Biology BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2023 - Saturday 14 October

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UCAS code
C100
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
3 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB
Full entry requirements
Accredited
Yes

Course overview

Caterpillars eating cabbage

From genes to behaviour and evolution to ecology, studying Biology at Leeds will provide you with a holistic understanding of the whole topic. Personalise your degree to match your needs as you progress; will you choose to pursue human biology, conservation, immunology, genetic engineering or any one of the other study areas the University of Leeds has to offer?

Biology has vital applications in current key global challenges. An ever-growing world population jeopardises the environment whilst pressures on resources threaten endangered species and agricultural production. With your degree you will be at the forefront of providing sustainable solutions.

Be part of the revolution in genomics, gene modification and biotechnology currently transforming the world. Equipped with the skills and knowledge of the fundamental biological processes, understand and drive forward science-based solutions to some of the world’s biggest issues.

This 3 year BSc can also be converted into an integrated Masters (MBiol) with an optional additional year of specialist training, to study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project.

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Course highlights

  • Field course options include trips to Scotland, Spain, South Africa and Kenya. Develop practical field-based skills in a wide range of habitats.
  • Access to visit and conduct research at the University’s state-of-the-art National Pig Centre.
  • Collaborate on 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?'.
  • Build practical experience undertaking modules including practical genetics, parasitology and field course options.

Flexible degrees

Biology is a broad-based degree within the School of Biology that offers you flexibility throughout your time studying at Leeds.

All of our biology degree courses share the same set of compulsory modules in the first year. A key benefit of having a common first year is that at the end of year 1, there are opportunities to transfer onto degree courses in Zoology, Ecology and Conservation Biology and Genetics, subject to approval. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.

Biology or Biological Science?

Unsure of the difference between biology and biological sciences?

Ecology and Wildlife Conservation online course

Get a taste of Biology BSc with our exceptional online course, Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Designed for anyone with an interest in the subject matter, this short course is particularly useful for high school students who would like to study Biology, Zoology, or Ecology and Conservation at University level.

With this two-week programme, you will discover how conservation biologists and the study of ecosystems can help protect wildlife and conserve the natural world. You’ll have the chance to explore the impact of wind farms on populations of seabirds, and investigate highly diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Are you ready to take your first steps towards protecting our world’s incredible biodiversity?

Find out more

Click here for a full list of our online courses.

Accreditation

Accredited by The Royal Society of Biology

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

This accreditation is applicable to the following course variants: BSc Biology (Industrial); MBiol Biology; MBiol Biology (Industrial); MBiol Biology (International).

Course details

Year 1

You will be provided with the foundation for your 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 include sustainable agriculture, marine biology, conservation of tropical forests, genome engineering with CRISPR Cas technologies and intracellular signalling. Choose from an extensive range of optional modules 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 other suitable degree courses.

Year 2

You’ll advance your understanding, analytical expertise and study skill with core modules in evolution, animal and plant biology.

Tailor your degree with a range of optional modules that include topics in ecology, human genetics, genomics, development and parasitology. In some optional modules you can even visit the University Farm, home to the new £11 million National Pig Centre and learn about animal nutrition and behaviour.

Year 2 optional field courses: Mediterranean ecology in Spain and urban ecology in the heart of Leeds which will introduce you to the topic of sustainable cities.

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.

Year 3

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

  • genetics - includes teaching from clinical geneticists at St James hospital whilst other modules cover topics such as sustainable plant and animal development, agriculture and biotechnology

  • plant biology

  • ecology

Conduct your own independent research project based on the topic that you find most interesting. Select from a list of potential supervisors as projects are usually closely aligned to their own research. 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

You’ll be given access to use our state-of-the-art faculties, from super-resolution microscopy to supercomputing.

Year 3 optional field course: South Africa field course

Course Explanation:

At level 2 there are 50 credits of compulsory modules, leaving 70 credits as optional. You will choose at least 10 credits from the field of genetics, at least 20 credits from the field of organismal biology and up to 20 credits from other modules of your choice.

For example, the gene and genomes module covers state of the art concepts of genetic engineering and genome analysis, including high throughput sequencing approaches that are revolutionising research and medicine. Another option is population, community and conservation ecology includes practical examples and studies the dynamics of biological populations including the interactions between species, the environment, and the properties of ecological communities. Importantly, the course also covers the application of these principles to population management and conservation.

At level 3 you can choose 80 credits of optional modules, ensuring the four groups of genetics, zoology, ecology and plants are represented.

Examples from each grouping include human genetics, which introduces current research that links genome organisation and maintenance to immunity, disease and novel therapies. Zoology includes advanced topics in behaviour which integrates thinking about behaviour, ecology and evolution to understand how an animal’s behaviour is adapted. Topics include behaviour associated with reproduction and how behaviour can be manipulated by parasites. Advanced topics in conservation science covers globally important topics including biodiversity loss and climate change related and shows how ecological theory informs conservation theory. Real world case studies illustrate how conservation practice works, or why these efforts sometime fail. In plant growth, resources and food security you will learn how crop plants are being improved to help address global threats associated with an increased requirement for food production under increased environmental pressures, providing sustainable solutions to global problems.

For more information about the specific modules, please see our course catalogue.

Course structure

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 BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Living Planet 20
Applied Biology and Agriculture 10
Introduction to Genetics 10
Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course 10
Research & Study Skills Level 1 20
Practical Skills for Biology and Genetics 20
The Basis of Life 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Exploring Whole Organism Biology in the Lab and Field 10
Biology of the Mind 10
Introduction to Pharmacology 10
Introduction to Microbiology 10
The Microbial World 10
Introduction to Immunology 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
How Plants Live 20
Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour 20
Research and Study Skills Level 2 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Omics Biology 10
Omics and Big Data Biology 20
Biological Membranes and Cell Signalling 10
Human Diseases 10
Chemotherapy 10
Parasitology 10
Animal Physiology 20
Population, Community and Conservation Ecology 20
Human Populations 10
Introduction to Bioinformatics 10
Sustainable Food Production 10
Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course 20
Human Genetics 10
Mediterranean Ecology Field Course 10
Neurobiology 20
Molecular Virology 10
Medical Immunology 10
Medical Virology 10

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Training in the Workplace 120
Biology Integrated Research Projects 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Study Year Abroad 120
Combined Study Abroad and Work Placement Year 120
Applied Genetics 20
Social Insect Biology 10
Advanced topics in Ecology 20
Advanced Topics in Behaviour: from sex to death 20
Advanced Topics in Human Genetics 20
Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security 20
Advanced Topics in Animal Science 20
Advanced Topics in Evolution 20
Evolution and Population Genetics 10
Advanced Topics in Conservation Science 20
Plant Development: Making a plant in theory and practice 20
Level 3 Field Course (South Africa) 20
Horizon Year Abroad 100
Intercultural Communication and Global Citizenship: A Critical Approach for the Horizon Year Abroad 20

Learning and teaching

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, lab practicals, and private study.

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 crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers comprehensive training.

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.

Assessment

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.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.

We accept the following:

  • Science: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.

  • Science-related: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, statistics.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.

When an applicant is taking any of the following:

  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

  • Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ)

  • Core Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)

  • AS Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)

  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

It will be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be a 1 grade drop from the standard offer. For example an A in one of the above qualifications with ABB at A-level (BSc applicants).

GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English. The Faculty of Biological Sciences will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

BSc:
Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, graded at D39M6P0 including distinctions in biology and mathematics or chemistry. Accept Access courses in Applied Science and Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

  • biochemical sciences

  • biological and environmental science

  • biological and health science

  • biological sciences

  • biosciences

  • combined sciences

  • environmental science

  • life and biological science

  • life science

  • medical and health science professions

  • natural sciences

  • physical & natural sciences.

MBiol:
We do not accept Access to HE.

BTEC

BSc:
Applicants with BTEC qualifications (Diploma or Extended Diploma) are required to have A2 level biology (maths, chemistry and physics may be acceptable alternatives depending on the BTEC subject). Distinctions in the BTEC subject and an A or B grade (BTEC subject dependent) for the A-level subject are required.

Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must have at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these must be in biology.

MBiol:
We do not accept BTEC qualifications.

Cambridge Pre-U

BSc:
D3/D3/M1 including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If biology is the only science subject then a D3 grade will be required. Global Perspectives excluded.

MBiol:
D3/D3/D3 including biology and preferably another science subject. Global Perspectives excluded.

When an applicant is taking Global Perspectives this can be considered alongside Pre-U subjects and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. This would be D3/M1/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (BSc applicants) or D3/D3/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (MBiol applicants).

International Baccalaureate

BSc: 6,6,5 at higher level including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science at higher level, a 6 will be required.

MBiol: 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science at higher level, a 6 will be required.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

BSc:
H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 in biology and preferably another science or science-related subject at higher level.

MBiol:
H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BSc:
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AB in 2 Advanced Highers including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. General studies and critical thinking excluded. If biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required.

MBiol:
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. General studies and critical thinking excluded.

  • Science subjects include: biology, human biology, chemistry, maths and physics.

  • Science-related subjects include: computing, environmental science, geography, geology, P.E, psychology, science in society, statistics, food science and use of maths.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer

Specific A Level subjects required – see entry requirement section above.

GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.

Access to Leeds: Pass

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. . For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.


Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

Fees

UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships

Applying

Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions guidance

Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Application process

The Faculty of Biological Sciences may consider applications submitted after this date. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed by UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.

Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants

As per the information detailed in the corresponding section of the University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy the Faculty of Biological Sciences will consider prospective students via the Alternative Entry Scheme run by the Lifelong Learning where appropriate applicants will be referred to the Lifelong Learning Centre, who will advise the applicant further.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

Contact us

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Career opportunities

As well as providing you with subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem-solving.

Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the faculty student opportunity team, Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.

Our graduates have, for many years, experienced high employment rates and a large proportion quickly gain employment upon graduation. With the expansion of the biosciences comes the generation of new and varied career opportunities. The skills and knowledge you develop will be relevant to biology-related careers as well as broader opportunities after graduation.

Typical graduate careers include:

  • Academic researcher

  • Marine Biologist

  • Secondary school teacher

  • Medical writer

  • Clinical Scientist

  • Nature conservation officer

Examples of recent graduate destinations include:

  • MSc Biodiversity & Conservation

  • PhD Biological Sciences

  • Physician Associate

  • Regulatory Affairs Assistant

  • Trainee Clinical Scientist

  • PGCE Secondary Science (Biology)

Careers support

We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.

We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. These include our annual student-alumni networking event, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield NHS Ecological consultancies, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Industrial placements are taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, the staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and recruitment process and provide details of organisations.

Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.

Combined study and working abroad

Our new module allows you to combine both a study abroad and industrial work placement into one additional year of study. Over the year you will study for a semester at one of our partner universities and complete an industrial work placement for 6 months abroad or in the UK.

Find out more about Combined study and work abroad.

Field courses

One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer the option of a field course in every year.

Year 1: Coastal & Upland Habitats, Millport

Compulsory module: A week’s in-depth study of animals and plants in their natural habitats. Students are allocated to a group and each group has its specialist topic. For example, you may explore diurnal rhythms in insects, rocky shore diversity, seaweed ecology or how parasitic disease affects animal distribution. You will have a chance to observe birdlife, seals and even whales (and the ice cream shop!).

Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

Optional module: Usually involving a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You’ll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.

Year 2: Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course

Optional module: This interactive field course is designed to build upon your knowledge of ecology and conservation, in addition to exploring the value of biodiversity in a stimulating urban context. You will focus on the biodiversity, sustainability and reduced carbon emissions commitments around the University of Leeds.

Year 3: South Africa Field Course

Optional module: Based at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The area is rich in plants, birds and mammals (including the ‘big five’ – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). Group projects designed by the students centre on the theme of a ‘landscape of fear’, and there are also guest lectures by local experts, a bird diary to complete, night drives in safari vehicles and a boat trip to watch birds and sometimes even whales.

Year 4: (MBiol) African Field Course

Our MBiol also offers you the chance to go to Kenya in your final year to conduct research at the Mpala Research Centre with a focus on ecological, conservation and wildlife management challenges in a semi-arid savannah environment. The course will be based primarily around small-group projects that are of ecological or conservation relevance to the region. This will reinforce and broaden your knowledge and understanding of the area and build upon aspects of the ecological training received at Leeds.

Find out more from our Field Courses

Student profile: Nazatul Awang Abd Ghani

There's lots of hands-on practicals, interesting and relevant lecture topics, helpful and approachable lecturers. One module in my second year had a field trip to a farm which was really fun.
Find out more about Nazatul Awang Abd Ghani's time at Leeds