Biology and History and Philosophy of Science BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level including B in Biology and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview


This joint honours degree enables you to develop knowledge and skills through an exploration of the science and philosophy of living things, as well as a historical understanding of how these fields of study have evolved over time.

You’ll combine practical lab work with classroom-based learning, developing a broad set of biological knowledge and skills, whilst exploring the history of scientific thought, the links between magic, science and religion and the nature of scientific knowledge.

A combination of core and optional modules will enable you to improve your understanding of key topics such as philosophy of science, cell biology and genetics and gain specialist knowledge in areas like philosophy of biology, behavioural ecology and animal development biology.

Course details

A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but you’ll take fewer options and discovery modules so you can fit in both subjects. You’ll also undertake a major research project in either subject in your final year.

Core modules in your first year introduce you to key topics and approaches in biology and history and philosophy of science, from the history of science and the scientific method, to genetics and cell biology.

You’ll also be able to choose from optional modules in areas such as history of medicine or whole organism biology, or take discovery modules from across the wider University.

From this foundation, you’ll build your knowledge and skills over the next two years through a broader range of study. You’ll choose from a variety of modules covering animal and plant life, experimental design, ecology, philosophy of biology, and science communication.

Throughout the degree you’ll build up an impressive breadth of subject knowledge, and develop research and analytical skills. In your final year you’ll also have the chance to showcase these skills, when you focus on a subject of your choice to undertake a research project.

This means you graduate with academic knowledge and practical transferable skills, helping you to succeed in the world of work or further study.

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 and History and Philosophy of Science BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Tissues 10
Living Planet 20
Introduction to Genetics 10
Research and Study Skills Level 1 10
Introduction to the History of Science 10
How Science Works 10

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

Module Name Credits
Applied Biology and Agriculture 10
Practical Genetics 10
Exploring Whole Organism Biology in the Lab and Field 10
Magic, Science and Religion 10
History of Psychology 10
Darwin, Germs and the Bomb 10
Living with Technology 10
History of Modern Medicine 10
Knowledge, Self and Reality 20
How to Think Clearly and Argue Well 20

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

Module Name Credits
Animal Physiology 20
How Plants Work 10
Experimental Design and Analysis 10
Parasitology 10
Sustainable Food Production 10
Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course 20
Human Genetics 10
History of Psychiatry and Mental Illness 20
Introduction to Epistemology 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Independent Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40
Integrated Research Project in Philosophy, Religion or History of Science 40
Biology Integrated Research Project 40

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

Module Name Credits
Applied Genetics 20
Social Insect Biology 10
Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security 20
Advanced Topics in Animal Science 20
Plant Development: Making a plant in theory and practice 20
Level 3 Field Course (South Africa) 20
Biology Integrated Research Projects 40
Mind, Brain & Society 20
Philosophy of Modern Physics 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand 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

Our tutors are experts in their fields, and their teaching is informed by their own research.

We use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise, including lectures, seminars, tutorials or occasionally workshops.

However, independent study is also central to this degree, since it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis. You will be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a Final Year Research Project on a topic of your own choice.

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 also use different types of assessment. Usually we use a mixture of exams and essays, but you may also be assessed on oral presentations or group work in some modules. Support will be on hand throughout your time at Leeds – for example, you’ll be able to attend extra classes on exam technique, structuring an essay and public speaking if you need them.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including B in Biology

GCSE: grade 6/B in Mathematics.

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level including Biology and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. Grade 6/B in GCSE Mathematics is required. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required. This course has additional subject specific requirements. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 including Biology

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in Biology at Higher Level and 5 in Mathematics at Standard Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 including H3 in Biology

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75% including 8.0 in Biology

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.

BBC at A Level including B in Biology and pass Access to Leeds


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science Undergraduate Admissions team.

You can find out more about what it is like to be an international student by speaking to a Link to Leeds ambassador. They can’t help you with your application, but they can tell you how they have found living and studying in Leeds.

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 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 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.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,000 (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.


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

Read our guidance about applying.

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 policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
Faculty of Biological Sciences

Contact us

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Admissions


Career opportunities

A joint honours degree in Biology and History and Philosophy of Science will equip you with a wide range of practical skills and subject knowledge which are highly attractive to employers.

You’ll be able to interpret complex quantitative and qualitative data using your excellent analytical skills which you’ll have developed throughout your course. You’ll also be confident working within a team or independently and you’ll have great research skills.

You’ll also be organised and able to multi-task through your experience of studying two subjects together.

Careers support

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.

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science has exclusive exchange links with universities in Denmark, France and Spain – language classes are available before you go to prepare you for the experience.

Read more about Study abroad in Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

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.

Student profile: Ben Kumar

I can comfortably say this has changed my life. The support given to me at Leeds from not only applying for the course but then experiencing it has been wonderful.
Ben Kumar, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
Find out more about Ben Kumar's time at Leeds