BSc in Biochemistry
The interface between Biology and Chemistry is the focus of some of the world’s most fascinating research, and is arguably having the greatest impact on our lives. This is Biochemistry – understanding how cells work at the molecular level.
The Biochemistry major is taught as a collaboration between Chemistry and Biological Sciences.
Biochemistry uses the techniques of Chemistry, Physics and Molecular Biology to probe the mysteries of Biology. It provides basic insight into biological processes such as enzyme action, drug action, genetic engineering, photosynthesis, cancer and heart disease. Some knowledge of Biochemistry is essential for any student majoring in Biological Sciences and many areas of Chemistry.
Our teaching staff have a unique blend of skills and expertise. The result is an exciting undergraduate curriculum and a vibrant research environment.
Biochemistry can lead to careers in a diverse range of fields. Our graduates have been employed in medical science, forensic science, environmental science, food and drink manufacturing, agriculture, technology and teaching.
Within the broad field of Biochemistry, research interests at UC focus on the following key areas:
- Intermediary metabolism: studies of the integration of reactions in living cells; how cells make and use energy; biosynthesis of proteins; DNA and RNA; and cellular control mechanisms
- The molecular basis for biological phenomena: studies of molecular biology; gene expression and control; hormones and physiological phenomena
- The nature of enzyme-catalysed reactions
- Ultrastructure: studies of the coordination of the structure and function of cells, their organelles and their proteins
- The structure of biopolymers: studies of the structure of proteins, DNA, RNA and cell walls
- Applied biochemistry: studies of immobilised enzymes; biochemical engineering and food biochemistry
- Free radical biochemistry
- Enzyme inhibition and drug design
- Natural products chemistry and drug discovery
For a full overview of research, see Chemistry research and Biological Sciences research.
Recent thesis topics in Biochemistry:
- Biochemistry of DNA transport
- Design of novel antimicrobial agents
- Bacteria and the mushroom industry
- Role of the macrophage antioxidant 7,8 dihydroneterin in inflammation
- Characterisation of free radical mediated cell damage
- Testing of dietary antioxidants
- Enzymatic lipid oxidation as a mechanism of heart disease
- Antioxidant levels in marine organisms
- Isolation of bioactive marine natural products
- Therapeutically relevant protease inhibitors
- Origins of metabolism
- Molecular cloning of plant genes and genetic engineering
- Ca2+ and the induction of cell polarity
- Pro-drugs for anti-cancer chemotherapy
- Effect of culture condition on fungal secondary metabolism
- Regulation of pituitary hormone release
- Membrane transport proteins
- The design of new pharmaceuticals
- Protein structure and function
- Bachelor of Science with Honours - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers and a research project.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers.
- Master of Science - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers (part I), followed by a one-year research project (part II), written up as a thesis.
- Doctor of Philosophy - Students complete a three-year research project written up as a thesis. Entry is after successful completion of either BSc(Hons) or an MSc.
For more information on postgraduate study see our department's postgraduate page.
See the degree regulations for the BSc or view details of individual courses below.
100 level courses
- BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (S1)
- BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry  (aka CHEM 112) (S2)
- SCIE 101 Science, Society and Me (S2)
You may also like:
- BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (S2)
- BIOL 113 Diversity of Life (S1)
- BIOL 116 Human Biology (S2)
- HLTH 110 Epidemiology (S1)
- CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes (S1, S2)
- LAWS 101 Legal System: Legal Method & Institutions (W)
- MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics (S1, S2)
- SCIM 101 Science, Maori & Indigenous Knowledge (S2)
- STAT 101 Statistics 1 (or MATH 101) (S1, S2, Su)
200 level courses
- BCHM 202 Foundations in Molecular Biology (aka BIOL 231)
- BCHM 212 Chemical Reactivity
- BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells
- BCHM 253 Cell Biology 1 (aka BIOL 253)
- BCHM 281 Practical Biochemistry
You may also like:
- BCHM 206 Organic Chemistry (S2)
- BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis (S1)
- BIOL 210 Vertebrate Biology (S2)
- BIOL 213 Microbiology & Genetics (S2)
- BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology (S1)
- BIOL 254 Principles of Plant Physiology (S2)
- CHEM 211 Molecules (S1)
- PSYC 206 Research Design and Statistics (S1)
300 level courses
- BCHM 305 Protein Science (S1)
- BCHM 306 Biochemical Pathology (S2)
- BCHM 338 Chemical Biology (S1)
- BCHM 339 Bioinorganic & Bioorganic Chemistry (S2)
- BCHM 381 Biochemical Techniques (S2) 
You may also like:
- BIOL 333 Molecular Genetics (S1)
- BIOL 334 Evolutionary Genetics & Genomics (S2)
- BIOL 351 Cell Biology 2 (S2)
- BIOL 352 Plant Development and Biotechnology (S1)
- BIOL 335 Organometallic Chemistry & Catalysis (S2)
- CHEM 337 Organic Synthesis (S2)
- CHEM 340 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology (S1)
- PSYC 333 Biological Psychology (S1)
- SCIE 303 Internship (Su)