Biological Sciences vs Biology

What's the difference?

Your experience of studying life sciences before university usually involves studying a bit of everything under the broad umbrella of “Biology”, but at degree level you’re invited to specialise a little bit further.

Biology, Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences all cover a broad range of interesting topics and open up a world of exciting career options. Plus all three areas offer a lot of flexibility and choice, so you can personalise your degree as you study and your interests develop.

Each course gives you the chance to undertake an independent research project, experience an industrial placement or study year abroad.

The choice very much depends on your personal interests, so have a think about what you enjoyed the most in your studies so far and where you think you’d like to take your studies in the future.


Are you interested in plants and animals and how they work? Fascinated by environments and ecosystems? Want to get a better understanding of evolution and genetics? Biology might be the route for you.

Our BSc Biology course is a broad-based degree with an emphasis on organismal biology.

You’ll gain an understanding of biology at many different levels, following from the molecular biology of the cell, through how animals and plants function as organisms, to their ecological interactions with each other and the environment.

The core subject areas you’ll study throughout your degree will include genetics, animal biology, plant biology and ecology/evolution.

From your second year you can choose to specialise in areas such as ecology, behaviour and conservation biology, or in the molecular and genetic aspect, which gives you chance to develop broad knowledge as well as graduating with a specialism.

If your interests lie specifically within one of those areas, you should consider one of our more specialist biology degrees, such as Ecology and Conservation Biology or Zoology.

Career options: Biology graduates can go down a number of career paths, students from Biology have gone on to be a:

  • Research Bioscientist
  • Wildlife Film Maker
  • Biocontamination Technician
  • Senior Species Ecologist
  • Senior Plant Health and Seeds Inspector
  • Policy Adviser: International Biodiversity
  • Epidemiologist

Biological Sciences

Do you want to study a broad range of topics across molecular, biomedical and biological sciences? Do you love to analyse and apply yourself in the lab? Biological Sciences might be your best option.

You’ll gain a thorough understanding of how living cells work, from generating energy to changes in their environment.

You’ll study a wide range of organisms, from viruses to humans, and learn the role of genetics and microbiology.

In your second year you’ll follow one of four themes: Health Sciences; Infection and Disease; Molecular Zoology; or Plants and Agriculture.

This breadth of learning gives you lots of flexibility and choice with options to transfer onto a more specialised degree such as Genetics, Microbiology or Biochemistry.

Career options: Biological Sciences graduates can use their skills and knowledge to enter into lots of roles, including:

  • Research Scientist
  • Bioscientist
  • Transgenic Technologist
  • Biotechnology Specialist
  • Global Head of Research and Development
  • Chief Scientific Executive Officer
  • Lab Steward
  • Phlebotomist
  • Director of Computational Sciences

If your interests in life science include whole organism as well as molecular aspects, and you would like to study topics such as ecology, animal behaviour, animal/plant physiology and evolution, then BSc Biology may be your best choice.

In contrast, BSc Biological Sciences is a degree that focuses on understanding biology at the molecular and cellular levels. If this is what you are interested in, then this degree may be your best choice.