Study across the human, plant and animal elements of biology on a course which offers practical work placements, fieldwork in the UK and overseas, and the opportunity to be part of important research.
The course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, so you can be assured that you'll develop the biological knowledge and skills needed in today's world.
Facilities include an Aquatic Research Facility, glasshouse, insectary, and specialist laboratories - take a virtual tour
Your studies won’t be confined to the laboratory as fieldwork is an essential part of the course. Our students have travelled to locations such as Twycross Zoo, Kew Gardens, Mallorca and the Maldives - the cost of mandatory trips is included in your course fee
Many of our teaching team are active researchers whose work is shaping debates in areas such as coral reef diseases, animal ecology, cell biology and insect reproduction, so your learning will be informed by the very latest research and developments in biology
The content of this course is aligned to the priorities of global initiatives, like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure you graduate with a skill set that can help tackle global challenges
Get career-ready through work placement and internship opportunities. This course can be studied with or without an Industrial Placement Year
Biology and Zoology - your questions answered
Programme Leader for Biology Dr David Elliott answers your frequently asked questions about Biology and Zoology. You can also watch exclusive subject content by signing up to Derby on Demand.
Biology at Derby
Many of the solutions to major challenges facing the world have a biological basis. This course allows you to study a range of elements of biology, with the main focus on environmental topics. This gives you the opportunity to tailor your career ambitions and interests so that you graduate with a broad understanding of how biology can be applied to multiple settings in the real world.
Your first year introduces you to key themes including ecology, evolution, genetics, and anatomy and physiology. As you progress, you’ll develop research skills and can choose optional modules on topics like microbiology, molecular biology and bio-innovation to reflect your career aspirations. You will have opportunities to spend time working in industry to strengthen your CV. You’ll also undertake an independent study into a theme of your choice and could apply on a competitive basis for an internship to contribute to the University’s scientific research.
Biology is a practical subject, so you will learn in the laboratory, field and classroom. Your studies will be enriched with fieldwork and placement opportunities – you could be travelling to Mallorca or the Maldives on study trips, or gaining experience through placements and projects with organisations such as Sea Life, Twycross Zoo, Derby Museums or Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. You’ll also have opportunities to apply for paid internships to add real world experience to your CV.
When you graduate, you’ll have the skills, knowledge and vision to work as a versatile, resourceful and forward-thinking biologist.
You’ll be taught by a highly qualified team, including many international researchers whose work is shaping debates in areas including ecology, entomology and biodiversity. They publish influential papers, speak at global conferences, and serve on the editorial boards of scientific journals. You'll benefit from this research as your lecturers bring the latest thinking to your studies, and in some cases you will have opportunities to get involved in research projects yourself.
Their wide-ranging work includes research into:
Improving the resilience of coral reefs to climate change
Plant conservation and biotechnology
Biodiversity ecosystem functioning
The evolution of primates
Insect reproduction and behaviour
Coral Reef systems and megafauna
Research is carried out within the University's Environmental Sustainability Research Centre which aims to address local, national and global goals for sustainable development, environmental understanding and clean growth.
How we're helping corals survive
Our Aquatic Research Facility is carrying out work with organisations across the globe to make coral reefs more resilient in the face of man-made afflictions.
Fieldwork is a vital element of this course and so every stage your studies will be enriched with fieldwork opportunities - the cost of mandatory fieldwork is included in your course fee. Through our fieldwork programme, we introduce students to a variety of survey techniques for a wide range of species, such as:
studying animal interaction at Twycross Zoo
conducting ecological projects in Mallorca
those selecting our optional Tropical Marine Biology module have undertaken scientific investigations in the Maldives
investigating plant adaptations at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
You’ll also have access to Cuckoos Tor, a site on the edge of the Peak District National Park and owned by the University of Derby that is dedicated to long-term research and ecological experiments. Current projects include restoration ecology, natural flood risk management, community engagement with biodiversity, and sustainable land management - and you’ll be able to get involved.
For further practical experience, you'll have plenty of opportunity to apply for work placements and paid internships. All of this means you'll be well placed to launch your career, whether you are looking for a graduate job or are planning to go into further study or research.
"I went to Mallorca and the Maldives. Both were amazing. In Mallorca we surveyed rivers, mountains, forests, bird sanctuaries and nature reserves looking at all manner of species." Sam Lebbon, BSc (Hons) Biology, graduate
13thin the UK for student Satisfaction**Biological Sciences subject area - The Complete University Guide 2023
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.
Our facilities include high-specification laboratories with modern instrumentation, such as:
Digital Microscope (Keyence VHX7000) - imaging (3D stacking and measurements) from microbes to whole organisms
Scanning electron Microscope - low-high magnification of samples
Upright and Inverted Fluorescent Microscopes - imaging from slides ranging from cells to whole organisms
Infrared Gas analyser - measuring greenhouse gas processes in relation to land use
FTIR analysis FTIR (Agilent Technologies – Cary 630 FTIR) - analysis soil samples and monitor air and water quality
Bench Top Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) - measures fat, oil and grease in wastewater
AAS, GC FID HPLC, GCMS Auto-titrator
We also have a glasshouse with plants from diverse habitats, a microbiology lab that will aid your learning of biotechnology, an insectary housing many different species and an Aquatic Research Facility. Our dedicated student research laboratory gives you a dedicated space for your independent study project at the end of your degree.
Sarah’s research aims to help save the bees
BSc (Hons) Biology student, Sarah completed a fully funded research project into the dangers our bees are currently facing through our Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme.
We work closely with organisations such as Sea Life, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derby Museums, and the Olive Ridley Project. These 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.
We are currently working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby City Council on rewilding Allestree Park. This is the UK’s largest rewilding space which has involved a community consultation to find out what local people want. Some of our students are already working on independent studies projects in the park, with one test-driving the citizen science protocols for monitoring the changes in the park as the rewilding continues.
We have also just won two associate Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, lasting two years, to predict the trajectory of rewilding ecosystems. This will enable you to learn about the remote sensing and modelling we use for this. It will also enable staff to further stretch their research impact in a complex and growing subject area, as well as providing the chance to apply cutting edge, technical research to commercial activities.
We have also been working for several years with Down to Earth Derby, on nature-based regeneration and connecting communities with nature and growing food. A major project we are working on at the moment, with the Eden Project, is a community garden on part of Sturgess Fields, a site owned by the University between Kedleston Road and Markeaton Street sites. The plan is to create a New Commons that will be managed with the community. There are lots of opportunities for you to work on here, both in creating and maintaining the site, undertaking ecological monitoring and getting involved in community education programmes.
Beth secures her dream job
Our BSc (Hons) Biology course provided the building blocks for Beth's career. She undertook a range of work placements that helped to develop new skills and knowledge.
We're in the fortunate position of having a wealth of expertise and knowledge to help tackle some of the world's greatest challenges. Take a look at examples of how we are responding to the climate emergency.
You’ll learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials, e-learning, hands-on laboratory practical work and fieldwork in the UK and overseas. Our varied teaching methods help you show your individual strengths and enhance your understanding.
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 a range of internships. BSc (Hons) Biology graduate, Eryk Gadomski carried out a work placement at Peak Wildlife Park and developed many transferable skills.
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.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
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.
We're serious about getting you started in your career, whether you've already decided what you want to do or need to find inspiration. With opportunities for internships, volunteering and placements, our hands-on approach to study will ensure you're ready for the world of work. Biology at Derby provides an excellent platform for a broad range of scientific careers, such as:
Crop Development Scientist
Biologics Production Technician
Quality Laboratory Manager
Synthetic Biology Biotechnologist
Clinical Trials Co-ordinator
Medical Laboratory Assistant
Wildlife Conservation Officer
Health Care Assistant
Some graduates progress to teaching and lecturing careers after completing postgraduate study, or have advanced to gain veterinary and medical qualifications.
Through our Professional Development Package, you'll gain valuable skills, including:
Scientific writing and use of scientific software
Written and verbal communication
Research and statistical analysis
Data handling and analysis
Personal motivation, organisation and self-reflection
Laboratory and fieldwork analysis
Careers and Employment Service
To boost your employment skills, you can access the University's Careers and Employment Service. The team can connect you with employers to help find opportunities for work placements, part-time jobs, and volunteering. Our careers consultants are also on hand to guide you through the career options for your degree, CV writing, or starting your own business - and we commit to helping you for three years after you graduate to find a job.
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.
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.
Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
You will receive a dissection kit, goggles and a laboratory coat
All equipment and consumables needed for your experimental/ fieldwork are provided by the University. This is subject to consumables being costed for the Independent Study and approved by your programme leader
Free membership of the Royal Society of Biology for a year after graduation
Mandatory fieldtrips in optional modules: Previous destinations have included Kew Gardens, Sea Life Centre and Hardwick Hall Woodlands
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
If not already owned, appropriate footwear for fieldwork such as Wellington/Walking boots - approximate cost is between £5-£50
If not already owned, appropriate outdoor clothing such as a waterproof jacket and trousers - approximate cost is between £50-£100
Two bound copies of your Independent Study - approximate cost is £12
Optional costs not included in your fees
Additional international fieldtrip costs for optional modules as follows: Field Biology L5 (Majorca) - approximate cost is £480, Tropical Marine Biology L6 (Maldives) - approximate cost is £1,900
Travel to work experience/placements - cost is dependent on your placement venue of choice
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.