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Postgraduate Programmes

BMedSc(Hons) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS4000W)

MSc (Med) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS5000W)

PhD (Med) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS6000W)


Career opportunities

BMedSc(Hons), MSc and PhD graduates will have an excellent background in biomedical and biological disciplines for careers in academia (Universities, Research Councils and Technikons), research and development in biotechnological, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries and for careers in technical support and marketing in the commercial sectors.


BMedSc(Hons) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS4000W)

This is a postgraduate training programme aimed at introducing students to an academic or research career in medical biochemistry, molecular medicine, structural biology, proteomics and genomics for academic, research, professional scientific and service careers in biomedical and biotechnology fields. It is a good entry into a variety of Masters and PhD programmes.

Programme Convenor: Assoc Prof Virna Leaner
Tel: 021 406 6250

Admission requirements: 
A BSc or equivalent degree with a major in any of the biological, biochemical or molecular sciences, or chemistry, or an MBChB degree.

Programme outline:
This programme is aimed at introducing students to an academic or research career in medical biochemistry and molecular medicine/biology in broad terms. It aims to prepare students for relevant Masters and PhD programmes and career directions in professional scientific research and service careers in biomedical and biotechnology fields.

The programme consists of two general modules, four programme modules and a research project. The academic year begins with an intensive seven-week laboratory techniques course, which is a practical module aimed at teaching students basic and more advanced molecular and biochemical techniques, applied bioinformatics, as well as applied statistics. Students also attend a scientific communication module that runs throughout the academic year and trains them in scientific writing and comprehension. In addition, students need to attend four programme modules. Each module covers a specific field and generally runs over a three-week period. Students are assessed during each module and there is an examination at the end of the first semester. Three modules should be in the Medical Biochemistry programme module list and one more module from any of the following honours programmes: Applied Anatomy/Biological Anthropology, Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, Exercise Science, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases & Immunology and Physiology. The research project begins in April and ends in October. Students choose their research project from a variety of projects on offer by researchers within the Division of Medical Biochemistry and other associated researchers and laboratories (such as the IDM, ICGEB, EMU and CPGR). During that period, students become integrated into research groups and participate in weekly research discussions and seminars. Towards the end of the year students are required to write and present a research project report and a sit a final examination.

Evaluation is based on performance in the research project, in coursework and in examinations. The final mark is made up as follows:

Mark: % contribution to final
Laboratory techniques - test and exam 15%
Scientific Communication 10%
Programme Modules (interim tests/evaluations) 14%
Programme Modules (final examinations) 16%
Research Project 35%
Oral Presentation of Research Project 5%
Final Comprehension Examination



MSc and PhD Programmes

MSc (Med) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS5000W)
PhD (Med) in Medical Biochemistry (IBS6000W)

MSc and PhD Programmes are by dissertation only and students need to be accepted by a potential supervisor in the Division. The Division of Medical Biochemistry has a very active Postgraduate programme and the students enrolled in this programme make a major contribution to the vibrancy and spirit of innovation to the research carried out in our Division. The students are supervised by senior researchers in the Division and the topics for postgraduate research cover a wide range of fields (see Research). Students participate in a regular programme of seminars and journal clubs. An MSc is typically completed within two years but students may upgrade to a PhD in their second year if good progress in their research project has been made and if their supervisor supports their request. A PhD is typically completed in four years.


Bursaries and Scholarships

Bursaries for students registered on BMedSc(Hons), MSc and PhD programmes in the Division of Medical Biochemistry are available from the NRF and UCT. In addition, the Division of Medical Biochemistry facilitates bursary funding, which from time-to-time is available through the research grants of the academic staff and/or researchers.

Application forms and further information are available from the Postgraduate Funding Office at the Graduate Centre, Otto Beit Building, Upper Campus
Tel: 021 650 3926

Students wishing to register for a BMedSc(Hons) should do so as soon as possible, since applications for bursaries for the coming academic year close in the middle of November of each year.