BSc (Hons)

Biological Sciences

Students in science lab
Top
20
In the UK for Biosciences
in The Guardian University Guide 2020
  • UCAS code(s): 350B (full-time) / C110 (with placement)
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: Three years full-time/ four years with a placement

This flexible course enables you to sample different subject areas before selecting your field of interest. It is therefore ideal if you have a passion for Biological Sciences, but are unsure of which area of study to specialise in.

This course gives a sound grounding in biology. It will enable 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 and tailor your degree accordingly.

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biochemistry and Microbiology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Physiology and Pharmacology.

You might also be interested in BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation.

Why choose this course?

  • This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology
  • Our Environmental Biology pathway is accredited by The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
  • The amount of practical work is very high and includes regular field trips for environmental biology.
  • You will have the option to take a work placement after year two. This is facilitated by our dedicated Placement Office.
  • NTU is third in the UK for bioscience students on year-long work placements (HESA 2017/18).
  • You will benefit from our excellent links with industry, which include companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and the NHS.

Top ten in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Biology (NSS 2019).

What you'll study

When does the course start?

Your course induction will take place in the last week of September and your course will start in October. For more information take a look at our academic calendar for details of term start and end dates.

Where will I study?

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

Learn from our experts

Dr Peter Redfern

Peter is a Principal Lecturer in Environmental Science at NTU. He has over 20 years’ experience as a lecturer at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

He is the Managing Director of Loreus Limited, Director of EcoCampus, and a former director of the BEST Network. Since 1989, he has been a director of several environmental management consultancy companies. He has 10 years’ experience of designing and developing sustainability software solutions for organisations, managing large-scale environmental projects in both the public and private sectors and writing environmental e-learning courses.

Dr Rachel Stubbington

Rachel is the Course Leader for BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences and MRes in Environmental Management and is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.

A freshwater ecologist whose research considers the ecohydrology of river ecosystems, in particular temporary streams, she is research active and since 2008 has published 18 articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at 12 national and international conferences. She is a senior member of the EU COST Action CA15113 on the Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams. Previously, she worked for the Environment Agency as a freshwater ecologist, then as a Research Assistant on an interdisciplinary NERC-funded project at Loughborough University.

Dr Chris Terrell-Nield

Chris is a Principal Lecturer and Undergraduate Courses Manager for the Biosciences cluster.

He chairs the Biosciences Course Leaders’ Group and the Exceptional Circumstances panel for Computing and Technology and co-ordinates Biosciences Peer Observation of Teaching. He has been involved in the supervision and assessment of many PhD students in subjects as varied as decomposition of remains in caves, the impacts of saline mining pollution, and habitat modelling of water shrews. Chris is also a Training Provider for the Field Studies Council.

Dr Adam Bates

Adam has ten years' postdoctoral research experience and took up a lecturer position on the BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences at the beginning of 2015.

An ecologist with a diverse focus on urban ecology, green roofs, riparian systems, orchards and citizen science, he is research active and since 2008 has published 15 papers or book chapters on these subject areas. He has had the pleasure of studying environmental science at Aberystwyth and Lancaster universities, and conducting primary research at the University of Birmingham.

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

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.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the ULP.

  • Year One

    Core modules for 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.

    Core modules on 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

    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.

    Molecular Principles for Biochemistry

    Learn about fundamental concepts from organic, physical, analytical and bioinorganic chemistry as applied to biochemistry processes.

    Core modules on 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

    Core modules on 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.

    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.

    Natural Ecosystems

    An introduction to fundamental concepts relating to organisms and ecosystems. You will examine a range of natural ecosystems and relate habitat characteristics to species distributions.

    People and the Environment

    By collecting information from current land use and field visits, you will explore how human activity leads to habitat modification, destruction and creation.

    Core modules on 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.

    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.

    Antibody and DNA Technology

    Introduces extraction, purification, probing, manipulation, amplification and sequencing of DNA and RNA and the expression of genetic sequences via bacteriophages, plasmids, cosmids and functional proteins.

    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

    You will discuss threats to biodiversity and concepts and values of wildlife and habitat conservation. By means of fieldwork, you will develop the skills required to monitor and manage habitats.

    Evolutionary Ecology and Behaviour

    Introduces the role that ecological interactions in the wild play in creating natural selection, the force responsible for the evolution of structural, reproductive and behavioural adaptations, and of extinctions, of living organisms.

    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.

    Choose one from the following 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.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    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.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    Antibody and DNA Technology

    Introduces extraction, purification, probing, manipulation, amplification and sequencing of DNA and RNA and the expression of genetic sequences via bacteriophages, plasmids, cosmids and functional proteins.

    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:

    Environmental Forensic Assessment

    By taking part in an extended case study, you will learn how to analyse and present the environmental, microscopic, and molecular evidence leading to the solution of criminal activity.

    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.

    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.

    Choose one from the following 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.

    Choose one from the following optional modules:

    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.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

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.

Assessment methods

Year 1 - coursework (24%), written (56%), and practical (20%)

Year 2 - coursework (49%), written (33%), and practical (18%)

Year 3 - coursework (66%), written (27%), and practical (7%)

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 (28%) and independent study (72%)

Year 2 -  lectures/seminars/workshops (25%) and independent study (75%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (34%) and independent study (66%)

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
  • 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 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.

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 our website or UCAS Course Search for more details.

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.

What do the course fees cover?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

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.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £50.

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

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

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

What do the course fees cover?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

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.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £50.

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

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

Science and Technology degree enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 8351