Biochemistry is the study of how living organisms work at the molecular level. It is an interdisciplinary major, incorporating principles of chemistry, biology and physics. It looks at the structure, function and interactions of biological molecules, the nature of genetic material and control of its expression, and leads to an understanding of the molecular structure of living things. One of the most stimulating and positive aspects of biochemistry is its increasing interaction with medicine.

The honours year

Honours in biochemistry is the perfect way to find out whether you have the aptitude for a career in research. Through the honours course you will focus on the intellectual and practical challenges of a laboratory research project in a specialised area of biochemistry, by conducting a research project under the supervision of a member of our academic staff, culminating in the presentation of a thesis.

Areas of biochemistry in which you might get involved in honours research include proteomics, structural and physical biochemistry, metabolic and medical biochemistry and human nutrition and dietetics.

The honours course runs from early February until mid-November. During the year you are required to undertake a coursework that involves six tutorials and an exam based on the critical evaluation of scientific manuscripts.

Workload and assessment

In the honours year in biochemistry, you will complete a research thesis, present a final seminar and undertake research skills training.

The research thesis (60 per cent of assessment) is expected to be approximately 50 pages in length, or around 12,000 words. You will also undertake a short (20-30 minutes) oral examination to defend your research.

You will present a seminar of approximately 20 minutes (15 per cent) describing the aims of your project, the results you have obtained and to place the significance of the results in the context of the published literature.

Finally, you will undertake the research skills training task (25 per cent), which consists of 6 x 2 hour tutorials run by the Honours Committee in small groups of 6-10 students, usually aligned with the school discipline. In these tutorials, each student will be assigned a scientific paper and will run a discussion amongst the group on the qualities of that manuscript. You will be assessed on your presentation as well as your participation in the group discussions. In the final examination, you would generally receive a scientific paper and will be required to write an appraisal of that paper, highlighting your opinions of the research described.

Honours projects

Honours research opportunities are available to you as part of larger academic projects being undertaken by our academic staff. Some of the specific research topics currently offered include: anticancer drugs; biochemistry of cellular signal transduction; the causes of diabetes and/or obesity; chaperones and amyloid formation; and x-ray crystallography of proteins and drug DNA complexes.

More information about honours projects in biochemistry:

Related subject areas

Medicinal Chemistry

Our courses that offer this honours subject area