Over the last four years, more than 50% of our biochemists have graduated with first-class Honours!
The Masters in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (M.Bioch) course is a four-year undergraduate course divided into three components (for more details, see the Departmental website). In the first year, five subjects are studied at a preliminary level. These are Molecular Cell Biology, Biological Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Mathematics and Statistics for Biochemistry. In the second and third years, the course comprises a more advanced treatment of Biochemistry, Structural Biology and Genetics, with equal emphasis on molecular and cellular biology as on structural and biophysical aspects of molecules 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, and Part I of the Final Exam is taken at the end of the third year.
The fourth year, leading to Part II of the Final Exam, is often regarded as the most rewarding. Each student spends 18 weeks (two terms) in a research lab, undertaking original research on which they write a dissertation. In many cases, results obtained may contribute to a study that will be published. In addition, students construct their own lecture course from advanced options offered across the range of Biochemistry.
Our tutors welcome applications from 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. 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 faculty and the Radcliffe Science Library.
The University Department organises lectures and lab-based practicals; the College organises the small-group teaching (tutorials or classes), 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). Our students thrive on discussion and debate. Most tutorials are based on essays prepared by students during the preceding week. In the first year they 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. Our students reach very high standards over their course.
We strongly encourage and provide support for our Biochemistry students to pursue independent laboratory research in the UK and abroad during the vacations or in their final year. In many cases, students can apply for grants towards the cost. Research laboratories all around the United Kingdom and as well as abroad in places such as Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia have recently hosted Trinity undergraduate biochemists for summer research. The majority of our graduates in the past few years have gone on to undertake postgraduate research leading to Doctoral degrees in the UK or abroad, reflecting their continued enthusiasm for the subject!
Biochemistry at Trinity
Trinity College has an especially strong link with the subject of Biochemistry. Apart from the college Fellow in Biochemistry, Professor Louis Mahadevan, other biochemists associated with Trinity College include Professor Kim Nasmyth, Whitley Professor of Biochemistry, who studies chromosome segregation during cell division and Professor Francis Barr, Professor of Mechanistic Cell Biology who studies mechanisms regulating the cell cycle. Professor Sir Ed Southern, recently Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at Oxford University, is presently an honorary fellow of Trinity College. Two Nobel Laureates, Professors Sir Hans Krebs and Rodney Porter, were also Fellows of the college, reflecting the strong tradition of research and teaching in this subject at Trinity.