Honour School of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

A

  • 1. The subject of the Honour School of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry shall be the study of Molecular and Cellular aspects of the structure and behaviour of biological molecules.

  • 2. No candidate shall be admitted to examination in this school unless he or she has either passed or been exempted from the First Public Examination.

  • 3. The examination in this school shall be under the supervision of the Medical Sciences Board, which shall prescribe the necessary regulations.

  • 4. The examination in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry shall consist of two parts: Part I and Part II.

  • 5. No candidate may present him or herself for examination in Part II unless he or she has been adjudged worthy of Honours by the examiners in Part I.

  • 6. A candidate will not be classified for Honours until he or she has completed all parts of the examination and has been adjudged worthy of Honours by the examiners in Part I and Part II of the examination [For students starting before MT 2016: in consecutive years]. The examiners shall give due consideration to the performance in all parts of the respective examinations.

  • 7. A candidate who obtains only a pass, or fails to satisfy the examiners, may enter again for Part I of the examination on one, but no more than one, subsequent occasion. Part II shall be entered on one occasion only.

  • 8. A candidate adjudged worthy of Honours in Part I and Part II may supplicate for the Degree of Master of Biochemistry, provided he or she has fulfilled all the conditions for admission to a degree of the University.

  • 9. A candidate who passes Part I or who is adjudged worthy of Honours in Part I of the examination, but who does not enter Part II of the examination, or who fails to obtain honours in Part II, may be allowed to supplicate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (pass or unclassified Honours as appropriate), provided he or she has fulfilled all the conditions for admission to a degree of the University; but such a candidate may not later enter or re-enter Part II or supplicate for the degree of Master of Biochemistry.

  • 10. Candidates will be expected to show knowledge based on practical work. The examination shall be partly practical: this requirement shall normally be satisfied by the examiners' assessment of the practical work done by candidates during their course of study.

B

  • 1. The examiners will permit the use of any hand-held calculator subject to the conditions set out under the heading ‘Use of calculators in examinations’ in the Regulations for the Conduct of University Examinations.

  • 2. Supplementary Subjects

    • (a) Candidates may, in addition to any one or more of the below-mentioned subjects, offer themselves for examination in one or more Supplementary Subjects.

    • (b) Candidates for Supplementary Subjects may offer themselves for examination in the academic year preceding that in which they take the Final Honour School; they may also offer themselves for examination in the year in which they take the Final Honour School, Part I or Part II. No more than one Supplementary Subject may be offered in any one year.

    • (c) The Supplementary Subjects available in any year will be published, together with the term in which each subject will be examined, in the University Gazette not later than the end of the Trinity Term of the academic year prior to delivery of the courses. Regulations governing the use of calculators in individual Supplementary Subjects will be notified when the availability of these subjects is published in the Gazette.

    • (d) In determining the place of candidates in the Class List the examiners shall take account of good performance in any Supplementary Subjects which have been offered.

    • (e) Candidates awarded a pass in a Supplementary Subject examination may not retake the same Supplementary Subject examination.

PART I

Six written papers will be set:

  • Paper I Structure and Function of Macromolecules;

  • Paper II Energetics and Metabolic Processes;

  • Paper III Genetics and Molecular Biology;

  • Paper IV Cell Biology and the Integration of Function;

  • Paper V General Paper;

  • Paper VI Data Analysis and Interpretation.

Candidates will be required to show knowledge of the fundamental biochemistry of animals, plants, and micro-organisms. This will include the chemical and physical basis of the subject, its relevance to living systems; structure, function, and metabolism of viruses, cells and subcellular components, organs and organisms; biochemical aspects of nutrition, differentiation, genetics, absorption, secretion, biosynthesis, and maintenance of a dynamic state. In the general paper, candidates will be expected to bring together a knowledge of these disparate areas of Biochemistry. The data analysis and interpretation paper will consist of questions designed to examine candidates' skills in data handling and the interpretation of experimental data; relevant tables and formulae will be supplied.

Except with the express permission of the Head of the Department of Biochemistry, no one shall be admitted to the Final Honour School of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry course of practical work and exercises in biochemical reasoning who has not passed, or been exempted from, the First Public Examination.

The Director of Teaching, or a deputy, shall make available to the examiners records showing the extent to which each candidate has adequately pursued a course of laboratory work and exercises in biochemical reasoning. In assessing the record of practical work and exercises in data handling, the examiners shall have regard to the attendance record of the candidates at each and every class provided, and to the marks recorded for each and every class provided. Candidates whose overall performance in either the written papers or in practical work and data handling is judged by the examiners to be insufficient to warrant the award of Honours may either be deemed to have failed the examination, or may be awarded a Pass. Candidates in either category will not be allowed to proceed to Part II. The examiners will issue a list of candidates who are allowed to proceed to Part II.

If requested by the examiners, candidates shall submit notebooks containing reports, initialled by the demonstrators, of practical work and exercises in biochemical reasoning completed during their course of study for Part I. These notebooks shall be available to the examiners at any time after the end of the first week of the term in which the examination is held. Each notebook shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by the candidate indicating that the notebook submitted is the candidate's own work.

Candidates may be examined viva voce.

PART II

Part II will consist of project work and assessments based on two options. Each candidate may be examined viva voce on the Part II examination.

Candidates will be required to pursue their investigations during a period of twenty-eight weeks including an extended Michaelmas Term which will begin on the fourth Friday before the stated Full Term and extend until the first Saturday following it, provided that the divisional board shall have power to permit candidates to vary the dates of their residence so long as the overall requirement is met.

Project work: The project will normally be carried out in the extended Michaelmas Term plus the first six weeks in Hilary Term.

Candidates will be required to undertake project work under the supervision of a person approved by the Biochemistry Steering Committee provided that such approval shall be applied for not later than Friday in the second week of Trinity Full Term in the year preceding the Part II examination.

Candidates will be required to present an account of such work in the form of a dissertation (not more than 8,000 words excluding tables, figures, reference list and abstract). Dissertations (two copies) must be legibly typed on one side only of A4 paper and must be held in a stiff cover. An electronic copy (ideally on CD) including this, and only this material, should also be provided. Each dissertation must begin with an abstract of not more than 300 words, which should include a brief statement of the aims of the project and a summary of its important findings. The two typed copies, and the electronic copy, of the dissertation must be submitted by noon on Friday of the first week of the Trinity Full Term of the examination, addressed to the Chair of Examiners in the Final Honour School of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Part II, c/o the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford. Each candidate must submit, together with his or her project, a statement to the effect that the project is the candidate's own work or indicating where the work of others has been used, save that supervisors should give advice on the choice and scope of the project, provide a reading list, and comment on the first draft. This statement must be submitted at the same time as the project in a sealed envelope addressed to the Chair of Examiners. Each project, and the envelope containing the statement, must be clearly labelled with the candidate's number. The name and college of the candidate must not appear on the project or on the envelope. The examiners may obtain a written report on the work of each candidate from the supervisor concerned.

Candidates will be required to present a brief oral report of their research project in the first half of Trinity Full Term, after which the candidate shall be examined viva voce on the project. The form of the presentation to examiners shall be specified in guidelines published by the Department of Biochemistry in Week 8 of Trinity Full Term in the academic year preceding the examination.

No dissertation will be accepted if it has already been submitted, either wholly or substantially, for an Honour School other than Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, or for another degree of this University, or for a degree of any other institution.

Options: Each candidate will undertake and be assessed in two areas of Biochemistry, each selected from options approved by the Biochemistry Steering Committee, and published by the Department of Biochemistry. Two lists, each consisting of[For students starting before MT 2016: three options,] [For students starting from MT 2016: at least two options, ]will be published and one option must be chosen from each list. The lists of options will be posted in the Department of Biochemistry and sent to Senior Tutors of all colleges not later than noon on Friday of the eighth week of Trinity Term in the year preceding that in which the examination is taken.

The form of assessment for each option will consist of at least one, and at most two, of the following:

  • A. an unseen written paper.

  • B. an oral assessment in the second half of Trinity Full Term, involving a presentation and/or questions.

  • C. a submitted assignment, based on course work undertaken during the option.

  • D. an essay, selected from a list of titles provided.

Assessment method B will not be used in isolation; it will always be combined with one of assessment methods A, C or D.

The form of assessment for each Part II option offered in an academic year will be published not later than noon on Friday of the eighth week of Trinity Term in the year preceding that in which the examination is taken, including the duration of unseen written papers and the required length of submitted work. The detailed specifications for each assessment method will be published not later than noon on Friday of the eighth week of Michaelmas Term in the year of the examination. Both the form and the detailed specifications for the assessment of options will have been approved by the Biochemistry Steering Committee, prior to publication by the Department of Biochemistry.

For assessment methods C and D, two hard copies and one electronic copy (ideally on CD) of the work are to be submitted to the Chair of Examiners, Honour School of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Part II, c/o the Examinations Schools, High Street, Oxford by noon on Friday of the seventh week of Trinity Full Term in the year of the examination, together with a statement certifying that the work is the candidate's own work or indicating where the work of others has been used. No work will be accepted if it has already been submitted, either wholly or substantially, for an Honour School other than Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, or for another degree of this University, or for a degree of any other institution.