Overview


Biology is the study of life and living organisms. It’s a fascinating subject that answers key questions such as how life first began, and which offers developments and solutions to major social and ethical challenges. It has offered an advanced understanding of serious threats to human populations, conservation and habitats.


This course allows you to gain a broad understanding of molecular, cellular, organismal and population biology, as well as giving you the chance to specialise in areas that suit your interests through a wide range of optional modules. You’ll gain a broad understanding of genetics, immunology, microbiology and other key disciplines, while you could also choose to explore plant growth, conservation biology, population genetics, bioinformatics and many more.

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

Course highlights

  • Biology is a wide-ranging subject that Leeds is well equipped to deliver through one of the UK’s largest and most diverse biology teaching groups.
  • The degree is popular - for some it’s the breadth of the subject that appeals, for others it’s a path to specialisation.
  • The common first year provides you with a broad foundation as a scientist, flexibility, and the opportunity to specialise in your chosen area in Years 2, 3 and 4.
  • In each year you will choose modules from our specialist degrees across the biology area (Biology with Enterprise, Genetics, Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Zoology), allowing you to follow your own biological interests.
  • You’ll learn from experts in world-class facilities, and you can apply your knowledge and skills outside the lab – we offer a variety of exciting field courses from North Yorkshire to Kenya.

Accreditation

Both our Integrated Masters (MBiol) programme and BSc with Industrial Placement Year programme has been awarded advanced accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting in part the academic and experience requirement for the Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).

Related courses

Biology with Enterprise BSc
Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc
Genetics BSc
Zoology BSc


Student Profile

Biology

"During my year in industry I was able to carry out proper field-based research that is going to help towards the conservation of two bird species in the UK."
Read more

Leah Kelly , BSc Biology


Course content: Biology BSc

Compulsory modules in year 1 will give you a broad foundation as a scientist. You’ll be introduced to cell biology, genetics, ecology and the application of biology to agriculture. You’ll also develop your research skills through extensive practical work in our labs and apply them to field work in North Yorkshire. An optional module of your choice will allow you to gain specialist knowledge in a topic that interests you, such as the chemistry underpinning biological processes or immunology.

In the following year, you’ll deepen your understanding of plant and animal biology through evolution in core modules, as well as building your skills in research and examining experimental design. This year also allows you to begin tailoring your degree to your interests and career ambitions. You’ll be expected to maintain a spread across modules related to the areas of genetics and organisms, but you’ll be able to study topics such as genetic engineering, bioinformatics, sustainable food production and animal nutrition. A choice of field courses will be among the optional modules open to you.

Year 3 will give you more scope to work independently, as a research project, literature review and poster allow you to focus on a biological topic in depth. This work is supported by a wide range of choice. You’ll select optional modules from the fields of genetics, ecology, and animal and plant organisms. Topics could include population genetics, plant growth and resource acquisition, evolution and conservation biology, and a field course in South Africa is also on offer.

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

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

COMPULSORY MODULES

Biology Practicals and Data Analysis 20 credits
Living Planet 20 credits
Applied Biology and Agriculture 10 credits
Introduction to Genetics 10 credits
Practical Genetics 10 credits
Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course 10 credits
Tutorials for Biology and Genetics 10 credits
The Basis of Life 20 credits

Year 2

COMPULSORY MODULES

Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists 10 credits
How Plants Work 10 credits
Experimental Design and Analysis 10 credits
Organismal Evolution 10 credits
Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales 10 credits

Year 3

COMPULSORY MODULES

Biology Integrated Research Projects 40 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Biology BSc Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Biology BSc Part Time in the course catalogue

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

Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, while you’ll also benefit from our range of online resources such as Virtual Labs @ Leeds.

Year 1 is likely to include around 10-12 hours of lectures, a tutorial and two three-hour practical classes, followed by 8-10 lectures, a six-hour practical session and tutorials in Year 2. In your final year you’ll spend more time working independently with around three days per week devoted to your research project, mainly in Semester 1, supported by lectures.

Independent study and research are also 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: Biology BSc

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA-AAB

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

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:

Typically Grade B or above at GCSE Maths and Grade C or above at GCSE English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Access offers: Overall pass with 60 credits and a minimum of 45 credits at Level 3. Distinctions must be achieved in at least 30 of the Level 3 credits, which must include Biology, and Maths or Chemistry units; merits must be obtained in all the remaining graded credits.

Accept Access courses in Applied Science and Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

  • Biochemical Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental 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

BTEC

Applicants with BTEC qualifications (Diploma or ExtendedDiploma) are required to have A2 level Biology (Maths, Chemistry and Physicsmay be acceptable alternatives depending on the BTEC subject). Distinctions inthe BTEC subject and an A or B grade (BTEC subject dependent) for the A-levelsubject are required.

Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications musthave at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these must be in Biology.

Cambridge Pre-U

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

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 Highers (Leaving Certificate)

AAAAAB-AAAABB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

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

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

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Welsh Baccalaureate

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

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

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.

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.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

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: See fees section below

International: £21,500 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2018 will be confirmed in September 2017.

The fee is likely to increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 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 starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

The UK government has also 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.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

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

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

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

Career opportunities: Biology BSc

Number 1 for employability – the Faculty of Biological Sciences is ranked highest for employability amongst Russell Group universities. Higher than Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Durham, Edinburgh, Kings College, Liverpool, Manchester, York.

Our biology students graduate into many different careers, including the pharmaceutical industry, agribusiness, conservation, environmental consultancy and education. Many graduates go on to specialise through further study such as a masters or PhD.

Career destinations in the field of biology are wide-ranging and employment prospects are excellent, with 96% of recent graduates having secured jobs in a multitude of roles relating to the subject of Biology or in further study within six months of graduating.

Recent graduates can be found working as for example:

  • Research Bioscientist
  • Wildlife Film Maker
  • Biocontamination Technician
  • Senior Species Ecologist
  • Senior Plant Health and Seeds Inspector
  • Policy Adviser: International
  • Biodiversity
  • Epidemiologist.

Careers support

Faculty Employability team

We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University’s Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, 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 the BSc 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 between your second and final year. If you choose to undertake a placement 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.


Field courses


One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer at least the option of a field course in every year.
Year 1: Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
This compulsory course takes place over the summer after your end of year exams and gives you a first taste of field research in a group setting. You’ll get a taste of Yorkshire’s natural history and be exposed to a wide range of natural systems: moorland plants and birds, intertidal invertebrates, freshwater fish and insects and sea bird colonies.
Year 2: Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
An optional course which runs after the summer exams, this course will expand on the training you’ve gained in your first two years of study. You’ll choose from projects on a wide range of topics in behaviour and ecology including bat behaviours, bird song and habitat preferences of small mammals. If you’re feeling brave you could also take part in a caving trip – and there’s our infamous treasure hunt and pub quiz.
Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
Usually involves a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You’ll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.
Year 3: African Ecology Field Course, South Africa
This optional course takes place in The Great Fish River Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. You’ll take part in group projects collecting data and samples and analysing them, with help from both Leeds lecturers and demonstrators and staff from nearby Rhodes University. Past projects have included the diet of the black rhino, small mammal diversity and distribution and kudu-vegetation interactions.
Find out more and view photo galleries from our Field Courses