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Biological Sciences BSc (Full time) 2018 start

  • Overview

    This course will give you an understanding of biological processes on both the molecular and cellular levels.

    Bringing together subjects such as genetics, biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology, this degree will give you a thorough understanding of how living cells work, from generating energy to responding to changes in their environment. You’ll also gain the specialist knowledge in key disciplines that is vital not just in the job market, but in facing some of the biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

    Core modules will equip you with a broad base of knowledge in areas such as human disease genomics, genetic engineering and cell signalling. At the same time, you’ll specialise by choosing one of four pathways in plants and agriculture, molecular medicine, infection and disease or molecular zoology. Studying in a world-leading research facility, you’ll have access to the latest knowledge in the field including discoveries being made right here in Leeds.

    On this course you will gain an understanding of how living cells work, from generating energy to responding to changes in their environment. You will study a wide range of organisms, from viruses to humans, and learn the role of multiple disciplines, such as genetics and microbiology. We offer four specialist themes: Molecular Medicine, Infection and Disease, Molecular Zoology, Plants and Agriculture.

    If you are unsure of the difference between Biological Sciences and Biology? Check our guide to help you decide which is right for you.

    Specialist facilities

    The Faculty of Biological Sciences has invested £2.25 million in modern, specialised teaching laboratories as well as fermentation units, research-quality microscopes and molecular biology suites. You’ll have access to a range of specialist scientific equipment and fantastic computing and library resources – including the dedicated Health Sciences Library – to help you develop your knowledge and skills in a stimulating and supportive environment.


    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 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.

  • Course content

    A set of core modules in Year 1 will allow you to develop your skills in research and analysis and introducing you to the disciplines of immunology, microbiology, genetics and cell biology. You’ll gain an understanding of the chemistry underpinning biological processes, the different types of cell and how they come together in human tissues, organs and body systems, as well as how they are affected by disease. You’ll also choose an optional module on a specialist topic from agriculture to pharmacology, which may help you choose your specialism for the next two years.

    Year 2 gives you the chance to build on this knowledge within a specialist area of your choice: infection and disease, molecular medicine, plants and agriculture or molecular zoology. Each pathway comes with compulsory modules and some also give you a choice of optional modules. Your broader learning will be supported by core modules on bacterial genomics, cell signalling, genetic engineering and disease.

    By the time you enter your final year, you’ll be in a position to apply your research skills to an independent project: working with our world-class scientists, you’ll explore a specific topic in depth. You’ll also take further specialised modules on your chosen pathway, learning from the cutting-edge research being conducted by our academics.

    Course structure

    These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

    Year 1

    Compulsory modules

    • Introductory Skills for Biological Sciences 40 credits
    • Introduction to Genetics 10 credits
    • The Basis of Life 20 credits
    • Molecular Physiology 20 credits
    • Introduction to Microbiology 20 credits

    Optional modules

    • Career and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
    • How can Biological Sciences change the world 10 credits
    • Applied Biology and Agriculture 10 credits
    • Biology of the Mind 10 credits
    • Introduction to Pharmacology 10 credits
    • Human Endocrinology 10 credits

    Year 2

    Compulsory modules

    • The Power of Bacterial Genomics 10 credits
    • Genetic Engineering 10 credits
    • Biological Membranes and Cell Signalling 10 credits
    • Human Diseases 10 credits
    • Intermediate Skills for Biological Sciences 40 credits
    • Cell Biology of Disease 10 credits

    Optional modules

    • Employment, Career planning and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
    • Parasitology 10 credits
    • How Plants Work 10 credits
    • Sustainable Food Production 10 credits
    • Animals as Pests 10 credits
    • Animal Developmental Biology 10 credits
    • Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales 10 credits
    • Human Genetics 10 credits
    • Chemotherapy 10 credits
    • Introduction to Toxicology 10 credits
    • Skills in Communicating Research beyond the University 10 credits
    • Molecular Virology 10 credits
    • Medical Bacteriology 10 credits
    • Medical Immunology 10 credits
    • Medical Virology 10 credits

    Year 3

    Compulsory modules

    • Advanced Skills in the Biosciences 20 credits
    • Biological Sciences Research Project 40 credits

    Optional modules

    • Cancer Biology 10 credits
    • Advanced Topics for Biological Sciences 1 20 credits
    • Advanced Topics for Biological Sciences 2 20 credits
    • Advanced Topics for Biological Sciences 3 20 credits
    • Applied Genetics 20 credits
    • Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security 20 credits
    • Applied Plant Science 10 credits
    • Animal Developmental Biology 10 credits
    • Plant Developmental Biology 10 credits
    • Comparative Genomics 10 credits
    • Biology Research Projects 40 credits

    For more information on typical modules, read Biological Sciences BSc in the course catalogue

    Broadening your academic horizons

    At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

    Learning and teaching

    Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, while you’ll also benefit from our range of online resources such as Virtual Labs @ Leeds.

    Year 1 is likely to include around 10-12 hours of lectures, a tutorial and two three-hour practical classes, followed by 8-10 lectures, a six-hour practical session and tutorials in Year 2. In your final year you’ll spend more time working independently with around three days per week devoted to your research project, mainly in Semester 1, supported by lectures.

    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.


    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, fees and applying

    Entry requirements

    A-level: AAA - AAB

    Including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

    We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

    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.

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

    • Access to HE Diploma

      Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, graded at D45M0P0 to D39M6P0 including distinctions in Biology and Mathematics or Chemistry. Accept Access courses in Applied Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

      • Biochemical Sciences
      • Biological and Envionmental 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.

    • BTEC

      Applicants with BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma qualifications are required to have A2 level Biology (although alternative science subjects will be considered). Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must normally have at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these should be biology. The preferred BTEC qualification subject is Applied Science. Offers would be grade A in the A2 level science subject and Distinctions in the BTEC qualification. An offer will be made dependent on the BTEC subject and module choices.

    • Cambridge Pre-U

      D3/D3/D3-D3/D3/M1 including D3 Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

    • International Baccalaureate

      35-34 (with 18-17 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

    • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

      H1,H1,H2,H2,H2,H2 - H1,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H1-H2 in Biology and another science at higher level.

    • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

      Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA-AB in 2 Advanced Highers

      We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

    • Welsh Baccalaureate

      AAA-AAB including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

      We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

    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.


    We welcome students from around the world and consider a range of qualifications. If your qualification or country does not appear on our entry requirements page, please contact us at

    Foundation year

    If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

    University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

    Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

    Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

    If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

    International Foundation Year Programme

    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.

    International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

    How to apply

    Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

    International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU 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

    Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


    UK/EU: See fees section below

    International: £21,500 (per year)

    For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

    The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

    The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

    The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

    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.

    Additional cost information

    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

    Financial support

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

  • Career opportunities

    With the growth of biosciences, new and varied career opportunities are continually emerging for graduates. 96% of our graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduation (DLHE 2014/15). Some of our graduates pursue further study at Masters or PhD level, while others have progressed to graduate medicine courses, dentistry, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, public health sector laboratories, universities, government-funded institutes and health, medical, policymaking and government organisations.

    Recent graduate destinations have included:

    • Lab Technician, Huntingdon School
    • Healthcare Assistant, Soho Road Medical Practice
    • Sales Executive, Softcat
    • Technical Officer, Anpario.

    Careers support

    We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University’s Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, 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 at the Careers website.

  • 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. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities 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 the BSc 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 typically taken between your second and final year. If you choose to undertake a placement year, this will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and application letters and provide a list of organisations which may offer industrial placements.

    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.

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