biology student removing goggles in lab
UCAS Code
C100
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2020
Accredited
Yes

Overview

Are you excited by the natural world and want to be on the frontline of tackling issues like fighting disease, protecting endangered species, and combating food and water shortages?

This accredited BSc (Hons) Biology degree course gives you the knowledge and skills to support your interest in living things.

With it, you can build a career in education, research, scientific journalism or the biotechnology and environmental sectors. You'll also be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Society of Biology.

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.

98% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

What you'll experience

On this degree course, you'll:

  • Develop your knowledge and abilities by learning from internationally recognised scientists who are leading the way in their respective fields
  • Cover areas at the forefront of scientific endeavour, including biotechnology, ecology, cell biology and molecular biology
  • Put your knowledge to work in the lab, using world-class equipment and the latest technology
  • Specialise in subjects that interest you most, from marine and terrestrial biology, to molecular genetics
  • Develop problem-solving, communication and numeracy skills alongside technical skills
  • Explore the diversity of local ecosystems and go on field trips to UK and tropical destinations such as Lulworth Cove, Devon and Mexico
  • Have the chance to study abroad on a conservation or research scheme

Equipment you can use includes:

  • molecular biology instrumentation
  • chemical analysis facilities for detecting pollutants
  • fluorescence microscopes, scanning and transmission electron microscopes

Facilities you can use include:

  • microbiology and embryology laboratories with high-tech imaging and gene analysis equipment
  • ancient DNA preparation and analysis laboratories
  • water quality laboratory
  • the European Xenopus Resource Centre
  • research greenhouse

Careers and opportunities

What can you do with a Biology degree?

Completing this BSc (Hons) Biology degree course will open doors to further study and academic research. As a modern biologist, you can also put your degree to work in areas such as:

  • biotechnology
  • the food industry
  • science administration
  • biomedical research
  • environmental consultancy
  • teaching

What jobs can you do with a Biology degree?

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • research scientist
  • science technician
  • grant administrator
  • medical writer
  • biomedical sales specialist
  • ecological surveyor

Our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. We'll support you for up to 5 years after you graduate.

The research facilities are extensive and I've had the chance to meet some incredible staff who are at the cutting edge of their research, which is really fascinating.

Pooja Verma, BSc (Hons) Biology

What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Biology degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules

What you'll do

You’ll explore the diversity of life and how it's classified, using taxonomic groups of organisms as examples to understand core principles.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Outline the mechanisms underlying the process of evolution
  • Recall how biodiversity has evolved over earth’s history
  • Outline the Tree of Life and how phylogenetic relationships can be reconstructed
  • Summarise the characteristics and evolution of archaea, bacteria, fungi, algae and protists
  • Define the evolutionary relationships between and within major metazoan phyla and list their features
  • Summarise the evolution of land plants and list the features of major groups
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and practical classes, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 148 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1-hour set exercise examination (50% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour written examination (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll focus on plants and their role as primary producers on the terrestrial environment. You’ll discuss the environmental impacts and consequences of selected human actions upon key ecological processes.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe and explain the global patterns of the major biomes
  • Describe the fundamental biology of plant growth through primary production and reproduction and identify controlling factors
  • Describe the basic principles of ecology through examples in terrestrial environments
  • Explain the cause and effects of selected human impacts on the natural world and explore possible solutions for key environmental issues
  • Record, summarise and perform basic analysis on field observations
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and seminars, and take part in fieldwork study and guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 137 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1-hour written exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (20% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word portfolio project (30% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll get an introduction to key laboratory equipment and methods, developing skills you'll build on over the course your degree. You'll learn about good laboratory practice (GLP), as well as collect, analyse and interpret data in hands-on experiments.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Use core laboratory practical skills and safety procedures that must be complied with in the lab, as well as identify and implement good laboratory practice (GLP)
  • Understand and use statistical methods including: mean, mode, median, standard deviation, data management, statistics programs, regression correlation, Chi-squared, T-test and ANOVA methods
  • Communicate experimental findings in written form and appropriately place them within the wider context of relevant scientific literature
Teaching activities
  • 14 x 1-hour lectures
  • 33 x 1-hour practical classes/workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 153 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a practical skills assessment (pass/fail)
  • a 1,500-word report (50% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour exam (50% of final exam)

What you'll do

You’ll learn how cells do what they need to do, from a molecular level right through to whole cells, tissues, and organs.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe and explain the origins of eukaryotic cells
  • Describe the biochemistry and cellular function of lipids, nucleic acids and proteins
  • Describe and explain the endomembrane system and its role in the synthesis of secreted protein
  • Describe and understand the basic laboratory techniques used to analyse specialised cells in multicellular eukaryots
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 133 hour studying independently. This is around 

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1-hour written examination (40% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour written examination (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll get comprehensive training of practical skills in microbiology including sound technique and lab practices for the safe handling of category 2 microorganisms. In your lab experience, you’ll develop knowledge of the nutrition and growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses that can be used to culture and control microorganisms.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Define the main types of culture media and identify the main methods of sterilisation and decontamination
  • Use specialist microbiology lab skills such as aseptic technique, gram stain, as well as the  preparation and maintenance of pure cultures
  • Describe and understand microbial diversity, their growth requirements and the different lifestyles of viruses
  • Recall and understand the structure and organisation of genetic material and explain the mechanisms of inheritance
  • Describe and understand the processes of transcription, replication of DNA and translation
  • Recall and understand the control of cellular processes at the molecular level and the nature of genetic damage and its repair
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 151 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 60-minute written exam (60% of final mark)
  • a project portfolio (20% of final mark)
  • a 2-hour practical skills assessment (20% of final mark)

Year 2

Core modules

What you'll do
You’ll review fundamental concepts of the ecological theory underpinned by Darwinian evolution to gain insights into interactions of natural communities. Fieldtrips will provide you with opportunities to practice the techniques necessary to conduct ecological research and present the outcomes of the research.
What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Integrate the principles of community ecology and the function of ecosystems at local and global scale
  • Describe the fundamentals of ecological theory and recognise the role of species interactions for the function of natural communities
  • Describe the sampling methods for different habitats and record and accurately summarise field observations in a suitable format
  • Classify a range of common organisms and explain the factors affecting their distribution and ecology
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 142 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll do

You’ll examine the relationship between physiology and environment, and the adaptions of different animal groups. You’ll then explore more specialised structures and processes.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe, compare and contrast the major physiological processes in a number of animal groups
  • Describe how physiological systems facilitate adaptation to different environments
  • Analyse experimental data in animal physiology
  • Analyse and evaluate the effects of the environment on biological systems
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 150 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 500-word practical skills assessment (15% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word coursework report (15% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (70% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to generate and integrate a variety of business information in an oral presentation
  • Demonstrate the ability to generate and integrate a variety of business information in written form
  • Interpret business information in the preparation of convincing argument for the success of a small business venture
  • Demonstrate successful collaborative working using enhanced communication, problem solving and team working skills
  • Constructively reflect on your own and others' performance to make "Smart Actions" for the future
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars and project supervision meetings.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 15-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)
  • a 3,000-word coursework exercise (30% of mark)
  • a 1,000-word written assignment including essay (20% of final mark)

What you'll do

From a series of workshops, you’ll gain critical knowledge in cellular aspects of biology. You'll study areas such as cell cycle, apoptosis and cell signalling, and immunology, with a particular focus on differentiation and cancer.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Understand the theory of tissue staining, observation and description, and Western blotting using antibodies
  • Explain the mechanisms involved in cell communication
  • Understand the cellular and genetic mechanisms of cell-cycle regulation, differentiation, and cancer
  • Explain the cellular mechanisms of immunity
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in a studio or workshop and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 159 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 2 x 45-minute set exercises (25% of final mark each)
  • a 20-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll address how specific aspects of behaviour, cognition and emotion can be studied from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. You'll develop your knowledge by critically assessing relevant theory and research findings.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify and reflect on the fundamental principles of evolution
  • Identify and consider aspects of human and animal behaviour that have been shaped by evolutionary processes
  • Critically assess relevant theory and research findings in evolutionary and comparative psychology
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to the study of behaviour and cognition both in an evolutionary and comparative perspective and compared to other disciplines
  • Present a reasoned argument that integrates knowledge from comparative and evolutionary perspectives as well as other scientific disciplines
Teaching activities
  • 21 x 2-hour lectures
  • 6 x 1-hour seminars
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 156 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 3-hour written exam (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore how functional organs and the adult body form emerges in the embryo, and discuss how deviations from developmental processes may result in major birth defects. You’ll also investigate how stem cells repair organs in the adult.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe the phases of vertebrate/human development from fertilisation to organogenesis and explain differences between vertebrates
  • Discuss key concepts and molecular control mechanisms in developmental biology
  • Independently study a current problem in developmental biology
  • Design a team presentation on experimental approaches and suitable models
  • Apply basic laboratory skills in tissue preparation, observation and description
  • Discuss the application of developmental biology in understanding birth defects and in regenerative medicine
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 155 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a practical skills assessment (15% of final mark)
  • a 15-minute oral assessment and presentation (35% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written examination (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll examine the fundamental characteristics of enzymes and the part they play in cellular metabolism. You'll then be introduced to the pathways of intermediary metabolism.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the structure and function of enzymes
  • Analyse enzyme kinetics from practical sessions and workshops
  • Develop a wide and deep understanding of key metabolic processes
  • Build practice and experience of finding, interpreting and communicating information on enzymes
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word coursework project (50% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Interpret and analyse genetic data and information relating to inheritance patterns, chromosome behaviour, mutations, and populations
  • Contrast gene organisation and gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Calculate and predict probabilities associated with inheritance patterns, including appropriate statistical tests to evaluate genetic predictions
  • Construct and interpret phylogenetic trees
  • Explain and apply the principles of recombinant gene technology
  • Perform basic analyses of DNA/protein sequences
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops and take part in fieldwork study and guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 146 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 15-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore the fundamental nature of water and develop your field study skills on a scientific trip around the hydrological cycle. You’ll then examine freshwater ecosystems and the potential effects of natural (floods and drought) and human events on them.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Analyse and explain the special nature of water and the hydrological cycle
  • Locate data required to make water-balance, hydraulic and drainage calculations
  • Define and discuss the laws and processes which govern groundwater occurrence and hydraulics
  • Understand the specific terminology of hydrogeology and make simple resource and vulnerability calculations/estimates
  • Demonstrate a significant knowledge of freshwater ecosystems and sampling techniques
  • Evaluate the potential effects of natural and anthropogenic inferences on freshwater ecosystems
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes, workshops and supervised time in a studio or workshops, and you'll take part in fieldwork study and external visits. 

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 141 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 2,000- word coursework report (50% of final mark)
  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll develop fundamental skills needed to be a teacher, and the capability to structure and deliver a short lesson.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Analyse the expectations of a professional teacher in terms of skills, knowledge and conduct
  • Discuss the importance of safeguarding students
  • Apply fundamental concepts of teaching and learning theory to plan an effective, peer-assessed lesson
  • Deliver lesson plans with clear objectives, student-centred learning and assessment of learning
  • Reflect on the use of active learning methods within subject specialism
Teaching activities
  • 10 x 2-hour seminars
  • 2 x 1-hour tutorials
  • 10 x 1-hour lectures
  • 4 x 1-hour practical classes and workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 20-minute practical skills assessment (50% of final mark)
  • a 1,500-word written assignment (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll examine various marine organismal groups including the evolutionary diverse plankton, deep-sea organisms and marine mammals. You’ll explore diverse ecosystems that exist across the marine sphere considering aspects of their ecological and economic importance.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Describe the main marine phyla and understand how this biodiversity and biological variation has developed
  • Critically evaluate the ecological characteristics of various oceanic and coastal ecosystems and habitats
  • Evaluate how functional characteristics of marine organisms enable them to exist in their environments
  • Analyse the interactions between marine organisms and their environment
  • Demonstrate a critical and reflective knowledge of ecology, trophic webs, nutrient cycling and species competition interactions
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 151 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word coursework report (30% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (70% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll perform an in-depth analysis of microbial physiology, growth, metabolism and microbial ecology. You’ll also determine the identification of unknown microbes while developing experience and skills in specialised microbiology lab techniques. 

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Display safe and effective handling of microorganisms in the laboratory
  • Be able to independently obtain, analyse and evaluate data
  • Understand the differences between bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses, and appreciate their diversity and different roles in environmental processes, global health and disease
  • Apply knowledge of microbial metabolic activities and their environmental effects in functional microbial ecology
  • Recall and understand microbial physiology and growth, and how this effects the environment and industrially relevant applications
  • Critically evaluate and reflect upon the evolution and phylogeny of microbial life
  • Develop an awareness of critical environmental issues in microbiology such as nutrient cycle alterations associated with climate change and antimicrobial resistance in food chains
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and lab reading sessions.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 149 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 2-hour practical skills assessment (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

This will be in relation to the environment and plant domestication.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the general structure, growth and development, fundamental metabolism (photosynthesis and respiration) and physiology, and sexual reproduction in plants
  • Identify the importance of plants and plant biodiversity to understand responses to current global change and environmental variation
  • Evaluate the biology and ecology of plant domestication and importance for society
  • Demonstrate understanding of physiological processes (via practical and lab skills) in order to analyse and evaluate data from experimental manipulations and observational data
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and supervised time in a studio or workshops and you'll take part in fieldwork study and guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 145 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word coursework report (35% of final mark)
  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (15% of final mark)

Year 3

Core modules

What you'll do

You'll then present these in a formal report and poster written to stated specifications.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Design an effective approach to investigate a significant topic or problem in your chosen area of study, in line with current Health and Safety and ethical regulations
  • Plan and organise your time in order to meet the requirements of the study
  • Demonstrate skills in data handling and critical analysis of data using appropriate quantitative and qualitative tools
  • Demonstrate an ability to interpret your own and others' results in a critical manner
  • Demonstrate a level of expertise in the techniques used in the study appropriate to the acquisition of data
  • Conduct an effective literature search using relevant library and electronic databases
  • Produce a report and poster of professional standards to stated specifications in a given time
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes, workshops and supervised time in a studio or workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 132 hours studying independently. This is around 8 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework project (10% of final mark)
  • a 5,000-word dissertation (70% of final mark)
  • an oral assessment and presentation (20% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Discuss critically the relationships between climate-change, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, carbon-cycling and the growth and activity of plants
  • Demonstrate ability to evaluate the tools and techniques for experimenting on and monitoring plant activity at different scales (molecular/cellular to ecosystem/biosphere)
  • Compare, contrast and analyse the diversity of sexual strategies, mating and breeding systems and life-history traits of plants, in the context of their evolutionary ecology, including the context of principles in population biology and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
  • Demonstrate ability to research and to analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant scientific information/literature and their significance
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute written exam (70% of final mark)
  • a 1,500-word coursework report (30% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll improve your understanding and appreciation of the biotechnology industry with specific reference to blue (marine), green (environmental), red (medical), white (gene-based) and gold (bioinformatics) biotechnologies.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Apply your knowledge and skills to a research or business proposal with relevance to biotechnology, following the BBSRC knowledge exchange, commercialisation and development programme
  • Appraise and critically evaluate scientific ideas for biotechnology
  • Work as a member of a team to produce and present a research/business plan based on a scientific idea
  • Compare and contrast scientific literature in relation to microbiological, molecular, biochemical and systems biological topics
  • Critically evaluate microbiological, molecular and biochemical techniques used to study a variety of topics related to blue, green, red, and white biotechnology, including ethical issues associated with transgenesis
  • Communicate the science behind the production of a biotechnological product and its business potential to a targeted audience
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 3,000-word coursework exercise (70% of final mark)
  • a 15-minute oral assessment and presentation (30% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore the investigation of the functional ecology of microbes such as using direct observations via microscopy, culture methods and molecular tools. You'll look at various habitats to demonstrate the central importance of microbes to the ecology of Earth.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically understand the nature of microbial communities in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments
  • Evaluate the physical and chemical factors that influence development of these microbial communities
  • Review a variety of methods available to study microbes in aquatic communities and explain their limitations
  • Prepare a written report of a laboratory group investigation, incorporating a critical discussion of the findings and supported by background research
  • Develop an awareness of critical environmental issues in microbiology such as impact of pollution, consequences of eutrophication, toxic blooms, impact on the environment (climate change and microplastics) and vice versa
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute written exam (60% of final mark)
  • a 1,500-word report (40% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll explore current techniques, using examples from the literature, highlighting the research-led profile of this module. 

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Analyse and interpret data reflecting gene expression processes, and the techniques used to analyse them
  • Critically analyse and interpret experimental data in eukaryotic genome organisation and gene expression
  • Discuss the processes involved in the expression of a gene from DNA to protein
  • Discuss the mechanisms by which eukaryotic gene expression can be regulated at different levels
  • Evaluate experimental techniques for analysing genome organisation and gene expression
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word coursework exercise (40% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written examination (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll gain an understanding of the genetic mechanisms that drive embryonic development and the techniques used to investigate them.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the major developmental mechanisms in embryos from a range of model organisms
  • Assess the relationship between developmental biology and evolution.
  • Propose appropriate experimental systems to investigate specific problems in developmental biology
  • Analyse and interpret data relating to developmental biology
  • Critically assess the main lines of reasoning in landmark papers in development biology
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 153 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 2,000-word written assignment including essay (50% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute examination (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll learn about sequencing and analysis of genome functions in a responsible, ethical context. You'll then consider the biochemical basis of genetic disorders and the development of potential therapies. 

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically evaluate strategies to sequence human genomes
  • Evaluate the application of genomics to the analysis of normal and diseased gene function
  • Explain the concept of the transcriptome and the epigenome and how it is used to explain genetic disease
  • Analyse the wider application of genome analysis to complex, polygenic diseases and inherited traits
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in guided independent study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word report (40% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore ecosystems from the perspective of core species autecology, species interactions and environmental determinants of organism distribution in the context of conservation requirements. You’ll also focus on the conservation of vertebrates and their underpinning ecology and explore the requirement to provide scientific evidence for a conservation policy for the benefit of marine ecosystems and society.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

 

  • Analyse functioning of marine ecosystems using data collection and interpretation
  • Critically evaluate marine ecosystem functions and the core challenges of implementing effective marine conservation
  • Demonstrate early professional level skills in teamwork, information searching, communication and independent thinking
  • Demonstrate a scientific and critical perspective of management strategies for marine ecosystems
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in external visits and fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 160 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word written assignment (35% of final mark)
  • a 1,500-word report (35% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word written assignment (30% of final mark)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • coursework, essays and practical write-ups
  • presentations
  • multiple choice tests
  • a research project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great role, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • one-on-one and group tutorials
  • lab-based practical work
  • field trips

There's an emphasis on putting what you learn in the classroom into practice. You'll get to go on a week-long field trip, reinforcing the theory you learn in lectures.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Biology degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, guided independent study sessions and fieldwork for about 14 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

Learning support tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Biology degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 112 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from A level Biology. Applicants will normally need to pass the separate Science Practical Endorsement

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What skills and qualities do I need for this biology degree course?

As well as meeting the course entry requirements, the most important quality you'll need for this course is curiosity – wanting to find out out more about how the living world functions.

A good understanding of chemistry and maths is also useful.

How can I prepare for a biology degree?

Science GCSEs and sixth form or college education in biology-related subjects provide a good foundation for a degree in biology. Additional practical experience like work placements is useful, but not essential.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,400 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Travel or accommodation associated with compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs. These costs will be in the region of £60.

There are optional field work opportunities to locations such as Mexico, where you are asked to make a contribution to the cost. These costs will be in the region of £1500–£2000 depending on the duration and location of the field trip.

If you take any marine biology modules, you may need to pay for travel to the Institute of Marine Sciences. This is around 3.5 miles from the main University campus and 2 miles from popular student housing areas.

Common questions about this subject

Can't find the answer to your questions about this course or anything else about undergraduate life? Contact us

Common questions about biology

Biology is the science of life and living organisms. It includes everything from the molecular and cellular basis of life to the interactions of organisms with their environment.

Biology is divided into sub-disciplines. These include:

  • zoology
  • botany
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology
  • cell biology
  • genetics
  • marine biology
  • biochemistry
  • ecology
  • biomedical science
  • developmental biology

Biology applies to many areas of daily life in areas such as health, food and the environment.

By studying and working in biology, you can contribute positively to society by getting involved in initiatives such as developing new therapies for diseases, securing sustainable food production and dealing with environmental issues.

Biology is a broad subject, which allows biology graduates to find employment in a variety of industries such as biotechnology, publishing, education and consultancy. 

In addition to subject-specific skills, biology graduates develop valuable transferable skills such as data analysis, communication, teamwork and time management.

The future demand for biology graduates is likely to be high.

Biology graduates have a deep knowledge of biology and biological processes. This is essential for understanding our impact on the planet and doing things that are key to our survival, such as maintaining biodiversity and nurturing a stable and sustainable environment.

Biosciences is continually advancing, contributing important benefits to the economic activity of the UK and the wider health and well-being of individuals and the nation.

For biology, most universities offer the BSc (Bachelor of Science) rather than the BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree.

Both degrees are equally valued. Typically a BSc course will focus more on biology, while a BA course has a broader scope that can include non-biological subjects.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – C100
  • our institution code – P80

If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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