Overview


As new techniques for studying molecules and cells are rapidly increasing our understanding of living organisms, this is a very exciting time to study Biological Sciences.

Biological Sciences brings together subjects including genetics, biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology, giving you knowledge and skills vital in battling global challenges such as cancer, ageing and food security.

You’ll develop both broad and specialist knowledge, with access to the latest discoveries at Leeds. Core modules will equip you with an understanding of human disease genomics, genetic engineering and cell signalling.

You’ll also specialise in one of four pathways: plants and agriculture; molecular medicine; infection and disease; or molecular zoology.

Our integrated Masters offers you an additional year of specialist training. You’ll be introduced to advanced topics, sophisticated techniques and undertake an extended research project.

Course highlights

If you’re undecided about which degree to study, Biological Sciences is designed to give you a broad foundation as a scientist. You’ll benefit from:

  • Comprehensive learning: You’ll begin by gaining a broad understanding of organisms at the cellular and molecular level before developing specialist knowledge in the areas that interest you the most.
  • Flexibility: Common core modules in the first year of many of our courses mean you’ll have the flexibility to transfer onto another related degree course as your interests develop.
  • Choice: Our distinctive emphasis on teaching advanced topics in the final year of the BSc gives you the chance to shape your degree to your specialist interests.
  • Research experience: As well as plenty of practical time in the lab, you’ll have the chance to carry out your own independent research project in your third year supervised by researchers who are leaders in their field.
  • Expertise: You’ll become part of an established community of bioscientists, learning from leaders in their fields whose research directly influences their teaching.
  • Employability: With the knowledge and skills developed during your degree you'll be ideally placed to access a wide range of careers in biological sciences and beyond.
  • Accreditation: Our MBiol and BSc with Industrial Placement courses have received advanced degree accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology.

Unsure of the difference between Biological Sciences and Biology? Check our guide to help you decide which is right for you.

Accreditation

Our BSc with Industrial Placement Year and MBiol courses have been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced degree accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders of the future. The advanced accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

Related courses

Biochemistry MBiol, BSc
Biological Sciences (Biotechnology with Enterprise) MBiol, BSc
Medical Biochemistry MBiol, BSc
Microbiology MBiol, BSc





Course content

Year 1 of this course is designed to give you a broad grounding in biosciences. This enables you to decide which theme to choose in Year 2.

Year 1 covers an introduction to cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular physiology, genetics and immunology. This provides a broad understanding of life at the molecular and cellular level. You’ll also have the opportunity to select from a range of optional modules to broaden your studies.

You’ll develop sound laboratory techniques for studying microorganisms and cellular components such as proteins and DNA through practical classes. You’ll develop your ability to analyse, interpret and present data, use scientific information to solve problems, and design experiments exploiting the techniques you have learnt in the laboratory.

At the end of Year 1, there are opportunities to transfer between the Biological Sciences, Microbiology and Biology courses (including Genetics).

In Year 2, you’ll continue to cover core topics in molecular and cellular biology, building on your learning in Year 1. You’ll study genomics and genetic engineering, and further explore cell structure and function, applying this knowledge to help you understand disease processes. In addition, one of the unique features of our courses is that you’ll choose one of the following four themes, this will allow you to focus your studies in an area of interest over the remaining years of your course.

  • Molecular Medicine - focuses on the actions of molecules, both as therapeutic agents (drugs) and as toxic substances.
  • Infection and Disease - concentrates on areas such as virology, parasitology and immunology.
  • Molecular Zoology - combines studies of animal physiology and development with opportunities to learn about pests and parasites.
  • Plants and Agriculture – focuses on plant physiology, sustainable food production, and the role of pests in agriculture.

You’ll continue your skills development through Year 2. Practical classes will take the form of projects on topics relating to your lecture material in which you’ll integrate and extend the skills and techniques learnt during Year 1. Tutorials with a range of specialist tutors will develop your data analysis and interpretation skills, together with other skills such as researching new topics from the scientific literature.

At the end of your second year you’ll have the option of taking a Study Year Abroad or Industrial Placement Year – a great way of enhancing your experience and your CV.

In Year 3 your main focus will be on undertaking an independent research project, which can be laboratory, literature or computer based (eg bioinformatics, a sought-after skill for modern bioscientists), and completed under the supervision of one of our world class scientists. Alongside this you’ll continue to develop a broad range of skills through the subject-specific skills module, as well as study advanced topic modules for which you’ll be able to choose from a range of topics at the cutting-edge of research.

Integrated Masters (MBiol)

Years 1 and 2 are the same as for the BSc, and provide foundation knowledge and skills. Transfer from the BSc course at the end of Year 2 is available subject to performance.

With a greater focus on research, the MBiol will offer you research preparation modules in Year 3 as well as Masters level modules and an extended research project in your fourth year.

In Year 3, you’ll undertake a practical project which aims to introduce you to increasingly sophisticated techniques and research facilities in preparation for your research project. You’ll also undertake a literature review of your proposed project area, with the support of your supervisor. Alongside this, you’ll undertake an advanced skills module and study current topics aligned with your choice of theme.

In Year 4, you’ll spend approximately six months working on your research project in your supervisor’s laboratory, alongside a skills module which aims to prepare you for life as a professional scientist.

Find out more about choosing between an integrated Masters and a BSc degree

Course structure

Details of typical modules/components for this course will be published on May 1st. These may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and employment outcomes for our students.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and practicals. Your first and second years will focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge in preparation for your final year research project, which will see you take on independent research and learning with the guidance of leading experts.

Across all years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures and lab practicals, and you will undertake private study, supported by on-line resources.

As a guide, a typical week in your first year includes eight to nine hours of lectures, six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, tutorials, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.

Independent study and research are crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers training to help you make the most of them.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA - AAB

BSc:

A-level: AAA - AAB

Including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.

MBiol:

A-level: AAA

Including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.

GCSE:

Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

BSc:

Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, graded at D45M0P0 to D39M6P0 including distinctions in Biology and Mathematics or Chemistry. Accept Access courses in Applied Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

  • Biochemical Sciences
  • Biological and Envionmental Science
  • Biological and Health Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biosciences
  • Combined Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Life and Biological Science
  • Life Science
  • Medical and Health Science Professions
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physical & Natural Sciences.

MBiol:

We do not accept Access to HE.

BTEC

BSc:

Applicants with BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma qualifications are required to have A2 level Biology (although alternative science subjects will be considered). Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must normally have at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these should be biology. The preferred BTEC qualification subject is Applied Science. Offers would be grade A in the A2 level science subject and Distinctions in the BTEC qualification. An offer will be made dependent on the BTEC subject and module choices.

MBiol:

We do not accept BTEC qualification.

Cambridge Pre-U

BSc:

D3/D3/D3-D3/D3/M1 including D3 Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

MBiol:

D3/D3/D3 including D3 in Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

International Baccalaureate

BSc:

35-34 (with 18-17 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

MBiol:

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

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

BSc:

H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 - H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 in Biology and another science at higher level.

MBiol:

H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H2 in Biology and another science at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BSc:

Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA-AB in 2 Advanced Highers

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

MBiol:

Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Welsh Baccalaureate

BSc:

AAA-AAB including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

MBiol:

AAA including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: Science- related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative Entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

International

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

Study Group international year one

Taught at the Leeds International Study Centre, this two-semester course is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree. It aims to help you develop the skills you need to join the second year of our BSc Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. Find out more about the international year one.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships

Career opportunities

As well as providing you with subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem solving.

Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.

Our graduates have, for many years, experienced high employment rates and a high proportion quickly gain employment upon graduation. With the expansion of the biosciences comes the generation of new and varied career opportunities. Some of our graduates go on to further study at Masters or PhD level.

Other career routes include graduate medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, public health sector laboratories, university and government-funded institutes and health, medical, policymaking and government organisations.

Our alumni can be found in roles such as:

  • Research scientist
  • Bioscientist
  • Transgenic technologist
  • Biotechnology specialist
  • Global head of research and development
  • Chief scientific executive officer
  • Phlebotomist
  • Director of computational sciences.

With graduates going into various positions, including:

  • Science writer
  • Lab technician
  • Data analyst
  • Medical sales executive.

Careers support

Dedicated employability team

We have a dedicated employability team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.

We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. These include our annual Faculty Graduate Panel, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Covance, GSK, Nuffield Health, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Industrial placements are typically taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and application letters and provide a list of organisations which may offer industrial placements.

Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.