biochemistry Department and the Radcliffe Science Library.

Biochemistry Freshers stand in Trinity's front quad.
Our third-year Biochemistry students
A group of students sit in a lecture theatre listening to an academic lecture.
A biochemistry first-year lecture

Teaching Structure

The Biochemistry Department organises lectures, classes and lab-based practicals; the College organises the small-group teaching (tutorials), so your College tutors play a key role in your course. Biochemistry students at Trinity have tutorials in College once or twice each week in small groups (2-4 students). Our students thrive on discussion and debate. Most tutorials are based on essays prepared by students during the preceding week. In the first year the tutorials mirror the lecture course closely, to ensure that all students achieve a good background level of knowledge. In the second and third years, tutorials are more wide-ranging, and often address topical issues such as genetic modification, biotechnology and the biochemistry of diseases. Our tutors set practice exams at the beginning of most terms so that students can consolidate their learning and prepare for their University examinations.

A female student in a lab coat stares down a microscope.
The Biochemistry course at Oxford is fast-paced, so you quickly move from one topic to another. It's satisfying because you cover so much to such a great level of detail.
Molly

Course Details

The course is divided into three components, the contents of which are reviewed and updated as the subject evolves (for more details, see the Departmental website). In the first year, five subjects, Molecular Cell Biology, Biological Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Mathematics and Statistics for Biochemistry are studied at a foundational level, leading to the Preliminary Examination at the end of the year. In the second and third years, the course comprises more advanced study of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Structural Biology and Genetics, with emphasis on both molecular and cellular biology and on structural and biophysical aspects of molecules in order to understand precisely how each works. Most background coursework is obtained from specialist textbooks, but many topics are taught at research level and students are expected to read original research papers. There is no examination at the end of the second year; Part I of the Final Exam, consisting of written examinations, is taken at the end of the third year. For the 2020 intake onwards, it is proposed that in addition to these written papers, termly assessments of progress during years 2 and 3 will contribute a proportion of Finals marks.

The fourth year, comprising Part II of the Final Exam, is often regarded as the most rewarding as it consists of an entire year of guided laboratory research, study of critical literature and scientific writing. Each student spends 23 weeks in a research lab, undertaking original research on which they write a dissertation. Results obtained from such original research may contribute to publications in which students have shared authorship. In addition, students independently survey current scientific literature and write an original, critical review of a specific area of research. The laboratory project, examined by dissertation and oral presentation, plus the review article, constitutes the Finals Part II assessment.

Several bikes are parked against a wall in Trinity College.
Google Map
Trinity and the New Biochemistry Building

Career Prospects

Many of our recent graduates have gone on to postgraduate research, leading to doctoral degrees in the UK or abroad, reflecting their continued enthusiasm for the subject! Biochemistry graduates are highly valued by employers, and also go on to work in industry, commerce, finance and law.

A close-up computer image of a coronavirus molecule.
Over the last five years, more than 60% of our Biochemistry students have graduated with a first-class degree.