Biochemistry is the study of the molecular basis of life.

Biochemists seek to understand the fundamental processes which occur in all living organisms, from the mechanisms of DNA replication and repair, to the coordination of an immune response against a pathogen. Through advances in molecular medicine and biotechnology, the subject has begun to make a considerable impact on everyday life and the Oxford biochemistry course is constantly evolving to match the pace of research. Over the past few years, a significant proportion of Somerville undergraduates have continued to graduate study in biochemistry or related disciplines, whilst others have embarked successfully on careers in commerce, finance and law.

Biochemistry is the subject for you if you want to know how life works at the molecular level. It is a broad, four year-long course, covering a variety of subjects needed to equip you to be an outstanding biochemist, and leading to the award of an MBiochem masters degree. The course begins with a study of the physical and organic chemistry of living systems and has a significant mathematical component. The first years typically receive ten lectures and two tutorials each week and attend practical classes organised by the Biochemistry Department.

The second and third years of the course explore the biochemistry of living systems and include detailed study of genetics, immunology and developmental biology. Students are introduced to a variety of experimental techniques and are encouraged to read original research publications. A core component of the undergraduate course is the twenty-week lab-based project undertaken by all fourth year undergraduates. A significant proportion of fourth year students have been able to publish the results of their research in academic journals and to present their findings at international conferences, and some students do their research projects in Europe or at Princeton through exchange schemes.

Somerville College admits four undergraduates to read biochemistry each year. Candidates must study chemistry to A level standard alongside two further A levels (which must include at least one of biology, physics or mathematics). In particular we recommend that students study mathematics beyond GCSE level, although this need not be for examination. We also welcome prospective students applying for graduate research courses.

Whats going on at Somerville

11th August 2017

Somerville Physics finalists find success through teamwork

Somerville’s Physics finalists have performed exceptionally well this year. The group of five students achieved four firsts and one upper second and their rankings ranged from first to 13th out of the 88-strong Oxford Physics cohort.

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13th July 2017

The Oxford Alternotives to perform on BBC One’s Pitch Battle

Two Somerville undergraduates and choral scholars Jamie Powe will be singing with University a capella group The Oxford Alternotives on BBC One’s new Saturday night singing competition, Pitch Battle.

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10th July 2017

Student comedy sketch show heading to the Edinburgh Fringe

Somerville Modern Languages finalist, Rebecca Heitlinger, is taking her comedy sketch show Dates, to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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Whats going on at Somerville

28th October 2017, Somerville College

Literary Luncheon

Somerville Fellow & Tutor in English Literature, Professor Fiona Stafford will discuss her recent publication ‘The Long, Long Life of Trees’. This will be our first college event open to all alumni hosted by our new Principal, Baroness Jan Royall.

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19th October 2017, East India Club

London Group – Jane Austen

Somerville London Group are delighted to host Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, President of the Jane Austen Society, in conversation with Dr Jane Darcy (1973, English) on Jane Austen.

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Saturday 14th October 2017

2007 10 Year Reunion Lunch

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