Our modular degree offers a solid knowledge base in the biological sciences and the opportunity to follow your interests and curiosity as the course unfolds. You can choose to maintain a broad view on biology by enrolling in the main programme or to specialise in Genetics, Zoology (Animal Biology), Biotechnology, Environmental Biology, Microbiology or Plant Biology. The decision on specialisation can be made as late as in the second year.
The first year modules are designed to give you a broad and balanced view of modern biology. They will develop from what you have learned at school but you will soon be learning new material.
All Biological Sciences students take the same modules in the first year, whether or not they have selected one of the specialised degree courses.
At this stage you begin to tailor the degree towards your own particular interests. In addition to the core modules you choose four specialist modules.
If you have chosen one of the specialist Biological Sciences degree courses this is where your degree starts to be specific.
The final year is made up of a combination of taught modules and independent study. It is here that the link between the teaching and the research in the school is particularly important. The final year modules are informed and inspired by the research being carried out in the school.
Central to your final year studies is your research project, which makes up one-sixth of your final year. We offer you the opportunity to join one of our 60 research groups, providing the fascinating opportunity to experience research at first hand and to contribute to current research projects. Project work is not limited to the laboratory; some students will do computer-based projects and some more ecology- based projects involve field work. Current field courses in the final year lead you to a research site in Florida, or, alternatively, to Trentham Estate where you will study behavioural ecology and sociobiology of free-roaming Barbary macaques.
You will be able to choose from a range of projects closely linked with the research in the School. You will have the chance to work in one of our research laboratories, but don't worry there will be plenty of help and support; most students will work alongside a graduate student.
Which courses should I apply for?
You may apply either for the main programme or for one of the specialist degree labels eg, Genetics or Zoology. The selection criteria are identical in either case. The design of our courses allows students to delay specialisation until the second year, or to transfer between specialist degree labels as interests develop or change.
Why study this course
We have a large and internationally recognised School of Biosciences offering expertise that is the foundation of our research-led teaching.
You will encounter a broad range of topics on our courses, ranging from studies on the three-dimensional structure of individual molecules through to the study of whole ecosystems. We pride ourselves in our ‘enquiry-based learning’ strategy that will equip you with the skills to achieve full potential in your future career.
We increasingly incorporate new areas of science relating to biology, such as bioinformatics, and the School has major high-technology facilities for research in genomics, structural biology and optical imaging.
Specialist field courses for those involved in the study of animals, plants and ecological aspects are also available.
2012 National Student Survey "93% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of our Biology courses."
Biology is the science of life. When you study Biological Sciences you will learn about animals, plants and microorganisms. You will study their genetic make-up, about their cellular structure and how they interact in our natural environment.
Our flexible degree course will provide you with a core of modern biology and incorporate considerable flexibility, permitting either a broad-based degree or progressive specialisation. Download Biological Sciences Module Descriptions (PDF 459KB).
Molecular Biology and its Applications
Communication and Skills in Biosciences
Optional modules - choose 4 from:
Cell and Developmental Biology
Microbes and Man
Animal Sensory Systems, Neurobiology and Behaviour
Plant Sciences: from cells to the environment
Human Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour
Biodiversity Assessment Techniques (Field Course)
Alpine and Glacial Ecology in Norway (Field Course) - Watch video
Field ecology in Birmingham (Field Course)
Adaptations to aquatic environments (Field Course)
The final year is made up of a combination of taught modules and independent study. Here, the link between the teaching and the research in the school is particularly important. The final year modules are informed and inspired by the research being carried out in the school.
Choose from these options: Laboratory project, literature review project, computer-based project or field course.
Optional modules - choose 4 from:
Adaptation to Changing Environments
Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour
Whole-Organism Biology: from genes to behaviour and ecology
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Structures of Destruction
Bacterial Gene Regulation
Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Genetics III: Genetic Variation in Humans and Other Eukaryotes
Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB-ABB
Required subjects and grades: Biology/Human Biology A level and one other from Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, ICT, Maths, Physics, Psychology or Sports Studies/PE. Five GCSEs at grade C (minimum) in Double Award/Integrated Science, English and Mathematics.
General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Applied Science, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (Applied Science) is accepted only in combination with a science subject at GCE A2 level at grade B or better. Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34-35 points excluding bonus points from TOK and Extended Essay. 6, 5, 5 at HL to include Biology and one other science at HL. 5 points in each of SL English and Maths if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Key Information Set (KIS)
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