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BSc Human Sciences

3 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
£9,250 (Home - 2024-25)
£27,180 Fee Band 3a (International Students - 2024-25)
More detail
Discover our Human Sciences courses

This course is about understanding ourselves as humans. It explores what makes us human at multiple levels including from our biology and our psychology, to our behaviours. It also addresses the responsibility that comes with being human. A responsibility none of us asked for as individuals, but which we collectively bear as the only species on earth that can act as potential guardians or destroyers of our planet and its ecosystems.  

The programme follows an exciting interdisciplinary structure that combines topics including genetics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, neuroscience and anthropology. This is coupled with understanding the past and ongoing impact of the human race and the human condition on ecosystems and the planet.

The programme combines core elements in years one and two but also allows you, and importantly supports you, to follow individual pathways informed by your interests and what fascinates you. 

Why study this course?

  • Complete University Guide 2024. Ranked in the top 20  for Biosciences in the UK.
  • Innovative interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Human Sciences is an innovative programme that draws on teaching and research expertise from the four Schools that make up the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. As such the course brings a unique and rich interdisciplinary viewpoint to bear on the topics that you will study.
  • Learn from multimodal research performed at different scales. The Schools that collectively deliver this course use very different research approaches reflecting their different disciplines. This programme will provide you with a unique insight to these different approaches, but also what fundamentally unites them and how they can be brought together to address major local and global challenges.  You will spend time in individual research groups and laboratories across these different disciplines as well as learning about research exploring large scale multi-million-pound infrastructures.
  • Outstanding employability opportunities. The needs for global action are changing the graduate employment market in real time. New roles are arising in companies from new start-ups to global corporations as well as in agencies (such as WHO, UNICEF, UN), in NGOs, forestry, agriculture, governments, law, education, research, journalism, and broadcasting. This programme has been designed in response to these growing employment needs and will equip you to be able to become one of the next generation of leaders, innovators, policy makers, teachers, and researchers at forefront of tackling global challenges.
  • Opportunity for training in innovation and company start up. Perhaps you may feel that during your studies you have identified a gap in the market and have an idea for a start-up company of your own. An option in the final year is to take modules in learning entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurial start-up.
  • Glacial Eco-systems Field trip. An optional second-year module is a field trip to Norway to study glacial ecosystems and how these are threatened by human global impacts.


Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme wil be regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2022. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules; in this event, we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Human Sciences at Birmingham - Introduction to the Human Sciences Programme at the University of Birmingham and the associated research, teaching and learning environment strengths within the college of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Global Environmental Issues A - Assess the difficulties in distinguishing human impacts from natural environmental changes, and examines a number of specific environmental issues .

Global Environmental Issues B - Assess the difficulties in distinguishing human impacts from natural environmental changes, and examines a number of specific environmental issues .

Personal and Academic Development in Human Sciences - A key element of this module will be that all students will read a popular science book selected by the students during semester one. The book content will shape tutorials throughout the semester.

Optional modules

Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences - As plants are key to shaping our environment the course fosters an understanding of the biology of higher plants with emphasis on plant physiology structure/function relationships, developmental processes and the exploitation of plants by humans.

Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology - This module will explore the individual and social environmental factors that underlie participation and performance in physical activity contexts.

Cognitive Psychology - Comprehensive coverage of key areas of cognitive psychology, with a focus on perception, attention, memory and language.

Cities in Transition - This module introduces students to some of the key processes of socio-economic change shaping the fortunes of cities in Britain, Europe and North America.

Genetics I -  Covers molecular genetics (the study of the physico-chemical nature of genes and how they work) and transmission genetics (the study of how genes and the characters they determine are shuffled into new combinations and passed from individual to individual).


Year 2

Compulsory modules

Exploring Experimental Environments - Spend one or two days with a research group from each of the four schools in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and explores how leading experimental research facilities at the University are helping advance our knowledge and understanding of human impacts on the environment.

Data Science for Brain and Behaviour 1 - The module will provide an introduction to data science principles and techniques for undergraduate students studying psychology.

Optional modules

Cultural and Development Geographies - Focus will be on concepts and practices of development geography and cultural and historical geographies of the city.

Environmental Pollution and Management - This module will introduce the main environmental pollutants and consider how they are transferred within and between various media and how they interact with biota to constitute an environmental risk.

Evolution of Humans and Other Animals - Practicals to give you experience of handling and interpreting fossil material, particularly Mesozoic reptiles and great apes, including early hominins. 

Microbiology: Medicine, Industry & Environment -  In this module you will learn about how microorganisms impact on humans, both in the context of health and disease and by looking at how humans have exploited microorganisms

Language and Communication -  Examine how language and communication develops through the lifespan, how it is supported by the brain, and what happens when we acquire a different form of communication (e.g. when learning a second language).

Introduction to Social and Differential Psychology - You will be introduced to some of the key theories and contemporary research in the field of differential psychology.

Alpine and Glacial Ecology in Norway - This module is a field course based in Finse, Norway. Six days are spent in the field observing habitats typical of the Low alpine region

Environmental Human Geography - This module provides a foundation in environmental human geography.

Urban Policy Design and Planning Analysis - Four key issues are explored: evaluating policy contexts, designing policy/planning processes, analysing and evaluating policy outcomes, and surveying different policy/planning instruments. 

Critical Issues for 21st Century Ecosystems - An opportunity for you to experience research-led teaching, as the themes taught in the module are directly related to core College research themes.

Cell and Developmental Biology - Development of multicellular organisms will be analysed from the regulation of stem cell function to the differentiation of organs.

Human Structure and Function - Having completed this challenging and diverse module, you will have a broad appreciation of the structure of the human body, and how this relates to its function and evolutionary origin.

Social and Cognitive Development - You will be introduced to the study of social and cognitive development, through an exploration of theory and research that examines how the self and relationships develop from infancy through to adolescence.

Genetics II - This module will show how classical and molecular genetics are used to determine the organisation of genes and genomes, and to investigate how genetic differences arise and are transmitted from generation to generation.


Final year

During your final year you will undertake an independent research project (40 credits), a literature-based project leading to a novel research project proposal (40 credits), or a combination of a literature based project focused on interdisciplinarity together with two entrepreneurial modules (60 credits). You will then choose from a diverse spectrum of optional modules to make up your 120 final year credits.

Students enrolled on the BSc programmes undertake either:

(i)                  Practical project (40 credits) or

(ii)                A literature-based project leading to a novel research project proposal (40 credits), or

(iii)               The entrepreneurial skills and start up module (60 credits in total that includes a literature based research project)

Students must then select the appropriate number of additional optional modules to make up 120 credits suitably balanced over semester one and two.

Optional modules

Embodiment and the Carceral - This module introduces notions around carcerality and migrant detention within the context of broader questions of embodiment.

Geographies of Childhood and Education - The module will draw on contemporary research projects, literature and academic and policy debates about the socio-spatial lives of children and the educational spaces in which they spend much of their lives.

Geographies of the Global South - Mid- to low-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America/the Caribbean make up two-thirds of the world's population. These are countries that are diverse, dynamic and above all, fascinating!

Exercise as Medicine - This module examines how exercise can be used to enhance psychological and physiological health in different (clinical) populations.

Brain Health Across the Lifespan - Learn about, Age-related changes in cognition, Structural and functional brain changes, Influences of lifestyle factors and interventions and Pathological ageing and age-related diseases.

Higher Cognitive Functions in Children, Adults and Non-human Animals - You will explore studies examining three topics (time, causality and theory of mind) in three different participant groups (children, adults, and non-human animals). 

Cellular Neurobiology - This module examines current views/models of neuronal function, intercommunication and neural development, based upon recent anatomical, genetic, molecular and advanced physiological techniques.

Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems - The course examines the scientific basis for conservation, its genetic foundation, why population size is critical and how biodiversity is maintained either in nature or at a backup location.

Climate change in the Earth System - This module will introduce the key aspects of this system, building an appreciation of the uncertainties and complexities in the projections of global climate and climate impacts

Sport and Mental Health - The aim of this module is to examine how the culture and pressures of competitive sport contributes to poor mental health and the specific risk factors faced by elite athletes, coaches, and sport officials.

Metabolic Perspectives in Exercise and Nutrition - This module will present current, cutting edge research to offer students the opportunity to explore metabolic perspectives in exercise and nutrition

Adolescence: Mind and brain - Recently, research has shown evidence that during adolescence, there are also changes in cognitive abilities (e.g. social cognition), and in their basis in the brain. Potentially, this research has implications for understanding phenomena such as the onset of mental illness during adolescence and early adulthood. 

Politics of Environment - This module examines the political challenges surrounding environmental policy in contemporary developed and developing societies, alongside the theoretical and practical tools and skills used in their resolution.

Current developments and advances in Eukaryotic Genetics - Study the dynamics of chromosome organisation during mitosis and meiosis; how chromosome variation is related to ageing, cancer and genome instability and chromosome evolution.



Standard Home student fees 2024-25

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Standard international student fees 2024-25

International fee
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 3a (Laboratory) £27,180

Learn more about fees and funding 

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at 
Learn more about applying

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
To include two science subjects°

Minimum of five GCSEs to include Mathematics, English and double award science at grade 4/C.

°Accepted science subjects include: Biology/Human Biology, Geography, Geology, Psychology, Chemistry, Mathematics (or Further Mathematics or Statistics), Physics, Economics, PE/Sports Studies

Specified subjects excluded for entry: General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Applied Science, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.

BTEC National Extended Diploma D*D*D in Applied Science or Applied Human Biology

BTEC Level 3 National Diploma D*D* in Applied Science or Applied Human Biology and A Level grade B from the accepted science list.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate D* in Applied Science, Applied Human Biology, or Applied Psychology and 2 A Levels at grades AB, with one A Level from the accepted science list.

Access to HE (Science) with sufficient Biology and Chemistry content is considered. Contact Admissions Team for details.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

Applicants who take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and meet our offer criteria will be made the typical offer for the programme, plus an alternative offer, which will be one grade lower plus a grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6, 6, 5  in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall. Higher level subjects need to include the required subjects as defined for the A-level qualification.

Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

On this course research and teaching go hand-in-hand. The Lecturers and Professors contribute to scholarship in their fields and, as academic teachers, are keen to introduce you to what intrigues them

Blended Learning- Some of the course content will be delivered as recorded ‘lectures’ broken down into informative sections. You can revisit and review parts of these session as needed and they will remain available at the end of each semester to aid revision. This material will be complemented with time tabled weekly face to face session with the staff teaching the content. Often this will take the form of a 'flipped' class, asking you to study a particular topic prior to a session, and using the contact time to explore the topic in more depth through problem solving exercises, question-and-answer sessions or lecturer-led group discussions. Student interaction using discussion boards, social media is expressively encouraged.


Practical classes - Laboratory-based practical work is an integral part of our degree. A typical practical session will last 3 hours, allowing you to complete the work at your own pace. In addition to gaining important transferable skills, experience of practical work is essential if you wish to move into a research career and is valued by a wide range of employers. You will engage with academic and postgraduate researchers who will help you during these practical sessions.


Other types of learning experience. The course also includes seminar and workshop style learning and teaching sessions. You will have opportunities to spend time getting up close to the research performed across the College of Life and environmental Sciences both in individual research labs but also substantial research facilities.



You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.


Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.


Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.


Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.


Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.


During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Contact Hours

Throughout your degree you can expect an average of about 10-12 hours of contact time per week over the two teaching terms (autumn and spring). This will be made up of lectures, practical laboratory workshops and seminars. The proportion of time spent in each will vary depending on which year you are in and the optional modules you choose.

Studying Human Sciences at Birmingham will provide a unique understanding of complex global problems and their relationship to the human condition. You will be empowered to view these problems in a new way unrestrained by traditional interdisciplinary boundaries bringing a ‘can do attitude’ to the tackling of large scale global and local challenges.