Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

120 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Why you should study Biology at the University of Derby

View our Biology at the University of Derby video transcript

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.

You can also study Biology as a Joint Honours subject. 

Royal Science of Biology and CIEEM Accreditation Logos

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.

A University of Derby student using a microscope.
A University of Derby Student in a greenhouse research facility.

Professional credibility

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”.

State-of-the-art laboratories

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 insectary 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.

No.1in the UK for student satisfaction in Biosciences with teaching and feedback**Guardian University Guide 2020

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.

There is the opportunity to apply – on a competitive basis – to be involved in the scientific research being carried out by our human health team. This will give you an ideal preparation for your future career.

Through the research internships, four of our current students have worked with Dr Gillian Knight to investigate the role of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the development of oral-pharyngeal carcinomas. (head and neck cancers). In partnership with The Swallows, a head and neck cancer support group, they have created an educational film called 'What about me?' to raise awareness of the virus and enlighten people about the implications of not vaccinating boys against HPV.

Biology at the University of Derby

View HPV video transcript

Fascinating fieldtrips

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 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.

Inspirational research

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.

Zoom-in of the earths biocrust in Australia

How an army of microbes protects the earth

Dr David Elliott is investigating how a tiny army of microbes, moss and lichen do the job of plants in places in the world where plants cannot survive.

Read moreRead more
an iceberg

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC)

Specialising in securing clean environments, nature recovery, and resilience to natural hazards, we work collaboratively to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Learn more about our research Learn more about our research

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.

A University of Derby Student at showcasing a research poster.
Student Researcher, Sarah Reynolds, presented her paper at the University's first Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS) Conference 2018

What you will study

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
  • Anatomy and Physiology - 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
  • Independent Research and Professional Development

Optional modules:

  • 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

This course offers an ‘Industrial Placement Year’ giving you the opportunity to enhance your practical skills by putting theory into practice, network in your industry and stand-out in the graduate job market. The placement year takes place in your third year, once completed, you would return to University to complete your final year of studies.

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice
  • 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

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Applied Entomology - This module focuses on insects in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. You will explore physiology, lifecycles, behaviour and classification and look at how insects are used in four core areas of applied entomology; veterinary and medical entomology, agricultural entomology, environmental entomology and forensic entomology
  • 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
  • Cell Signalling in Health and Disease - You will study regular mechanisms behind the cellular response to a variety of external signals, considering our current understanding of signalling pathway regulation in health and dysregulation in non-communicable disease states
  • 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 - 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

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

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.

Work placements 

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.

Biodiversity loss and why it matters

Dr Andrew Ramsey, Head of the Discipline of Environmental Sciences, discusses the importance of biodiversity and explains how we can contribute to a better future.

Read Andrew's blogRead Andrew's blog

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points120 (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 GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree

Dr David Elliott sampling soil in central Australia

Dr David Elliott
Programme leader

Dr David Elliott is a microbial ecologist specialising in the roles of microbes in low productivity soils including drylands and the cryosphere. He leads the BSc (hons) Biology programme and teaches a variety of topics in Human and Environmental Sciences.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

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 usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

Discover Uni

You might also like