University of Plymouth

Degree level: Undergraduate

Biological Sciences

Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

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Course summary

Are you passionate about biology in all of its forms? Do you want to study a broad biology degree without the constraints of choosing a specialism too soon, with equal emphasis on lab and field skills? You will build an understanding of biology from viruses to mammals and from freshwater to rocky shores, gaining state-of-the-art practical and transferable skills highly sought by employers, graduating ready to shape the future of fields from ecosystem management to laboratory research. In the 2020 National Student Survey, 92% of students felt staff on this course were good at explaining things and 96% found the course intellectually stimulating. This programme focuses on biology of a wide range of environments from soils and the oceans to hydrothermal vents and volcanic lakes.

  • Study the whole spectrum of contemporary biology, on a course consistently praised externally for its outstanding teaching quality and well-constructed programme.
  • Gain theoretical and practical skills in the laboratory and dig deeper into the interplay between biology and real life so you'll graduate with the skills to immediately enter the world of work.
  • Learn on location, through intensive residential field trips to Slapton Ley and the Azores (price included in your tuition fees).
  • Experience practical biology in the real world with an optional work placement between your second and final year.
  • Build the knowledge, skills and practical awareness for a variety of careers.
  • Work with your personal and course tutors to develop key graduate skills to boost your employability.
  • Keep pace with the ever changing discoveries, insights and thinking in ecology, biodiversity, cell biology, animal behaviour and physiology.
  • Be inspired by staff who are leading the way in their subjects, carrying out research that turns heads worldwide.
  • Boost your practical skills using our specialised facilities including controlled environment chambers, experimental glasshouses, and an electron microscopy unit.

Course details

Modules

In your first year, you will obtain a strong foundation across the spectrum of the biological sciences. You will begin with an intensive 4 week induction module through which you will obtain key skills in use of the scientific literature, data analysis and interpretation, academic writing and presenting and communicating your findings in both written and oral formats. You will then study cell biology, microbiology and the physiology of animals and plants, whilst furthering your transferable skills. You will undertake laboratory based practicals in a range of different areas that underpin and complement your lecture-based learning. You will undertake a field biology module at Slapton in South Devon (a residential field course included in your tuition fees), during which you will study natural history and taxonomy of wild animals and plants, whilst learning to design and carry out experimental work in the field. In your second year, you’ll build on your growing knowledge of physiology, plant biology, microbiology and the methods and techniques of biological science. You will undertake a team-based microbiology research project through which you will gain core transferable skills in team work and working with new people alongside core research and bench skills. You will customise your studies through optional modules in ecology and the molecular basis of disease. A key part of your second year is a residential field trip to the Azores - included in your tuition fees - which takes place in late August or early September just before your second year start. During this course you will study life in extreme environments at geothermal springs and volcanic lakes and will undertake ecological studies of invasive and endemic species in the broad range of unique ecosystems that the Azores offers. You can alternatively undertake your second year at one of a selection of overseas universities through our Year Abroad scheme. When you return, you will go straight into your final year, so you degree still takes 3 years overall. Many of our students carry out an optional placement year between their second and final years. You can undertake either two 3 month work placements or one 6 month placement, though many of our students opt to spent up to 12 months at their placement provider. Given the opportunities a Placement Year gives and the positive impact it brings to employability, we strongly encourage all students to give serious consideration to undertaking a Placement Year. In your final year of study, you will study from a range of optional modules, allowing you to specialise in plant biotechnology, environmental microbiology, global change biology, bioprospecting, animal nutrition, animal and society and eco toxicology. You will also study our Advanced Skills and Concepts module, within which you will select three 'podules', allowing you to specialise in key practical-focused areas that have been developed to give you industry-relevant skills not typically found within undergraduate programmes. In common with all honours degrees in the UK, a major part of your final year is your research project, in which you will apply the skills and understanding you have developed through your studies to a piece of research, supervised by a member of academic staff. The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Assessment method

33% of assessment is by exam, 59% by coursework and 8% practical assessment

Professional bodies

Professionally accredited courses provide industry-wide recognition of the quality of your qualification.

  • Royal Society of Biology

Qualified teacher status (QTS)

To work as a teacher at a state school in England or Wales, you will need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). This is offered on this course for the following level:

  • Course does not award QTS

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 4

International applicants

The University of Plymouth has a dedicated International Student Advice (ISA) service who will support you from the day you accept an offer at the University, right through to graduation. They will offer help and advice so you can get the most out of your studies, and your time in the UK, visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/services/international-students/international-student-advice for more information. Once you have applied through UCAS, your conditional offer letters will also be sent to you by email, so be sure to enter your current email address on your application and to check this email regularly. You'll need your unconditional letter, and the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) that we'll send you, when applying for your student visa to the UK. A minimum £2,000 tuition fee deposit will be required before we'll send you the CAS. We're a licenced Sponsor under the Points Based System. To comply with our duties as a Sponsor, we're required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements, for example any previous studies, financial status and your immigration history in the UK. For course entry requirements (inc. English requirements) please refer to the specific page for the course you are interested in (www.plymouth.ac.uk/study). A recognised English language qualification (e.g. IELTS) would be required or successful completion of one of the University's pre-sessional English Language courses. Check our country pages to find out more about application from your specific home country www.plymouth.ac.uk/international/study/international-students-country-guides. International fees, please visit our fees and funding pages www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees If you have any questions please contact [email protected]

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Must have GCSE Maths and English at grade C /4 or above.


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students

There is no data available for this course. For further information visit the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages at www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees * Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
Biological Sciences at University of Plymouth - UCAS