Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Principles of Protein Structure

The 21st century has been described as 'the century of biology', with advances in molecular biology already making an important contribution to enormous gains in health and quality of life over much of the world; proteins are fundamental to all biology. Structural biology is the science of how the shapes of molecules such as proteins affect their function, and our understanding of it has contributed to the design of drugs against devastating diseases including cancer and AIDS. This postgraduate certificate in the principles of protein structure explores the structures of proteins at different levels, before applying this knowledge to an understanding of their function in health and disease. On successful completion of this course you will: Possess a detailed knowledge of protein structure and the importance of protein structure in molecular biology; develop your understanding of basic bioinformatics and learn to use some fairly simple bioinformatics tools; recognise and understand how complex protein structures are made up from simpler components.

Entry requirements

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.

Course modules

Module: Principles of protein structure (PPS). You will learn: How protein structures are built up; how the structure of proteins contributes to functions that are common to all living things, as well as differences between them; how knowledge of protein structure has led to the development of drugs against diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS; how to use software to manipulate and explore 3D models of protein structure, and to view models of molecules in motion. This programme may be taken as a stand-alone Postgraduate Certificate or as part of our MSc Structural Molecular Biology. The programme has a modular structure, and you gain 60 credits on completion of the Postgraduate Certificate. To gain the MSc Structural Molecular Biology, you must earn 180 credits, part of which will involve independent study towards a dissertation or project.


Qualification Study mode Fee Course duration
PgCert Distance learning £ 2,700 per Academic year (home fees) 1 years
PgCert Distance learning £ 3,825 per Academic year (overseas fees) 1 years
PgCert Distance learning £ 2,700 per Academic year (EU fees) 1 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Distance Learning
Bloomsbury Campus Bloomsbury WC1E 7HX South East

Key information

Department of Biological Sciences
Telephone number: 
020 7079 0798