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BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (with Foundation Year option)
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (with Foundation Year option)

BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (with Foundation Year option)

  • ID:BU440081
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

English Requirements

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Course Information

Consolidate and progress your core knowledge and understanding of biological chemistry, cell biology, human physiology and evolutionary biology

Develop important practical laboratory and scientific skills that will form the basis of future successes in academic writing and experimental design

Define your pathway though the degree, with options to explore your chosen subjects in greater depth, developing your own project ideas and considering potential career paths 

Opt to complete a 30-week placement to gain experience and insights for your future career

You’ll develop and complete a defining dissertation project that will highlight your abilities and interests – ending the degree as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and skilled biological scientist     

We often collaborate with professional practitioners so that your work has immediate practical benefits as well as being an inspiring way to learn. 

Foundation year: We have a foundation year option for UK students who do not meet the entry requirements for the degree course. This additional year of study will give you a grounding in the scientific skills required for Biological Sciences, building your confidence, knowledge and skills for further study. After successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the full degree.  

For September 2021 entry: in order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in the industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in March 2021 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

UCAS Code: C100

With foundation year: C105

More info: Click here

Foundation year

Core units

  • Academic Study Skills: You will gain the fundamental academic and research skills required for degree level study. The unit will introduce you to a broad grounding in literature searching, literature review, data collection, methodological approach, data analysis and interpretation and ethical practice. It will also support you to begin to develop a critical and analytical approach to your work and identify areas for personal development. 

  • Applied Sciences: You'll gain a basic understanding of some fundamental aspects of science underpinning more specific disciplines, and an appreciation of how various scientific disciplines impact human life. You'll understand the differences between pure and applied science, as well as the roles of different ways applied science can be funded, and implications of these funding mechanisms. 

  • Introduction to Biology: Biology is the study of life and hence knowledge of plant and animal cell biology is fundamental to understanding wider concepts in biology. This unit also introduces key themes in human, environmental and ecological sciences to provide a sound underpinning in knowledge for future studies. 

  • Introduction to Psychology: This unit is designed to prepare you for advanced coursework in psychology. You will complete the unit with a good understanding of the various areas of psychology and how they seek to explain behaviour. 

  • Mathematics in Science: You will build your confidence in mathematics, in order to perform calculations on a range of scientific data from biology, chemistry and psychology and to be able to represent the findings in an appropriate format, including graphs. In order to carry this out, it is essential to be able to convert the data between systems of units and to understand how to present very large and very small numbers in standard form. Basic statistical analysis of tabulated data will be carried out to introduce the concept of confidence limits and familiarisation of statistical testing.

  • Foundation Year Project: You will carry out a research task on scientific topics chosen by the unit leader which you will be able to conduct a scientific investigation on. You will devise your own investigation and produce a literature review as a final scientific report. 

Year 1

Core units

  • Biological Research Skills: This unit provides the fundamental skills to conducting research, much of which takes place in tutorial sessions, allowing you to get to know your core teaching team for the degree. You will perform simple data collection, manipulation and presentation of results in appropriate scientific form, using computer software. You will also learn to search, locate, read and understand relevant scientific literature, formulating scientific arguments and discussion, writing and presenting these ideas as essays, opinions and research papers.

  • Cell Biology: Cells are the basic unit of life and hence knowledge of cell biology is fundamental to understanding wider concepts in biology. This unit introduces key themes in cell biology to provide a sound underpinning knowledge of cells and the way they function. The unit will equip you with an understanding of cell structure, function, control, basic molecular biology, the interaction of cells with viruses and the basic experimental techniques used to investigate cells.

  • Chemistry: You will be provided with an understanding of some aspects and processes within fundamental chemistry and analytical chemistry and develop your laboratory skills. The unit will predominately be delivered through lectures and practical laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions will enable reinforcement of the theoretical concepts by dealing with experimentally generated data and will allow for one-to-one and small group discussions.

  • Diversity of Life: Gain an understanding of the origin and diversity of life on earth, how the environment and selection have shaped the patterns of distribution of plants, animals and micro-organisms since life first originated some 3.5 billion years ago, and how it is increasingly being influenced by humans. You will have insights into the basis for classifying organisms and in dealing with the relationships among major groups, and examine the organisation and structure of major groups of living (and some fossil) organisms (microbes, protists, higher plants, invertebrates and vertebrates). You will cover aspects of body size and life history strategies.

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology: Giving you an overview of the structure and function of the human body, you will be introduced to the principal concepts underlying pathophysiological processes that disturb health. Key biological and physiological practical techniques relevant to measuring human health and disease are covered, together with the skills you will need for the analysis and presentation of the resulting data.

  • Practical Skills in Biology: Knowledge of how to work in a modern laboratory is very much the emphasis of this unit. You will develop logic and common sense for working in laboratories, correctly handle common equipment or apparatus, use biological samples with respect, master essential skills in calculating concentrations (or dilutions) of reagents or buffers, array samples in designing experiments, keep laboratory notebooks, and perform experimental procedures with ‘multi-task’ in mind. This unit will give you the skills to be both confident in designing and executing your own experiments.

Year 2

Core units - Semester one

  • Advanced Skills for Biological Sciences: This unit builds and refreshes those academic skills needed for independent research in biology and life sciences. You can collect data from a variety of sources but then how do you make sense of it and synthesise it into a question that can sustain an independent research project? You will learn the necessary survey, experimental design and data analysis techniques for completing a research project independently.

Core units - Semester two

  • Evolutionary Biology: Providing you with the fundamental understanding of evolutionary theory and population genetics, the unit gives you a broad overview of the factors involved in the species evolution, through an introduction to selection forces, heredity and Mendelian genetics. We will also introduce you to the concept of adaptation to a changing environment and how to apply this in future thinking.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose two):

  • Animal Biology: This unit addresses the developmental, regulatory, physiological, sensory and cognitive processes of a wide range of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates). It provides a sound basis of understanding important differences and similarities in ‘model’ organisms in biomedical research (and the strengths and limitations of using them), and also of how sub-organism or organism level biology influences how individuals act with each other and their environment.

  • Biochemistry: Providing a foundation for your final year of study in Biomolecules and Advanced Topics in Genetics by covering the fundamental basics of biochemistry, the unit will give you a broad overview of macromolecules (structure and function) and their metabolism. You’ll also have an appreciation of systems biology through the introduction of metabolism interconnectedness.

  • Ecosystems: We will enable you to develop an awareness of the importance of a range of ecosystems and develop your understanding of how ecosystems can be managed to conserve them.

Semester 2 (choose two):

  • Advanced Cell Biology: This unit will examine the operation of cells and the control, development and modification of cells to fulfil highly specialised roles in multicellular organisms. The unit aims to equip students with a detailed understanding of cell structure and function, control and regulation of cellular processes and the development of multicellular organisms.

  • Becoming Human: What makes us (as humans) unique? Where did our species come from? Starting from the divergence of the human lineage from that of other apes, this unit will demonstrate how a wide variety of different lines of evidence can inform the way in which we became human. You will learn how archaeologists and anthropologists interpret the fossil and archaeological evidence to understand the ways in which our ancestors and related species lived and how this changed over time. A key focus throughout will be on the relationship between the biological and social environments for evolution, and how the interaction between them influenced the evolution not only of our distinctive biological life histories, subsistence and foraging patterns but also our social life and culture, in the form of technology, material culture, language and symbolism.

  • Behavioural Ecology: Concepts will include the evolutionary underpinning of behaviour, and an understanding of the ways in which organisms make behavioural decisions. Applications will include how behavioural ecology can be used to understand population ecology, and support nature conservation. Topics covered will include foraging and reproductive behaviour, and the interactions between competitors, and predators and prey. The unit will focus on animals, but will also stress how behavioural ecology can be applied to plants, fungi and protists.

  • Environmental & Societal Challenges: Whilst you consider the relationships between humanity and the environment, you will be introduced to some of the big challenges faced by society today that stem from the impact of humanity on the earth system. By discussions about your place in society and your role in providing solutions to these challenges this unit will further your knowledge of science policy and application.

  • International Field Trip: Information on each trip will be provided during option selection sessions in the previous year or semester. Each trip will have a key theme or themes. Much of the work will involve field-based lectures, discussions and  local speakers, but the bulk of activities will involve work on individual projects focussed on specific tasks. Tutorial sessions will be available daily when on field work with the unit tutors. Please note that you will incur additional costs not covered by your tuition fee if you choose to participate in the International Field Trip. There is also a limit on the number of students that we can take on the fieldtrip so there is no guarantee that you'll be able to attend. 

  • Introduction to Toxicology: The basic principles of toxicology will be explored in this unit, designed to offer foundation knowledge for those intending to study toxicology at higher levels or for those intending to study subjects peripheral to toxicology or where a basic understanding of toxicology will be relevant.

  • Microbiology: Providing detailed knowledge of structure, organisation, metabolism, growth and evolution of viruses, bacteria, protists and fungi, information is also given on microbial motility, adhesion and on some of the diverse metabolic pathways present in microbes, including anaerobic micro-organisms. Selected aspects of microbial ecology, including the microbial loop, will be introduced to enable you to appreciate the roles of microorganisms in natural habitats and in some created by man. There will be a short formal treatment of sterilisation, disinfection, and cryopreservation. Climate change and past environments will be explained from a microbial perspective as well as microbial consortia (e.g. symbioses). Practicals will aim to further elucidate material covered in the lectures and to develop skills in handling, characterising and identifying microorganisms, and we will try to accommodate field work and/or a visit an industrial unit.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Optional placement year

You may choose to complete an optional minimum 30-week work placement which can be carried out anywhere in the world. The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Alternatively you can undertake a short five-week placement and complete your course in three years.

Final year

Core unit

  • Independent Research Project: The Independent Research Project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose two):

  • Advanced Topics in Genetics: You will consider how this modern discipline underpins all aspects of biology. You will be actively involved in discussions about the ethical issues of genetics and introduced to bioinformatics analysis of data. We will consider the roles pharmacogenomics, epigenetics, endophenotypes and optogenetics play in current research outputs as well as the classical model.

  • Biological Oceanography: Making use of our fantastic location along the south coast, this unit will give you the opportunity of practical ‘hands on’ study, via field trips to locations such as Poole Bay and Poole Harbour. Through a combination of lectures, group problem-solving sessions and field trips, you will develop knowledge and understanding of the history of biological oceanography, the plankton, the benthos, the overall functioning of the ocean biota, as well as introducing some practical problems in biological oceanography (accumulation of pollutants, ocean acidification, and the possible manipulation of the biological pump).

  • Marine Conservation: This unit aims to enable you to critically evaluate approaches to the conservation and management of marine biodiversity including fisheries and protected areas. You will also examine legal processes and mechanisms that are applied to the conservation of marine and coastal environments.

  • Pathophysiology: The detailed study of the molecular bases of a number of important clinical states will be a major component of the unit. We aim to develop your knowledge and understanding of the principal biological mechanisms involved in a range of pathological processes, inherited, malignant, infectious and degenerative diseases including cancer, inherited disease, heart disease, diabetes, infectious diseases, immunological conditions and organ-specific disorders. The transmission of infections, the role of the scientist in control and prevention of disease will be discussed, together with the social and political issues raised by such measures such as vaccination, hygiene and sanitation.

Semester 2 (choose two):

  • Biomolecules: By the end of this unit you will be conversant with the concepts and approaches of holism compared with reductionism in modern biological sciences. It will review the principles of biology and modern biotechnologies from molecular levels to systems biology, such as DNA analysis, DNA profiling, functional genomics, gene expression and complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray, proteomics and protein interactions, epigenetics, bioinformatics, recombinant DNA, and biotechnology.

  • Parasitology & Epidemiology: The necessary tools to understand and discuss parasitology and disease epidemiology will be provided to present a broad overview of how parasites influence human and wildlife health, behaviour and population dynamics. You will learn to appreciate how policies are adapted to protect public health and the health of farmed and wildlife populations. Quantitative skills will be enhanced by performing survival analysis and evaluating potential disease impacts. Identification of parasites will also be covered.

  • Primate Behavioural Ecology: This unit will provide you with an understanding of how primate behaviour can be interpreted from an evolutionary viewpoint, and how human and non-human primates’ behavioural strategies are adapted to the social and ecological environment in which they live. The unit is aimed at stimulating discussion and the critical analysis of theories.

  • Topics in Wildlife Conservation: You will critically evaluate currently important topics in wildlife conservation from a range of perspectives, and develop your skills in evaluating ecological data in the context of conservation ecology and your powers of reflection on your own perspective and ability to appreciate and integrate other perspectives within conservation ecology.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Pathway Courses

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

Our graduates work for a range of organisations, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, NHS, Sigma Aldrich and the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative.

Your degree will be centred around developing the skills you need to work in professional practice, as well as equipping you with a variety of transferable skills that will give you a range of career options.

Our staff have a wealth of research, educational and consultancy experience and are therefore well-placed to ensure you are ready for the world of work once you graduate.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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