University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Study in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is taught within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Students who complete a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will gain a thorough understanding of the chemistry of life and the molecules that regulate living processes, with an emphasis on how these molecules pass information and energy within and between cells, and from generation to generation, and how these processes impact form and function. This major is ideally suited for students who wish to study fundamental molecular processes that underlie normal physiology and disease in all kingdoms of life.

Requirements for completion

A major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 18 credit points of 3000-level core units with project unit
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

A minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1 or 2

Core: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A

Core: BIOL1007 From Molecules to Ecosystems


Semester 1

Core: BCMB2X01 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

(MEDS2003 only available to students in the medical science stream.)

Semester 2

Core: BCMB2X02 Proteins in Cells


Semester 1

Core: BCHM3X81 Mol Biology and Biochemistry-


Core: BCHM3X71 Molecular Biology Biochemistry-Genes

Semester 1 or 2

Core: BCMB3001 Project

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major Finish

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9036 5417

Room 435, Molecular Bioscience Building G08
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Professor Jacqui Matthews
T +61 2 9351 6025
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic chemical and physical principles governing the structure and function of biomolecules.
  2. Understand how molecules regulate living processes.
  3. Appreciate the relationships between biomolecules, cells and tissues in health and disease
  4. Design a scientific experimental plan, including: development of hypotheses an aims, identification of controls, and choice of relevant measurable outcomes.
  5. Understand the principles underlying and the applications of current techniques and model systems commonly used in biochemistry and molecular biology.
  6. Acquire the technical expertise to use those techniques and carry out laboratory-based experiments in the molecular life sciences.
  7. Collate, analyse and critically interpret data.
  8. Carry out comprehensive literature searches and write a scientific review.
  9. Critically evaluate the literature, ranging from popular science journalism to more in-depth research articles.
  10. Solve biological, agricultural and medical problems using a molecular approach.
  11. Communicate to the wider community the implications and impacts of the ever increasing number of breakthroughs and discoveries in the life and medical sciences that impact on modern life.
  12. Appreciate ethics (from scientific record keeping and reporting to bioethics) and issues associated with safe working conditions (safe working procedures, risk assessments, evaluation of chemical safety).