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Biochemistry: the Molecules of Life

Explore the impact of biochemistry on bioenergy and health, discovering why graduates are in demand; with the Biochemical Society.

42,083 enrolled on this course

Biochemistry: the Molecules of Life
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

What is biochemistry? And why is it so important? With this free online biochemistry course, you can explore the basics of the subject and all it has to offer.

Get an introduction to biochemistry

Biochemistry brings together all of the sciences to study the chemical and physical processes that occur in living organisms. It truly is the science of life.

As a scientific discipline in its own right, biochemistry has a major impact on all areas of the life sciences and biochemists are in high demand among employers.

Explore the principles of biochemistry

This free online biochemistry course will outline the background and history of the field, and its contemporary significance in the life sciences. It’s ideal if you enjoyed biology and chemistry at school, and are thinking about studying or working in biochemistry as a distinct subject.

As you look at various biochemistry topics, you’ll explore how the field brings together the natural sciences to describe the chemical basis of living systems.

Learn with expert biochemists from UEA and beyond Throughout the course, you will learn with a range of staff from UEA’s Schools of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, and find out how biochemistry is underpinning developments in the life sciences at the Norwich Research Park (NRP), and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Explore the potential biochemistry careers

This course will also give you an introduction to some of the biochemistry careers available, looking at jobs and opportunities available to those who study biochemistry.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Biochemistry brings together all of the sciences to study chemical and physical processes that occur in living organisms. Since it focuses on the molecular processes that enable biology, it really is the study of the molecules of life. Recent developments within biochemistry have the potential to develop new forms of bioenergy and deepen our understanding of how natural products may improve our potential for healthy living. This three-week futurelearn course has been developed in collaboration with the biochemical society and will explore how biochemistry impacts on these important topics for society. This course will briefly outline seminal events and scientists from biochemistry, and go on to discuss topics where there will be significant advances in the next twenty to fifty years.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds Join expert biochemists from the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Research Park as they discuss the topic in different formats, ensuring it will be accessible to students who learn in different ways. The material will be particularly useful for students who are considering higher education studies that involve biochemistry but will be accessible to all from age fifteen onwards. This course will show how a training in biochemistry leads to excellent practical abilities problem-solving, literacy and numeracy skills, highlighting that biochemistry graduates are in high demand by employers. After completing this MOOC you will be well prepared to join them.


  • Week 1

    What is biochemistry?

    • Welcome and introduction

      Welcome to "Biochemistry: the Molecules of Life" from the course leaders.

    • Skills from biochemistry

      Examples to illustrate training and literacy and numeracy skills developed during biochemical studies and questions.

    • A brief history of biochemistry

      Seminal experiments, key findings, significant biochemists. What do you think are the most important discoveries?

    • Everyday biochemistry

      Introducing people who can relate biochemistry to everyday life

    • Overview

      Self assessment, summary and planning for next week

  • Week 2

    Connecting biology and chemistry: metabolism and bioenergetics

    • Metabolism and bioenergetics

      Metabolism is central to all cellular life delivering energy for organisms through the fundamental pathways such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

    • Bioenergetics


    • Future developments in bioenergy

      How biochemistry will play a key role in the next 20-50 years.

    • An overview of bioenergetics and bioenergy

      Your opportunity to reflect on the way that biochemists can impact on exciting research into new forms of bioenergy.

  • Week 3

    Connecting biology and chemistry: from natural products to synthetic biology

    • Natural products and healthy living

      Highlighting the range of products used as medicines, particularly those developed from natural sources

    • Future developments: new technologies in the molecular sciences

      Scientific developments in useful natural products

    • Getting involved in biochemistry

      Careers, self assessment and round-up

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss how biochemistry brings together the natural sciences to describe the chemical basis of living systems.
  • Describe events and scientists that have been significant during the historical development of biochemistry.
  • Identify crossover points that exist between biology and chemistry curricula.
  • Evaluate where biochemistry will play a key role in scientific advances in the future.
  • Explore the wide range of jobs and career opportunities that become possible with a training in biochemistry.
  • Summarise seminal experiments that led to significant advances in biochemical knowledge.

Who is the course for?

This course will be of particular interest to 15 to 19 year olds who are studying biology and chemistry, and considering further studies in biochemistry.

No prior formal qualifications are required for this course. With a clear explanation of relevant details, the material will be understandable to all with a basic interest and background knowledge in biology and chemistry.

What do people say about this course?

"Thank you for such an amazing course, it is definitely made me realise that biochemistry is the course that I want to study in the future, this was a massive help!"

"I would really like to thank all the UEA staff involved in providing such an excellent course that I have thoroughly enjoyed and want do more!! I will certainly be telling my students and colleagues about this."

Who will you learn with?

Reader in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. My teaching and research links biochemistry and molecular biology, focusing on DNA structure.

Biophysical chemist in the School of Chemistry at UEA, Norwich, UK. My teaching and research links biochemistry and biophysics, focusing on structure and function of essential membrane proteins

Who developed the course?

UEA (University of East Anglia)

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

Biochemical Society

The Biochemical Society exists to promote excellence in research and education in the field of molecular bioscience and wider life sciences.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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