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, September 2024

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
Royal Society of Biology (RSB) 
Accredited Degree

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.

 

Watch BSc Biology - University of Portsmouth on YouTube.

BSc (Hons) Biology overview

Discover how our BSc (Hons) Biology degree course will equip you with the skills and experience you need to turn your curiosity and love of nature into a career that matters.

Steven Dodsworth: The biology course at University of Portsmouth is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. It really covers different subjects from molecules and biochemistry through organisms and development, right up to whole ecosystems and how organisms interact in the environment, and the impact of climate change. 

We have a sandwich year placement option between year two and three. At the start of your second year, we have support and advice available to help you look and start applying for those placements. 

What sets us apart here and what makes our course unique is we have a year long research project in the final year for students and that really is, you know, a fantastic research experience for you. And then alongside that, you also pick now a smaller number of options that then links with what you're thinking about doing after and with that final project. 

We have incredible facilities here, at Portsmouth, in biology. These are really cutting-edge, and our researchers here have been publishing research that is rated as world-leading. 

Biology is so broad and in terms of careers that our graduates go on to, loads of different options are available to them, whether that's more academic, so perhaps following a PhD, postgraduate research pathway or in an industrial lab, or we have students who've gone into teaching or things that are still biology focussed, of course, this also leads to many other different types of graduate jobs. 

Portsmouth is a really, really great place to study. We have a fantastic location, of course, by the beach, by the sea, but also in terms of the opportunities that are available for students on the south coast. Quick links into London. So as a place for science and collaborative science, it actually is really fantastic as well. 

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Biology 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.

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 – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept at UCAS.

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.

Biology Graduate Alex Lai

Meet Alex Lai, a Cryptosporidium analyst and a graduate of the accredited BSc (Hons) Biology course at Portsmouth

 The Biology course at the University of Portsmouth is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.
It really covers different subjects from molecules and biochemistry through organisms and development, right up to whole ecosystems and how organisms interact in the environment and the impact of climate change.
We have a sandwich year placement option between year two and three.
At the start of your second year, we have support and advice available to help you look and start applying for those placements.
What sets us apart here and what makes our course unique is we have a year long research project in the final year for students, and that really is a fantastic research experience for you, and then alongside that, you also pick, now, a smaller number of options that then links with what you're thinking about doing after and with that final project.
We have incredible facilities here at Portsmouth in biology.
These are really cutting edge, and our researchers here have been publishing research that's rated as world-leading.
Biology is so broad and, in terms of careers that our graduates go on to, loads of different options are available to them, whether that's more academic, so perhaps following a PhD, Postgraduate Research Pathway or in an industrial lab, or we have students who've gone into teaching, all the things that are still biology focussed.
Of course, this also leads to many other different types of graduate jobs.
Portsmouth is a really great place to study.
We have a fantastic location, of course, by the beach, by the sea.
But also in terms of the opportunities that are available for students on the south coast.
Quick links into London.
So as a place for science and collaborative science, it actually is really fantastic as well.
 

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 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.
What you'll learn

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

  • Describe the basic principles of ecology through examples in terrestrial environments.
  • Describe global patterns of the major biomes and understand abiotic drivers of these patterns.
  • Understand the central role of plants in the Earth system, and describe and explain the flows of energy and matter within ecosystems.
  • Explain the cause and effects of selected human impacts on the natural world and explore possible solutions for key environmental issues.
  • Be able to formulate ecological questions and to collect appropriate data in the field to answer these questions.
  • Be able to collate, analyse and present ecological data and ideas in a rigorous and engaging manner.
Additional content

 

 
What you'll learn

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

  • Acquire core laboratory practical skills, recognise that safety procedures must be complied with in the lab, identify and implement good laboratory practice (GLP).
  • Demonstrate skills in statistical methods, including mean, mode, median, STdev, data management, statistics programs, regression correlation, Chi-squared, T-test and ANOVA methods.
  • Rigorously communicate experimental findings in written form, and appropriately place them within the wider context of relevant scientific literature.
What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are to be confirmed.

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 to analyse specialised cells in multicellular eukaryots.
What you'll learn

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

  • Become competent in basic microbiology laboratory skills, such as aseptic technique, preparation and maintenance of pure cultures, Gram-staining and microscopy.
  • Define the main types of microbiology culture media and identify the main methods of sterilisation and decontamination.
  • Describe and understand the main concepts of microbiology, including diversity of microbial life, pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, microbial growth requirements, control of microbial growth, diversity and replication of viruses.
  • Recall and understand the structure and organisation of genetic material and explain the mechanisms of inheritance.
  • Describe and understand the processes of DNA replication, transcription and translation.
  • Recall and understand the control of cellular processes at the molecular level and the nature of genetic damage and its repair.

Core modules

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.
What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate 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 writing and graphical form.

Optional modules

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are to be confirmed.

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 a convincing argument for the success of a small business venture.
  • Demonstrate successful cooperative working using enhanced communication, problem solving and team working skills.
  • CoReflect on your own and others' performance to constructively make "Smart Actions" for the future.
What you'll learn

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

  • Reinforce theory of tissue staining, observation and description and Western blotting using antibodies.
  • Explain the mechanisms involved in cell communication.
  • Illustrate the cellular and genetic mechanisms of cell-cycle regulation, differentiation, and cancer.
  • Review the cellular mechanisms of immunity.
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.
  • Critically assess relevant theory and research findings in comparative and evolutionary psychology.
  • Critically 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.
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 in the mechanisms of embryonic development.
  • Describe experimental strategies in developmental biology and discuss the use of model organisms.
  • 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.
What you'll learn

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

  • Record, analyse and interpret field-collected data from different types of habitats, including using taxonomic keys to identify and classify specimens.
  • Use aspects of ecological theory to design field experiments and understand the outcomes thereof.
  • Present and effectively communicate results and insights from ecological field studies.
  • Apply basic Environmental Impact Assessment methodology to evaluate and anticipate the effects of human activity on the local environment.
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 practicals and workshops.
  • Develop a wide and deep understanding of key metabolic processes.
  • Build practice and experience in finding, interpreting and communicating information on enzymes.
What you'll learn

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

  • Develop an understanding of the big issues and contemporary debates in education and teaching.

  • Apply the fundamental concepts of teaching and learning theory to the planning and evaluation of a lesson plan.

  • Understand the importance of safeguarding children.

  • Reflect on current developments in teaching and learning.

What you'll learn

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

  • Describe the main marine phyla and comprehend how this biodiversity and biological variation has developed.
  • Comprehend and evaluate the ecological characteristics of a range of 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.
What you'll learn

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

  • Show competence in safe and effective handling of microorganisms in the laboratory and 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.

  • Synthesise knowledge of microbial metabolic activities and the environmental effects in functional microbial ecology.

  • Recall and understand microbial physiology and growth, and how this affects 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.

What you'll learn

The learning objectives of this module are to be confirmed.

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, systematics, and trait diversity.
  • Identify the significance of plants and plant biodiversity to ecosystems at multiple scales.
  • Evaluate the biology of plant domestication and the importance of plant diversity for society (e.g., agriculture, biotechnology, ecosystem function).
  • Demonstrate, via practical skills (lab and computational), an understanding of plant evolution (morphology and genetics), by analysing and evaluating data from both experimental manipulations and observations.

Optional modules

This is an optional sandwich (placement) year.

What you'll learn

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

  • Identify and demonstrate skills developed in the work place (e.g. professional autonomy and accountability, language and/or interpersonal communication, time management and planning, assessment and analytical skills – while evaluating the impact of your actions).

  • Demonstrate the ability to manage and complete tasks in a business/work environment relevant to your course, with an appropriate level of skill, initiative, independence and performance.
  • Identify and reflect on your learning experience and the relevance of this learning to future employability and personal development, identifying areas for improvement or further training.
  • Evaluate how work placement activities relate to knowledge and practice covered on your course, and/or broader perspectives on the world of work.
What you'll learn

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

  • Identify and demonstrate skills developed through the study abroad placement (e.g. professional autonomy and accountability, language and/or interpersonal communication, time management and planning, assessment and analytical skills – while evaluating the impact of your actions).
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage and complete tasks in a business/work environment relevant to your course, with an appropriate level of skill, initiative, independence and performance.
  • Identify and reflect on your learning experience and the relevance of this learning to future employability and personal development, identifying areas for improvement or further training.
  • Evaluate and communicate how the study placement activities relate to knowledge and practice covered on your course, and/or broader international perspectives.

Core modules

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 their chosen area of study in accordance with current Health and Safety and ethical regulations.
  • Plan and organise their 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 their own and other results in a critical manner, including demonstrating a level of expertise in the techniques used in the study appropriate to the acquisition of data.
  • Conduct an effective literature search using the relevant library and electronic databases.
  • Produce a report and poster of professional standard to stated specifications in a given time.

Optional modules

What you'll learn

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

  • Identify the major physical processes determining the character of the Earth's climate and its evolution throughout history.

  • Critically assess the degree to which human activities contribute to climate change and identify the evidence and impacts of climate change in the modern day.

  • Examine possibilities for adaptation and mitigation of anthropogenic climate change.

  • Comprehensively evaluate and compare emission scenarios to examine future warming and climate change projections.

  • Systematically evaluate the characteristics and limitations of various types of climate models, through the development of global and regional climate change scenarios using software packages as are available.

  • Combine information from a variety of sources, including the climate model outputs, to develop a vulnerability-under-climate-change assessment for a given region.

What you'll learn

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

  • Characterise and critically evaluate key evolutionary and ecological concepts and mechanisms that either create or constrain trait diversity in both animals and plants.
  • Critically evaluate the effects of environmental variables, such as climate, on the biology and ecology of natural populations.
  • Apply selected contemporary ecological and evolutionary scientific methodologies that are at the forefront of the discipline, as well as discuss the benefits, capabilities, and limits thereof.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research and to critically interpret and evaluate relevant scientific literature of a specific evolutionary or ecological topic, and disseminate the broader significance thereof.
What you'll learn

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

  • Analyse and interpret data reflecting gene expression processes and techniques to analyse these.
  • 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.
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.
What you'll learn

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

  • Analyse the functioning of marine ecosystems using data collection and interpretation.
  • Critically evaluate marine ecosystem functions and the key 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.
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 developmental biology.
  • Identify and access relevant literature and information sources including online databases.
What you'll learn

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

  • Understand the nature and interactions of whole microbial communities in environmental and host systems.
  • Gain an overview of modern approaches and techniques to study microbes in their natural habitats.

  • Appreciate the critical functions of microbes in key Earth and host systems.

  • Acquire basic skills in bioinformatic/computational analyses of microbiome data.

  • Prepare a written report of a laboratory investigation, incorporating a critical discussion of the findings and supported by background research.

What you'll learn

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

  • Be able to confidently identify a range of native British flora to species level, including the key diagnostic characteristics of taxonomically difficult groups such as the Poaceae and Asteraceae.

  • Critically assess the use of different types of ecological sampling techniques, including an awareness of licenses required for protected species.

  • Discuss and critically compare current legislative frameworks used for ecological surveying.

  • Evaluate the overall biodiversity of terrestrial habitats using industry standard techniques.


Changes to course content

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. 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.

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 use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

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 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.

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

2023 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 – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

2024 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 – £20,200 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.

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.

To start this course in 2024, 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.