BSc (Hons) Biology
Why choose this course?
Get ahead in your career as a professional biologist – with a course centred on high-quality teaching, first-rate facilities, cutting-edge research and exciting real-world learning opportunities
- 100% of our BSc (Hons) Biology graduates were in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA, 2016)
- Our course is a Royal Society of Biology accredited degree and a Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management accredited degree pathway, providing you with many additional benefits and opportunities
- Explore both traditional subjects and cutting-edge research for a broad-based degree
- Learn from a teaching team recognised nationally and internationally for academic quality, ground-breaking research and excellent student support
- Get ‘career-ready’ through exciting work experience and internship opportunities – thanks to our strong employer links
- Develop your practical skills in our impressive laboratories and through regular fieldwork
You can also study Biology as a Joint Honours subject.
UCAS code: C100
Start date: September
Course length: Full-time: three years. Part-time: up to six years.
Campus: Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus
College: College of Life & Natural Sciences
This course is available to international students
About this course
Ours is a vibrant and varied degree where you can immerse yourself in biology, a subject which is constantly evolving.
Build a broad base of knowledge
Our BSc (Hons) Biology course offers a wide range of subjects including microbiology, physiology, animal behaviour, genetics and wildlife conservation as well as cellular and evolutionary processes.
We also take your knowledge to an advanced level by exploring subjects such as bio-innovation, habitat management, genomics, oncology and immunology, tropical marine biology, science communication, and ecological consultancy.
Royal Society of Biology
Our accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) follows an independent and rigorous assessment, ensuring that the degree provides a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge, key technical abilities, and transferrable skills.
This means that, when you graduate, you will meet the requirements for Associate Membership of the Society (AMSB), and after appropriate professional experience you can then apply for full membership, which is widely recognised throughout the industry and by potential employers.
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
We also have accredited degree pathway status by CIEEM which is the leading professional body for those who want to work in aspects of ecology. This assures the quality of the degree and ensures that our graduates have the knowledge and skills required by employers in this sector. The CIEEM accredited route in the Biology programme requires certain modules to be taken and passed, and graduates who do this are able to gain graduate membership of the organisation which then permits them to use the post-nominal letters “GradCIEEM”.
You can hone your practical skills in our newly-upgraded learning facilities. They include high-specification laboratories with modern instrumentation, a glasshouse with plants from diverse habitats, an insectory housing many different species and a brand new aquatic research facility.
Our dedicated student research laboratory gives you a dedicated space for your independent study project at the end of your degree.
Your studies won’t be confined to the laboratory. Fieldtrips are an essential part of the course to enhance your understanding of the natural environment. We are constantly broadening the range of fieldtrips we offer to our students.
Recent examples include visits to Burton Breweries, investigating plant adaptation at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, exploring how animals interact with each other at Twycross Zoo, and conducting ecological studies on a week-long residential in Majorca.
Partnerships that open doors for you
We work closely with organisations such as the Royal Derby Hospital, Sea Life, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derby Museums, the Olive Ridley Project and Eurofins.
Such partnerships pave the way to work experience and internship opportunities where you can apply your skills in real world situations. They also give you access to field sites, employer-led projects and guest lectures – all of which broaden your perspective on the wealth of career opportunities open to Biology graduates.
You’ll be taught by a highly qualified team who are supportive, friendly and approachable – keen to pass their knowledge on to you. They include active international researchers whose work is shaping debates in areas including ecology, entomology and biodiversity.
They publish influential papers, speak at global conferences, serve on the editorial boards of scientific journals and are in demand as media commentators.
Learn more about the work of our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.
Skills to take you far
We not only build your confidence in the subject of biology but also help you gain transferable skills to set you apart in the eyes of potential employers. The Independent Study module gives you the opportunity to research a project in depth and develops your ability to think for yourself.
You’ll also develop vital skills in communication, for example sharing your research at high-profile conferences or taking part in imaginative projects to bring science to life for the wider community.
See our Biological Sciences overview page for student case studies, fieldtrip videos, staff profiles and much more.
What you will cover
You'll study modules such as:
- Induction module
- Ecology - You will be introduced to the interactions between organisms and their environment. This module includes both tutorials and fieldwork.
- Evolution of Life - You will be introduced to the process of biological evolution and to the variety of living plants and animals. You'll focus on the first groups of organisms to evolve, prior to the colonisation of land.
- Genetics - You will gain a broad introduction to, and basic understanding of, the key concepts in classical and molecular genetics.
- Human Biology - You will explore the relationship between structure and function in the human body, and study the inter-dependence of life support systems and the interaction of the biological state with the environment.
- Invasion of the Land - You will focus on groups of organisms that have adapted to life on land, including terrestrial fungi, lower and higher plants, insects and spiders and amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
- Chemistry of Life - You will be introduced to the basic concepts of chemistry and how molecules are used in the functioning of the cell unit and its biochemical processes.
Research Methods - You will learn about planning and conducting research including analysis of data using statistics. This helps to prepare you for your own independent studies research carried out at Stage 3.
Molecular Biology - You'll develop an understanding of the molecular basis of fundamental biological and forensic processes, such as transcription and translation. You'll be introduced to the current techniques and approaches in molecular biology applied in a forensic and evolutionary context.
- The Cell - You'll develop an understanding of eukaryote cell structure and function, together with the underlying biochemistry and biochemical pathways supporting these activities.
- Biological Basis of Animal Behaviour - You'll explore the study of animal behavior including physiological mechanisms and evolutionary function.
- Field Biology - You'll look at terrestrial, aquatic or marine environments, where you'll build on the ecological and biological concepts that you're learning during your second year. There is a subsidised European fieldtrip - currently to Mallorca.
- Human Physiology and Disease - You will develop a broad-based understanding of human diseases within the context of the normal physiological mechanisms that underlie some key body systems and will enhance knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
- Human Reproduction - You will cover a range of topics in the field of human reproduction, including developmental genetics, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases and sex determination.
- Microbiology - You will learn about microbial structure and function, and how this relates to the harmful and beneficial effects of microbes. An appreciation of microbial diversity will be developed, through exploring microbial roles in a range of settings such as environment, biotechnology, and health.
- Rainforests, Deserts and Oceans - You will look at the interactions of organisms within biomes, and review issues associated with the sustainable exploitation of different biomes. This module includes a fieldtrip.
- Independent Studies in Conservation, Biology and Ecosystems - You will undertake an independent piece of work of your choosing (subject to approval). This module represents an opportunity to exercise initiative, creative thinking, and organisational skills, and is a continuation of personal skill development initiated in Stages 4 and 5.
- The Human Genome - We take a tour around the human genome; only 1.5% of which encodes for protein-coding genes. You will develop your understanding of the molecular evolution of DNA sequences, bioinformatics and genomics. You will learn how the human genome can be used and applied to answer questions ranging from human evolution to forensic biology.
- Behavioural Ecology - You will focus on two of the main topics in this field: sexual selection and the evolution of altruistic behaviour. By introducing students to current areas of research and controversy in behavioural ecology, it is hoped that they will develop an appreciation of the nature of research in this area.
- Bio-Innovation - You will explore biotechnology and major innovations broadly related to biology which are revolutionising our lives and providing new economic opportunities. Aspects of entrepreneurship, intellectual property rights, and funding are also an essential component of this module.
- Biology in Practice - You will choose 2 out of 4 sub-topics such as Advanced Molecular Techniques; Pests, Parasites and Plant Protection; Field Identification of Plants and Data Handling, allowing you to specialise in particular areas of biology, namely via a more molecular or environmental route. The module covers both theoretical and practical aspects of these topics giving you a well-rounded knowledge base on a variety of different areas.
- Ecological Consultancy - You will examine key elements and skills required to start a career in ecology. Students will be introduced to a series of survey techniques including phase 1 habitat surveys and survey techniques for a range of species and taxonomic groups. This content will be complemented by site assessment and report writing skills designed to ensure that learners can meet the exacting requirements of a professional report.
- Habitat Management - Ever increasing pressures are being placed on the natural environment whilst at the same time there is a necessity to maintain global biodiversity. It will only be possible to achieve both in a crowded world by carefully managing selected areas for their wildlife. Such management, if carried out scientifically, has the potential not only to maintain or enhance biodiversity but to restore it.
- Oncology and Immunology - Subjects covered will include the genetics of cancer biology, carcinogenesis and epidemiology, virology and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. The teaching team will include experts from medicine and research, and careers in these fields will be emphasised.
- Science Communication - Effective communication of scientific information to a wide audience is vital social, economic and political tool for society. You will explore the spectrum of delivery methods in modern society including newspapers, museums, TV and the internet. Students will discover the challenges of ineffective communication through a series of case studies.
- Tropical Marine Biology - You will gain a broad understanding of coral reef ecology covering both theoretical and practical aspects. This module includes fieldwork where you will see one of the most biodiverse habitats in the world and understand how the coral reefs in particular are being effected by climate change. Please note that there is an additional cost element due to the field work involved.
- Vocational Module (Work Placement) - The student has freedom to select an appropriate host organisation to undertake a placement within a company, voluntary body or public establishment. The project should be selected so as to generate benefit to the host organisation. An integral part of the student experience is the compilation of a report based on deep reflection of personal experiences acquired during the placement.
- Wildlife Conservation - Biodiversity loss is seen by governments as one of the most important concerns facing the continued healthy survival of human populations in an increasingly crowded world. This module critically examines methods used to create the conditions under which wildlife can continue to exist in natural environments alongside human societies.
The way UCAS Tariffs are calculated is changing in 2017. The entry requirement below reflects this change. Read more about these changes.
September 2017 typical entry requirements UCAS points 112 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level
At least a C in Biology at A-level (or equivalent qualification)
Specific requirements at GCSE Five GCSEs at Grade C or above, including Maths and English Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A
Use our UniPoints app as a guide to calculate your UCAS Tariff points, search for courses and check entry requirements for 2017 and beyond.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
How to apply
- Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS
- Part-time students should apply directly to the University
- Students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS.
Information for international applicants
Fees and finance
Full-time Part-time UK/EU
£9,250 per year
£1,155 per module
£11,750 per year
Fees for 2018/19 entry are still being decided, so please check back later in the year for more information.
How you will learn
95% of students were satisfied with the teaching of this course, according to the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS).
You’ll learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials, e-learning, hands-on laboratory practical work and fieldtrips. Our varied teaching methods help you show your individual strengths and enhance your understanding.
You'll take part in a broad range of fieldtrips throughout this course, such as day trips to the Burton Breweries, Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to investigate plant adaptation, or a week-long residential trip abroad. Fieldwork is essential to the study of biology as it allows you to explore the natural environment outside of a laboratory.
Placements allow you to develop the skills you learn at University and apply them to real world situations. This is something which potential employers are always looking for. We encourage you to gain experience with potential employers by offering internships and a placement opportunity on our optional, Vocational Module.
You’ll be assessed using a range of written assignments including portfolios, practical and fieldtrip write-ups and data analysis, essays, computer-based assessments, poster presentations and seminar presentations, as well as traditional written examinations.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.
Careers and employability
The BSc (Hons) Biology provides an excellent platform for a broad range of scientific careers. Our graduates are now working as research scientists, laboratory and pharmacy technicians, healthcare assistants, medical laboratory assistants, wildlife conservation officers and scientific sales professionals.
Others have progressed to teaching and lecturing careers after completing postgraduate study or have advanced to gain veterinary and medical qualifications. You could also consider our highly regarded masters degree – the MSc Conservation Biology.
Among many notable graduate success stories:
- Kathryn Jeffs went on to work as a producer on the BBC’s Frozen Planet series. Read more here.
- Agata Stodolna, who now works at SureScreen Diagnostics in Derby, helped develop new sampling methods to determine whether a missing person has drowned in a river or lake. Read more here.
- Darren Parker is now a university postdoctoral researcher in Finland. Read more here.
Successful graduates such as Kathryn have since returned to the University to deliver masterclasses and talk to current students about life after graduation.
What our students say
"One of the things I really liked about Derby was that, in my second and third years, I was able to choose which modules I wanted to take, meaning I could focus on what interested me most. I particularly enjoyed my third year independent study module where I was able to design my own research project. I am now studying for a masters in behavioural ecology in Durham and will shortly be starting my PhD in Aberystwyth. I would never have made it this far were it not for the help and encouragement I received at Derby. Choosing to study here has been one of the best decisions I've ever made."
Sam Hardman, graduate
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Derby. It has a friendly atmosphere and all the biology modules are based on one campus, so there's no problem finding your way round. There are many opportunities to gain practical skills in both the field and laboratory. I've especially enjoyed looking at live animals in invertebrate and animal behaviour classes, and in the field."
Dot Brogden, graduate
"I liked the fact that the degree at Derby covered a broad range of Biology rather than a specific or applied part which can be found at other universities." Read Kimran's full story here
Kimran Hayer, graduate
Key Information Sets