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BSc Hons Biological Sciences

Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Biomedical and Life Sciences (Division of)
UCAS Code: C100 Duration/Length: 3 Year(s)
QAA Subject Benchmark: Not Defined Director of Studies: Dr SK Roberts
Total Credit Points: 360 Credit Points Year 2: 120
Credit Points Year 3: 120

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • PartI
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 2)
  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
  • The student may complete their enrolment by selecting from the following list:
  • PartII (Year 3)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student may complete their enrolment by selecting from the following list:

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Biological sciences offers students a diverse choice of modules in genetics, biomedicine, microbiology, ecology, physiology and conservation. In the first year, students gain a broad overview of key biological concepts, such as Cell Structure and Function, and Evolutionary Biology. The flexible nature of the course enables students to transfer to one of our more specialised degree programmes after the first year. In the second year, students can choose to study a range of topics including Medical Microbiology and Populations to Ecosystems. In the final year, students have the opportunity to focus on their biological interests, selecting from a diverse range of topics such as Biology of Ageing and Global Change Biology. Our links with external research institutions, such as hospitals and industrial laboratories, substantially enhance this degree scheme. 

    The programme aims to:

    • Provide a flexible but structured, progressive and thematic training in Biological Sciences which will provide students with a knowledge and understanding appropriate for subject-specific graduate employment.
    • Develop key transferable skills to prepare students for more general graduate employment.
    • Develop the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate research and training.
    • Encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning.
    • Offer a broad range of modules within which students can select a specialised route.
    • Offer all students the opportunity to conduct a substantial research project

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Graduates will be able to:

    • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key concepts in biological science. The topics covered are dependent on modules choices exercised by the students, but could include: Genetics, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Parasitology, Biochemistry, Environmental and Conservation Biology, Global Change Biology, Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Cell Biology, Biomedicine and Ethics, Cancer, Cell Cycle and Stems Cells, Biology of Ageing, Immunology, Neurobiology.
    • Reason critically and demonstrate awareness of major issues in science including issue surrounding conservation and biomedical ethics.
    • Use appropriate equipment effectively and list appropriate safety precautions associated with practical or project work.
    • Demonstrate the skills necessary to plan, conduct and report a substantial individual investigation.
    • Collect and present experimental data and to interpret numerical data.
    • Demonstrate the ability to formulate and test concepts and hypotheses. 
    • Retrieve, select, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a variety of sources; including from relevant Information Technology.
    • Communicate effectively through written and oral presentations.
    • Use relevant Information Technology and relevant Web-based resources.
    • Work independently or as part of a team. 

Learning and Teaching Strategies and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding, Skills

  • Acquisition of knowledge is acquired mainly through lectures and student-centred learning. Fundamental information in lectures is expanded by further reading which, by year 3, will include primary research papers.

    Teaching is hierarchical with a broad first year, becoming progressively deeper and more specialised in years two and three, depending on the student's choice of modules. Workshop sessions develop problem-solving and analytical skills connected with the lecture material. Students complete laboratory-based research projects and associated literature reviews in year 3 which develop a wide range of intellectual skills. Practical classes throughout the curriculum involve the generation and interpretation of numerical data.

    In summary the following teaching methods apply:

    Knowledge and understanding is developed through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical sessions, coursework exercises and undertaking reading from a range of literature sources. 

    Intellectual skills are developed as follows:

    • Analytical skills are developed through workshop sessions, projects and practical work and are informed by lectures and reading. 
    • Skills in interpretation of numerical data and testing and formulating hypotheses are developed through practical classes and projects. 
    • Problem solving skills are developed through workshops, practicals and projects.
    • Skills in critical evaluation are developed through lectures, workshops, practical work, projects and through reading of primary research papers.

    Practical skills are developed as follows: 

    • Test, measurement and evaluation skills are developed through lectures, workshops, practical classes and projects. 
    • Experimental and risk assessment skills are developed through practical work and projects.
    • Skills in project management techniques are developed through practical work and individual projects.
    • Numerical skills are developed through practical classes and workshops. 

    Transferable skills are taught explicitly in first year tutorials and in a first year compulsory module. These are also embedded and developed in modules throughout the curriculum:

    • Communication skills are developed through instruction and practice in writing reports, essays, projects and giving presentations.
    • General ICT skills are developed through use of computers in several aspects of the course and for communication in the University and beyond.
    • Information retrieval skills are developed in coursework and projects.
    • Data manipulation and presentation skills are developed through practical classes, report writing and projects.
    • Independent-learning skills are developed through coursework and projects.
    • Time management skills are developed through coursework and student projects.
    • Employability skills and team working are embedded throughout the curriculum and developed in a compulsory third year module.

Assessment Strategy and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Knowledge and understanding is assessed through unseen examinations and end of modules tests (multiple choice or short answer questions). Examinations are mainly of the essay type but also include short answer questions in second year and data analysis in years 2 and 3. Coursework assignments, which include: laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, poster presentations and oral presentations, also test students' knowledge and understanding. The relative weight of these components varies according to the type of module and its intended outcomes.

    Intellectual skills are assessed by a combination of coursework exercises, practical and project work and written examinations.  

    Practical skills are assessed by a combination of practical and project work, laboratory reports and data analysis examination questions. 

    Transferable skills such as written and oral presentation skills, graphical presentation of data, general IT skills and information gathering are assessed by a variety of coursework assignments, e.g. essay writing, practical reports, oral presentations, research poster design, dissertation.

External Benchmarks


    Reference points used to inform the curriculum design include:

    • Biosciences benchmark statement

    • Comments from external examiners

    • Needs of employers

    • Feedback from applicants on open days

    • Feedback from current students

    • Discussions in the Divisional Teaching and Learning Committee

Contact Information

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