Biological Sciences 2016/17

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What is Biological Sciences?

Our BSc Biological Sciences degree provides an understanding of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. It is broad-based, integrating subjects such as genetics, biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology. If your passion in life science lies with organisms and their molecular and cellular functions then Biological Sciences at Leeds would be your choice.

  • Top 100 for Biological Sciences (QS subject ranking, 2015)
  • 6th in the UK for Biological Sciences (REF, 2014)
  • Ranked 4th for Biological Sciences in the Scientific journal 'Nature'
  • 97% of our graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduation (DLHE 2013/14).

Why study Biological Sciences?

Biological Sciences will develop you into the flexible graduate that employers are looking for. You will have an appreciation of the broader subject, whilst having the specialist knowledge in key disciplines that will set you apart in the job market. If you are unsure of the difference between Biological Sciences and Biology? Check our guide to help you decide which is right for you.

Advanced Accredited Degree

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).

Discover more about Biological Sciences at:

See also Biotechnology with Enterprise


Show stats for BSc or MBiol

Course Overview

On this course you will gain an understanding of how living cells work, from generating energy to responding to changes in their environment. You will study a wide range of organisms, from viruses to humans, and learn the role of multiple disciplines, such as genetics and microbiology.

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

Our courses have a modular structure where you will be required to study 120 credits per year.

The table below offers a brief insight into the range of modules available:

BSc Year 1 BSc Year 2 BSc Year 3

Introductory modules

Core Modules Core Modules
  • Molecules of life
  • Introduction to microbiology
  • Introduction to genetics
  • Introduction to immunology
  • Tissues, organs and body processes
  • Introduction to cell biology
  • Introductory skills for biological sciences

A choice of elective modules.

Common to all themes are modules that cover:
Human Diseases;
Genetic Engineering;
Cell Biology of Disease;
Cell Signalling;
Bacterial Genomics.
Common to all themes are modules that cover:
Human Diseases;
Genetic Engineering;
Cell Biology of Disease;
Cell Signalling;
Bacterial Genomics.

Theme 1: Molecular Medicine

  • Human Genetics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Toxicology

Theme 1: Molecular Medicine

  • Cancer Biology
  • Ion Channels in Health and Disease
  • Gene Therapy
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Immunology and Medical Aspects of Bacteriology
  • Virology
  • Biochemistry

Theme 2: Infection & Disease

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Medical Bacteriology
  • Virology

Theme 2: Infection & Disease

  • Molecular and Medical Aspects of Bacteriology
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry

Theme 3: Molecular & Cellular Zoology

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Developmental Biology
  • Medical Immunology
  • Animal Physiology

Theme 3: Molecular & Cellular Zoology

  • Developmental Biology of Animals
  • Applied & Human Genetics
  • Comparative Genomics
  • Evolution


Theme 4: Plants & Agriculture

  • Plant Biology
  • Sustainable Food Production
  • Climate Change
  • Animals as Pest

Theme 4: Plants & Agriculture

  • Plant growth and resource acquisition
  • Developmental Biology of Plants
  • Applied Animal and Plant Sciences

All themes include an independent or group research project, either literature, laboratory or computing based, selected from appropriate areas of biochemistry, microbiology, genetics or biology.

Total Credits: 120 Total Credits: 120 Total Credits: 120

Course changes may occur given the fast-moving nature of the field and the above is an indicative list only.

BSc Year one

This is broad-based, covering introductions to cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, physiology, maths & IT and chemistry for the life sciences. The structure of our first year is designed to optimise your choices in year two.

BSc Year two

In year two you will continue to study the biological processes at molecular and cellular levels, but will choose one of the four Biological Sciences themes (Molecular Medicine, Infection & Disease, Molecular and Cellular Zoology, Plants and Agriculture) to focus your studies.

BSc Year three

In year 3, whilst continuing to develop a broad range of skills, you will also have the chance to choose from a range of advanced level topics at the cutting-edge of research. You will also undertake an independent or group research project, working in collaboration with research specialists.

MBiol Year three and four

On the MBiol, your grounding for the masters level will begin with preparation modules in your third year. In your fourth year you will study Master’s level modules in topics such as human diseases and host-parasite interaction. Alongside this you will undertake an original, extended research-project in a cutting edge topic that will provide you with the higher level research skills that will set you apart in the job market.

Please note that year one and two are the same as the BSc for the MBiol.

To find out more about this MBiol degree programme download our guide and our overview on MBiol programmes.


Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The first and second year will see a focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge for your final year research project, which will see independent research and learning complemented with the guidance of leading experts.

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

Across all three years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures and lab practicals, and you will also undertake private study.

  • Year one includes ten to twelve hours of lectures, a tutorial and a two, three hour practical classes (in biochemical and microbiological techniques), plus private study time.
  • Year two consists of around eight to ten lectures per week, tutorials and a six hour lab practical session, plus plus private study time.
  • In year three your research project will take around three days per week (mainly in Semester One), you will also attend a number of associated lectures, plus private study time.

Discover more about our teaching.

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

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

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Graduate Employment

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.

Biological Sciences boasts admirable graduate prospects of 71%, which coupled with recent data collection on graduate’s salaries 6 months after graduation showing an average salary of over £18,500 (DLHE 2012/2013) - make the Biological Sciences course an exciting and enticing option for those wishing for a career in the Biosciences.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Laboratory Technician, Huntington School
  • Healthcare Assistant, Soho Road Medical Practice
  • Sales Executive, Softcat
  • Technical Officer, Anpario

Careers Support

We take personal development and career opportunities very seriously and the Faculty has a dedicated Employability Officer who works closely with the careers centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placement opportunities.

We organise regular careers workshops designed especially for biological sciences students to help develop their career opportunities, including the annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

Careers Centre

The Faculty works closely with the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country. The centre provides high-quality professional support and advice for all our students and access to thousands of opportunities for graduate employment, placements and internships.