You will be provided with the foundation for the rest of the degree programme, incorporating core elements of genetics, organismal biology, molecular and cellular biology. In addition, skills modules will cover statistics, study skills, laboratory techniques and a residential field course.
Modules span the breadth of biology including sustainable agriculture, marine biology, conservation of tropical forests, genome engineering with CRISPR Cas technologies and intracellular signalling. There is an extensive range of optional modules to choose from including immunology, virology or even learning a new language.
Year 1 compulsory field course: coastal and uplands habitats in Millport, Scotland.
During this residential field course on the Isle of Cumbrae, you will study coastal and upland habitats, where your research ethos is developed and fostered from the start through practicals and tutorials.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer onto degree courses in zoology, ecology and conservation biology and genetics. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.
You’ll advance your understanding, analytical expertise and study skill with core modules in evolution, animal and plant biology.
Your degree can be tailored with a wide range of optional modules that include topics in ecology, human genetics, genomics, development and parasitology. You will also have the opportunity to visit the University Farm, home to the new £11 million National Pig Centre, to learn about animal nutrition and behaviour in optional modules.
Year 2 optional field courses: mediterranean ecology in Spain; terrestrial ecology and behaviour in the Yorkshire Dales.
At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This adds an additional year of study to your degree.
Select a mixture of your favourite modules from our four-module groups:
Animal - includes social insect biology and a series of research-led advanced topics modules focussing on behaviour, ecology and evolution.
Genetic - includes teaching from clinical geneticists at St James hospital whilst other modules cover important themes such as sustainable agriculture, biotechnology as well plant and animal development.
You will be able to contribute to science with your final year research project with an expert in the field. For example, you could work with Dr Maria Beger on her project 'How can we manage coral reefs threatened by climate change?'. You will select a research project from a list of potential supervisors based on the topic that you find most interesting. Other examples of recent projects include:
Impacts of climate change on birds – field-based project.
Epigenetic influences on fitness – lab-based project.
Oncogenic reprogramming of the immune system - clinical labs-based project at St James Hospital.
Projects are usually closely aligned to the research of the academic supervisor and provide access to our state-of-the-art faculties from super-resolution microscopy to supercomputing.
Year 3 optional field course: South Africa field course.
Integrated Masters (MBiol)
Our integrated Masters MBiol programme shares the same year 1 and 2 studying with our BSc programme, providing a foundation knowledge and skills.
Year 3 (MBiol)
You will conduct two short research projects that will provide essential preparation for your year 4 extended research project. The emphasis in this year is placed on project design and planning, as well as providing the practical skills that will be essential in the final year.
Year 4 (MBiol)
Your extended research project is the pinnacle of your MBiol studies and can be field or lab-based. Most of year 4 is devoted to your research project, allowing you to work alongside our experts to explore a specific topic in biology. This helps to develop the high-level research and professional skills that will serve you well in your future career.
Alongside this, you will study a range of Masters-level optional modules including bioscience and conservation.
You can also build your skills in statistics or study medical diagnostics, while the African field ecology module gives you another chance to apply your knowledge to fieldwork in Kenya.
Year 4 optional field course: African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya.
This field course will provide you with a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area.
Part time study
This course is also available to study part-time over 6 years. If you choose this option you'll study alongside our full-time students and the course content will be the same, but delivered at 50% of the intensity. As these courses are delivered primarily for full-time students you may need to attend the University on several occasions each week. Times are likely to vary with each new semester and will depend on the scheduling of compulsory modules and your choice of optional and elective modules.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biology MBiol, BSc in the course catalogue
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biology BSc in the course catalogue
Biology Practicals and Data Analysis
Applied Biology and Agriculture
Introduction to Genetics
Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course
Research and Study Skills Level 1
The Basis of Life
How Plants Work
Experimental Design and Analysis
Research and Study Skills Level 2
Advanced Research Skills and Experience
Research Literature Review
Extended Research Project
Throughout your degree you will benefit from the range of opportunities, expanding your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the latest Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.
You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and practicals. Your first and second years will focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge in preparation for your final year research project, which will see you take on independent research and learning with the guidance of leading experts.
Across all years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures and lab practicals, and you will also undertake private study.
As a guide, a typical week in your first year will include nine to twelve hours of lectures, three to six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, tutorials, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
Independent study and research are also crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers training to help you make the most of them.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.