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

Y002

Course level

Undergraduate

Qualification

Joint Honours

Start date

September

Location

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

What is Joint Honours?

A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.

You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.

Course description

Why you should study Biology at the University of Derby

You can also study Biology as a single honours subject.

Our Biology Joint Honours programme has been designed to capture the aspirations of students, reflect the needs of employers and meet high professional standards. 

In-depth knowledge, latest insights

The dynamic and exciting nature of biology is reflected throughout this course. Depending on your module selection you will learn about traditional topics such as human biology, genetics, evolution and ecology. As biology is constantly evolving, you may also get the chance to explore current issues such as the human genome and its impact on drug development and cancer therapies.

Overall, we cover three broad themes – whole organism; molecular and cellular; and environmental/ecological biology. For each of these, we reinforce the concepts and skills that the professional biologist needs.   ­

We offer a wide range of optional modules so that you can match your degree to your own interests and career ambitions. The number of options you take will depend on whether you select Biology as a major, joint or minor subject. In your final year, you will also have the opportunity to conduct a major research project into an area of your choice.

Impressive laboratories

You can strengthen 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 aquatic research facility and an insectory housing many different species. We have also opened a student research laboratory which gives you a dedicated space for your independent study project.

Biology Student and Academic - Image Embed

Hands-on experience

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 opportunities we offer to our students.

Recent examples include visits to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Twycross Zoo, and various locations in Derbyshire. We work closely with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust who provide access to their reserves for our students. You can also undertake projects for the Trust as part of your independent study module or on a voluntary basis.

Building on our strong partnerships with employers, we encourage you to go on a work placement as part of your studies. If you choose our dedicated vocational module, you will have the chance to apply your learning in a work setting. Such experience will add a new dimension to your CV and extend your professional networks.    

Inspirational research

You will 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. You will also benefit from the expertise of visiting specialists. 

Our researchers work with high-profile collaborative partners, 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

What you will study

Module availability and the number of modules you are required to take will depend on whether you choose this subject as a major, joint or minor.

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4BY503

Ecology

Ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. This module develops a basic understanding of the fundamental ideas and concepts that have been used to understand these interactions and the consequential distribution and abundance of species. The module will explore these aspects at different levels ranging from a focus on the individual up to full communities. The practical side of the module will introduce students to field techniques useful for both practical and scientific ecological investigations. The module will therefore form a sound basis of knowledge for studying ecological topics in the second and third year as well as a basic understanding of the breadth of ecology for those who do not take the discipline further.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY504

Evolution of Life

This module introduces students to the process of biological evolution, and the variety of living organisms. It introduces the concepts of ‘species’ and the bases on which different species are distinguished, including comparative morphology and anatomy, and molecular approaches. The bases of binomial nomenclature, taxonomy and systematics are also introduced. Whilst the main focus of the module is on the first groups of organisms to evolve, broad general themes such as macroevolution and rates of evolutionary change are also introduced. The module also enables the development of basic laboratory skills in microbiology and microscopy; and includes practical experience in the use of keys for classification.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY505

Genetics

Since the full elucidation of DNA structure in 1952 our knowledge in the field of genetics has increased exponentially. The development of molecular techniques means that genetics now has the capacity to impact on almost all areas of human life. Medical testing, conservation work and criminal investigation are three diverse examples of areas that in which genetics plays a major role. Knowledge of such a significant area is thus a pre-requisite for all biological and forensic based study. The module aims to provide a broad introduction to, and basic understanding of, the key concepts in classical and molecular genetics. The module also addresses the role of genetics in society and some of the ethical issues that surround its use.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY506

Anatomy and Physiology

Fundamental anatomical and physiological concepts in biology will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on the homeostatic interaction between the structure and function of organ systems and their relationship with the internal and external environment. Comparative Physiology will also be introduced. Concepts of health and disease and medical intervention will be identified throughout the module as a range of body systems are explored. Assessment will be via a portfolio of work built up over the course of the module.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY507

Invasion of the Land

The focus of this module is on fish and groups of organisms that have adapted to life on land, including lower and higher plants, insects and spiders, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. In addition to covering the classification and biology of these groups, wider evolutionary topics will be covered. These will include co-evolution of plants and animals and the causes of extinction.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY508

Chemistry of Life

This module introduces key concepts essential to the understanding of biological and biochemical structures and processes at an atomic, molecular and cellular level. The basic skills required to understand and interpret the behaviour of biological and chemical materials, both qualitatively and quantitatively, will be covered. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the cell, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, along with the basic biochemistry of carbohydrates and lipids.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY513

Studying at University: Induction Module

This module provides students with an introduction to studying at the University of Derby. It was designed and generated in response to students needs and is designed to prepare students for the undergraduate programmes within Biological and Forensic Sciences by providing an online environment in which students can become proficient in the skills required for HE study. The module will be a core, no credit, stand-alone module, assessed by 100% coursework.
0 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY503

Biological Basis of Animal Behaviour

This module aims to give the student a broad understanding of the study of animal behaviour. It introduces the field of animal behaviour both from the perspective of physiological mechanisms and evolutionary function. The module builds upon Level 4 modules and provides a background in behaviour for those wishing to take Level 6 Behavioural Ecology.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY509

Molecular Biology

The Molecular Biology module builds directly on a range of aspects of genetics covered in the first year modules; particularly ‘Genetics’ and ‘Chemistry for Life’. The module also provides direct support to a wide range of material that will be covered in both biological and forensic modules in the third year. The module covers both theoretical and practical aspects of evolutionary and forensic genetics. A range of skills will be developed which are directly relevant to the workplace.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY510

Field Biology

The student will have the opportunity to discover how organisms are adapted to real environments and integrated into functioning ecosystems. The module offers training in practical field techniques on a residential fieldtrip. The module consists of both lectures and real field experience. Students will collect data using a variety of techniques and learn to analyse the data using a range of relevant statistical methods. A variety of locations may be offered in the UK or abroad.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY511

Human Physiology and Disease

The module develops the concept of disease within the context of the normal physiological mechanisms that underlie some key body systems. It will enhance the background knowledge of anatomy and physiology gained from a previous Stage 1 module (Human Biology). Guest lecturers from the medical and scientific research worlds are invited to discuss the pathology and medical relevance of an aspect of each of the key physiological systems studied. Assessment will be via a series of in-class tests taken at regular intervals throughout the module, and questions relating to epidemiology study design and data analysis.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY512

Microbiology

Micro-organisms have adapted to every available habitat on earth. They have a profound impact on our lives and our environment. This module looks at both the harmful and beneficial effects of microbes and seeks to develop an understanding of their diversity and importance. The module contains a large component of practical laboratory work.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY513

Rainforests, Deserts and Oceans

The diversity of terrestrial and aquatic life can be divided into several large, distinct regions, biomes that are characterised by their plant and animal life. This module will consider this diversity, explore the underlying reasons for it and how plants and animals are adapted life in different biomes. The interactions of organisms within biomes will be considered. The module aims to develop an understanding of the impact of abiotic/biotic factors on the characteristics of life in different biomes. As appropriate this is contextualised in terms of anthropogenic impact.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Practical

Code: 5BY514

The Cell

This module builds on year 1 studies of biomolecules and cells and aims to provide the student with a clear view of cell structure and function, together with the underlying biochemistry and biochemical pathways supporting these activities. The involvement of membranes and the cytoskeleton will be illustrated in activities such as energy production, mitosis and cytokinesis, together with cutting edge subjects such as stem cells, cell aging, cell signalling and cancer.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 5BY520

Human Reproduction

This module is designed to cover a range of topics in the field of human reproduction, including developmental genetics, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases and sex determination. It will be delivered via face-to-face lectures and tutorials from academic staff and medical specialists, as well as having associated directed study. It will be assessed via a two-element piece of coursework and a written exam.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 5BY534

Independent Research and Professional Development

The module will prepare students for their Independent Studies research project undertaken at level 6 and deliver important information regarding research design and ethics. Students will receive guidance on how to plan and propose a piece of independent research and complete the University Research Ethics proposal form, as well as relevant Health and Safety documents. The module will also address the student’s current professional development with a focus on increasing awareness of graduate skill and career pathways.
0 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5BY535

Research Methods

This module will support the students in developing a solid foundational understanding of experimental design processes and considerations, as well as key probability and statistical analysis concepts. Students will be taught basic probability theory, leading to an understanding of probability distributions and density functions. We will then build on this by introducing the students to a range of basic statistical tests including t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Once students have gained confidence in the applications of these tests, linear regression methods will be introduced in order to prepare students for more advanced tests (which they are likely to need to use in their independent studies in the third year and potential careers).

The vast majority of researchers in the biological and zoological areas now use the statistical programming language R to conduct their analyses. Students will be introduced to R and shown how to implement the statistical analyses as well as basic simulations within R.

In addition, students will conduct design, run, and analyse an experiment run over several weeks, resulting in a simulation of a submission of a scientific paper. This will support the students in integrating their increasing knowledge of the application of experimental design and data analysis, as well as providing them with strong training in presenting their work in the form of a journal article.

More information
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY502

Behavioural Ecology

This module aims to give the student an understanding of the field of behavioural ecology: the study of the survival value of behaviour. The module builds upon previous modules such as Biological Basis of Behaviour. It focuses 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.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY503

Habitat Managment

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. This module looks at the ecological principles behind the management of habitats for their biodiversity. It takes a scientific evidence-based approach to habitat management, translating ecological theory into hands-on practical management.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY504

The Human Genome

Each of us carries the record of our personal evolutionary history locked up in our genome. Our genome can also influence our future health and longevity. The focus of this module is an investigation into the main components of the Human genome. We also look at the history of the Human Genome Project and the future prospects now that we have the genome sequence in both biological and forensic contexts. Human genome sequence organization is also contrasted with a number of model organisms from bacteria through to other primates. We also look at the DNA sequence databases and how DNA sequence data is deposited, retrieved and manipulated.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY505

Oncology and Immunology

This module provides an opportunity for students to gain knowledge of two specialised areas of human biology; 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. Assessment will be via two pieces of coursework (an essay and oral presentation) and an exam.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY506

Science Communication

Effective communication of scientific information to a wide audience is vital social, economic and political tool for society. This module will investigate modes and implementation of effective science communication through a series of workshops. Student will cover the spectrum of delivery methods in modern society including areas such as newspapers, museums, TV programmes and the World Wide Web. Students will also discover the challenges that ineffective communication can present through a series of interesting case studies.
20 Credits
optional
Practical
Coursework

Code: 6BY507

Vocational Module

Work experience and volunteering are two important routes to develop a fundamental understanding of issues related to employment within a chosen organisation. This module also has far reaching benefits in terms of providing valuable hands on experience and a platform for developing ideas outside of the taught curriculum. This module provides an opportunity for the student to undertake a placement within a company, voluntary body or public establishment and is designed for Level 6. The student has freedom to select an appropriate host organisation. By placing the module at level 6, the student should be able to undertake a project based on their knowledge and understanding at this higher level.

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. The report should also reflect wider issues such as the objectives, structure and procedures of the host body and the role of volunteers within the organisation. This analysis must be of a depth commensurate with Level 6 study. The placement work must relate to the student’s degree programme but must have clear differentiation from their Independent Study project in respect of either location or topic.

More information
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6BY508

Wildlife Conservation

The conservation of biological diversity is a complex multidisciplinary science. Despite a rapid growth in public interest, funding and local regional and international efforts the loss of species and habitats continues at a rate consistent with historical mass extinctions. Currently, in 2016, the IUCN estimates that up to 37% of mammals, 14% of birds and 56% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. This module examines the factors that are causing this decline and the strategies that can be implemented to preserve as much of the remaining biological diversity of the Earth as possible. These issues are complex and multifaceted and, whilst the module will concentrate on the biological principles of conservation biology, it will also approach the topic from the multidisciplinary perspective that is required to find a lasting solution to these issues.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6BY510

Applied Entomology

This module focuses on insects of forensic importance (Diptera and Coleoptera) in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. It covers insect physiology, lifecycles, behaviour and classification and looks at how insects can provide evidence in medico-legal and environmental investigation. The module provides hands-on experience in insect collection, identification, rearing, accumulated degree day calculations and molecular analysis as well as exploring current research areas. Students will be able to attend additional research seminars on agricultural entomology.
20 Credits
optional
Practical
Coursework

Code: 6BY513

Ecological Consultancy

This module introduces the learner to the role of an ecological consultant, a relevant and established career path for graduates with ecological specialisms and growth sector for jobs. Building on skills learned at level 4 and 5 the module will examine key elements and skills required to start a career in the discipline. 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.

The delivery will consist of a range of lectures that cover the required module content and tutorials designed to support skill development in a range of survey techniques and report writing skills. The face to face content will be supported by relevant up to date generic and bespoke online materials. In addition, learners will be exposed to ecological professionals as either visiting speakers, through visits to appropriate premises or both which, along with personal reflection, will build employability awareness. A substantial element of staff led and independent fieldwork will be required to satisfactorily complete the module.

More information
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6BY514

Tropical Marine Biology

The Tropical Marine Biology module builds directly on a range of aspects of general biology and zoology covered in first and second year modules, particularly, Evolution of Life, Invertebrates, and Rainforests, Deserts and Oceans. The module also provides a unique opportunity for students to experience the theory in real world scenarios with a tropical field trip. The module covers both theoretical and practical aspects of tropical marine biology specifically focusing on reef ecosystems. A range of skills will be developed which are directly related to marine biology and field research. Students will gain experience in conducting their own projects, presenting their findings in a conference style setting and write up their work in the form of a scientific paper.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6BY995

Independent Studies In Biosciences

This module represents an opportunity for the student to exercise initiative, creative thinking, and organisational skills in the pursuit of an independent piece of work of his/her choosing (subject to approval on academic, safety and ethical grounds where appropriate), and is a continuation of personal skill development initiated in Stages 4 and 5. Central to the research study will be a degree of problem solving and formulation and testing of hypotheses.
40 Credits
optional
Coursework

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 will learn through lectures, tutorials, seminars, and e-learning, which are supported by hands-on laboratory practicals. There are also opportunities to go on fieldtrips, such as days out in Derbyshire, Kew Gardens, and Twycross Zoo. We champion a variety of teaching methods to help you discover your individual strengths and enhance your understanding.

How you're assessed

You will be assessed using a range of written assignments, including portfolios, practical and fieldtrip write-ups, and data analysis, but we also use computer-based assessments, poster presentations, and seminar presentations. Your choice of modules and independent research-based study also allows you to specialise further. Biology can be offered as either a minor, joint or major degree programme.

Facilities

We've recently upgraded our facilities to make sure you have a fantastic learning experience. Our laboratories, insectory, and glasshouse have all been modernised, and we now have a new student research laboratory and aquatic research facility. 

Fieldtrips

Dependent on your module selection, you will have the opportunity to take part in a broad range of fieldtrips throughout this course, such as day trips to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to investigate plant adaptation. We feel that fieldwork is essential to the study of Biology, especially as it enables you to explore natural environments outside of a laboratory.

Work placements 

Placements allow you to develop the skills you learn in 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 as part of a dedicated vocational module, which you can choose to take.

Our research

Our teaching team are active researchers with broad-based and interdisciplinary research interests in areas including ecology, entomology, and biodiversity. Researchers work closely with a wide range of collaborative partners, and their excellent work directly enhances our courses.

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

Who will teach you

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

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, Chemistry or Applied Science at A-level, or Science related BTEC/Access Diploma (or equivalent qualification)

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A
PortfolioN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

For joint honours degree entry you will need to choose two subjects. The entry criteria here is for this subject only. Your offer will be based on the higher entry criteria from the two subjects you choose to do. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

*The UCAS Points required for entry will depend on the subjects you choose to combine. The subject with the higher entry requirements will determine your offer.

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

 Full-timePart-time
UK/EU

£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*

International

£14,045 per year

N/A

* 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

Careers

By studying Biology as a Joint Honours subject, you will open up even more potential career routes once you graduate and will have a strong portfolio of transferable skills to impress potential employers.

Our students have gone on to success in applied research, medical laboratory work, wildlife conservation, scientific sales, the media and management – to name but a few areas. 

Others become teachers after completing postgraduate training or progress to further study, including veterinary and medical qualifications. You could also consider our highly regarded masters degree – the MSc Conservation Biology.

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

You will typically study your two subjects equally at stage one, before choosing whether you want to major in one subject at stages two and three.

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.

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Biology can be combined with:

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For this combination Discover Uni does not have enough data to publish a widget. It is important to note that this is not a reflection on the quality of the course.

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For this combination Discover Uni does not have enough data to publish a widget. It is important to note that this is not a reflection on the quality of the course.

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