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COURSE TITLE Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Medical Biochemistry







B.Sc. (Hons) Med. Biochem.(Melit.)

First Cycle

Level 6

3 Years



The course in Medical Biochemistry BSc (Hons) deals with the study of human biology at the molecular level, where biology meets chemistry. Medical Biochemistry is the interface between cellular biology, medicine and chemistry and gives an understanding of how the human body functions, the molecular changes that result in disease and how this knowledge may be applied to the development of therapeutic agents and diagnostic technologies.

This course focuses on the link between scientific knowledge, experimentation and application. The student will develop a strong foundation in processes that determine the functions of the cell and the human body. This includes the chemical, cellular, genetic, metabolic and homeostatic aspects of biochemistry. The student will appreciate the chemical basis of life, the molecular basis of disease and the transition from research to product development with reference to clinical trials. This course has been designed to offer the students an opportunity to learn and discuss, including through practical sessions, current topics in the areas of DNA technology, molecular genetics, protein chemistry, cell-signaling, cancer biology, haematology, immunology, gene therapy, neuroscience, bioinformatics, molecular modelling, drug design, molecular pharmacology, cellular differentiation and embryology, statistical analysis, scientific writing and presentation skills. The student is also provided with the basic skills to set up and market a business venture in the field of bioscience and biotechnology.

This programme is offered as an interfaculty programme of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the Faculty of Science.
LEARNING OUTCOMES The students shall be given the opportunity to develop the following learning outcomes:

a) Subject knowledge and understanding:

The student will have a good understanding of the core areas of chemistry and biochemistry, and will be capable of applying chemical principles to biological systems. In addition, the student will acquire analytical skills that will allow him or her to apply biochemistry to the pharmaceutical/biotechnology context.

The student will gain an understanding of:

1) the chemical and thermodynamic principles underlying biochemical reactions, including biological catalysts and techniques used to investigate them;
2) the bioanalytical techniques and their application to the extraction and characterisation of bioactive molecules;
3) the metabolism of nucleic acids and the technology that developed from this knowledge;
4) the molecular basis of genetics and its role in genetic disorders;
5) the various organelles and cellular structures and their function in physiology and pathophysiology;
6) the molecular basis of cancer and the development of molecular strategies to prevent cellular proliferation;
7) the molecular processes of the nervous system;
8) the biochemical processes involved in cell differentiation;
9) cell metabolism, its control and energy requirements;
10) protein structure and the application of this knowledge to the design of drugs;
11) how to extract information from large databases in the study of OMICS;
12) cellular signalling and its underlying molecular, cellular, physiological and chemical principles.

b) Intellectual development and (c) Key/ transferable skills.

Students will develop as follows:

1) competency in both standard and specialised techniques that are used in life science research;
2) proper handling of laboratory equipment;
3) working safely in a scientific laboratory, with awareness of standard safety protocols;
4) the ability to apply relevant numerical skills, including statistics, to biochemical data;
5) the ability to employ and evaluate suitable experimental methods for the investigation of relevant areas of biochemistry and molecular biology;
6) develop and market a business venture;
7) be skilled in analytical analysis, calculations and problem solving;
8) the ability to search for information from different sources so as to retain and improve one’s scientific knowledge;
9) the ability to communicate the information to others both in the written as well as in oral format;
10) the ability to assess and critically discuss conflicting concepts and principles;
11) the ability to utilise gained knowledge so as to be able to tackle both familiar but also unfamiliar situations;
12) the ability to plan, design, execute and present independent research;
13) the ability to interpret research data and literature through analytical, problem solving and decision making techniques;
14) the ability to interpret, critically evaluate and troubleshoot results;
15) the ability to work both as a member of a team and independently in a laboratory;
16) have practical experience of modern instrumentation and classical techniques;
17) be competent in computer programmes to analyse and present data, to retrieve data from databases and to model three-dimensional structures;
13) the ability to engage in an open discussion of ethical issue arising from current developments in the biosciences.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCESS TO FURTHER STUDY The skills the graduate acquires in applied molecular sciences and independent thinking will prepare him or her for a number of employment opportunities in research and product development in the pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology, medical science and academia.

Graduates of Medical Biochemistry may pursue further postgraduate qualification leading to a Masters of Science in a number of related fields including Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology or a Masters in Biomedical Sciences in areas of Cell therapy and Tissue Banking, Haematology, Molecular Biology and Genetics and Neuroscience. PhD programmes are also available in these areas of science.
COURSE INTENDED FOR This course is intended for students:

who are interested in research and development.
who are interested in working in pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.
working in a laboratory environment.
Applicants must satisfy the General Entry Requirements for admission, namely, the Matriculation Certificate and Secondary Education Certificate passes at Grade 5 or better in Maltese, English Language and Mathematics.

Applicants must also satisfy the following Special Course Requirements:

Two passes at Advanced Matriculation Level at grade C or better in Biology and Chemistry and a pass at Intermediate Matriculation Level in one of the following subjects: Computing or Physics or Pure Mathematics.

Applicants who possess a grade D when the minimum specified grade is C in only one of the required subjects at Advanced Level of the special course requirements indicated above, shall be admitted under those conditions as the Board of Studies may impose to compensate for the qualification deficiency. If, by the end of the first year, such students do not successfully complete all the requirements to progress regularly to the second year of the Course, they shall be required to withdraw from the Course, and shall neither be entitled to repeat the year nor to progress conditionally as normally permitted under the Principal Regulations.

The number of students shall be limited to 20 students.

For the purpose of selection, applicants who fully satisfy the general and the special course requirements by the 31 August preceding the commencement of the course shall be considered first. The selection criteria can be found here.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2017.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.


Last Updated: 21 July 2017
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.

For applicable fees please check the link on the Finance Office webpage.

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