Birkbeck, University of London

Course Introduction

Our modular distance learning programme provides you with a grounding in the structure of proteins, and the main techniques that are used to study protein structure. Structural biology allows you to understand how macromolecules work at the atomic level of detail. This is important, particularly in designing drugs which act at the molecular level to affect macromolecules. Increasingly, research uses a range of complementary biophysical and structural techniques to study protein'protein interactions. This requires that researchers have some understanding of what all these techniques can achieve. This programme is designed to give the theoretical background required to use this range of methods.

Course Modules

Students must successfully complete modules worth 180 credits (including 60 credits earned through project modules); the programme consists of 3 postgraduate certificate programmes (worth 60 credits each); students may choose which 2 modules students wish to study, but suggest students study principles of protein structure first; principles of protein structure: introduces the structure of proteins and how that structure is related to both a protein's sequence and its function; techniques in structural molecular biology: gives a wide overview of the theoretical background of all the techniques commonly used in structural biology research; these include protein expression, purification and crystallisation, protein bioinformatics, x'ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron microscopy; protein crystallography: a specialist course for students who are following, or who intend to follow, a career in this area; it is mainly non'mathematical and designed for the biologically'oriented crystallographer (or potential crystallographer). Students complete a computer'based exercise in solving a structure using the molecular replacement method; the projects consist of 30'credit dissertations tied to each of the modules chosen; they are based on literature analysis and use of web resources; due to the distance learning element there are no wet practicals on this course. If students are interested in further research, offer an MPhil/PhD in biology.

Course Additional Entry

Degree in science, computing or mathematics, or equivalent qualification, or relevant work experience. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub'tests.

Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees
2 years
Distance Learning
MSc (Postgraduate) £5,750  Academic year. First year overseas fees
2 years
Distance Learning
MSc (Postgraduate) £3,975  Academic year. First year home fees