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Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): 350B (full-time); C110 (sandwich)
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Three years full-time/ four years with a placement
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time / Sandwich
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

Why settle with one plan when you can explore your entire passion?

You’ll start by building a strong foundation of the fundamental principles of biosciences. From there, you can take your degree anywhere you want - whether that’s microbiology, environmental studies, physiology, or biochemistry. Regardless of your interests in biosciences, we have you covered.

You’ll investigate, you’ll collaborate, and you’ll gain experience - in our labs, on field trips, and through projects that mirror the work environment.

Why study BSc (Hons) Biological Science at NTU?

The modules you study in your first year will lay the foundation for a broad understanding of the biological sciences. You'll be able to choose specialist modules in your second and third year and align them with your desired career. It can be difficult to know where you want to be after graduation, but we'll provide you with the experiences and skills you need to pursue your chosen path. You'll have the opportunity to work with industries in and outside of the traditional biosciences sector, such as the motor industry. This will help you develop a range of valuable skills, such as the ability to think and apply your knowledge in many ways. These skills will be extremely valuable when you graduate.

We want to help you build your professional identity, so we offer opportunities to work on industry challenges, debate current hot topics, build your portfolio, and take mock interviews. You'll learn how you work best in a team and even have a chance to deliver a Dragons' Den style pitch.

Research-informed teaching

Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. This means you can be sure that what you are learning is frontier of new biological discoveries. For example, Dr Axel Barlow, our molecular ecology, and animal evolution expert, has used his expertise to uncover the secrets of the dwarf elephant which became extinct about 19,000 years ago.

During your last year research project, you will work closely with a member of staff on their area of expertise. They may ask for your help to develop a new idea that could be used in future research or teaching. You will be working on real-world problems and gaining a valuable experience at the same time.

Work-like experiences

You’ll design your own experiments in group work and put them to the test in both laboratory and field learning environments. Developing problem-solving skills by trial and error are important graduate-level skills, and we make sure you gain this experience from the very beginning of your degree. We’ve also incorporated employability skills into the curriculum, so you not only learn theory and skills, but you also know how to find and apply for your dream job.

Take a work placement

Your work placement is a great opportunity to not only learn how to do the job, but also to gain an understanding of the industry and what it takes to be successful. Our strong industry connections and the support of our Employability team will give you the tools you need to make the most of your placement experience.

You'll be supported throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary during your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Develop your portfolio

At NTU, you'll have the opportunity to create a skills portfolio. This is where you'll keep evidence of all the techniques and skills you've mastered while you are here with us. It is also a valuable tool when you graduate, it will allow you to show future employers that you possess all the skills to work in a professional environment.

Meet our staff

Our experienced teaching and technical team come from diverse backgrounds, so whether your interests lie in research or industry, we have the team to support you. For example, in addition to teaching, Dr. Peter Redfern is Managing Director at Loreus Ltd., an environmental consultancy and training provider. Carlos Abrahams is also a Technical Director at Baker Consultancy, an ecology consultancy.

They will ensure that you are taught up-to-date theory and practices in your chosen field of biological science. Our excellent relationships with professionals in the industry will also help us secure high-quality placements and guest speakers.

Community and support

We will always be here for you throughout your studies with the help of your course leader, teaching team, personal tutor, and technical staff. You will also have regular tutorial sessions where you can meet with your personal tutor, in a small group, to talk about the topics you are learning, get ready for assessments, and get to know other students. Our policy is an open door, which means you can come and ask us any questions you have when you are on campus or send an email to get help when you are not on campus.

Course feedback is always welcome! You'll have plenty of opportunities to talk about your course, for example in your tutorial sessions, with your course leader and course reps. We even have an end-of-module survey for every module you study. We love to hear students’ feedback and how we can make improvements. Following our student’s feedback, we've recently brought in industry specialists to teach specific aspects of our environmental modules.

You'll also have support from your peers. Our mentoring schemes pair you up with another student who can give you support with your studies or university life in general. They've been in your shoes before and can offer a student's perspective. Find out more about the support you’ll receive at NTU.

What you’ll study

Practical Techniques for Biology

Covers experimental design principles, data collection and analysis methods, and techniques such as centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, microscopy, and radiobiology.

Biological Systems

This module will give you the knowledge and skill foundations for the rest of your course. You’ll also get an overview of the areas you can specialise in as you move through your course. Focusing on the structure and function of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells you’ll discover the metabolic processes they conduct.

Introduction to Biochemistry

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

Genetics and Immunology

You will develop genetic concepts and be introduced to the basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.

Introduction to Physiology

You'll learn about the inner workings and physiology of human organ systems such as the respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine, and muscular systems. Afterwards, you'll study homeostasis in depth.

Introduction to Microbiology

Explore different types of microbes, their function and purpose. Consider the significance of the microbial world, the biology of microorganisms, and medical, industrial, and environmental microbiology.

Core modules

Professional Skills for Bioscientists I

You’ll become a well-rounded bioscientist during your time at NTU. This module will provide you with work-experience-like opportunities to gain an understanding of the professional skills you need for your future career, right from the beginning of your studies. You will develop your practical design skills by working in a mini-team on a challenge set by an employer. You will also make an application for a mock job advert to not only practice your interview skills, but also to learn how to apply for your dream role.

Professional Skills for Bioscientists II

You'll continue exploring how communicating your knowledge to different audiences is key, building on the skills you learned in Professional Skills for Bioscientists I. This could involve developing your medical and science writing or looking at education and policy making where bioscience plays a role.

Bioscientists of the Future

In this module, you’ll get to work as a team to explore current hot topics such as sustainability, climate crisis, antimicrobial resistance, and population growth. An employer will set your group a challenge, and you’ll use a framework commonly used in industry to document your ideas and methods of analysis.

Biomolecular Structure and Function

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

Optional modules

Host-Pathogen Interactions

Explore how pathogenic organisms and their humans interact with each other and learn how this knowledge can be used to develop new drugs and vaccines.

Microbial Structure, Identification and Distribution

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

Ecosystems

On this residential field course, you will have the opportunity to grow your practical skills by characterising plant and animal biodiversity in various habitats and ecosystems. You will also be assessing sites for their wildlife and conservation value.

Biodiversity and Evolution

Classifying life on earth is a significant part of biosciences. Discover how we can study biodiversity in the lab through molecular and ecosystem-level approaches. You'll also explore how key theories of evolution help us to understand the structure and function of the natural world in the past, present, and future.

Neuroscience

Discover the functions of different brain regions and neuronal cell types and relate them to more advanced brain activities and neuronal functions.

Physiology

Covers the concepts of physiological control systems and demonstrates how changes in cellular and systemic function are linked together.

Molecular Genetics of Human Diseases

You will develop knowledge and understanding of gene therapy and all its complexities.

Metabolism and its Control

Explore the main pathways of oxidative catabolism and anabolism of carbohydrates and fats in eukaryotic cells, as well as the biochemical foundation of cellular signal transduction.

Optional year-long work placement.  If you are not taking a placement, you will progress directly to your final year in year three.

Core modules

Research Project

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

Applied Bioinformatics

Use advanced bioinformatics methods to understand and identify the role that gene and protein biomarkers play in disease. Examine real clinical data and model diverse scenarios that forecast the clinical effect of the disease.

One Health

You’ll work on a team challenge to come up with creative solutions to real health-related problems, such as healthy ageing and the environment. Your team will present your idea in a dragons' den style presentation to a panel of employers and members of the public.

Optional modules

Infectious Diseases and their Control

Learn about the worldwide importance of infectious diseases, their effect on individuals and communities, and how to control them.

Immunology and Virology

Explore advanced concepts in immunology, including immune responses to infection, cancer, and autoimmunity. You will also study molecular biology of viral infections.

Tackling the Biodiversity Crisis

Biodiversity is declining at a faster rate than any other time in human history. In this module, you'll explore how humans have impacted our planet's air, water, and land. Then, you'll consider the sustainable solutions we can use to protect biodiversity and ecosystems as they respond to our rapidly changing world.

Ecosystem Management

Investigate the scientific and philosophical issues surrounding sustainable development during a residential field course. Working together, your group will research various options for a zero-carbon future and give a presentation.

Current Topics in Physiology

Discuss recent advancements in molecular, cellular and organ physiology. Learn about the research techniques used to study processes such as signalling, hormonal regulation and cardio-protection. By the end of this module, you will have a better understanding of how complex physiological systems work.

Current Topics in Neuroscience

Cover some of the most pressing topics in molecular and cellular neuroscience today, including learning and memory, stem cells, and the molecular basis of certain human neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

Cell Signalling and Cancer

Explore a range of thrilling topics on cell proliferation and cell death, including the cell cycle, the cytoskeleton and signal transduction. We'll also discuss their implications in carcinogenesis.

Developmental and Evolutionary Genetics

This module will introduce you to the concept of developmental biology, speciation, and evolution. You'll study the relationship between evolutionary and developmental genetics and focus on how the developmental processes evolved. Upon completion of this module, you will have a greater understanding of how species develop and change over time.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Katarina Miler

Biological Science

Employability Team has shown great reliability and extraordinary interest in each student’s satisfaction, they have provided constant support and were enthusiastic to keep up to date with my tasks and progress while on placement.

Video Gallery

Watch our facility tour video to get an insight into the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course.
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How you’re taught

You will typically study six modules in Year One and Two. Each module involves substantial amounts of practical work, in addition to around 20 one-hour lectures. In your final year you’ll study five modules and a research project. You will also take part in regular seminars and tutorials to support you with your studies.

Hands-on learning

The course is very practical and you’ll spend lots of time in our industry-standard laboratories and depending on the modules chosen, in the field. This is because we believe the amount of time you spend getting hands-on experience is vital to prepare you for the world of work or research.

You’ll get to use our industry-standard equipment and techniques right from the very start of your course, such as spectrophotometers, centrifugation and gel electrophoresis. You’ll get to know how a professional lab works and how to follow laboratory processes and protocols used in industry – all valuable skills to have by the time you graduate.

If you choose some of our environmental modules you’ll take part in regular field trips and as well as two week-long residential field courses. You’ll visit a diverse range of terrestrial and freshwater sites where you can study the biodiverse communities that inhabit natural ecosystems as well as manmade environments.

We have a focus on using digital skills to support your learning in practical sessions. For example, you might do an online simulation of the experiment you are going to perform in the lab. This will get you familiar with the techniques and protocols, so that you can be confident and really make the most of your time in our labs. We give you access to e-learning resources too, to help you develop your lab skills outside of the lab environment.

Contact hours

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

Research informed teaching

Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. It also informs the subjects you’ll be studying with us so you can be sure your knowledge will be cutting-edge in your field. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) - the UK's system for assessing the quality and impact of research in universities - we’re proud that 99% of NTU’s Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy submission was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

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.

Staff Profiles

Rachel Stubbington

Professor

School of Science & Technology

Dr Rachel Stubbington is a Professor in River Ecology in the School of Science & Technology.

Chris Terrell-Nield

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Dr Christopher Terrell-Nield is Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Biosciences.

Peter Redfern

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Peter Redfern

Karin Garrie

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Karin Garrie

How you’re assessed

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

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.

Our recent graduates have secured roles at companies including:

  • Anglian Water
  • Source Biosciences
  • NHS
  • AstraZeneca
  • Scientech Analytical Service

They have gone into a wide variety of job roles including:

  • Graduate Ecologist
  • Laboratory Scientist
  • Research Scientist
  • Research Microbiologist
  • Technical Officer

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

Excellent placement opportunities

NTU is one of the most employment-focused universities. Increasingly, employers want to recruit graduates who have real-world work experience. That’s why all of our courses, across every subject area, offer you a work experience opportunity. Our experts help build and support your future with a range of career programmes and events.

On this course, after your second year, you will have the opportunity to take a year's work placement (sandwich placement). This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice. You're also twice as likely to secure a graduate job within six months if you take a work placement.

Our recent students have taken placements across a wide range of companies including the NHS, The Open University and Oikon. They secured varied roles such as Student Research Placement, Trainee Biomedical Scientist (Microbiology) and Junior Ecologist.

You'll be supported and assessed throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary at the end of your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Find out more about work placements.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Where will I study?

Teaching events are held across Clifton Campus, and include interactive workshops in spaces specifically designed for collaborative, hands-on learning.

We have the stimulating and creative environment needed to equip students with the knowledge and transferable skills to put them ahead of the graduate crowd. We provide first class facilities that enhance the quality of our education and push the boundaries of our research, these include:

Rosalind Franklin building

The Rosalind Franklin building provides some of the best laboratory teaching facilities for Chemistry in the UK. The large teaching laboratory space is equipped with modern IT facilities and equipment to ensure that you get excellent training in practical laboratory techniques and modern analytical methods.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Facility

This facility supports the School's extensive biomedical research activities.

Natural Sciences Research Facility

The Natural Sciences Research Facility supports and enhances the School's research in physics, biosciences, chemistry, imaging, materials and sport.

Entry requirements

112 UCAS Tariff points

  • 104 - 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent including Biology grade C)
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.


Other qualifications and experience

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form

  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent including Biology grade C)
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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).

Tuition fees 

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your undergraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government. See our fees for 2022 entry.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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).

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!

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  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.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

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