Molecular Biology


UCAS Code: C440
Typical offer:
Three years


UCAS Code: C449
Typical offer:
Four years

Contact time: At least 17 hours per week, more in level three due to project work

Study topics across molecular bioscience and specialise

Prepare for a wide range of exciting career options

How to apply for this course

Other MBB courses: Biochemistry | Genetics | Microbiology

About the course

The Molecular Biology degree brings together knowledge from across biochemistry, genetics and microbiology, to teach you how chemicals control cells, how those cells develop and vary, and how the smallest organisms function and have an impact on the world around us. You will gain a detailed understanding of how life works at the molecular level and learn ways in which that knowledge can be applied in all sorts of areas. Our staff of world-leading academics will give you an insight into the latest research and developments across the molecular biosciences.

As an MBB student, you have the flexibility to specialise in the areas that most interest you. All of our courses have a common first year so that you can develop an understanding of key areas from across the molecular biosciences, and this means that you can easily switch courses if you find yourself interested in pursuing other areas. In second year the programme is more structured, with core modules to give you a more advanced knowledge of molecular biology, then in third year you will specialise further by taking modules on topics specific to your degree. Click the Module list tab to see the range of options available to you – this includes modules to develop your laboratory and data handling skills, and the third year practical project which gives you hands on experience of research, or areas such as business, journalism and teaching.

The variety this course offers means that our graduates leave us with lots of options open to them. Many of them remain in academia to do their own research and gain PhDs, while others find work in areas of science that include animal and plant biology through biochemistry, genetics and microbiology to molecular medicine. There are also graduates who have found that the transferable skills they gained from their degrees and third year projects have equipped them well for careers in business, journalism, teaching and many other areas.
After your degree

If you decide to do the four year MBiolSci version of this course, you can gain even more laboratory experience and research-related skills
Four year MBiolSci option

Teaching and facilities

Our academic staff includes many world-leading researchers and all of them teach on our undergraduate courses. When you study here, you will learn through a variety of lectures, practical laboratory classes and analysis classes, covering fundamental principles alongside the latest research from this department and the wider scientific community. In addition, you will be assigned a member of staff to be your personal tutor throughout your studies, who can help you with essay writing, presentation skills, calculations, CV writing and careers advice.

As the department has recently undergone a £39m refurbishment, you will learn in a state-of-the-art academic environment. Our facilities include 6,000 square metres of laboratory space which hosts the latest equipment used in structural biology, spectroscopy, genomics and cell biology. Once you have learned core scientific techniques in your first year - handling equipment, designing experiments, interpreting data, group working – you continue to spend time in the labs studying the areas that interest you most.

The third year project is a chance for you to apply your skills to an area you may be considering a career in. Here, you have a range of options:

  • Lab-based research – looking into an area of bioscience that interests you
  • Clinical diagnostics – diagnosis and treatment based on genuine patient data
  • Molecular systems and computing – studying complex data sets
  • Science communication – researching controversy around an area of science
  • Public outreach – working to bring science to a wider audience

This is assessed through a written report, while other modules are assessed through essays and exams, both written and multiple-choice.

You will get more hands-on research experience in your fourth year if you choose to do the MBiolSci course.
Four year MBiolSci option

Modules and structure

Our courses are modular and you can see which modules are offered on this degree programme below. They are taught in a two-semester year, with each semester comprising twelve weeks of teaching plus three weeks of exams. The first semester runs from September until Christmas with exams in January, and the second runs from February until June, with a break for Easter. This year’s timetable is available to download above – Wednesday afternoons are kept free for sports or other extra-curricular activities.

In the first three years you will have around eight hour-long lectures each week. You will also have two three-hour practical classes each week, plus other sessions, in the first two years of your course before undertaking your own practical project in the third year. In addition, you will be a member of a tutorial group with around five other students and will have 11 sessions with your personal tutor in the first year, and nine in the second year, some of which will be one-on-one. Most practical work is done in pairs and there is also some group work.

Below are the current undergraduate modules for this course. As we want to keep our degrees as up-to-date as possible, the modules available when you start your degree might be different.

First year

Core modules


  • One unrestricted module from elsewhere in the University

Second year

Core modules


Two modules chosen from:


  • One unrestricted module from elsewhere in the University

Third year

Core modules


Eight modules chosen from:

Fourth year (MBiolSci only)