Biochemists and molecular biologists are interested in the molecular functions of all living organisms, from the smallest bacterium to the largest whale.

Introduction

What are proteins? How do they function in a cell? How is their expression controlled? How do hormones work? What goes wrong in a cancer cell? These are just some of the questions that biochemists and molecular biologists ask.

Five reasons to study biochemistry and molecular biology

  1. Biochemistry and molecular biology allow us to understand how the natural world works. These disciplines of science give us insights into the mechanisms of evolution, growth, development, reproduction, disease, and senescence.
  2. Studying biochemistry and molecular biology trains us to think logically, critically and quantitatively. We learn to evaluate statements made in the scientific literature, as well as in non-science areas, based on evidence, not anecdotes. These tools are highly desired by employers in all employment sectors.
  3. Biochemistry and molecular biology offer humankind the tools to improve our quality of life - this may be through the development of a novel drug, the generation of a drought resistant crop plant, or the understanding of what controls an individual's health.
  4. Studying biochemistry and molecular biology is empowering. Being able to make connections between the molecular mechanisms driving a process and the outcomes of those mechanisms on the physiology and/or behaviour of an organism permits a holistic understanding of biological organisation and function; from the molecules to cells, tissues, organs and entire organism. This breadth of knowledge is essential to future discoveries and innovations in all areas of biology, biotechnology, and medicine.
  5. Studying biochemistry and molecular biology is exciting, and becomes even more so beyond the BSc when opportunities exist for novel and innovative research. There is nothing as thrilling as seeing a novel result and realising how it extends our knowledge of a bigger biological picture!

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Course description, features and facilities

Biochemists and molecular biologists are interested in the molecular functions of all living organisms, from the smallest bacterium to the largest whale. In this major, you will study the way molecules are organised and how they interact to achieve the functions of the living cell and that of the organism. Your investigations will cover three main areas: the information stored in DNA; molecular interactions; and how organisms gain and use energy.

To complement your lectures from renowned experts in their various fields, you will have the chance to discuss, apply and expand on the theory of your unit in weekly practical laboratory classes and structured tutorials.

The discipline of Biochemistry within the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry has access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for teaching and research in the areas of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, proteomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics. The academic staff of the discipline, together with the Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, have research expertise in all of these areas. At third year level in particular, students are directly taught in the laboratory practicals by academic staff members. One of the strengths of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major at UWA is the high level of practical laboratory training, coupled with theoretical material presented by experts in each subject.

Visit the Science website for further information on careers in science, graduate profiles, scholarships and the benefits of choosing science at UWA.


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Student profile – Luke Smithers

Studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has given me an in-depth understanding of the workings of living organisms from all areas of life at the molecular level. This theoretical knowledge is nicely balanced with a practical component in each core unit, developing critical laboratory techniques and methods used in the discipline.

In my third year, I and many other students in my year took on the opportunity to use the skills we had learnt to work in one of the laboratories over the holidays. This provided me with experience conducting research relevant to modern medical struggles.

In addition to this, the intense practical component allows you to work together with other like-minded people meaning I have gained many close friends along the way.

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Structure

UWA's streamlined course structure allows you to pursue studies in a wide range of areas and to take one or two majors in your degree. Your second major can be from a similar field to your first (degree-specific) major, or from a different area or degree entirely.

As well as the units specified in your major, you will study broadening units outside your main area of study and may be able to take a number of elective subjects as well.

You can explore the structure of this major in detail in the University Handbooks.

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Career opportunities

Exciting careers await

Graduates may find a career in a range of areas including research institutes, universities, CSIRO, hospitals, the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical industry, general and scientific sales, the food manufacturing industry, government and advisory services, biotechnology industry, teaching in schools and universities as well as diagnostic services in medicine and agriculture.

What a past student is doing now

Ferrer Ong from Singapore, Research Scientist at Phyologica (Telethon Kids Institute)

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Further study opportunities

With a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, you can pursue further studies at honours or postgraduate level.

Options include the:

  • Master of Infectious Diseases
  • Master of Pharmacy
  • Master of Science Communication
  • Master of Biotechnology
  • Master of Biomedical Science
  • Master of Health Science

Find out more about the Master of Biotechnology

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Check the Entrance requirements

This course is available to Australian and international students.

On this page

  1. Prerequisites and minimum scores
  2. Additional information
  3. Recommended subjects
  4. English competency
  5. Advanced standing

Prerequisites and minimum scores

Qualification and prerequisite subjectsCourse entry score
Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) 2014-15
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in at least WACE Mathematics 2C/2D
80
Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) 2016 onwards
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in Mathematics Applications ATAR
80
International Baccalaureate
  • A score of 4 or above in SL or HL Mathematics (at least Mathematical Studies)
29

Additional information

If you do not have a scaled mark of at least 50 in Mathematics: Applications ATAR or higher, you will need to successfully complete additional Mathematics units during your first year.

If you do not have a pass in Chemistry ATAR, you will need to do an introductory chemistry unit during your first year.

If you do not have a pass in Biology ATAR, you will need to do an introductory biology unit during your first year.

Please note: to complete this major within the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) will require a minimum ATAR of 98 (or equivalent).

Recommended subjects

Qualification and recommended subjects
Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) 2014-15
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in WACE Mathematics: Specialist 3A/3B
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in WACE Chemistry 3A/3B
Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) 2016 onwards
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in Mathematics Methods ATAR
  • A scaled score of 50 or above in Chemistry ATAR
International Baccalaureate
  • A score of 4 or above in SL or HL Mathematics (at least Mathematical Methods)
  • A score of 4 or above in HL Chemistry

English competency

University study demands strong English language competency. To be eligible for admission to an undergraduate program at UWA, you must demonstrate satisfactory performance in a UWA-approved test of English. This is the case even if English is your first language.

The minimum requirement is a scaled score of 50 or more in WACE English, Literature or English as an Additional Language/Dialect achieved at Stage 2 or Stage 3 – or an equivalent level of achievement in an interstate or international qualification.

Advanced standing

If you have undertaken prior tertiary study within the last five years, you may be eligible for advanced standing (credit and/or exemption).

Applications for advanced standing are assessed upon acceptance of any offer of admission made by the University.

How to apply

This course is available to Australian and international students.

On this page

  1. How to apply
  2. Semester one entry
  3. Semester two entry
  4. Fees
  5. Information for…
  6. Contact us

How to apply

We have two intakes of undergraduate students each year: Semester One (commencing in late February) and Semester Two (commencing in late July/early August).

Semester one entry

Australian citizens or permanent residents, including humanitarian visa holders, and New Zealand citizens apply online via the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC).

Applications open mid-August, with the on-time deadline in late September the year prior. Submissions are available after this date, but a late fee applies

Refer to the TISC website or contact Future Students for further details.

Semester two entry

Apply through the University's Online Application System (OASys) for mid-year entry to a range of courses at UWA.

Applications generally open early May and close in late June.

Contact Future Students for advice.

Fees

As some units vary in cost, the actual student fee will depend on the mix of units you choose. The domestic student fees page has further details.

Information for

Contact us

Future Students

Telephone
(+61 8) 6488 3939
Enquire on-line
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Frequently Asked Questions
Address
First Floor, Ken and Julie Michael Building
7 Fairway (corner Cooper Street)
Crawley, Perth
Western Australia 6009
Location
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Normal opening hours
Monday – Friday, 8.30am–5pm (Western Standard Time)

Note: If you have already submitted an application, contact Admissions.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: the details

Status
Available 2017
Locations offered
Crawley, Albany (selected Level 1 units)
Attendance types
Part-time, Full-time
Delivery mode
Internal
Starting dates
Semester 1, Semester 2
Weekly first year time commitment
16-25 hours teaching time, plus your own study time
Standard full-time completion
3 years (BSc), 4 years (BPhil(Hons))
Maximum time to complete
10 years
Degrees (available in)
This major is available in:Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)All majors (except Economics and Biomedical Science double majors, Architecture, Specialist Music Studies and Science Communication) can also be taken as second majors in any of our undergraduate degrees
Honours available
Yes
Contact details: course information
Faculty of Science
Science Student Office Agriculture Central building, Crawley campus
Ask UWA
(+61 8) 6488 733
Additional information