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 offers developments and solutions to major social and ethical challenges such as threats to human populations, conservation and habitats.

This course allows you to shape your degree to suit your interests. You’ll gain a broad understanding of molecular, cellular, organismal and population biology, as well as having the chance to specialise through a wide range of optional modules.

You’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of genetics, immunology, microbiology and other key disciplines, while you could also choose to explore areas such as plant growth, conservation biology, population genetics, bioinformatics and many more.

Our integrated Masters offers you an additional year of specialist training. You’ll be introduced to advanced topics such as Host-Parasite Interactions and Infection Diseases. You’ll also undertake an extended research project.

Course highlights

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

  • A dynamic degree: 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.
  • Flexibility: Common core modules in the first year of many of our courses mean you’ll have the flexibility to transfer onto a more specialised degree course as your interests develop.
  • Choice: Each year you’ll 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.
  • Expertise: You’ll learn from experts who are actively engaged in research in world-class facilities.
  • Research experience: You’ll apply your knowledge and skills in the lab and in the field and have the chance to carry out your own independent research project in your third year.
  • Field courses: We offer a variety of exciting residential field courses in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa, where you can gain first-hand practical experience. You’ll also have access to the University farm.

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

Accreditation

Both our Integrated Masters (MBiol) and BSc with Industrial Placement Year courses have 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

Biological Sciences MBiol, BSc
Biology with Enterprise MBiol, BSc
Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc
Genetics MBiol, BSc
Zoology MBiol, 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

The modules taught in Year 1 reflect the complexity of life forms, from molecules through to organisms, plants and animals, to populations.

A set of core modules will allow you to develop your skills in research and analysis and introduce you to the disciplines of immunology, microbiology, genetics and cell biology.

You’ll gain an understanding of the chemistry underpinning biological processes, the different types of cell and how they come together in human tissues, organs and body systems, as well as how they are affected by disease.

You’ll also choose an optional module on a specialist topic from agriculture to pharmacology, which may help you choose your specialism for the next two years.

There is a residential field course on Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland where you will study coastal and upland habitats, and our research ethos is developed and fostered from the start through practicals and tutorials.

Because of the broad nature of your first year, there are opportunities to transfer between the Biology, Biological Sciences and Microbiology courses at the end of the Year 1.

In Year 2 you can take modules in the disciplines of applied biology, genetics, zoology, plant biology and ecology, which include human genetics, evolution, animal behaviour and parasitology. There are optional Yorkshire Dales and Mediterranean field courses. This degree offers the opportunity to take an industrial placement or a study abroad year at the end of Year 2, which will enhance your employment prospects.

By the time you enter Year 3, you’ll be in a position to apply your research skills to an independent project: working with our world-class scientists, you’ll explore a specific topic in depth as a research, literature or computer-based project. You’ll also study topics at the cutting edge of biological discovery in areas such as epigenetics, behavioural ecology and conservation biology.

There is also a popular optional South African field course.

Find out more about our field trips

Integrated Masters (MBiol)

Years 1 and 2 are the same as for the BSc and provide a foundation in the subject.

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.

In your final year, you’ll be able to select from a variety of Masters-level optional modules that are informed by our tutors’ leading research. You could build your skills in statistics or study medical diagnostics among others, while the African Field Ecology module gives you another chance to apply your knowledge to fieldwork in Kenya.

Most of Year 4 is devoted to a research project, allowing you to work alongside our experts to explore a specific topic in biology. This helps to develop the high-level research and professional skills that will serve you well in your future career.

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

Part time study

This course is also available to study part-time over 6 years. If you choose this option you'll study alongside our full-time students and the course content will be the same, but delivered at 50% of the intensity. As these courses are delivered primarily for full-time students you may need to attend the University on several occasions each week. Times are likely to vary with each new semester and will depend on the scheduling of compulsory modules and your choice of optional and elective modules.

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
Advanced Research Skills and Experience 20 credits
Research Literature Review 20 credits

Year 4

COMPULSORY MODULES
Extended Research Project 80 credits

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

For more information on typical modules, read Biology BSc 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

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 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 also undertake private study.

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

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 helpyou develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, datahandling 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 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.

MBiol:

A-level: AAA

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.

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 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

MBiol:

We do not accept Access to HE.

BTEC

BSc:

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.

MBiol:

We do not accept BTEC qualification.

Cambridge Pre-U

BSc:

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

MBiol:

D3/D3/D3 (individual programme requirements apply)

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 or science-related subject at higher level.

MBiol:

H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H2 in Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BSc:

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

MBiol:

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

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Welsh Baccalaureate

BSc:

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.

MBiol:

AAA 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 welcome students from around the world and consider a range of qualifications. If your qualification or country does not appear on our entry requirements page, please contact our admissions team.

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 a Biological Sciences related degree.

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

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.


Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
 

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: 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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, RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, 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.

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, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland

A week’s in-depth study of animals and plants in their natural habitats. Students are allocated to a group and each group has its specialist topic. For example, you may explore diurnal rhythms in insects, rocky shore diversity, seaweed ecology or how parasitic disease affects animal distribution. We have a chance to observe birdlife, seals and even whales (and the ice cream shop!).

Year 2: Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

This optional course is based at Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales, an internationally important reserve in a spectacular limestone landscape with a wide variety of terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Projects may include territoriality and habitat preferences of woodland birds, the ecology of carnivorous plants, cave spiders and limestone pavement ecology. Plus there’s our infamous treasure hunt and pub quiz.

Year 2: Marine Zoology Field Course, Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire

The beautiful Pembrokeshire coast offers us unparalleled biodiversity on sandy shores, rocky shores and mudflats. A key feature is that we use a range of disciplines. We explore the developmental biology of marine animals, their evolution and adaptations to the challenges of marine life, their behavioural interactions and community ecology. Students also design group projects: examples include in vitro fertilisation in limpets, sea squirt development, vigilance behaviour in shorebirds, antipredator jumping in shrimps and aggression in crabs.

Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

Usually involving 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 exciting optional field course is based at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The area is rich in plants, birds and mammals (including the ‘big five’ – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). Group projects designed by the students centre on the theme of a ‘landscape of fear’, and there are also guest lectures by local experts, a bird diary to complete, night drives in safari vehicles and a boat trip to watch birds and sometimes even whales.

Read Abigail’s field trip experience in South Africa

Year 4: (MBiol) Kenya Field Course, Mpala Research Centre

Our MBiol also offers you the chance to go to Kenya in your final year to conduct research at the Mpala Research Centre with a focus on ecological, conservation and wildlife management challenges in a semi-arid savannah environment. The course will be based primarily around small-group projects that are of ecological or conservation relevance to the region. This will reinforce and broaden your knowledge and understanding of the area and build upon aspects of the ecological training received at Leeds.

Find out more and view photos from our Field Courses