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Biology BSc (Hons)

Start your career as a biologist on this Biology degree, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Cover areas including biotechnology, ecology, cell biology and molecular biology.

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University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 UCAS points from A level Biology

See full entry requirements
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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 greenhouses
  • 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 Devon, Somerset, Surrey and Portugal
  • 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.


BSc (Hons) Biology overview

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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 the University of Portsmouth is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. It 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 impacts of climate change. 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.

Then alongside that, you also pick a small 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 academics so perhaps following a PhD, postgraduate research pathway or in an industrial lab, or we have students who've gone into teaching. All things that are still biology focused. 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, by the beach, by the sea, but also in terms of the opportunities that are available for students in the south coast, quick links into London so as a place for science and collaborative science, it actually is really fantastic as well.

Contact information


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Connected Degrees®

Only at Portsmouth you have the choice to take a traditional sandwich placement before your third year, or to take your placement after your final year.

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Discover how Clearing works

Clearing 2024 opens on 5 July and closes on 21 October

Every year thousands of students find their ideal undergraduate course through Clearing. Clearing matches students who are looking for a different course or university from their original choice, or who are applying for the very first time after 30 June, to courses that universities still have places on.

The majority of people apply through Clearing once they receive their exam results on A level / T level results day (15 August 2024).

You can apply through Clearing if:

  • You don't meet the conditions of your offer for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
  • Your exam results are better than you expected and you want to change your course or university 
  • You don't hold any offers
  • You've accepted an offer but changed your mind about the course you want to do
  • You're applying for the first time after 30 June 2024 

Find out more on UCAS

Yes, we welcome Clearing applications from international students and you can apply in exactly the same way as UK students do. 

The majority of UK students apply through Clearing once they receive their A level / T level results in August 2024, so as an international student if you already have your exam results you can apply when Clearing opens. 

Make sure that you have time to get your visa, funding, and English language certification sorted out before the beginning of term.

If you would like further information or guidance, please contact our international office for advice. 

The entry requirements for courses can change in Clearing but if you want an idea of what grades we usually accept, take a look at our undergraduate course pages.

Even if you don't quite meet the entry requirements, we'd still encourage you to apply as you could still get a place.

Book your place at our summer Open Day

Yes, join us on campus Saturday 6 July 2024, 8.30am-4pm

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Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Biology entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 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-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find 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 - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 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-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects or GCSEs - 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.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

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 ecology and habitat surveying, environmental conservation, microbiomes, enzyme kinetics, genomics, or gene organisation and regulation.

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, MSc Biotechnology or MRes Science.

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

Alex Lai: My name is Alex Lai. I am a Cryptosporidium Analyst for South East Water.

I was born in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and then after doing A-level equivalents in Ireland, I did an undergrad in Portsmouth in Biology, and then straight after my undergrad I did a master's by research in microbiology at Portsmouth. I chose Portsmouth not only because of the high ranking courses, but the high rank of the University itself. I looked at marine biology degree and Portsmouth were world-leading in that course, and they still are. I found the course really, really interesting, and throughout all my years at Portsmouth the academics were always approachable and very knowledgeable. Whether it was a small issue, a large issue, a research issue, a life issue, I found them really, really supportive the entire way. One of the major takeaways was the social aspect exploring the beautiful city location on the seafront. For instance, one of my favourite places go is The Tenth Hole in Southsea. Play round of golf, get some cake. What's not to like?

Throughout my time at university, I gained experience through the teaching courses and the research experience that I gained through my master's and my undergrad projects. I was also lucky enough to be a laboratory demonstrator for third year students in a microbiology practical course, which I found really helpful both for a practical job afterwards and as a teaching role.

Now I'm a cryptosporidium analyst in the Microbiology Department of South East Water. We test for cryptosporidium, which is a waterborne parasite and search for any that exist. Through the countless hours of practical experience, whether that was designing my own experiments or applying those designs, I loved every minute of it.

Looking back on it, I'm really glad I took that leap to go to a entirely unknown area, entirely unknown uni, without even going to an open day. Being from overseas, the support I got from the uni it was incredible.


Placement year

After your second or third 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, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, and the Field Studies Council.

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.


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.

What you'll study

Core modules

All modules in this year are core.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.
  • To be able to collate, analyse and present ecological data and ideas in a rigorous and engaging manner

On this course you'll:

  • 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.
  • Be able to rigorously communicate experimental findings in written form, and appropriately place them within the wider context of relevant scientific literature.

On this course you'll:

  • Develop competency in scientific communication using written and verbal 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.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

On this course you'll:

  • 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

On this course you'll:

  • Perform basic analyses of DNA/protein sequences.
  • Apply the principles of recombinant gene technology.
  • Interpret genetic data and information relating to inheritance patterns, chromosome behaviour, mutations, and populations.
  • Contrast gene organisation and gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
  • Calculate probabilities associated with inheritance patterns, including appropriate statistical tests to evaluate genetic predictions.
  • Interpret phylogenetic trees based on sequence data.

On this course you'll:

  • Plan the experimental approach for a scientific investigation, including ethics and risk assessment.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in research skills.
  • Analyse and interpret scientific data.
  • Demonstrate comprehension in molecular biology methods.

Optional modules

On this module you'll:

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

You’ll rapidly build knowledge across disciplines like marketing, finance and project management. You'll become equipped to evaluate and pursue new commercial opportunities. 

Working in teams, you’ll practice skills from communication to negotiation by developing plans for a prospective venture, receiving expert insights from practitioners along the way. With assessments focused on conceiving and presenting an impactful business case, you’ll strengthen abilities to persuade with data-backed reasoning.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.
  • Illustrate the cellular and genetic mechanisms of differentiation.
  • Illustrate the cellular and genetic mechanisms of cancer.
  • Review the cellular mechanisms of immunity.

It focuses on empirical findings and methodological and theoretical issues in Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology. The current module offers you the opportunity to explore why we behave the way we do by studying the relationship between human and animal psychology.

Developmental Biology investigates the development of multicellular organisms throughout their lifespan, from the start of life and the emergence of the first organs to the changes in external appearance and organ function as well as organ repair and regeneration in the adult. Over the last nine decades, research in the field of developmental biology has led to major discoveries (and Nobel Prizes) and has spurred substantial medical progress (IVF, gene- and stem cell-based therapy, understanding of cancer). However, this progress has also sparked controversy (e.g. on therapeutic cloning, eugenics, xenotransplantation) and has shaken views on human identity and evolution.

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

The content of the module will be delivered in lectures and workshops. In addition, you'll learn the basic practical skills of how to handle small samples under a microscope. The workshops support critical and independent thinking about the taught topics and re-emphasise the abstract concepts in developmental biology. In addition, the workshops and the second practical/demo in lecturers' research labs will discuss how scientific discoveries in developmental biology have been made and are being made today, and how we ensure that research aligns with the requirements of research ethics.

On this course you'll:

  • 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 of finding, intepreting and communicating information on enzymes.

You’ll learn core theory underpinning GIS and RS, before applying the theory through the use of industry standard software. You’ll explore the capture, interpretation and analysis of geographical and environmental data from a variety of sources to explore 'real world' problems and challenges.

You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

On this course you'll:

  • Record, analyse and interpret field-collected data from different types of habitat and in a variety of contexts, 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
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how ecological interactions, phenotypic traits, biodiversity, phylogeny and coevolution shape and structure ecological communities

On this course you'll:

  • Develop a foundational understanding of key marine phyla, with a focus on their morphological and physiological adaptations to various habitats within marine ecosystems.
  • Investigate the structure and function of marine ecosystems, with a focus on the interactions among marine organisms and their environment.
  • Explore the role of biological, chemical, and physical processes in shaping marine ecosystems and the adaptations of marine organisms to these environmental factors.
  • Understand the impacts of climate change and other human activities on marine organisms and ecosystems.
  • Develop a foundational understanding of the techniques used to study marine organisms applying principles of taxonomy, systematics, and ecology through laboratory techniques and data analysis.
  • Cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills by evaluating scientific literature on marine organism¿s biology and ecology, as well as engaging in collaborative learning and discussion.

On this course you'll:

  • 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, 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 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.

You’ll attend lectures and take part in practicals, supplemented by scanning electron microscope sessions. You’ll get an introduction to the most important microfossil groups and how they are used in particular to determine palaeoenvironments. You’ll also learn about the evolution of plants, and how the major plant groups have impacted the biosphere throughout Earth's history.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

Core modules

Supported by your Academic Tutor, you'll select and manage information and competently undertake research tasks. You'll assess health and safety, the ethical considerations in pursuing independent research, and critically evaluate your findings against knowledge in available academic literature. You'll learn to discuss and communicate your key findings found from your research and write a dissertation in accordance with academic conventions.

Optional modules

You’ll examine the physical factors driving climate over history and the signatures of modern anthropogenic influence. Through climate modelling software, you'll investigate future warming scenarios and impacts regionally and globally. In a self-directed study, you'll assess vulnerabilities and solutions - evaluating possibilities for adaptation and mitigating climate change.

On this module you'll:

  • Outline the basic principles of conservation, including anthropogenic factors.
  • Critically evaluate the biogeography and conservation literature.
  • Analyse and creatively interpret conservation data.
  • Communicate conservation principles effectively, in a style suitable for multiple audiences.

You’ll learn essential data analysis skills you’ll need for your future career, including how to produce a carbon audit to current Defra standards and how to present data to a range of stakeholders. You’ll also produce a consultancy-style report evaluating environmental impacts and potential savings, and explore the role of environmental impact assessment in the planning system.

You’ll become familiar with the main environmental pollutants, how they’re transferred within and between various media and how they interact with biota to create an environmental risk. You’ll explore the waste management hierarchy and the scientific and technical processes involved with waste management operations.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

On this course you'll:

  • Explain the mechanisms by which eukaryotic gene expression can be regulated at different level.
  • Diagram processes and concepts in gene regulation.
  • Outline methods to investigate gene regulatory mechanisms.
  • Evaluate the contribution of the various processes to the regulation of gene expression.
  • Compare different approaches for analysing genome organisation and gene expression.
  • Interpret experimental data in eukaryotic genome organisation and gene expression.

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

On this course you'll:

  • Analyse functioning of marine ecosystems using data collection and interpretation.
  • Critically evaluate marine ecosystem functions and the key challenges of implementing effective marine conservation, including active restoration.
  • Demonstrate early professional level skills in teamwork, information searching, communication and independent thinking.
  • Demonstrate a scientific and critical perspective of human impacts on marine ecosystems; biodiversity and function
  • Demonstrate scientific knowledge of the ecology of a range of marine habitats

On this course you'll:

  • 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.
  • Identify and access relevant literature and information sources including online databases.

On this course you'll:

  • Understand the nature and interactions of whole microbial communities in environmental and host systems
  • Gain an overview of modern approaches & 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

On this course you'll:

  • 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.

Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year with a relevant organisation or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide.

This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace or expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad.

Depending on what you choose, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation, or you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career during a study abroad year.

This is a Connected Degree

We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your 2nd year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace.

If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. 

Find out more about Connected Degrees

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 methods on this course include:

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

There's an emphasis on putting what you learn in the classroom into practice. You'll go on a 3-day field trip in Year 1, and you'll get the opportunity to go on a week-long field trip in Year 2, as well as a 3-day field trip in Year 3 - 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 you

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

  • 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)

  • 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)

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 – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

 Apply now through UCAS

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 2025, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

 Apply now through UCAS

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.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in 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.