Durham University

Biological Sciences Durham University Degree level: Undergraduate


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Course summary

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We operate a modular system in which you will study six modules each year. The Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) three-year degree course has been designed to allow you more choice between modules in each successive year so that you can follow specialised routes within Biological Sciences, or address specific areas of interest, as you progress.

Recommended module combinations (“routes”) to allow various themes of specialisation are available. We have specified recommended routes corresponding to the following subject areas:
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biomedical Science
Cell Biology
Ecology and Environmental Science.

Other module combinations are possible to give courses which specialise in “whole organism” biology, or plant sciences, or microbiology. Transfer to the four-year MBiol course is possible up to the end of Year 2.

Year 1
The first year covers fundamental aspects of biology including evolution, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, and an overview of the diversity of organisms, through a set of four “core” modules.

The Year 1 course also includes an integrated “Scientific Skills” module which covers underpinning chemistry and maths designed to support learning in the other modules. In addition, an optional module provides an introduction to all aspects of current research in the biosciences. A language module, provided by another department, can be taken as an alternative optional module.

Year 2
The second year of the course allows you to select a degree to meet your interests and career ambitions by choosing modules from those available. Choices of modules made for Year 2 then feed forward into the third year. There is a wide range of module themes.

A Year 2 support module, “Research Skills” is also offered, in which skills required for research-led learning at Year 3 are covered. As in Year 1, learning is supported by a module-linked tutorial system.

Year 3
Year 3 of the degree places the strongest emphasis on research, with taught content directly linked to research being carried out in the Department. You will undertake three major pieces of work, each constituting its own module; a workshop/field course, a literature review and a research module.

The “Workshop” (laboratory based) or “Field Course” (field-based) module both involve research experience; field courses are currently held in South Africa or Scotland (residential field courses can incur an additional fee, which ranged from £150–£750 in 2017).

The "Literature Review" module involves the study of current research literature in a topic area selected by you, under personal supervision. The final year of the BSc (Hons) also includes the research module, which can be: a five-week laboratory or field-based Research Project; "Biological Enterprise", where you will develop the science and business case for a potential biotech-based product; "Biology into Schools", where you will gain hands-on practice of teaching at primary school level; or "Contemporary Issues in the Biosciences", where you will gain experience in the communication of bioscience by the production of a report.

In addition, you will study three modules linked to your interests from those offered. The Year 3 taught modules cover a wide range of topics.

Study Abroad
You may be able to take a year abroad between the second and third year at a selected partner university in a range of overseas destinations (including Canada, Australia and China). The year abroad is a normal year at the host institution, although marks for assessments and exams taken abroad do not contribute to the Durham degree outcome. The course leads to the award of a BSc “Biological Sciences Degree with Year Abroad”.

Placement Degrees
You can elect a placement degree route, by transfer to a degree “With Placement” during Year 2. Placements are obtained by personal application to suitable placement providers, with assistance from the Department.

Course details


For more information on the content of this course, including module details, please see our website.

How to apply

Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.

You are viewing a course summary page, please select a course option to see the application codes

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Qualification Offer Further information
UCAS Tariff Not accepted
A level AAA Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology at A-level or equivalent, plus another science subject at A-level or equivalent is required. Psychology, Maths and Geography are all considered sciences for the purposes of admissions. Although PE is accepted as a third A-level, it is not a science for the purpose of admissions

Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This refers only to English A Levels.

We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer.
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) DDD Must be accompanied by a grade C or above at A-level (or equivalent) for Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology. Otherwise apply for C104 Biological Sciences with Foundation. https://www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=18171&title=Biological+Sciences+with+Foundation&code=C104&type=BSC&year=2020
Access to HE Diploma Not accepted
Scottish Higher AAAAB We will normally make offers based on Advanced Highers. If an applicant has not been able to take 3 Advanced Highers, offers may be made with a combination of Advanced Highers and Highers, or on a number of Highers.
Cambridge International Pre-U Certificate - Principal D3, D3, D3 Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology plus another science subject is required.
Extended Project Not accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 37 points 666 in Higher Level subjects. Higher Level grade 6 Biology or Chemistry and another science Higher Level subject are required.
Leaving Certificate - Higher Level (Ireland) (first awarded in 2017) H2, H2, H2, H2, H2 Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology plus another science subject is required.
Scottish Advanced Higher AAA Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology plus another science subject is required.
Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015) Not accepted

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9,250 Year 1
International £25,800 Year 1
England £9,250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9,250 Year 1
Scotland £9,250 Year 1
Wales £9,250 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

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Durham University
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

Course contact details

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Recruitment and Admissions Office

0191 334 1000