Bachelor's Degree ProgrammeBSc Biochemistry

Biochemistry pursues the goal of researching and describing the molecular structures and chemical processes at all organisational levels of living organisms. The foundations are the views, knowledge and methods of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry as well as molecular biology.

The Subject

Aspects of biochemistry are, for example, the structure, biosynthesis and function of proteins and nucleic acids, metabolism and its regulation, the mechanisms of enzymatic catalysis, the structure and mode of action of molecular machines for cell transport and movement, the composition, properties and function of membranes, and the mechanisms of cellular energy conversion and biological signaling processes.

Biochemistry thus determines the fundamentals of research in many areas of biosciences, including their applied disciplines, and is increasingly initiating research projects in basic chemical research.

Training Objective

The study programme is part of a research-oriented Bachelor/Master degree programme. In the Bachelor's programme, the scientific and methodological basics are taught that establish an initial basic scientific qualification of the students in biochemical professional fields and lay the foundation for independent further education and professional orientation.

In particular, the bachelor's programme is intended to prepare students for the consecutive master's programme in biochemistry or for further qualification in related subjects. To this end, the programme first lays a broad foundation in the basic subjects of chemistry and acquires knowledge of mathematics and physics which is indispensable for biochemistry. Building on this, comprehensive theoretical knowledge, methods and practical skills are taught in the disciplines of biochemistry, which are supplemented by an introduction to current topics in biochemical research. One focus of the training is to introduce students to the practice of the biochemical laboratory at an early stage and, to this end, to provide them with the knowledge and skills to work independently in a research team.

Course Structure

The Bachelor programme in Biochemistry is designed for an interdisciplinary six-semester course of study, which is completed with degree in Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.). The study programme is divided into modules, in each of which a subject area is taught thematically and chronologically in courses (lectures, seminars, exercises, laboratory practicals) and concluded with an examination. Credit points are awarded for successfully completed modules and a total of 180 credit points must be acquired by the time the degree is awarded.

The focus of the first study period is a thorough training in the basic subjects of chemistry, which is carried out by the institutes of Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry. The basic chemistry modules are completed together with both biochemistry and chemistry students. In the third semester, biochemistry students start with a programme of consecutive courses organised by the Biochemistry Centre (BZH), the Centre for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) and the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS Heidelberg).

The advanced courses include above all a six-week biochemical research internship, which can be completed either in a laboratory of the above-mentioned institutes and centres of the university or in neighbouring scientific institutions in Heidelberg such as the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (MPImF) or the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

The programme is usually completed in the sixth semester with an examination and an eight-week long Bachelor's thesis with a biochemical topic in the research laboratory of a university lecturer who is involved in the teaching programme of the study programme.

The modularisation of the study programme is also intended to promote student mobility. The fifth semester is recommended for a semester abroad, which should be designed in consultation with the Dean of Studies of the Biochemistry teaching unit.

The Bachelor's programme in Biochemistry is offered in close cooperation with the Faculty of Chemistry and Geosciences.