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Industrial and professional placements

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive jobs market.

This optional scheme is open to all degree courses within the Faculty of Biological Sciences and lasts one year, running between Years 2 and 3 of each degree programme.

An industrial placement is an excellent opportunity to sample a relevant workplace environment and give yourself that "added extra" for entering the job market. Our students undertake placements relevant to their degree programmes, in organisations across a spectrum of activities, from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, biology testing laboratories, research institutes, environment, agriculture, leisure and health. Most placements are UK-based, although there is scope for placements abroad, and in the majority of cases placements are salaried.

"The opportunity to work in a large scale industrial environment has been invaluable to me and has undoubtedly helped me with my final year project, given me ideas for future career paths and has boosted my employability."

Amy Lane (BSc. Biology), Industrial Placement at GlaxosmithKline.


Read Laura's blog about her industrial placement experiences!

  • Gain the edge - enhance your future employability
  • Invaluable direct workplace experience
  • Recognised and valued by employers
  • Shape your career path
  • Apply key scientific skills
  • Experience real life industry scenarios
  • Start networking & making contacts

A few example partners :

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Novartis
  • AstraZeneca
  • QinetiQ
  • Pfizer
  • Covance
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • MedImmune Cambridge
  • Lilly
  • Mayo Clinic, Florida

Read about students' experiences...

The year in industry is assessed but it does not affect your degree classification. Please note that you can not apply for this scheme until after you have started on your degree course. We will provide you with all the information you need to apply during Year 1 with us.

Study Year Abroad (International Placements)

Moraine Lake

We recognise how important it is for our graduates to be able to live and work in an increasingly global environment. Over 600 Leeds students study abroad every year, many of whom are not on language degrees.

  • Discover a new culture
  • Gain a new perspective on your subject
  • Increase your self-confidence
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Learn or improve a language
  • Have fun!

"going abroad shows a lot of qualities potential employers would want in a person, such as initiative, organisation, capability, and a sense of adventure!"

Sophie Mills (BSc. biology), Study Year Abroad


Read Jasmine's blog about her experiences in Canada on her study year abroad!

Study partners:

Students are able to study at partner universities around the world.  For most placements in Europe, you will require a working knowledge of the language either from A-level or a language module taken at Leeds in Year 2 of your degree programme. Just a few of our study partners are listed below (browse further study partners):

  • University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Universite de Montpellier, France
  • Universit├Ąt W├╝rzburg, Germany
  • Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
  • National University of Singapore
  • University of California, USA
  • McGill University, Canada
  • Uppsala Universitet, Sweden

Read about students' experiences of the scheme...

The scheme is open to all degree courses within the Faculty of Biological Sciences and run between Years 2 and 3 of each degree programme. Placements are for one academic year during which you will be able to choose a range of taught modules and carry out a supervised research project. The Study Year Abroad is assessed, but it does not affect your degree classification.

Please note that you can not apply for this scheme until after you have started on your degree course. We will provide you with all the information you need during Year 1 with us.

More information from the Study Abroad Office

Undergraduate Research Placements Scheme

Student in Bio-imaging Suite

This innovative scheme allows first year students to spend 10 hours a week during Semester 2 as part of a research group taking part in all aspects of laboratory based scientific research. Students write a blog of their experiences which provides an opportunity to reflect and to focus on career aspirations towards (or away from) scientific research. We are not currently aware of any other UK universities offering a similar scheme to first year students. Students are chosen through a competitive application process in Semester 1.

"My research placement encouraged independent learning, maturity and initiative; all vital skills if you are to be successful in your chosen field."

Aislin Francis (BSc. Human Physiology)


Benefits include:

  • First-hand experience of a working lab
  • Being able to see for yourself what research actually involves on a day-to day basis
  • Access to PhD student and researchers
  • One-to-one tuition
  • The chance to develop transferable practical laboratory and data interpretation skills which will help with the rest of the course
  • Receipt of a modest bursary

Read about students' experiences of the scheme ...

Please note that you can not apply for this scheme until after you have started on your degree course.

Summer Vacation Studentships Scheme

Are you interested in working in a research laboratory during the summer vacation?

Each year we offer second and third year students the opportunity to apply to work in a research laboratory during the summer vacation. This type of experience is ideal if you are thinking of continuing with a career in research after graduating, or if you would like to find out what research is all about.

“My summer studentship has been an excellent experience that has allowed me to develop laboratory, analytical and interpersonal skills, which I know will help me in my future career in research.”

Claire Windle (BSc. Medical Biochemistry)

Summer student

Under this scheme the laboratories offer experimental projects in a wide variety of subject areas and are funded by organisations such as the Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Biochemical Society, BBSRC and Physiological Society and last between 5 and 10 weeks. Read more...

Read about students' experiences of the scheme including ...


Please note that you can not apply for this scheme until after you have started on your degree course.


Scholarships: recognising excellence

We recognise that achievement takes hard work and commitment. The Faculty of Biological Sciences offers a range of scholarships, based on academic merit, to high-achieving home and international students. Home/EU students should refer to the Biological Sciences Achievement Scholarships below. International students please see International Scholarships.

A new scholarship has been introduced for 2014. The Science and Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship is available to international students who join the University in 2014 onto an undergraduate degree programme. Scholarship flyer cover

Biological Sciences Achievement Scholarships 2014 Entry

The Faculty of Biological Sciences will be awarding scholarships of up to £1000 to students who begin their undergraduate studies in 2014 and who have demonstrated academic excellence in their previous studies, subject to the terms of the scheme. You will qualify automatically for the Achievement Scholarship if you meet the criteria below. You do not need to apply separately for a scholarship, your application through UCAS will enable us to consider you once you have confirmed your acceptance of our offer.

The scholarship will be paid in two instalments, usually in January of your first and second years of study. The second instalment will be paid on condition of you maintaining academic excellence* in the first year of study. *Maintaining academic excellence is defined as achieving a minimum 70% average mark over 120 credits at level 1 (to include all compulsory modules).

Do I qualify

To be awarded a Scholarship you need to meet the following conditions:

• Commence a programme of study in the Faculty of Biological Sciences in September and be fully registered on 1 December 2014.
• Be a UK or EU student paying tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.
• Have achieved the academic excellence criteria in your previous studies in a single academic year.

Criteria of Academic Excellence for entry in 2014

  • GCE A-levels/Scottish Advanced Higher: One A* at A level or Advanced Higher in one of the following science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics, plus two A grades, both of which must be in a science or science-related subject.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate (higher level): Six A grades including an A in Higher Level Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics, and another science at Higher Level.
  • International Baccalaureate: 38 points with at least 19 at Higher Level, and 7 in Higher Level Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics, plus one other science or science-related subject at Higher Level.
  • BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction* in each unit. Only accepted in conjunction with an A* in a science A level.
  • Cambridge Pre-U: D2/D3/D3 with at least two of these in a science or science-related subject.
  • Other Qualifications: An equivalent exceptionally high standard which will be determined by the Faculty.
  • Science and science-related subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Biology, Information Communication and Technology, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, Sport Science. General Studies is not included in the qualifying subjects.

    If you are uncertain as to whether you would qualify for a scholarship, please contact us.

Further scholarships

Additional information about scholarships and bursaries for new students can be obtained from the University of Leeds Fees and Scholarships webpages.

Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships are available for first year students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects).

Funded by our alumni, Centenary Alumni Scholarships are designed to help, encourage and provide support to new UK students who are highly academic, but who are facing financial barriers.

The University of Leeds Sports Scholarship Programme supports elite athletes to combine their academic and sporting demands throughout their time at University.

Financial Help

For information about scholarships and bursaries based on income and financial need, please refer to the main University web pages.

Information relating to scholarships does change from time to time. Whilst the University endeavours to keep this information as up to date as possible, the University cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies.

Field Courses

We see great value in the learning opportunities offered by practical field courses and offer five field courses for students in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa. All students studying BSc Biology, BSc Zoology and BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology have the opportunity to participate on residential field courses throughout their programme.

Caving at Malham



"It was the most amazing opportunity to meet people from other cultures and be taken to places that I would never have the chance of visiting otherwise."

Amy Backhouse (BSc. Zoology), African ecology field course


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
  • Opportunies to develop individual research skills
  • Skills development valued by employers after graduation
  • A chance to get to know staff and fellow students even better

For more information on the individual field courses follow the links below:

Year 1:

Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Year 2:

Marine Zoology Field Course, Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire,

Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour Field Course, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales.

Year 3:

African Ecology Field Course (South Africa).

Recent field course case studies:

Natalie Coles (BSc Zoology) African Ecology Field Course 2007

Amy Backhouse, BSc Zoology, African Ecology Field Course 2008

What will it cost?

Some field courses are compulsory for certain students, whilst others may be optional depending on your programme of study. 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 available. You will find more details on the web pages for each of our individual courses: BSc Biology, BSc Zoology and BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology.

Careers and Employability

Excellent career prospects

Leeds graduates have an excellent reputation amongst employers. The University of Leeds is among a group of ten universities targeted by the largest number of top employers over the period 2012 - 13, according to the latest influential High Fliers report. Employers including IBM, HSBC, Google and the Civil Service all contributed to the research. We work closely with the University Careers Centre to support our students with information and opportunities.

Achieving your career goals

Employability is uppermost in many students’ minds. We know from talking to employers that when they recruit they are looking for self-assured, flexible, independent-minded graduates; problem solvers with the skills and knowledge that will benefit their organisations; graduates with career focus and commercial awareness. Leeds graduates are targeted both nationally and internationally by top employers.

We take your future very seriously. As part of our commitment to the employability of our students we will encourage and support you to follow three steps; decide on your future career; plan the ways in which you can secure your future and compete for employment at the highest level.

Careers Support

Biological Science students have access to a wide range of personal and professional development opportunities:

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops designed 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 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. Find out more about our alumni.

Award winning personal tutors

At Leeds you will have a dedicated personal tutor who will help to support your academic, personal and professional development. The Faculty of Biological Sciences recently received three awards from the Students’ Union – the highest number across the University in recognition of the dedication, hard work and support of our personal tutors.


What sort of a job could my particular course lead to?

Each one of our biology and biological sciences degree courses has its own careers section with information about graduate careers, plus individual student profiles illustrating some of the career choices our students have made. Select the course you are interested in from the drop down list (top left) and then select the relevant careers tab.

The UK Centre for Bioscience offer useful advice for students with a biosciences degree. Download their 'A Bioscience degree - why and what next?' guide.

Transferable skills

If you study at Leeds, as well as gaining a qualification that is recognised worldwide you will also gain key transferable skills across all of our degree programmes– such as

  • Data handling
  • Analytical skills
  • Time management
  • Team work
  • Essay writing skills
  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Statistical analysis

Leeds for Life

Leeds for Life logoLeeds for Life is a special personal development scheme, just for University of Leeds students; an opportunity not widely available at other universities.

It is about preparing you for the future. It will inspire you to get the most out of your academic and co-curricular experiences and build on your time studying at the University of Leeds. When you join the Faculty your personal tutor will explain how the scheme works and help you make the most of the opportunities Leeds can offer.

Amazing personal development opportunities

Find out about some of the amazing things our students have done:

Clare McMullen (BSc Pharmacology)
Clare worked on a project in Thailand working for the Christian Care Foundation for children with disabilities.

Jane Mitchell (BSc Medical Sciences)
Jane volunteered in a mission hospital on the border of India and Nepal.

Karen Wilton (BSc Biochemistry)
Karen joined the University’s TV station LS:TV.

Liane Hobson and Olivia Richardson (BSc Biology)
Liane and Olivia had a Leeds for Life Foundation Award to do conservation work in South Africa.

What can Leeds for Life do for you?

The scheme will support you throughout your degree to develop your skills, prepare you for the future and make sure you get the most out of your university experience both from your academic studies and the huge range of co-curricular opportunities on offer. The scheme helps you build a portfolio of skills and experiences via the Leeds for Life website.

It’s up to you to grasp the opportunities on offer. Whatever your life goals, Leeds for Life can help you achieve them. We want you to be able to recognise the value of everything you have done at University and be at ease articulating this clearly and confidently.

Leeds for Life extends beyond graduation. Not only can it be used to build a ‘living CV’ to record your experiences whilst at university. It also acts as a portal for you and your personal tutor to access up to 5 years after graduation, which is invaluable when seeking academic references and reflecting on your skills and attributes.