View from a forest floor in Hawaii

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 2023

Accredited

Yes

Overview

Discover how biology helps safeguard endangered species and fight disease on this BSc (Hons) Biology degree, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

You'll get the skills you need to turn your curiosity and love of nature into a career that matters.

Course highlights

  • Put your knowledge to work in our molecular biology labs, using world-class equipment such as our ancient DNA and gene analysis facilities, fluorescence microscopes and research greenhouse
  • Get involved with the European Xenopus Resource Centre, one of the largest frog resource facilities in the world
  • Explore the diversity of local ecosystems and go on field trips to destinations such as Dorset, Devon and Mexico
  • Have the chance to gain valuable work experience on a one-year placement or to spend a year studying abroad to experience a different culture and enhance your CV
  • Be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Biology when you graduate, which includes access to exclusive grants and awards

NO.13

in the UK for Biosciences

(The Guardian University Guide, 2022)

Accredited by:

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

 

Explore BSc (Hons) Biology at Portsmouth

Find out more about what you get when you study BSc (Hons) Biology at Portsmouth. 

Entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels – ABB-BBB
  • UCAS points – 120-128 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from A level Biology. For A levels which include a separate science practical component, a pass is desirable and may strengthen an application. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM
  • International Baccalaureate – 27

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and 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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

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.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

Facilities and specialist equipment

Female student  on computer in biology lab

Biophysical laboratories

Use professional-standard equipment to explore how the structures and functions of molecules change under different conditions.

Discover the lab

Marine research tanks

European Xenopus Resource Centre

Discover more about developmental biology and human disease modelling at one of the largest model organism research facilities in the world.

Explore the centre

Laser ablation sample cell

Electron microscopy and microanalysis unit

Develop your practice in high-magnification imaging and analysis of natural and manufactured materials with microscopy, diffraction, laser-ablation and mass spectrometry equipment.

Learn more about the unit

Aerial view of the environmental technology field station

Environmental technology field station

Conduct tests and analyse samples currently in the ecosystem in a fully-operational waterworks in nearby Petersfield complete with microbiology and environmental chemistry labs.

Explore the station

Careers and opportunities

As the scientific study of life and living organisms, biology covers a huge variety of sub-disciplines – from ecology to genetics, botany to zoology – and everything in between.

This means that there's a wide range of sectors and industries you can work in with a biology degree, so there will always be a demand for your skills.

On this BSc (Hons) Biology degree, you’ll start the course with key biological theories, before being able to shape it to your interests and choose from specialist areas like animal science, enzymes, hydrology and environmental microbiology.

You'll develop problem-solving, communication and numeracy skills alongside technical skills, and in your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to investigate a research question for your honours project. 

Once you graduate, you’ll have the knowledge and practical skills needed to work in areas including research, biotech, consultancy, teaching and journalism. You could also continue your studies to postgraduate level, such as on our MSc Applied Aquatic Biology.

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

Graduate roles

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • microbiologist
  • microbiology laboratory technician
  • research scientist
  • science technician
  • medical laboratory assistant
  • grant administrator
  • medical writer
  • biomedical sales specialist
  • ecological surveyor

Graduate destinations

They've gone on to work for organisations such as:

  • NHS
  • Ministry of Defence
  • European Xenopus Resource Centre
  • MGS Laboratories

 

Ongoing careers support

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students. 

Previous students have completed work placements at organisations including Pfizer and Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.

Study abroad

You'll also have the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad on a conservation or research scheme to experience a different culture and enhance your CV.

What you'll study

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, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Modules

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 141 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)
Additional content
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:

  • 32 hours of lectures
  • 13 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 24 hours of fieldwork study
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 131 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 1-hour written exam (50% of final mark)
  • a poster presentation (20% of final mark)
  • fieldtrip research analysis and interpretation (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
  • 17 x 1-hour lectures
  • 24 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 15 hours of independent learning
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 144 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 learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Develop competency in scientific communication using written, oral, and multimedia means
  • Demonstrate competency in basic numeral, algebraic, and calculus skills and their application to problem solving in theoretical and practical biology
  • Recognise basic chemical notation and demonstrate ability to understand and describe key biologically significant chemical reactions and mechanisms
  • Identify techniques / resources to help with the transition to studying at university and consider on-going personal development needs

Explore this module

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)

Core modules

Additional content
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:

  • 1 hour of lectures
  • 5 hours of seminars
  • 16 hours of practical classes and workshops
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)
Additional content
What you’ll learn

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

  • Demonstrate your proficiency in research skills
  • Plan the experimental approach for a scientific investigation, including ethics and risk assessment
  • Analyse and interpret scientific data
  • Communicate results from scientific research in written and graphical form
Teaching activities
  • 38 hours of practical classes, workshops and seminars

Conceptual background will be delivered in your lectures, and you'll put the concepts into practice in workshops and practicals.

Independent Study Time

We recommend you spend at least 140 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 1500-word written assessment (50% of final mark)
  • a 1-page report (50% of final mark)

 

Optional modules

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Describe and compare major physiological processes in a number of animal groups
  • Describe and compare various morphological and behavioural adaptations in the animal world
  • Discuss the effects of the environment on biological systems
  • Analyse and evaluate experimental data in animal science

Explore this module

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:

  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 29 hours of guided independent study
  • 4 hours of practical classes and workshops
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)
Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Describe the sampling methods for different habitats and record, summarise accurately, field observations in a suitable format and present results effectively
  • Applied in-situ fieldtrips provide opportunities to gain and improve diverse skills (literature research, experimental design, field sampling and survey techniques, data analyses, and presentation)
  • Sampling experience of mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reefs, saltmarsh, benthic sediments, rocky shores, and temperate reefs
  • Students will learn the significance of ecosystem structure, function and resilience
  • Describe the sampling methods for different habitats and record, summarise accurately, field observations in a suitable format and present results effectively
  • Applied in-situ fieldtrips provide opportunities to gain and improve diverse skills (literature research, experimental design, field sampling and survey techniques, data analyses, and presentation)
  • Sampling experience of mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reefs, saltmarsh, benthic sediments, rocky shores, and temperate reefs
  • Students will learn the significance of ecosystem structure, function and resilience

Explore this module

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 consider aspects of human and nonhuman animal behaviours that have been shaped by evolutionary processes
  • Assess relevant theory and research findings in comparative and evolutionary psychology
  • Evaluate different approaches to the study of behaviour, cognition and emotion within a comparative and an evolutionary 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
  • 36 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of workshops
  • 3 hours of tutorials
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 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)
Additional content
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)
    Additional content
    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)
    Additional content
    What you'll do

    You'll explore plant diversity, covering fundamental topics such as plant structure, growth and development, ecology, genomics, and reproductive biology. You'll also consider the importance of plants to societal needs, including plant domestication and the future of plant use. 

    What you'll learn

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

    • Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of plant structure, ecology, growth and development, genetics, sexual reproduction, and species and trait diversity.
    • Identify the significance of plants and plant biodiversity to ecosystems at multiple scales.
    • Evaluate the biology of plant domestication and importance for society (e.g., biotechnological applications, agriculture).
    • 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. You'll also 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 (60% of final mark)
    • a 1,000-word coursework report (40% of final mark)

    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 177 hours studying independently. This is around 11 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)
    • a research poster (20% of final mark)

    Optional modules

    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)
    Additional content
    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)
    Additional content
    What you'll learn

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

    • Review evolutionary theory, concepts and mechanisms that result in a diversity of life history traits of both animals and plants
    • Evaluate the effects of climate on the biology, ecology and evolution of natural populations
    • Research, analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant scientific information/literature
    Teaching activities

    On this module you'll attend:

    • 18 hours of lectures
    • 18 hours of practical classes and workshops
    • 6 hours of seminars
    Independent study time

    We recommend you spend at least 158 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 90-minute written exam (60% of final mark)
    • a 15-minute oral assessment and poster (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 14 hours of seminars, and take part in 4 hours of practical classes and workshops.

    Independent study time

    We recommend you spend at least 180 hours studying independently. This is around 11 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 169 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 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, and about engaging with large data sets, using emerging digital technologies of bioinformatics. 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 s

    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)

    pend at least 173 hours studying independently. This is around 11 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)
    Additional content
    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)

    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.

    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.

    For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

    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.

    We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

    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 dates

    The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

    See term dates

    Supporting your learning

    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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

    Types of support

    Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

    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.

    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

    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

    Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

    You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

    If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

    They'll help you to

    • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
    • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
    • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
    • liaise with external services

    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 a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

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

    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 In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

    Course costs and funding

    Tuition fees (2022 start)

    • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
    • EU students – £9,250 (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
    • International (non-EU) students – £18,300 per year (subject to annual increase)

    Funding your studies

    Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

    Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

    Tuition fees terms and conditions

    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.

    If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

    • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
    • EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
    • International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)

    Apply

    How to apply

    To start this course in 2023, 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 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

    See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. 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.

    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

    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.

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

    A good understanding of chemistry and maths is also useful.

    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.

    Admissions terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.