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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered byDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Course coordinatorDr Alfons Lawen (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)


Biochemistry deals with the chemical components and genetic material of living cells in order to understand the molecular events that underlie all biological processes. These are important in human and animal biology, medicine, agriculture, forensic science and biotechnology. Biochemistry opens up our understanding of the causes of disease and provides the basis of the development of effective treatments.


On completion of the sequence in biochemistry students will:

  • have a broad understanding of the biomolecules, machinery and information flow within living cells, and an appreciation of how these underpin all biological processes, in both normal and diseased states
  • have developed a deep understanding of key facets of modern biochemistry including: proteins and structural biology; bioinformatics; advanced molecular biology; signal transduction and its role in diseases such as cancer; cell organisation and the roles of organelles in health and disease
  • be proficient in core biochemical laboratory techniques, understanding both the principles and applications of these methods within the molecular biosciences
  • be able to critically evaluate scientific data and literature
  • be familiar with the nature and scope of the scientific literature in biochemistry and related areas, using both the library and electronic resources to seek scientific information
  • have well-developed skills in the communication of scientific information and ideas, using a variety of approaches including written reports, oral presentations, and posters
  • be prepared for further learning or training in biochemistry or related areas, such as honours studies with a research focus
  • be suitable for employment in occupations and organisations that include research, teaching, the biotechnology industry, diagnostic and analytical laboratories, biomedical sales and marketing, legal and commercial firms, media and government bodies.


Level two

  • BCH2011 Structure and function of cellular biomolecules
  • BCH2022 Metabolic basis of human diseases

Level three

  • BCH3021 Cell organisation: Organelle structure and function in health and disease
  • BCH3031 Advanced molecular biology: Modern concepts and applications
  • BCH3042 Cell signal transduction: Role in cancer and human disease
  • BCH3052 Protein biology: From sequence to structure and disease
  • BCH3990 Action in biochemistry research project

Sequence requirements


Minor sequence in biochemistry (24 points)

VCE Chemistry or at least a level-one unit in chemistry is recommended for level-two units.

Major sequence in biochemistry (48 points)

Biochemistry and molecular biology

Major sequence in biochemistry and molecular biology (48 points)

Double major sequence in biochemistry and molecular biology (72 points)

Details of the MIC units and sequences are described in the 'microbiology' entry in this section of the Handbook.


Minor sequence in bioinformatics (24 points)

Details of the MOL units and sequences are described in the 'molecular biology' entry in this section of the Handbook.


Level two

Biochemistry and molecular biology are first offered as units at level two. For students who wish to complete a minor or major sequence in biochemistry and molecular biology the level-two unit combinations BCH2011 and BCH2022, together with MOL2011 and MOL2022 are highly recommended.

Level three

Students who have completed BCH2011/BCH2022 and MOL2011/MOL2022 will have gained a firm foundation for studying any combination of the following 6-point units: BCH3021 and BCH3031 in first semester, and BCH3042 and BCH3052 in second semester, in addition to BCH3990 (either semester). Completion of at least four 6-point BCH units at level three offers maximum flexibility in choice for future studies in biochemistry. Students should discuss their interests and career plans with level-three unit coordinators to facilitate a choice of units that best suits their interests.


Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in the course entry in this Handbook for the course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.