Biology MBiol, BSc

Year of entry

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UCAS code
C109
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
4 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAA (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
ABB
Full entry requirements
Accredited
Yes

Course overview

Biology MBiol 2024

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 integrated Masters (MBiol) gives you an additional year of specialist training, to study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project. You may also choose to apply for our 3 year BSc and transfer to an MBiol up until the end of your second year, subject to suitable academic performance

Course highlights

  • Field course options include trips to Scotland, Spain and South Africa, developing 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 study marine biology to better manage coral reefs threatened by climate change, understand how bees cooperate as social animals, or develop new ways to reduce the impact of invasive species on local ecosystems.
  • Build practical experience undertaking modules including practical genetics, parasitology and field course options.
  • The MBiol four- year integrated Masters course provides additional specialist training culminating in an original, cutting-edge extended research project that will equip you with the skills necessary for a career in research, as well as setting you apart in the graduate job market.

Wellbeing and support

The University of Leeds features an extensive network of excellent services dedicated to you and your wellbeing. We are here to help throughout your time in higher education, ensuring you have everything you need to succeed. For more information on the different facets of support you will have access to, please see our Wellbeing and Support page.

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?

Facilities

Your degree will be based in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, one of the largest centres for biological sciences research in the UK and home to cutting-edge research facilities. The course makes use of the UK’s largest and most advanced facility for research into pig nutrition, behaviour, welfare & health, and production systems, the National Pig Centre. This is part of the University’s research farm, where you can also learn about sustainable agriculture, while you can study plant biology in the Faculty’s extensive greenhouse and plant growth facilities.

You’ll also have access to field research stations based in Europe and Africa to help you learn about ecology and behaviour in natural surroundings while the city’s green spaces and nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park provide a range of habitats that support modules in ecology and behaviour. Clinical staff at St James hospital contribute to genetics courses and supervise final-year projects for students with interests in human genetics.

Ecology and Wildlife Conservation online course

Get a taste of Biology MBiol 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.

Practical skills include the core techniques for genetic engineering, from isolating DNA, amplification by PCR, molecular cloning and recombinant protein expression and purification, you will cover the essential techniques used routinely in research labs and industry.

Modules cover globally relevant topics including 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 in a discovery module.

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.

Compulsory modules

Living Planet (20 credits) - You’ll be provided with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.

The Basis of Life (20 credits) - You’ll learn about the fundamental processes of life, identifying the key concepts that underpin the biological processes in all living organisms, from bacteria to elephants. On completion of the module, you will have a comprehensive grounding in the molecular basis of life from the atomic scale up to cells.

Practical Skills for Biology and Genetics (20 credits) - You’ll develop the core practical research and scientific skills that you’ll use throughout the degree program. You will develop a broad range of standard laboratory skills including routine calculations, analytical methods to quantify biochemical processes and techniques to study bio-molecular and genetic interactions in vivo and in vitro. Practicals will address processes at the molecular, cellular, whole organism and population level within the broader remit of biology and genetics and will include the essential fundamentals of good laboratory practice.

Research & Study Skills Level 1 (20 credits) - You’ll develop core research, scientific and study skills that will underpin your degree. In core topics, you will gain in-depth understanding of the scientific process, formulation and testing of hypotheses and making the best use of scientific literature. Hands-on computer practical sessions will help you develop an appreciation of the nature of scientific data, quantitative analyses and key skills in how to solve analytical problems.

Introduction to Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with essential foundational knowledge in genetics, exploring the different meanings of ‘genetics’ and how this concept has changed over time. More importantly, you will explore what genetics means for us as organisms. To what extent do genes determine our inheritance? And how do our genes make us the distinct and unique organisms we are?

Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course (10 credits) - You’ll take a combination of field studies at various sites on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland, followed by laboratory-based analysis to develop skills in sampling and monitoring field populations, and identification of diverse organisms. Projects will involve developing hypotheses related to their ecology and testing these using appropriate analytical techniques.

Applied Biology and Agriculture (10 credits) - You’ll consider foods from animals, plants and microorganisms, systems of production and the use of biotechnology for crop improvement. You’ll discuss the opportunities and challenges for agriculture, including the process of domestication, the livestock revolution, systems of animal production and the use of biotechnology for crops and microbes.

Optional modules

20 credits from the following

Introduction to Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll review fundamental immune mechanisms with a particular emphasis on human immunology and its relationship to health and disease. You will discover how we protect ourselves from infection through our immune defences, and learn about the role of different types of leukocytes and antibodies and complement in our immune defences.

Biology of the Mind (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the foundational neuroscience concepts of structure and function, and how systems level function emerges. These concepts will be explained using examples drawn from across the human nervous system in health and disease, and from the experimental approaches used in neuroscience research.

Exploring Whole Organism Biology in the Lab and Field (10 credits) - You'll learn core skills and techniques for biology and whole organism studies in the laboratory and field. Practicals will address processes at the whole organism and population level within the broader remit of biology and whole organism studies in the laboratory and in the field.

Introduction to Microbiology (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to a wide range of microscopic life forms and viruses. You will learn about microbiology in a broad sense and explore the diversity of microbial life with emphasis on how we interact with microbes that are responsible for infections as well as those that do not normally cause disease. You will learn how microorganisms interact with each other and how they influence the lives of more complex organisms, for good or ill and will learn how fungi, bacteria and viruses are observed and manipulated safely.

Discovery Modules (Up to 20 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Year 2

Year 2 of the course is incredibly flexible, with 60 credits of compulsory modules, leaving 60 credits as optional. You’ll advance your understanding, analytical expertise and study skills with core modules in human, animal and plant biology.

In the core skills module, you will gain transferable skills including problem-solving, data analysis, teamwork and communication skills and working in small group tutorials. These will support the rest of your studies through enhanced presentations, producing high-quality reports and effective use of scientific literature. This module also provides training in statistics and experimental design, preparing you for projects later in the course.

Tailor your degree with a range of optional modules that include topics in ecology, human genetics, genomics, microbiology and parasitology. You will choose at least 40 credits of Biology options and up to 20 credits of other modules of your choice, including discovery modules.

For example, the Omics and Big Data Biology module covers state-of-the-art skills in analysing the outputs from high throughput research techniques in biology, including sequencing and proteomics approaches that are revolutionising research and medicine.

Another option is population, community and conservation ecology which studies the dynamics of biological populations including the interactions between species and the environment and investigates the properties of ecological communities. Importantly, the course also covers the application of these principles to population management and conservation, with practical examples.

You can even visit the University Farm, home to the new £11 million National Pig Centre as part of an optional module where you’ll 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.

Compulsory modules

How Plants Live (20 credits) - You’ll explore the importance of plants in their environments, covering basic physiology and metabolism and revealing key concepts of plant growth and development that enable plants to adapt within the environment. Topics include embryogenesis, meristems and postembryonic development, flower and seed development, gravitropism and phototropism, perception of light, gravity and hormonal signals, model systems and research methodologies.

Research and Study Skills Level 2 (20 credits) - You’ll further develop your core research and scientific skills from level 1 including communication skills, how to formulate independent scientific hypotheses and experimental design to test these. You will learn powerful statistical approaches and techniques to process, explain and evaluate scientific data to help prepare for third-year research projects and beyond. Small group tutorials will help develop a range of transferable skills including presentations, data analysis and literature analysis in written reports.

Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour (20 credits) - The module will encourage you to appreciate that evolution unifies Biology and that it explains the facinating diversity of life on Earth. You will examine evolutionary processes to develop an understanding of adaptation to environments, across evolutionary time and in our rapidly changing modern world. The module takes animal behaviour, taught in a behavioural ecology framework, as a specific field in which evolution and adaptation can be explored.

Optional modules

60 credits from the following

Animal Physiology (20 credits) - You’ll focus on the normal functioning of a living organism and the study of the various systems used to regulate the internal environment. This module will introduce you to some of the core topics in animal physiology such as endocrinology, reproduction, growth and development, digestive physiology, muscle, and environmental physiology. Mammals will be used as the main point of reference with selected examples from other classes of animals used for comparison.

Population, Community and Conservation Ecology (20 credits) - You’ll cover the factors that control the distribution and abundance of different populations and introduces the application of these principles to population management. You will understand the interactions between species and their environment and the properties of ecological communities and the application of these principles to key challenges in ecology. You will cover practical conservation approaches to population dynamics and community management and the use of a range of practical and analytical techniques to examine and quantify population and community dynamics.

Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course (20 credits) - In this field course, you will build on core conceptual material in ecology and conservation. You’ll learn about the value of biodiversity in an urban context, with a focus on the biodiversity and sustainability on campus and the University’s reduced carbon emissions commitments. Working in small groups, you will collect biodiversity data across a range of urban sites and produce a biodiversity action plan to support and improve biodiversity on the campus.

Human Populations (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an evolutionary perspective on human origins. You’ll understand the genetic structure of human populations is explained, considering 'normal' variation, geographical variation and changes in human populations including growth migration, language and impact on the environment. You will cover pathology including descriptive epidemiology, classical statistical approaches to understanding cancer and the links between population biology and infectious agents. You will understand core concepts in human population biology including mutation, gene flow, natural selection, genetic drift, founder effects and genetic load.

Parasitology (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an introduction to parasitology with an emphasis on those that cause diseases of medical and veterinary importance. The main content will be delivered through the use of specific examples including single-celled microparasites, such as Malaria, Toxoplasma, Trypanosoma, Leishmania, and Giardia, and macroparasites, such as Schistosoma, Ascaris, Geohelminths, and the Filarial Nematodes.

Introduction to Bioinformatics (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the basics of bioinformatics and the application of bioinformatics to many biological questions. The module shows how genomic data is stored and accessed to learn about any characterised gene or protein and how it links to resources on research. The approaches to modern phylogenetics are introduced and how bioinformatics is applied to drug discovery.

Introduction to Omics Biology (10 credits) - Modern high-throughput and Omics analytical techniques are at the forefront of equipping biologists with the necessary tools and capabilities to face current global challenges. Dealing with this increasing scale and complexity of data generated through these technologies has only been possible through synergy with computational and data science, creating a new frontier of discovery and interdisciplinary research. This module will introduce you to these themes and their implications, developing practical omics and data-science skills.

Omics and Big Data Biology (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to omics-based approaches at the forefront of equipping biologists to overcome global challenges. You’ll also develop practical data-science skills in comparative genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics in order to conduct group-based and individual research projects.

Sustainable Food Production (10 credits) - You'll explore both crop and animal production systems. You’ll review the evolution of farming biodiversity and the challenges we face in maximising production whilst safeguarding the environment.

Human Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the human genome, chromosomes and heredity with an emphasis on genetic disease and cancer. You will also learn about the impact of human genomics in the context of health and genetic counselling.

Chemotherapy (10 credits) - The basis of chemotherapy is selective toxicity, the use of agents to kill or suppress the growth of invading cells or infective organisms. This module will help you understand how these agents work. You will learn about the drugs used to treat cancer, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In addition, immunosuppressant drugs and the chemotherapy of protozoal diseases such as malaria will also be discussed.

Medical Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll gain detailed knowledge of the immune system, focusing on human health, from infectious and auto-immune diseases to treatment.

Mediterranean Ecology Field Course (20 credits) - This course takes place at a field station in a semi-arid region of southern Spain. You will work in small groups to carry out projects that explore the ecology, behaviour and adaptations of the unique flora and fauna found in this beautiful location. You will learn how to carry out field-based research and some of the challenges that field ecologists face by carrying out a project on migrating birds, arid landscapes, plants and pollinators, reptiles, or the conflicts between people and nature in this region. Additional opportunities exist for cultural visits to gain a greater appreciation of the wider geographical, cultural, and ecological context of the field course.

Human Diseases (10 credits) - You will cover a range of human diseases, both inherited and environmentally linked. These include heart and vascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, dermatitis, and diseases linked to diet deficiencies.

Imprinted Brain (10 credits) - This module is based on the 2009 book by Christopher Badcock, “The Imprinted Brain”. In it, Badcock proposes that imprinted genes (parental genes that can be expressed in their offspring in favour of those of the other parent) determine our position on a spectrum ofbehavioural qualities between autism and psychosis. You will be expected to apply an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the genetics, pathology, socio-economic costs and cultural differences associated with these disorders. The course will be run by Utrecht University in collaboration with University of Leeds and will involve distance learning in mixed teams of students from both universities.

Medical Microbiology (20 credits) - You will gain a detailed understanding of important human viral and bacterial pathogens and methods of combatting these infections.

Discovery Modules (Up to 20 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Year 3

In year 3 you can choose 60 credits of optional modules. Select a mixture of your favourite modules from module groupings:

  • Ecology, evolution and behaviour - includes how animal groups function as societies, and a series of research-led advanced topics modules in ecology and conservation science and behaviour
  • Physiology and genetics - includes teaching from clinical geneticists at St James hospital whilst other modules cover topics such as plant development and biotechnology and studying animal physiology in the context of agriculture

Examples of modules include human genetics, which introduces current research that links genome organisation and maintenance to immunity, disease and novel therapies.

The zoology module ‘Advanced topics in behaviour’ 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.

The advanced topics module in conservation science covers globally important topics including biodiversity loss and climate change related and shows how ecological theory informs conservation theory. The module analyses the key to successful conservation practice, drawing real-world case studies.

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.

Year 3 MBiol project

The project provides essential preparation for your year 4 extended research project. The emphasis in this year is placed on project design and planning, as well as providing the hands-on specialist practical skills that will be essential in the final year, either in the lab or the field depending on your chosen topic.

Compulsory modules

Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security (20 credits) - You’ll 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.

Advanced Research Skills & Experience (40 credits) - You will be provided essential preparation for your year 4 extended research project. The emphasis in this year is placed on project design and planning, as well as providing the hands-on specialist practical skills that will be essential in the final year, either in the lab or the field depending on your chosen topic

Optional modules

60 credits from the following

Advanced Topics in Human Genetics (20 credits) - You will gain a comprehensive insight into human genetics with an emphasis on disease. Specific topics discussed include telomere biology, epigenetics, DNA damage/repair, DNA recombination and genome integrity/stability.

Advanced Topics in Ecology (20 credits) - You’ll cover recent developments in ecological research. The module will consist of subunits, each taught by a researcher intimately involved with the research developments being discussed. As such, it will provide you not only with a detailed understanding of key recent developments in ecology but also, with insights into the process of scientific research.

Applied Genetics (20 credits) - You will be provided with an understanding of how the application of genetics can be used in therapeutic and crop development, including the techniques of genetic transformation. You will develop practical skills in genetic transformation supported by an in-depth understanding of the process and its applications and how genetic selection can be used to advance crop development. Expression systems for therapeutics and development processes for the production of novel products will be appraised along with the major approaches for directed evolution at the molecular and cellular level.

Advanced Topics in Behaviour: from sex to death (20 credits) - You will study how the behaviour of animals is adapted to their natural environment. The course will focus on animal behaviour from sex to death, covering topics such as: sexual selection, sperm competition, parental care and cannibalism. You will explore how parasites from malaria to cuckoos can manipulate the behaviour of their hosts. You will also consider how understanding animal behaviour impacts animal health and welfare.

Level 3 Field Course (South Africa) (20 credits) - This module offers you the opportunity to gain ecological experience in a diverse semi-arid area of Southern Africa. Large game is currently being re-introduced to this area, the result of which has been the creation of multiple adjacent sites each containing varying proportions of original African fauna. The intense two week programme (in September before entry into year 3) comprises a short project, lectures by staff and local experts covering geology, vegetation, birds, game management and demonstrations of techniques such as bird ringing and field trips to Addo Elephant Park, Mountain Zebra Park and the coast. Additional costs are required to cover flights and accommodation.

Advanced Topics in Animal Science (20 credits) - Population growth and growth in global affluence are anticipated to continue to drive the increasing demand for animal protein. Production of animals to meet this demand is not only a significant contributor to environmental problems but is itself likely to be impacted by these problems. Addressing these challenges requires new technologies and innovations if production is to be sustainable. In this module, you will explore innovations in nutritional technologies.

Advanced Topics in Evolution (20 credits) - You’ll participate in group studies of advanced, research-led topics in evolution. Topics may include emerging infectious diseases, variation and speciation, and symbiosis providing a range of approaches to evolution, from molecular to ecological. Each topic will be introduced by a 'scene-setting lecture' by a member of staff and you will then be given a set of references to relevant papers in the library covering recent theoretical and empirical developments in three areas of current research in the field of evolutionary biology.

Advanced Topics in Conservation Science (20 credits) - You will explore contemporary and globally important topics in conservation, including biodiversity loss, urban biodiversity, the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change. You will also investigate current theories in conservation science, along with the mechanisms underlying global patterns in the distribution of animals and plants, with a particular focus on the responses of species to climate change. You will develop a critical understanding of how ecological theory informs conservation practice, and how to implement this knowledge to inform conservation decision-making. You’ll cover the biological principles that underpin the observed diversity and distribution of organisms on the planet.

Plant Development: Making a plant in theory and practice (20 credits) - You will cover the experimental approaches to understand modern plant science including the combination of molecular techniques with classical genetics to produce advances that would have been impossible without these approaches. The module will provide you with a balance of theoretical and practical content, providing training in the scientific method, where knowledge drives experimental design, which produces new knowledge.

Animal Societies (10 credits) - You'll explore some of the most remarkable and successful life-history strategies that have evolved in animals – sociality and eusociality. You’ll focus on how these complex animal societies work – how they are organised, communicate, and divide labour. You will also delve into how these life history strategies evolve and the ecological importance of these remarkable animals.

Evolution and Population Genetics (10 credits) - You'll cover the nature of biological species and the roles of natural selection and drift in evolution and the attempts made and the problems encountered in interpreting genetic data to infer the history of populations (including human beings). You will understand the logic and modes of thinking required to solve phylogenetic problems and interpret experimental data and you will develop skills in the interpretation of population genetics and evolution.

Animal Developmental Biology (10 credits) - How does a single cell (a fertilised egg) give rise to the diversity of complex tissues, forms and functions seen in adult animals? In this module you will explore this question by examining critical developmental processes (including regeneration in adults) in diverse animals. You will also address the question of what, if anything, insect development has in common with mammalian development and how we get new morphologies (like bat wings) evolving.

Discovery Modules (Up to 20 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Year 4

Your extended research project is the pinnacle of your MBiol studies and can be field or lab-based. Most of year 4 is devoted to your research project, allowing you to work alongside our experts to explore a specific topic in biology. This helps to develop high-level research and professional skills that will serve you well in your future career.

Alongside this, you will study a range of Masters-level optional including modules in the area of bioscience and conservation.

Compulsory modules

Extended research project (90 credits) - You’ll work over both semesters. The topic will usually follow your level 3 project and grant proposal and will be conducted with a named supervisor within the Faculty research teams, sometimes in combination with outside agencies. There will be regular meetings with the project supervisor, normally on a weekly basis, and the project will provide you with experience working in a research group, interacting with research scientists and in the analysis and presentation of scientific data

Optional modules

30 credits from the following

Global Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture (15 credits) - You'll learn about past, current and future challenges for current and future food production. This will include understanding the major drivers for change in food and agricultural systems, UK and global food security, and strategies for increased sustainability, resilience and climate adaptation agriculture.

Introduction to GIS (15 credits) - Geographic Information System (GIS) is a state of the art tool in landscape ecology and conservation. This module will provide you with an introduction to GIS through a series of lectures and practicals to provide you with the skills and tools that will enable you to answer simple ecological questions through basic modelling and additionally gain the confidence to tackle more complex problems.

Sustainable Diets and Protein Production (15 credits) - You'll investigate the challenges of providing people with a sustainable and nutritionally complete diet, with a particular emphasis on different sources of protein. You’ll consider the challenges of providing a diet that is sustainable, whilst taking into consideration the nutritive content, economics and consumer acceptance of food ingredients in a changing world. Learn about different livestock production systems in the UK and consider the opportunities and challenges facing these industries in light of net zero ambitions, climate change and legislative pressures in a move to a more sustainable future.

Agri-Env Monitoring, Economics & Policy (15 credits) - You'll study the goals of circular agriculture, including minimization of raw materials and inputs, closing nutrient loops, waste valorisation and minimizing environmental impacts. This module will also cover the potential integration of agriculture into the broader industrial and energy sectors, with a focus on the costs and benefits.

Circular Approaches to Sustainable Agri-food Systems (15 credits) - The module will ensure that you can make a difference to UK farming in real world contexts, applying your knowledge of sustainable food production within the policy and economic frameworks of UK agriculture. You will develop a working knowledge of the environmental, economic and policy considerations of farming sustainably in the UK.

Advanced Biomolecular Techniques (15 credits) - You’ll learn about a range of techniques and technologies which are applicable to modern biosciences. Exercises will develop data analysis and problem-solving skills and expose you to current research trends in the biosciences and to leading researchers in the field.

Community Ecology (15 credits) - You'll focus on biodiversity: how we measure it, how it is maintained in natural biotic communities, and how conservation managers can intervene to help maintain it. You’ll gain a broad understanding of community ecology theory and methods, and experience in applying these to conservation decision-making and action. The practical sessions will provide you with experience in the use of diversity indices, the analysis of biodiversity patterns in space and time, and in conservation planning in the context of limited information.

Advanced Statistics (15 credits) - You’ll be provided with practical training and exercises in the use and interpretation of modern statistical methods including General Linear Models, Generalised Linear Models, General Linear Mixed Models and Multivariate Analysis, and their application to biological problems using the statistical package R.

Population Dynamics (15 credits) - You will develop an understanding of the theory that describes the changes in population size in animals and plants, and you’ll be trained in techniques for the estimation of population sizes and the description of factors influencing population sizes. You will be able to contribute to the planning and execution of studies on the population status of target species and you’ll be able to make informed contributions to population management discussions.

Conservation Decision Science (15 credits) - You’ll be introduced to conservation decision science in an interdisciplinary context that integrates mathematical approaches, ecology, and socio-economic considerations. It will develop skills in objective-driven decision-making for environmental management problems, in social decision-making in group-based negotiation, in mathematical approaches to decision-making, and in spatial conservation planning. The focus of this module is on critical thinking, integrating across fields, and challenging oneself to combine common sense with appropriate decision-making tools.

Infectious Disease and Cancer (15 credits) - You’ll explore the treatment of human diseases caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and cancer by current and emerging approaches, with a focus on describing the mechanistic rationale for chemotherapy, vaccination, gene/RNA therapy, and immunotherapy.

Equitable Sustainability (15 credits) - You’ll learn about how the practice and outputs of conservation can be used to enhance not only the success of biodiversity conservation but also ensure that any benefits are equally distributed across stakeholders. The approach will incorporate aspects of practical governance to provide you with an understanding of the mechanics and logistics of equitable conservation activities as well as technical skills. You will also have the opportunity to explore the pedagogy that underpins their conservation training in a critical light, developing their understanding and practice of anti-racism and decolonisation.

Crop Science & Sustainable Agriculture (15 credits) - In the next 50 years, to feed a global population of more than 10 billion we will have to produce more food than we have produced so far in all human history. This is against the background of climate change, reduced land for arable cultivation and depleted resources. In this module, you will discover how crop science and sustainable agriculture can help provide global food security through conventional and novel breeding approaches. Combined with low input, low carbon agricultural practices, these new varieties will form part of the next ‘green revolution’ of sustainable and resilient intensification.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals (laboratory or field settings dependent on your degree). We take a student-centred approach to learning and so our teaching is designed to enable student engagement through active learning approaches that include creative problem-solving, team-work activities and mini-projects. In this way, you are able to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt to practical, real-life contexts. We put a high value on practical teaching and so a core part of your teaching will focus on developing hands-on practical and associated research skills.

Independent study is an important part of University learning and you will be expected to undertake private study. We will support you in becoming independent learners through our teaching approaches and through regular meetings with your personal tutor who is there to advise you academically.

We use a range of digital tools to enhance your learning. Through our Minerva learning management system, you will be able to access our extensive library of online materials, some of it designed specifically to support preparation prior to attending classroom sessions and discuss content with peers and teachers. In the classroom, educators use a variety of interactive digital tools to help you learn through discussion and debate. Laboratory practicals are accompanied by detailed online preparation guides and use of electronic laboratory notebooks to ensure you get the most out of your time and develop workplace skills. Field courses study the ecology, genetics, behaviour, development and adaptations of organisms in their natural environments.

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. We support students in their assessment journey through the provision of practice questions, sessions on how to complete assessment questions and feedback to support learning.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

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 AAB at A-level (MBiol 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

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: £30,250 (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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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

This course is taught by


Faculty of Biological Sciences

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 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
  • Environmental consultant
  • Marine Biologist
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Medical writer
  • Clinical Scientist e.g. with the NHS
  • 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)
  • Accountancy

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 numerous opportunities in addition to volunteering and placements. This includes 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. The fair is an amazing opportunity for you to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield and NHS Ecological consultancies. You will be able to speak to alumni, attend workshops and more.

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 at least the option of a field course in every year.

Year 1: Coastal & Upland Habitats Field Course

You will take a combination of field studies at various sites on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland, followed by laboratory-based analysis to develop skills in sampling and monitoring field populations, and identification of diverse organisms. Projects will involve developing hypotheses related to their ecology and testing these using appropriate analytical techniques.

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.

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