Undergraduate School

Biology

C100 BSc Biology
C109 MBiol, BSc Biology (Integrated Masters)

Biology is a wonderfully diverse subject, and Leeds, with one of the UK's largest and most diverse biology teaching groups, is well equipped to deliver a top class BSc Biology degree programme. The emphasis of the programme is the whole organism to which everything is related, be it a gene that encodes for a specific protein or the communities of organisms within an ecosystem. Society of Biology

Biology (Integrated Masters) - has received interim accreditation by the Society of Biology.

This course offers:   

  • Exciting and diverse contemporary topics such as how environmental factors influences gene expression, the origin of structure and pattern during animal development, the biology and control of crop pests, parasites of veterinary and medical importance, sexual selection and conflict, and how animals form and live in groups
  • Leeds University Farm for project and fieldwork
  • The chance to study in a Faculty ranked 4th in the UK by the leading scientific journal ‘Nature*’

 

 

*based on the numbers of staff producing research that was “world leading or internationally excellent”


What is Biology?

Gecko - copyright Bill Kunin

Biology is the study of life.
It addresses phenomena related to living organisms and covers:

Molecular biology

Biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology

Cellular biology

Cell biology and histology

Organismal biology

Developmental biology, and plant and animal physiology

Population biology

Ethology, ecology and evolution

 

Biology is fascinating.

It searches for answers to fundamental questions such as:

  • How did life first begin?
  • How does a single-celled human embryo differentiate into the hundreds of cell types found in an adult human?
  • How and why do some parasites change the sex of their host?

Why study Biology?

The world needs biologists. Life poses many challenges, which biology has and will continue to provide solutions to. These solutions/developments often create social, ethical and legal challenges, which again require people with knowledge of biology to address.

Gannet

Biology is dynamic.
It is possibly the most actively changing and developing subject area in the whole of science.

The discovery of the structure of DNA and the progress in molecular biology since this development has enabled biologists to make rapid and significant advances:

  • DNA technology is used as evidence in criminal prosecutions and to study extinct animals.
  • The threat posed by AIDS, BSE and Ebola has led to feverish activity to understand the organisms that cause them.
  • Threats to conservation and the degradation of our landscape and habitats have been matched by a greater understanding of the dependence of organisms on each other and the environment.

Unsure what the difference is between BSc Biology and BSc Biological Sciences? See our PDF guide to help you decide which course is for you.

Biology is priceless.

It is a ‘reservoir’ of solutions (applied biology) to many challenges facing man, be they in medicine, agriculture, conservation, forensics or engineering.

 

Entry Requirements

2014 entry requirements

BSc Biology - UCAS code C100

A level or Advanced Higher: AAA-ABB from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We consider applications on an individual basis and an offer will depend on the information given on your UCAS form. Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD in Applied Science, including distinctions in the following units: Fundamentals of Science, Mathematical Calculations for Science, Biochemistry and Biochemical Techniques, Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Chemistry for Biology Technicians.

International Baccalaureate: 35-34 (with 18-16 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB-AAABBB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3-D3/M2/M2 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Food Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

BSc (Hons) Biology with Industrial Placement

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Industrial Placements

BSc (Hons) Biology with Study Year Abroad

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Study Year Abroad

MBiol, BSc Biology (Integrated Masters) - UCAS code C109

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

International Baccalaureate: 35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

Duration of the course 3 Years Full Time (C100)
4 Years Full Time (C109)
An Industrial Placement or Study Year Abroad will add a year to the duration of the course
English language requirements If English is not your first language, please check our minimum English language requirements. UG brochure 2014
See also BSc Biology and History and Philosophy of Science, BSc Biology and Mathematics and MNatSc, BSc Natural Sciences
Admissions policy Download our Admissions Policy for 2014 entry. (PDF format). This includes information on the application process, our admissions intake and the selection process.

Admissions enquiries

Carolyn Giles
Tel. +44/0 113 343 2829
Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Admissions tutor

Dr Henry Greathead
Tel. +44/0 113 343 3063
Email: h.m.r.greathead@leeds.ac.uk

Department

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School

Programme Leaders

Dr Sarah Zylinski

Course brochure

Download a course brochure

Course Structure

The structure of your course will vary dependent upon which of the following pathways you choose:

Qualification Course Title Duration
BSc Biology 3 years
BSc Biology with industrial placement year 4 years
BSc Biology with a study year abroad 4 years
MBiol, BSc Biology 4 years
MBiol, BSc Biology with industrial placement year 5 years
MBiol, BSc Biology with a study year abroad 5 years

BSc Course Structure

In the first and second years, lectures, practicals and tutorials are the most important forms of teaching. You will have lectures and tutorials each week, and regular laboratory sessions. In the final year, you will be able to choose your favourite topics to study under the guidance of leading experts; your research project will take up about one third of your time with the rest devoted to lectures and tutorials. Formal examinations are held twice a year, in January and May/June, to spread the assessment load.

Bumblebee -copyright Bill Kunin Modules

All degree programmes are modular and offer wide choice.

Modules may be core (you have to take them), optional (you can choose from a list of alternatives) or elective (you have a free choice); the balance depends upon your year and programme of study. We offer a wide range of modules. Examples include:

Biology Year 1

Cell Biology

The module provides a conceptual understanding of cell biology and biochemistry to underpin later studies in applied biology, genetics, microbial, plant and animal physiology, developmental biology and molecular cell biology.

The Diversity of Life

This module is about life on earth - the animals, plants and mico-organisms we see around us, why they live, where they live and how they have adapted to their environments.

Introduction to Genetics

Genetics is all you wanted to know about sex but never dared to ask! What makes us human? What makes us individual? How different are we from each other? How similar are we to other species? Only genetics provides the answers. The module provides an introduction to genetics with particular emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms and covers the principle features of the transmission, replication, modification and expression of genetic information in prokaryotes and their viruses, and in eukaryotes.

Biology Level 1 Field Course

An opportunity to undertake field-based studies in Scarborough. Daily routines will involve a combination of field studies at various sites in North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire and laboratory-based preparatory and follow-up work in the laboratories of the Scarborough Campus of Hull University.

Biology Year 2

Evolution

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". This module aims to give you the background to be able to 'make sense' of biology: the patterns and processes involved in the evolution of life on earth, both at the micro- and macroevolutionary levels. It also aims to introduce the analytical tools and background necessary to examine these processes.

Animal Physiology: from ants to whales

How some of the physiological systems of animals function, highlighting how these systems have adapted over the course of evolution (evolutionary physiology); how they enable animals to survive in particular environments (environmental physiology); and how particular functions are carried out by related and unrelated species living in similar environments (comparative physiology).

Human Genetics

Several aspects of the genetics of our own species are considered in this course. We look at the methods for the genetic analysis of our own species with its particular characteristics, such as long generation time and small family size. We also consider the social consequences of understandings of human genetics in the past and the present, including some aspects of genetic counseling, and go on to think about what may flow from the human genome project in the future.

Biology Year 3

Animal Developmental Biology

Molecular Biology has provided links between developmental genetics and developmental biology and thereby given us an understanding of the development of living organisms that was previously inaccessible. The processes by which complex biological structures are generated are still being revealed. In this module we will introduce students to our current understandings of developmental mechanisms in animals and explore how this understanding has been achieved.

Animal Metabolism and Nutrition

Understanding the associated metabolic response to what we feed an animal enables producers to manipulate the performance of animals via nutrition. This module explores the topic with regard to the development of the neonate, lactation, and growth. Development of the neonate considers the relationship between nutrition and the animal's immune and antioxidant systems. Under the heading growth the influence of an animal's nutrition on meat quality is considered. Also, the physiological and metabolic basis of ruminant nutrition, namely energy and nitrogen metabolism and the interactions between rumen and animal, and the implications for feeding forages will be studied.

Advanced topics in Ecology

The module will consist of subunits, each taught by a researcher intimately involved with the research developments being discussed. As such, it will provide not only with detailed understanding of key recent developments in ecology, but also with insights into the process of scientific research.

Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Research Projects

Final year students choose an individual project from a wide range of topics to suit their interests and career aspirations. The project is an original laboratory, literature or computer-based study, supervised by an academic member of staff. These projects are an important way for students to learn about independent scientific research and develop important skills for future employment.

Recent examples include:

Vibration transmission characteristics of silk produced by the British cribellate spider Amaurobius similis

Web-borne vibrations are of particular behavioural significance to the life of a webspinning spider, guiding, and controlling behaviours such as prey detection and courtship. Vibration transmission characteristics of silk produced by the British cribellate spider Amaurobius similis were determined. Prey generated vibrations were also investigated.

The mechanical power output and flight efficiency of steady flight in the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulates) at various flight speeds

Budgerigars were trained to fly in steady flight in a wind tunnel, at varying speeds, and the mechanical power required for flight was determined using high-speed cinematography and calculated using an aerodynamic model based upon wing kinematics.

Familiarity in fish: the role of diet-based cues in association preferences in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Several studies have focused on determining whether more general habitat- and diet-based odour cues can be exploited by shoaling fish species to give association preferences, rather than more specific individual recognition. In this study the effect of diet-based cues on association preferences in the guppy were investigated.

Some of our students have been fortunate enough to get their final year research project data published in a scientific journal, including in:

  • Incoll L.D., Pilbeam D.P. & Williams J. (2001). Reporting guidelines in practice: a good idea, but does anyone take any notice? Proceedings of the Joint International Meeting of the UK CEUG and North American NCR-101, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK. (This publication resulted in following: International Committee for Controlled Environmental Guidelines (2004). Minimum guidelines for measuring and reporting environmental parameters for experiments on plants in growth roomsand chambers)
  • Wilkinson J.M. & Toivonen M.I. (2003). World Silage: a survey of forage conservation around the world. Chalcombe Publications, Welton.
  • Wilson C.L., Shirras A.D., Isaac R.E. (2002). Extracellular peptidases of imaginal discs of Drosophila melanogaster, PEPTIDES, 23 (11), 2007-2014.
  • Bland N.D., Robinson P., Thomas J.E., Shirras A.D., Turner A.J., Isaac R.E. (2008). Locomotor and geotactic behavior of Drosophila melanogaster over-expressing neprilysin 2. Peptides (in print).
  • Smith, C. & Compton, S.G. (2008). Exclosures may overestimate the impact of rabbits on the vegetation of Lundy. Journal of the Lundy Field Society 1, 21-32.
  • Ioannou CC, Payne M & Krause J (2008). Ecological consequences of the bold-shy continuum – the effect of predator boldness on prey risk. Oecologia 157:177-182.
  • Ioannou CC, Tosh CR, Neville L & Krause J (2008). The confusion effect - from neural networks to reduced predation risk? Behavioral Ecology 19: 126-130.
  • Morrell LJ, Hunt KL, Croft DP & Krause J (2007). Diet, familiarity and shoaling decisions in guppies. Animal Behaviour 74: 311-319.
  • Dunn A.M., Andrews T., Ingrey H., Riley J. & Wedell N. (2006). Strategic sperm allocation under parasitic sex-ratio distortion. Biology Letters 2, 78–80

Visit the Studying with us  pages to find out more about studying in the Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School.

MBiol Course Structure

To find out more about how the MBiol differs from the BSc programme, download our PDF guide to MBiol degrees.

Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

 

Please be aware that course details do change from time to time. ...

... If in doubt, please contact us to verify course content and availability. Whilst the University endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the date of publication it does not accept liability for any inaccuracies. The University reserves the right to change or cancel its courses or services at any time without liability even after students have registered at the University. The University's contract with its students does not confer third party benefits for the purposes of Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

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Teaching and Assessment

Catherine Ayres doing her research project on biofuelsOur approach to teaching and learning is based around developing your knowledge and skills, and training you to be independent and to think critically. As well as independent study you will learn in many different ways:

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

A typical week :

  • in year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
  • in year two includes nine hours of lectures and nine hours of practicals, with a one hour tutorial or workshop, plus private study.
  • in year three week includes nine hours of lectures and extended time in a research laboratory, plus private study.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods including:

  • multiple-choice testing
  • practical work
  • data handling and problem-solving exercises
  • group work
  • discussion groups (physical and online)
  • computer-based simulation
  • essays
  • posters and oral presentations

Current assessment details for each individual module can be accessed via the programme catalogue.

 

Careers

Biology graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike. BSc Biology fosters the development of transferable "graduate skills" which are highly valued by employers throughout the world. The University is one of the most-targeted universities by the UK's top graduate employers according to the High Fliers' Survey. Biology graduates go on to a range of careeers in and outside the lab

Biology Careers

View scientific careers

Biology is a wide-ranging subject that can take you into many occupations, e.g. medical scientists, biotechnologists, teachers, ecologists, forensic scientists, genetic counsellors, neurobiologists, dietitians, agricultural scientists, conservationists, geneticists, veterinary scientists, marine biologists and many more.

View non-scientific professions

Our graduates acquire skills of numeracy, analytical thinking, and creativity in problem solving and data-handling, all of which equips them for jobs in non-scientific careers e.g. sales and marketing, accountancy, finance, patent work and journalism.

View further study

Graduates also go on to further study including PhD, Masters Degrees and PGCE.

Careers Support

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops desgined especially for biological sciences students to help develop their career opportunities and find out about possible career avenues. We also organise an annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information. The event is open to students at all levels of study from first degree to PhD. Over 500 biological sciences students attended the 2010 fair. Browse the careers fair photo gallery.

University Careers Service

Our on-campus Careers Centre is one of the largest in the country, with experienced advisers and strong relationships with graduate recruiters. The Careers Centre will help you to find out how to develop your employability right from the start and get long-term support after you graduate. Find out what the Careers Centre has to offer. .

Gaining work experience

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive job market and Leeds offers many opportunities to develop skills valuable to employers, including our industrial placement and year abroad schemes, laboratory placement schemes, and volunteering via Leeds for Life..

Industrial Advisory Board

Our Industrial Advisory Board gives employers the chance to input directly into programme and module content. This ensures that our programmes include appropriate training and skills so that our students and graduates are desirable to a broad range of graduate employers.

Join a global network of Leeds graduates

A remarkable variety of opportunities result from our relationships with our graduates, including access to the Leeds Graduate Careers Network.


Recent graduate jobs and employers include:

Recent graduate jobs include

Recent graduate employers include

  • Animal Health Enforcement Officer
  • Forensic Laboratory Analyst
  • School Science Technician
  • Assistant Consultant
  • Ecology Group Assistant
  • Trainee Production Manager
  • Medical Sales Representative
  • Schering Plough
  • Organic Food Federation
  • Grampian Country Food Group
  • Orchid Bioscience Ltd.
  • Marine Biological Association
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers


Read about more BSc Biology graduates...

Africa


Careers resources

Field Courses

We see great value in the learning opportunities offered by practical field courses and offer field courses for undergraduates in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa.


Not only are field courses highly enjoyable, but participants benefit from:

  • Applying university-learnt techniques in real life situations
  • Individual and team working
  • High staff /student ratios
  • Tutor support on location
  • First-hand experience of collecting and analysing data
  • Opportunities to develop individual research skills
  • Skills development valued by employers after graduation
  • A chance to get to know staff and fellow students even better

 

Compulsory Students on Scarborough Field Course Field Courses

 

Optional Field Courses

You also have the opportunity to participate in optional field courses:

Occasionally there also opportunities for BSc Biology students to participate in the Pembrokeshire and the Mediterranean Ecology Field Course .

What will it cost?
2012 entry - Any field courses that are compulsory for your degree programme will be free of charge, however, for optional field courses you will be charged relevant out of pocket costs (principally travel, subsistence, accommodation and insurance), for which there may be help available.
Africa Field Course 2007

Recent field course case studies:

Natalie Coles (BSc Zoology) Africa Field Trip 2007

Amy Backhouse (BSc Zoology) Africa Field Trip 2008

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Students' Experiences

Helen NealScarborough

Helen was involved in the first year field course to Scarborough.

“We were given a lot of freedom of choice, focusing mainly on animal behaviour.”

 


Nicola Capstaffcowside beck

Nicola has made the most of further opportunities such as field courses.

“The most important part of the field course was the practical element of actually doing an experiment rather than just relying on theory work.”


See more student profiles.

 

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