Genetics and Biochemistry

Key Facts

Code CC47
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC-BBB with B in Chemistry

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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In choosing to study the Genetics and Biochemistry Degree at Aberystwyth University you will work at the forefront of this exciting discipline. Genetics has almost limitless potential to help understand and treat genetic disease and develop new medicines. Additionally, you will explore genetically modified organisms and evaluate their benefit to humankind. Building upon a foundation that includes key genetics and biochemistry understanding you will soon start to specialise into genetics, human genetics, gene expression, pharmacology, and data handling. Upon successful completion of the Genetics and Biochemistry Degree you will have the skills and attributes necessary for diverse careers that include biomedicine, forensic science, DNA profiling, clinical cytogenetics, genetic counselling, and food production amongst others.

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


This BSc in Genetics and Biochemistry will give you a thorough grounding in these complementary disciplines, their methodologies and their most significant discoveries. This course will also help you hone your scientific skills and prepare you for your future scientific career or research specialism.

Why study Genetics and Biochemistry at Aberystwyth?

This course is delivered by our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), which is an internationally-recognised centre of excellence and an award-winning research and teaching centre. It is also one of the largest and most well-resourced institutions of its kind in the UK, with over 300 research, teaching and technical staff conducting biological research from the molecular level right up to global level.

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences won the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' category award at the Times Higher Education Awards 2013.

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences also recently won one of the first ever Excellence with Impact Awards from the BBSRC, the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The award recognises those university departments which are most active in embedding a culture that promotes and values the achievement of impact alongside excellent research. In a joint entry to the Research Excellence Framework (2014) with Bangor University, the institute was placed in the top 10 in the UK for research intensity. It also found that 78% of research is world-leading or internationally excellent. 

You will have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in the local vicinity or as part of a residential field course away from Aberystwyth, working on field-based exercises to collect, examine and report on organisms and their genetics.

Aberystwyth itself is surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain, grassland and coast, which provides you with a fabulous variety of fieldwork and recreational opportunities.

The Department offers a number of modules taught through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the department.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (80 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Biology Of The Cell BR10310
Chemical Basis Of Biology BR10510
Genetics BR11310
Animal Diversity BR11500
Biological Molecules And Methods BR11710

Semester 2

Animal Diversity BR11520
Metabolism BR12010
Molecular Laboratory Skills BR12210

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu BG12410

Study And Communication Skills BR12410

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Llystyfiant Ac Ecosystemau BG12920

Vegetation And Ecosystems BR12920

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Amrywiaeth Microbau BG12110

Microbial Diversity BR12110

Year 2 Core (90 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Applied Molecular Biology And Bioinformatics BR20620
Molecular Cell And Cancer Biology BR22720
Proteins And Enzymes BR23210

Semester 2

Chromosome Dynamics BR21820
Practical Skills For Biochemists BR22920

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Profiad Gwaith BG24200

Work Experience BR24200

Semester 2

Profiad Gwaith BG24210

Work Experience BR24210

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23400

Research Methods BR23400

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23420

Research Methods BR23420

Final Year Core (70 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Bioinformatics And Functional Genomics BR31420
Data-handling For Biochemists BR32110

Semester 2

Biochemistry And Pharmacology BR31220
Gene Expression And Developmental Genetics BR33320

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Traethawd Estynedig BG32300

Dissertation BR32300

Semester 2

Traethawd Estynedig BG32330

Dissertation BR32330

Final Year Options Choose 20 credits. (Note: due to limited spaces on field courses, attendance must be agreed in advance with the module co-ordinator)

Semester 1

Conservation Genetics BR31810

Evolution Field Course BR32810

Microbes In Industry And Research BR33620


Career Prospects

Your BSc in Genetics and Biochemistry opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. Because of your expertise in genetics, you will be a strong candidate for work as a research scientist, a clinical molecular geneticist, an immunologist and a pharmacologist. As an expert in biochemistry, you may also choose to work as a clinical biochemist, forensic scientist, toxicologist or higher education lecturer.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Genetics and Biochemistry will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Throughout your training you will develop a wealth of skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. You will be able to gather, assimilate and interpret a wealth of information quickly and accurately, and you will be confident in selecting and deploying the most appropriate scientific methodology. You will also have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines.

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This course will nurture both your intellectual curiosity and your general scientific practice. You will investigate subjects including cellular, molecular and chemical biology, bioinformatics, chromosome dynamics, gene expression and many more. As you study, you will receive expert tuition in scientific protocol and hands-on lab work, such as the correct experimental methodology for recording, interpreting and reporting data.

On this course, you will develop an impressive cache of subject expertise and scientific skills which will be of enormous benefit in any biological or other scientific profession. The course will also prepare you for more general graduate employment, as your expertise in research, analysis, data handling, reporting and intellectual curiosity will be an enormous asset in any career path you choose.

This course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, seminars and lab work. You will receive thorough training in biological concepts and practical methods. You will explore this learning in laboratory research and experimentation, in individual and group tasks. You will also have access to a personal tutor throughout your degree scheme who will meet with you regularly and handle your queries.

Among many skills, you will learn to: synthesize information from scientific literature; understand and explain the implications of developments like genome sequencing and genetic counselling; scrutinise data in terms of quality and quantity; and respond to new data through laboratory investigation.

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations and exams. You will also be required to complete additional assignments and work with others on particular tasks. In all these areas you will need to demonstrate scientific rigour and apply a systematic approach to the problems with which you are presented.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

The lectures, seminars and the Department's supportive staff will greatly assist you in your scientific training. You will also benefit from the many opportunities within the department and the university to develop your academic rigour and professionalism so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

Student Views

Genetics is at the cutting edge of the biological sciences. In the post genomic era, we are able to truly examine our biological programming at a molecular level. What I really enjoy about the course is that you have the ability to tailor it to your particular areas of interest, choosing your own combinations of modules which reflect the areas you want to explore most, all the while gaining valuable knowledge and practical experience to help shape your career path. Richard Cleverley

Biochemistry is a very interesting and competitive course which helps me to develop my knowledge and understanding of science and medical fields. Throughout the Biochemistry course I have developed my practical skills because I have spent a lot of time in the laboratories, taking part in many experiments during the academic year. Madalina Dragomir

My degree in Genetics and Biochemistry gave me a good grounding that prepared me very well for my PhD. In fact, one of the courses, Gene Expression and Developmental Genetics inspired me to work in the area of Developmental Biology, which is what I work at today. I will be eternally grateful for the chance I was given and the teaching I received
Roger – Professor of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC-BBB with B in Chemistry

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall with 5 points in Chemistry at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
65-70% overall with 75% in specified subject

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