Genetics MBiol, BSc

Year of entry

2023 course information

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

Course overview


With a degree in Genetics, you will be playing a vital part in the development of genetic engineering and the decoding of the human genome. Take on the ‘grand challenges’ of medicine and agriculture as you gain a comprehensive understanding of the nature, transmission and expression of genetic information in living organisms.

Genetics is at the core of biological and medical sciences and so upon completion of this degree, you will be suitable for opportunities in a wide range of careers including research, industry, healthcare, forensics and the development of improved crops to address food security. You’ll also develop extensive knowledge and understanding of related disciplines through optional modules such as human genetic disorders and cancer genetics.

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

  • You will study the applications of genetic techniques in fields as diverse as genetic engineering, diagnostics and therapies for human diseases, developmental biology, human evolution and addition to biotechnology and crop production.
  • Career development is at the heart of all our programmes, with specific modules presenting you with opportunities for workplace training through placements and internships.
  • Genetics is a key part of biological sciences and underpins biotechnology and pharmaceutical development - the rapid development of the various vaccines to protect against Coronavirus was a direct result of the application of genetic engineering.
  • 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

Genetics is a specialist degree within the School of Biology which offers you flexibility throughout your time studying at Leeds.

Many 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 Biology, Ecology and Conservation Biology and Zoology, subject to approval. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.


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, for example the latest technologies for molecular imaging including cryo electron microscopy. You’ll also have access to field research stations based in the UK to help you learn about ecology and behaviour in natural surroundings. Clinical staff at St James hospital contribute to the programme and supervise some final year projects for students with interests in human genetics.


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 Genetics (Industrial); MBiol Genetics; MBiol Genetics (Industrial); MBiol Genetics (International).

Course details

Year 1

You’ll establish your foundation of knowledge and expertise with a set of core modules including genetics, cell biology and biochemistry. Other modules from biology and microbiology will serve to enhance your development in the relevant fields. Modules will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practicals allowing you to develop the research skills necessary for completing your degree.

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.

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.

Optional field course: coastal and uplands habitats in Millport, Scotland.

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?

Introduction to Microbiology (20 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.

Optional modules

10 credits from the following

Discovery Modules (10 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Intro to Pharmacology (10 credits) - You will be introduced to the foundational concepts underpinning pharmacology: pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, clinical pharmacology, and drug discovery and development. The concepts will be explained using examples drawn from different pharmacotherapeutic approaches, disease states and pathophysiology's. 

Discovery Modules (10 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

In year 2, you will focus more specifically on genetics with 80 credits of compulsory modules covering topics in sequencing and big data, genetic engineering, human genetics, microbiology and bioinformatics.

This is in addition to a diverse range of optional modules or you to choose from including virology, evolution and cell biology. For example, Molecular Virology introduces students to techniques used for the study of viruses, the structure of viruses and the processes of their replication and evolution. The module also considers how we can exploit virus biology for gene expression and gene therapy.

In the core skills module, you will gain transferable skills including problem-solving, data analysis, teamwork and communication skills, 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, supporting your level 2 studies and preparing you for projects later in the course.

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 will add an additional year of study to your degree and enhance your portfolio of transferable skills.

Compulsory modules

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.

Intermediate Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection, experimental techniques, and problem-solving in the context of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will build on your expertise learned in your year one skills modules, and will cover practical experiments in gene cloning, protein expression, PCR, electrophoresis, and enzyme assays, as well as tutorials on data handling, problem-solving, and critical reviews of current topics in cell and molecular biology.

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.

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.

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.

Optional modules

40 credits from the following

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.

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.

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.

Molecular Virology (10 credits) - You will be introduced to techniques used for the study of viruses, the structure of viruses and the processes of their replication and evolution. You will also learn about how virus biology can be exploited for gene expression and gene therapy.

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.

Cell Biology of Disease (10 credits) - You'll gain a broad understanding of the eukaryotic cell and how it responds to and is altered in infectious and non-infectious diseases. Emphasis is placed on a comprehensive grounding of cellular function by considering different cell types and associated disease states.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 will study core genetics modules, including advanced-level human genetics and biotechnology. These modules bring you up to date with the latest research in Genetics, for example, the development of a new range of anti-cancer drugs that exploit weaknesses in certain types of cancer cells that are deficient in the repair of DNA damage.

Choose from a range of optional modules including developmental biology, cancer biology, microbiology and evolution and population genetics.

In Cancer Biology, you will discover the variety of functions of oncogene and tumour suppressor gene products, including components of signal transduction pathways, transcription factors and proteins involved in DNA damage repair. This module also covers the importance of cell cycle checkpoints in reducing the risk of cancer and complements the core human genetics module taken in Semester 1.

Year 3 MBiol project

You will also undertake a preparatory research project introducing you to the advanced research skills you’ll use in year 4. Upon graduation, you’ll be equipped with specialised knowledge along with broader transferable skills ideal for succeeding in the graduate job market.

Compulsory modules

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 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 Research Skills & Experience (20 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

40 credits from the following

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.

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.

Cancer Biology (20 credits) - You’ll gain a comprehensive knowledge of a range of human cancers, from the molecular basis of cancer to the alterations in cells and tissues in cancers to current therapies.

Advanced Topics in Microbiology 2 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules in which you’ll become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Antibiotic action and resistance
  • Respiratory infections
  • Human-microbe interactions
  • Streptomyces, the Antibiotic Makers

However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.

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.

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.

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

You’ll carry out an extended research project focused on an original, cutting-edge topic specific to genetics. This will provide you with invaluable experience in developing the high-level skills necessary for a career in research. Alongside this, you will study a range of Masters-level modules including high-throughput technologies, plant biotechnology and conservation genetics.

Examples of MBiol projects include:

  • generation and analysis of genetically engineered plants
  • genetic analysis of development in model animals like the worm C. elegans
  • genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas genome editing
  • Identification of mutations responsible for inherited disorders
  • next-generation sequencing and analysis of large datasets
  • analysing genetic diversity in natural populations.

The MBiol programme provides an excellent springboard toward a research career in academia or industry.

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.

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.

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.

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.

High-Throughput Technologies (15 credits) - You’ll gain an understanding of high-throughput biomolecular data generation and will provide an introduction to data analysis.

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 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.


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

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.

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


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.


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)

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

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

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

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.

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.


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 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


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

We typically receive a high number of applications for this course. To ensure we treat all applications fairly, we may put your application on hold until after the UCAS deadline before making a final decision. All applications received before the UCAS deadline are guaranteed equal consideration. Please see our Admissions Guidance page for more details as well as advice on personal statements.

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


Career opportunities

Our degree prepares you for a wide range of opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers. Graduate prospects have been seen to be substantial in the field of genetics, leading to a high level of graduate employment after the course. Popular destinations include the NHS Science Training Programme for careers in clinical genetics and embryology and post-graduate qualifications leading to careers in industry and biotechnology.

Typical graduate careers include:

  • Genetics research
  • Genetic counsellor
  • Clinical Scientist, genomics
  • Scientific publishing and science journalism
  • Sales and management in science-related industries
  • Teaching

Examples of recent graduate destinations include:

  • Biomedical Support Worker
  • Laboratory analyst
  • Postgraduate Research Assistant
  • Teacher Training
  • MSc Medical Genetics
  • MSc Business with finance

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

Year 1: Coastal & Upland Habitats Field Course

You will take a combination of field studies at various sites on the Isle of Cumbra, 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.

Student profile: Bethany Leake

The main reason for choosing to study at Leeds was because of its amazing reputation, both as a top university and as a vibrant city. When I came to visit the university I fell in love with it.
Find out more about Bethany Leake's time at Leeds