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BSc (Hons)

Biological Sciences

Students in science lab
Course places still available for September 2021

Year Of Entry

2021
  • UCAS code(s): 350B (full-time) / C110 (with placement)
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: Three years full-time/ four years with a placement

Why stick with a single plan when you can explore an entire passion?

You’ll start with the fundamentals of biological sciences, and then take your course wherever you want; whether that’s environmental biology, biomedical science, biochemistry and microbiology, or physiology and pharmacology.

You’ll investigate, you’ll collaborate, and you’ll get hands on — in our labs, on field trips, and through your own industry placement.

In Year Three, you’ll be encouraged to take a year-long placement overseas, or in the UK. Recent students have secured placements with organisations such as the NHS, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation (Greece) and AstraZeneca. You can also register for the Diploma in Professional Practice, which is a separate qualification you  can work towards while on your placement.

Number four in the UK for student satisfaction in Biology (NSS 2020)

Accredited by:

Royal Society of Biology logo

What you'll study

This flexible course enables you to experience different subject areas before selecting your field of interest. It gives a sound grounding in biology and enables you to specialise in your chosen field of interest for the remainder of the course. After a common first term of study you can choose one of the following pathways.

Meet our Biosciences team

he biosciences team prepares our students well for careers in industry and academia and we continue to develop and welcome collaborations from universities and commercial organisations.

Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.

  • Year One

    All pathways:

    Living Systems

    Introduces levels of biological organisation from molecules to cells and ecosystems, providing a platform of knowledge and skills upon which other modules are developed.

    Practical Techniques for Biology

    Considers the principles of experimental design, data collection and analysis, including techniques in centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, microscopy and radiobiology.

    Biochemistry and Microbiology pathway:

    Introduction to Biochemistry

    Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.

    Genetics and Immunology

    Develops genetic concepts and introduces basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.

    Introduction to Microbiology

    Uncover the fundamental concepts of organic, physical, analytical and bioinorganic chemistry as applied to biochemistry processes.

    Molecular Principles for Biochemistry

    Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and muscular) and examines the process of homeostasis.

    Physiology and Pharmacology pathway:

    Introduction to Pharmacology

    Considers the principles of how drugs work, including factors that affect the magnitude of the response to drugs, specificity of drug action, drug interactions and side effects of drugs.

    Introduction to Biochemistry

    Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.

    Genetics and Immunology

    Develops genetic concepts and introduces basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.

    Human Physiology

    Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and muscular)  and examines the process of homeostasis

    Environmental Biology pathway:

    Introduction to Microbiology

    Study various groups of microbes, their function and roles, and consider the importance of the microbial world, the biology of microorganisms, and medical, environmental and industrial microbiology.

    Introduction to Ecology and the Environment

    This module introduces you to species, populations, communities, biomes and ecological processes in natural and modified habitats, at local to global scales. It includes how habitats are impacted by human activity, and covers environmental recording and data analysis.

    Life on Earth

    Taking examples ranging from protists to primates, we will introduce you to the structure, life histories and identification of living organisms that have given rise to Earth's biodiversity.

    Biomedical Sciences pathway:

    Introduction to Biochemistry

    Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.

    Introduction to Microbiology

    Study various groups of microbes, their function and roles, and consider the importance of the microbial world, the biology of micro-organisms, and medical, environmental and industrial microbiology.

    Human Physiology

    Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and muscular)  and examines the process of homeostasis

    Genetics and Immunology

    Develops genetic concepts and introduces basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.

  • Year Two

    Core modules on Biochemistry and Microbiology pathway:

    Molecular Biology and Protein Structure

    Learn about the functions of polymerases, binding proteins, helicases, ligases, topoisomerases and promosomes in DNA replication as well as RNA polymerases.

    Applied Microbiology

    Reviews the use of micro-organisms in the production of industrially important products and biofuels, and considers lactic acid bacteria and the production of fermented products.

    Molecular Genetics of Human Diseases

    You’ll develop knowledge and understanding of gene therapy.

    Introduction to Microbial Metabolism and Genetics

    Investigate the energy-yielding mechanisms in aerobic, anaerobic and fermentative systems and their diversity and importance to humans.

    Biochemical Techniques

    Study the concepts of current biochemical techniques and their practical applications in science.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    Professional Skills in Microbiology

    Explores current "hot topics" in microbiology such as emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and food security.

    Professional Skills in Biochemistry

    Introduces the use and development of biomolecular tools specifically around DNA and RNA, expressing genetic sequences, properties and production of antibodies and antibody technologies and immunological assays.

    Core modules on Physiology and Pharmacology pathway:

    Pathopharmacology

    Considers disordered cellular and tissue physiology resulting from disease and drugs that can treat those diseases. You’ll develop an understanding of health and common illnesses.

    Neuroscience

    Explore the functions of the different brain regions and neuronal cell types, and relate these to higher brain activities and neuronal function.

    Professional Skills in Pharmacology

    This module focuses on genomics in drug discovery and immunotherapeutics as well as covering aspects of employability such as science communication and professional online identity.

    Pathophysiology

    You’ll look at the processes involved in maintaining normal physiology in renal, cardiovascular and nervous systems and how the same processes are affected by disease.

    Physiology

    Develops concepts of physiological control systems and demonstrates the link between changes in cellular and systemic function.

    Host-Pathogen Interactions

    Explore how pathogenic organisms and their human hosts interact with each other, and learn how we might exploit this knowledge to develop new drugs and vaccines.

    Core modules on Environmental Biology pathway:

    Ecological Investigations (Field Course 1)

    On this residential field course, typically located in Devon, you will measure and analyse the distribution and abundance of animals and plants in outstanding terrestrial, marine, and freshwater habitats.

    Ecotourism

    Explore at a global scale how ecotourism can be a crucial tool to help biodiversity conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods for people and the environment. Plan your own ecotourism venture.

    Freshwater Ecosystems

    Learn from national and international researchers and managers about the ecology of freshwater ecosystems. Study their physical environments, their inhabitants, the threats they face, and how these can be managed to protect biodiversity.

    Molecular Ecology

    Using work-like contexts, you will explore how an understanding of fundamental molecular principles can be applied to the conservation, monitoring and management of species, populations and ecosystems.

    Practical Conservation

    Through an extensive amount of practical work you'll learn about the process of planning to promote conservation and biodiversity and the legal considerations of site management.

    Molecular Structure, Identification and Distribution

    You'll look at the function of sub-cellular structures of micro-organisms and the taxonomy and identification of the main groups of bacteria, fungi and viruses particularly those relating to forensic investigations.

    Core modules on Biomedical Sciences pathway:

    Metabolism and its Control

    Explore the central pathways of oxidative catabolism and anabolism of carbohydrates and fats in eukaryotic cells, and cover the biochemical basis of cellular signal transduction.

    Molecular Biology and Protein Structure

    Learn about the functions of polymerases, binding proteins, helicases, ligases, topoisomerases and promosomes in DNA replication, as well as RNA polymerases.

    Pathopharmacology

    Considers disordered cellular and tissue physiology resulting from disease and drugs that can treat those diseases. You’ll develop an understanding of health and common illnesses.

    Optional modules:

    Clinical and Public Health Microbiology

    Learn the principles and applications of diagnostic and analytical microbiology in the monitoring and control of diseases caused by microbes.

    Pathophysiology

    You’ll look at the processes involved in maintaining normal physiology in renal, cardiovascular and nervous systems and how the same processes are affected by disease.

    Clinical Biochemistry

    Study a variety of disorders and learn about their clinical symptoms, biochemical and molecular defects, detection, diagnosis and treatment.

    Host-Pathogen Interactions

    Explore how pathogenic organisms and their human hosts interact with each other, and learn how we might exploit this knowledge to develop new drugs and vaccines.

    Professional Skills in Biochemistry

    Introduces the use and development of biomolecular tools specifically around DNA and RNA, expressing genetic sequences, properties and production of antibodies and antibody technologies and immunological assays.

    Biomedical Science in Practice

    Learn about key disciplines and current research topics in biomedical science, as well as aspects of professional practice which form an important part of your preparation for employment.

  • Year Three

    You have the option to undertake a one year work placement in industry. On successful completion you will gain an additional award – the Placement Diploma in Professional Practice.

  • Final year

    Core modules on Biochemistry and Microbiology pathway:

    Cell Signalling and Cancer

    A range of exciting and up to date topics on cell proliferation and cell death. The cell cycle, the cytoskeleton and signal transduction will be presented, and we will discuss their implication in carcinogenesis.

    Molecular Microbiology

    Study advanced concepts in bacterial genetics, including regulation of bacterial gene expression, molecular biology of bacterial pathogenesis and the application of knowledge in industry.

    Bioinformatics

    Use cutting-edge bioinformatics methods to understand and identify the role that gene and protein biomarkers play in disease. Analyse real clinical data and model various scenarios that predict the clinical impact of the disease.

    Research Project  (40 credit points)

    Develop your skills as an independent researcher by completing a 40 credit point research project, under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    Immunology and Virology

    Study advanced concepts in immunology, including immune responses to infection, cancer and autoimmunity. You’ll also look at concepts in the molecular biology of viral infections.

    Forensic Mircobiology

    Learn the molecular methods of microbial identification and see its role in accidental and deliberate contamination investigations, quality of data collection, analysis and presentation of evidence.

    Core modules on Physiology and Pharmacology pathway:

    Current Topics in Pharmacology

    Study recent advances and developments in pharmacology and the research techniques used to study molecular pharmacology.

    Current Topics in Physiology

    Discuss advances in molecular, cellular and organ physiology and gain an appreciation of the research techniques used to study processes such as signaling, hormonal regulation and cardio-protection.

    Clinical Pharmacology

    Learn about drug development and the mode of action of selected drug types. You’ll also look at diseases of the human endocrine system and the advances in cellular and molecular techniques.

    Research Project (40 credit points)

    Develop your skills as an independent researcher by completing a 40 credit point research project, under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    Toxicology

    Considers sources, types and mechanisms of action of selected natural and synthetic toxic chemicals. It also covers how toxicity can be assessed.

    Current Topics in Neuroscience

    Discusses current hot topics in molecular and cellular neuroscience, including learning and memory, stem cells, and the molecular basis of certain human neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

    Core modules on Environmental Biology pathway:

    Regulating Environmental Impacts

    Explore the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in detail and discover how the wider English and European legal systems contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development.

    Atmospheric Pollution

    Investigate various aspects of atmospheric pollution, including the monitoring of environmental quality, impacts on climate change, health, and eco-toxicological responses to pollutants.

    Research Project (40 credit points)

    Develop your skills as an independent researcher by completing a 40 credit point research project, under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

    Evolutionary Biology and Genetics

    Discover the concepts and processes of animal development and behaviour and the selection, speciation and behaviour as evolutionary processes.

    Environmental Management (Field Course 2)

    On this residential course, typically located in North Wales, we will introduce you to approaches for managing our interaction with the environment, including the role of Environmental Management Systems and low Carbon Technologies.

    Core modules on Biomedical Sciences pathway:

    Immunology and Virology

    Study advanced concepts in immunology, including immune responses to infection, cancer and autoimmunity. You’ll also look at concepts in the molecular biology of viral infections.

    Cell Signalling and Cancer

    A range of exciting and up to date topics on cell proliferation and cell death. The cell cycle, the cytoskeleton and signal transduction will be presented, and we will discuss their implication in carcinogenesis.

    Research Project (40 credit points)

    Develop your skills as an independent researcher by completing a 40 credit point research project, under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

    Optional modules:

    Haematology and Transfusion Practice

    Study the biological basis of diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, and the techniques used in their investigation.

    Bioinformatics

    Use cutting-edge bioinformatics methods to understand and identify the role that gene and protein biomarkers play in disease. Analyse real clinical data and model various scenarios that predict the clinical impact of the disease.

    Infectious Diseases and their Control

    Learn about the global importance of infectious diseases, their effect on individuals and the population as a whole and how they can be controlled.

    Cellular Pathology

    Investigate the pathological basis of disease and how diagnosis is achieved using histopathological and cytological-based techniques. You’ll also explore how information can be obtained and used for treatment.

How you’re taught

You will typically study six modules each year. Each module normally has around 20 to 24 one-hour lectures. In addition there are regular seminars and tutorials to help with your studies. Across the three years you will have approximately 500 hours of laboratory experience. We believe the amount of time a student spends getting hands on experience in a laboratory is very important to prepare them for the world of work, which is why we incorporate such high levels of contact time in the labs.

You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning experiences which will include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • visits
  • group projects
  • case studies
  • oral presentations
  • laboratory assessments and reports.
  • How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed on a variety of components including the following.

    Written
  • Exams
  • Multiple completion tests
  • Coursework
  • Assignments
  • Group projects and reports
  • Dissertation / research project
  • Poster presentations
  • Practical
  • Laboratory assessments
  • Oral presentations
  • Research

    Because of our ambitious research agenda and ongoing activities, students can expect to approach problems with the latest methods, including those used in industry.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Find out more about the ULP.

Assessment methods

Year 1 - coursework (42%), written (50%) and practical (8%)

Year 2 - coursework (42%), written (50%) and practical (8%)

Year 3 - coursework (58%), written (30%) and practical (12%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

Year 1 - lectures/seminars/workshops (23%) and independent study (77%)

Year 2 -  lectures/seminars/workshops (21%) and independent study (79%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (20%) and independent study (80%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Careers and employability

Your career development

Our graduates are highly sought after by employers because they leave the course with extensive practical experience and a strong background in scientific investigation and analysis.

Recent graduate salaries range from £16,000 – £30,000 per year in the following roles and companies:

  • Queens Medical Centre – technical officer (apprentice)
  • Nottingham City Hospital – biomedical scientist
  • IMF – lab technician
  • South East Water (Scientific Services) – cryptosporidium analyst
  • Alere – research microbiology
  • Chesterfield Royal Hospital – biomedical scientist
  • Scientech Analytical Service – microbiology lab technician
  • University Hospitals of Leicester – research laboratory technician
  • Astra Zeneca – integrated pharmacologist
  • Sterigenics – lab technician
  • Loughborough University – research assistant in ecology.

Many graduates choose to undertake further study on one of our postgraduate courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees.

Excellent placement opportunities

You will have the opportunity to undertake a year's work placement in industry after the second year. This will give you the chance to gain vital experience. You will also be able to put your knowledge into practice.

Recent Bioscience students have secured placements in the following companies:

  • Eurofins / Agrisearch
  • RSPB
  • Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • Givaudan
  • John van Geest Cancer Research Centre
  • HPA.

Find out more about placements.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BCC, including Biology grade C; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM, including relevant Biology modules; or
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade C equivalent in Biology; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BCC, including Biology grade C; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM, including relevant Biology modules; or
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade C equivalent in Biology; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you are an international student who does not meet the direct entry requirements for this course, you can prepare for it at Nottingham Trent International College. Their Foundation Certificate in Science and Engineering (life sciences) offers students a guaranteed progression route to this degree on successful completion to the required level.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

  • For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.
  • If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

  • You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.  If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books
Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Field trips
All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements
If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course.  If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

Print and copy costs
The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for poster preparation in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 -£30.

Laboratory lockers
A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5).

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books
Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Field trips
All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements
If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course.  If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

Print and copy costs
The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for poster preparation in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 -£30.

Laboratory lockers
A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5).

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418