Biomolecular Science with Foundation Year, BSc - 2018/19

BSc single honours Biomolecular Science with Foundation Year 2020/21

Year of entry

The biotechnology sector is developing rapidly, offering you many exciting career opportunities, especially within biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. This programme encompasses the study of the genetics, biochemistry and the molecular biology of organisms, and you will gain important skills and knowledge in these disciplines.

You will be able to take advantage of our excellent industry links, interacting with biotech companies and gaining valuable experience. A significant portion of your studies will take place at our innovative Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab where we have collaborations with a number of research-based companies. The industry focused nature of this programme provides opportunities to enter direct employment with biotech companies.

You will explore areas including:

  • genetics and evolution
  • molecular biology and biotechnology
  • bioinformatics

The exciting and rapid advances in the Biomolecular sciences have wide-reaching applications in biotechnology, biochemical and medical research, the pharmaceutical industry and biology in general. All biological phenomena have their origins at the molecular level and our Biomolecular Science programme encompasses the study of genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology to ensure you gain important practical skills and knowledge in these key areas. You will also be able to take advantage of our excellent industry links, interacting with biotech companies and gaining valuable experience. A significant portion of your studies will take place at our innovative Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab where we have collaborations with a number of research-based companies. The industry-focussed nature of this programme provides opportunities to enter direct employment with biotech companies.

“The Biomolecular Science programme gives me a competitive edge in terms of jobs and further studies.”

Sarikh Limbu, Biomolecular Sciences student

As part of their honours project, biomolecular science students get to work on industry-generated research questions within our Industry Liaison Lab, based at Discovery Park, an enterprise zone with over 100 companies.

Entrants to level 0 (Foundation Level) study the core sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as study skills and introductory level maths. Completion of level 0 permits students to progress to level 4.

With a foundation in biochemistry, evolution and genetics, our Biomolecular Science programme starts broadly and introduces options to specialise at levels five and six. At level 4 you will study the fundamental aspects of biochemistry, its chemical underpinnings, microbiology and the diversity of living organisms as well as the importance of evolution and genetics.

At level 5, you will deepen your knowledge of molecular biology, animal and plant genetics and the chemistry of natural products while further developing experimental and analytical skills. You will also have the option to study aspects of animal or plant disease, further your chemistry knowledge or undertake a work placement.

At level 6, you will develop advanced skills in bioinformatics analysis, investigate the processes of drug discovery and development and undertake a piece of novel research in collaboration with an industry partner. Optional modules here allow you to further tailor your programme and include immunology and cancer biology or further plant genetics.

“The Biomolecular Science programme gives students a unique opportunity to work with an industrial collaborator in a professional laboratory environment, building confidence and providing invaluable research experience to enhance employability. As part of their honours project, biomolecular science students get to work on industry-generated research questions within our Industry Liaison Lab, based at Discovery Park, an enterprise zone with over 100 companies.”

Dr Lee Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

Core modules

In line with good practice, module content is regularly updated and module titles may on occasion change to reflect updated content in the advances in the field of study.

Year 0 - Foundation Year

Advancing Biology (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to build on material learned in the module ‘Biological concepts’. Elements of genetics and molecular biology are extended and you will be introduced to various facets of the environmental sciences, including ecology and conservation, agricultural science, and pollution science. The module also aims to extend your practical skills within the life sciences.

Advancing Chemistry (20 credits)

This module aims to build on the knowledge acquired in Principles of Chemistry and to explore different fields within the subject of chemistry (physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and environmental chemistry). The module will also further develop your laboratory skills.

Biological Concepts (20 credits)

This module aims to aims to introduce students to the central principles of biology, namely the basic structure, function and variety of living organisms and how they reproduce. It also aims to give students the basic transferable skills needed to understand scientific reasoning and to undertake scientific investigations.

Physical Laws of the Natural World (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the physical concepts that underpin all of science and how physics are studied in the natural sciences. You will develop an understanding of how physical laws are used to describe natural phenomena and how they may be applied to gain a deeper knowledge of particular systems and processes.

Principles of Chemistry (20 credits)

This is an introductory module that aims to develop your familiarity with fundamental chemical concepts such as atomic structure, chemical nomenclature, bonding, stoichiometry and a range of chemical reactions. The module also aims to develop your basic chemistry laboratory skills.

Study Skills (20 credits)

The course aims to give you the basic transferable skills needed to understand and practice scientific reasoning, to undertake scientific investigations and to communicate effectively scientific ideas and outcomes.

Year 1

Biochemistry (20 credits)

This module introduces you to the basic concepts and chemical foundations of biochemistry and cell biology and so develop an understanding of life processes at the molecular level. This module prepares you for further study in more advanced cell and molecular modules later in the programme, whilst the high practical content will help you to develop biochemical laboratory skills.

Chemistry (20 credits)

Life at the molecular level is essentially applied chemistry and this module aims to give you the necessary theoretical and practical background in chemical processes to permit a better appreciation of how life works at the molecular level.

Diversity of Life (20 credits)

This module equips you with a fundamental understanding of the evolutionary relationships between living things, their shared evolutionary history and the physiological and anatomical features that groups of organisms have in common. The module also aims to develop skills in identification of organisms and the use of dichotomous keys.

Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)

This module aims to give students the necessary background in genetics and evolutionary biology, providing broad knowledge of Mendelian genetics and the mechanisms of evolution which are essential for the study of biological and environmental sciences.

Microbiology (20 credits)

A fundamental understanding of genetics and evolutionary biology are essential for the study of biology and this module aims to give you the necessary background in genetics and evolutionary biology, providing a broad knowledge of Mendelian genetics and the mechanisms of evolution.

Science Skills and Introduction to Statistics (20 credits)

Here you will develop the necessary background in science communication, skills and methods essential for the study of biological sciences. This module will also provide the background knowledge required for the Level 5 Data Handling module.

Year 2

Data Handling (20 credits)

Biological experiments can yield enormous amounts of data that must be stored, processed and analysed efficiently and thoroughly. In this module, you will develop the techniques necessary to handle quantitative biological data analysis and introduce the beginnings of bioinformatics. You will also be introduced to the powerful statistical programming language, R, critical to current approaches to handling/analysing data.

Genetics of Animal Breeding (20 credits)

Here you will study the reasons and strategies employed for the genetic improvement of both livestock species and other domesticated animals, taking into consideration the associated ethical implications. As part of this module, you will develop a further understanding of key genetic principles such as Mendelian inheritance, epistasis and codominance and appreciate the various applications of modern genetic techniques such as genome wide association studies, cloning and transgenics.

Genetics of Plant Breeding 1 (20 credits)

The module aims to develop an understanding of basic concepts in plant genetics/breeding and how these fundamental principles could be applied to develop high yielding and more resilient crop plants for the future.

Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (20 credits)

Building upon knowledge gained during the level 4 Genetics and Evolution and Biochemistry modules, this module provides an in depth perspective of the theory, practical and commercial applications of molecular biology. The large practical emphasis of this module permits students to develop a range of fundamental molecular biology techniques which are not only essential for studying biomolecules within a laboratory research setting, but are also highly desirable for future employability.

Natural Product Chemistry (20 credits)

This module aims to introduce you to the chemistry of natural products and the links between molecular structure and properties, establishing connections with the behaviour of these compounds in biological systems. It also allows you to develop valuable techniques in purification and analytical methods that can be used in the isolation and identification of natural compounds.

Year 3

Bioinformatics 1 (20 credits)

Essential to all aspects of biology, bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field where computational methods are applied to better understand biological data. This module aims to give you a systematic understanding of the role of computing in biological research, the fundamentals of molecular biology and to introduce the key concepts and techniques in Bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics 2 (20 credits)

Building upon the fundamental topics in Bioinformatics 1, this module further develops the programming and computational skills to allow you to design and undertake complex analyses of biological data. Central to this is building an understanding and ability to use various industry standard tools and software platforms. The module therefore develops an integrated understanding of various bioinformatic development and analysis tools and of how to build these into analysis pipelines.

Drug Discovery and Development (20 credits)

Here you will gain an understanding of how pharmaceutical companies operate, from the beginnings of the drug discovery process through to the development phase and clinical studies, to critical regulatory approval and the importance of effective marketing of pharmaceutical products.

Honours Project (40 credits)

This module allows you to undertake a piece of commercially/socially relevant research. As a Biomolecular Science Student, you will be working on a research project usually derived from a problem provided by an industrial collaborator. You will carry out this research project at our Industry Liaison Laboratory at Discovery Park. This module aims to give you experience of independent research, analysis and experience of presenting findings in two styles: a written scientific paper and a presented poster to a non-specialist audience.

Likely optional modules

Year 2

Options are subject to availability and may change. The work placement module is offered based on suitable work placement being available and the student being accepted by the employer offering the placement. 

­­Animal Pests and Diseases (20 credits)

This module encourages you to develop the necessary knowledge to enable you to make reasoned arguments on current issues in the field of animal pests, parasites and pathogens. It will develop a holistic view of the relationship between pests, parasites and pathogens, their target host species and their environments. It will also cultivate an understanding that human needs and activities can have a profound effect upon the prevalence and evolution of virulence in pests, parasites and pathogens.

Chemistry of the Environment (20 credits)

Here you are introduced to the natural chemical processes underlying aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric environments as well as to the different practical analytical methods that can be used to monitoring these environments.  In addition to becoming familiar with the natural chemical processes in soil, water and air, you will be encouraged to analyse and discuss environmental issues, such as smog, acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion and water pollution.

Plant Pests and Pathogens (20 credits)

Within this module, you will develop an understanding as to how common important plant pests and diseases can affect plant growth and yield, and how you can recognise them in the field. The module also helps develop an ability to analyse and interpret published data through discussions about specific pests and diseases and their control.

Work Placement (20 credits)

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop key skills and experience while working in a commercial environment. You will develop critical reflection skills as you review your own competencies and development requirements.

Year 3

Options are subject to availability and may change.

Current Science Issues (20 credits)

This module aims to develop a wider understanding of how science influences and affects society. You will develop your independent research and analysis skills as you will comment on important science issues.

Genetics of Plant Breeding 2 (20 credits)

The module aims to develop a deeper understanding of concepts in plant genetics/breeding gained from Genetics of Plant Breeding 1 module. In this module, you will learn how linkage maps are used to map QTLs and clone genes of desirable traits. You will develop a good understanding of different methods for breeding cross-pollinated crops. A special emphasis will be placed on hybrids and hybrid seed production. We will explore genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of heterosis and engage students in discussions why molecular basis of heterosis are still elusive. You will also learn about RNAi technology, phenomics and abiotic stress breeding.

Immunology and Cancer Biology (20 credits)

This module aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the biology and genetics of cancer and of the role of the immune system in tumour development in humans and other animals. It will introduce a range of medical techniques used to diagnose cancer including the latest cutting-edge treatments. As part of this module you will participate in discussions on the impact cancer has on people’s lives and how patients are cared for including end of life care.

Students graduating from this programme will use their acquired skills to find employment in molecular-based research companies or use these same skills to progress on to research based Masters and Ph.D. programmes.


Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Transport Students are responsible for transport to and from the CCCU laboratories at Discovery Park, Sandwich a 12.5 mile journey from the North Holmes Road campus.
Travel and Accommodation Travel and accommodation costs for placements payable by the student.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, laboratory practical’s, field trips, visits to employers, seminars, invited speakers and practical workshops. At level 0 and level 4 you typically have 18 contact hours per week.  The emphasis is on developing independent learners and learning by student experimentation and observation. At foundation level (level 0) and level 4 two thirds of each module is delivered as practical experimentation either in laboratories, IT labs or in the field. These sessions are supplemented by lectures, and seminars/workshops in which you feedback from your structured independent study. By level 5 laboratory and field based experimentation is complemented by analysis of published research and by level 6 the emphasis is on learning being driven by student led workshops discussing published research papers. All teaching material is posted on the internal VLE Blackboard. Learning is supplemented at all levels by tutorial sessions with an individual personal tutor and small group seminars (I2 sessions) which are requested by students to address specific topics.  All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.  Your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study.  Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.  Your module director will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class through the VLE blackboard.

For the 40 credit individual study at level 6 you will undertake independent research. You will work under the supervision of a member of the programme team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall workload

Each 20 credit module requires 200 hours of study which comprises of formal contact (lectures, practicals, tutorials, workshops), structured independent learning (prescribed reading and/or online exercises) and independent learning. Each module at foundation level and level 4 has 60 hours of formal contact, supplemented with 40 hours of structured independent learning. As students develop and become more independent formal contact and structured learning reduces to 50 hours of contact and 30 hours of structured independent learning at level 5, and 40 hours of contact and 20 hours of structured independent learning at level 6.

Academic input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

All our core team members hold doctoral qualifications and most hold or are working toward postgraduate teaching qualifications. They are research-active and encourage students to become involved in their research. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.

Assessment is by both coursework and examination. The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each year you will be set formative assignments to go through with your tutor.  There will also be 'formative' assessment within some of the modules.  Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There are also formal or 'summative' assessments.  Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year individual study project.  The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Coursework assessments permit you to develop key scientific and transferable skills and assignments include: scientific lab/log books, written reports, written scientific papers, discursive essays, PowerPoint presentations and poster presentations. There is a maximum of two assessments per 20 credit module studied.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework.  The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework and exams is as follows:

Level 0

75 per cent coursework 25 per cent written exams

Level 4

60 per cent coursework 40 per cent written exams

Level 5

50 per cent coursework 50 per cent written exams

Level 6

65 per cent coursework 35 per cent written exams


You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken

by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the moduleleader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.  We aim to provide you with feedback within 15 working days of hand-in

Students will be able to use research-grade equipment. Parts of this course will be delivered at the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Laboratory based at Discovery Park, a business enterprise zone in Sandwich, Kent.

We have recently launched the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab at Discovery Park, a business enterprise zone based in Sandwich, Kent. There are many companies based on-site, allowing students to experience an industry environment. For those  seeking to work in the field, there are possibilities of undertaking  research in this industry-based environment for a substantial period.

“Venomtech have been very impressed with our partners at Canterbury Christ Church University, this partnership has enabled us to progress projects much faster than we could on our own. This includes being able to generate novel data on the use of our products through student projects, advancing research into new antibiotics and cancer therapies from venoms and increasing the understanding of invertebrate welfare. Generation of this proof of concept data has, and continues to have, a positive influence with our potential customers and therefore our business. I also impart my 10+ years industrial drug discovery experience directly to the students as part of the Drug Discovery and Development module.

As a science employer in the area, Venomtech benefit greatly from being directly involved in the curriculum to make sure the new graduates have the skills useful to employers. This includes an understanding of applied drug discovery that will make CCCU graduates stand out from others in job interviews.”

Steve Trim, CEO of Venomtech


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • C701 Biomolecular Science with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time

    7 years part-time (with full-time Foundation Year)

    Professional placement option


  • September 2020

Entry requirements

  • For entry onto the 4 year full-time programme (7 year part-time/level 0 full-time only) candidates should hold a GCSE in English language grade C or above.



Last edited 06/09/2019 08:49:00

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Last edited: 06/09/2019 08:49:00