Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Studying Human Biology with a foundation year is your starting point for an exciting and worthwhile scientific career. You will achieve a highly regarded qualification in four years.

 Royal Society of Biology Accreditation Logo


Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

Purple slides used for examination

The ideal introduction

Our BSc (Hons) Human Biology with Foundation Year is a smart move for anyone who would like the chance to enhance their knowledge of biology and related subjects or has changed their mind about their future career direction.

During the foundation year stage, you’ll gain a firm grounding in subjects such as sport and exercise, human behaviour, human anatomy and physiology, cellular biology and chemistry. You’ll also receive full support to develop study skills and research methods which will help you make a smooth transition to the next stage of your learning.

You’ll be equipped with the skills, confidence and knowledge to progress directly to stage one of the honours degree, without having to apply again. It means you’ll enjoy all the benefits of being a University of Derby student from day one and you can achieve your qualification in four years.

A future at the forefront of science

Our Human Biology degree enables you to explore some of the most pressing health concerns facing society today. You’ll gain a comprehensive and clear understanding of how the human body functions in both health and disease, drawing upon fundamental principles of bioscience such as anatomy, genetics and physiology.

We consider issues such as dementia, cancer and obesity, examining the impact that disease can have on an individual’s mental as well as physical wellbeing.

As part of the course, you’ll have the chance to focus on the areas that enthuse you most. Optional modules in bioscience, sport science and psychology enable you to tailor your studies to match your interests and career ambitions. In your final year, you’ll also advance an in-depth research project into a human health theme of your choosing.

Real-world learning in action

You can apply to work in industry or undertake an internship between stages two and three of the course. This is not only an excellent preparation for your final-stage studies but also the ideal opportunity to add substance to your CV and develop the broader professional skills demanded by employers today.

In recent years, our students have gained invaluable experience in roles at the Leukaemia Research Foundation in London, Royal Derby Hospital and local pharmacies.

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

Exceptional study spaces

Our newly-upgraded learning facilities are the ideal setting for you to build your practical skills. In our high-specification laboratories, you will get to grips with modern instrumentation and specialist containment facilities for the growth and manipulation of bacteria and viruses as well as the sequencing and characterisation of DNA.

There is even a student research laboratory which offers you a dedicated space for your independent study at the end of your degree.

Learn from leading researchers

You will be inspired and motivated by a teaching team made up of active human health researchers. It means our course is informed by the latest thinking in areas such as human health and disease, delivery of health services and public health policies.

We are justifiably proud of the quality and variety of research projects underway at the University. Our academics are shaping international debates on issues such as potential new treatments for ovarian cancer; the role of the Human Papilloma Virus in the development of head and neck cancers; antibiotic resistance bacteria in healthy individuals; and the health effects of entertainment noise.

You could even apply to help with the team’s research endeavours, which will introduce you to scholarly activity at a high level and open doors to your own future career in research.

Monica Erdos, Human Biology student

Human Biology: moving towards a career in cancer research

A research internship looking at ovarian cancer helped our Human Biology student Monica Erdos take a big step towards meeting her career goal of working in cancer research.

Find out about Monica's research experienceFind out about Monica's research experience

A rich and varied study experience

Our aim throughout the course is to give you insights into different careers within health science and to enhance your professional development. Adding to this vibrant learning experience, we regularly welcome guest speakers to give you a fresh perspective on latest debates in the field. Our Human Biology Society, established and managed by students, organises monthly guest lectures by eminent academics. The inaugural event spotlighted research into the environmental health conditions in the Calais refugee camps. 

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills in Science
  • Research Methods in Data Handling
  • Foundation in Sport and Exercise
  • Fundamentals of Human Behaviour
  • Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Cellular Biology
  • Principles of Chemistry

If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.

  • Induction Module - How to orientate yourself quickly into university life, and to navigate the on-line features associated with your programme
  • Concepts of Health and Wellbeing - Learn practical skills in diagnosing health conditions and the basics of public health
  • 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
  • Chemistry of Life - You will be introduced to the basic concepts of chemistry and the fundamental processes of biochemistry
  • Practical Methods in Medical Bioscience - Introduction to medical research methodology including cellular pathology, clinical microbiology and clinical biochemistry
  • Introduction to Biological and Developmental Psychology - Learn how the brain works and explore concepts relevant to the study of child development
  • Molecular Biology - You'll develop an understanding of the molecular basis of fundamental biological processes, such as transcription and translation
  • Human Physiology and Disease - You will develop a broad-based understanding of human diseases within the context of the normal physiological mechanisms
  • Independent Research and Professional Development - You will learn about instigating and conducting research, and develop your career planning for life after university

Optional modules:

  • Forensic Anthropology - A practical introduction to Forensic and Medical Anthropology, looking at what bones and other remains can tell us about the individuals that they belonged to
  • Biological and Developmental Psychology - Develop a critical understanding of the relationship between brain functioning and behaviour, including stress and addiction
  • Biomedical Professional Practice - Develop skills used by NHS diagnostic scientists, including Virology, Microbiology, Genetic testing, Histpathology, Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology
  • The Cell - You'll develop an understanding of eukaryote cell structure and function, and learn about current advances in topics such as stem cells and cancer
  • Human Reproduction - You will cover a range of topics in the field of human reproduction, including developmental genetics, infertility, pregnancy and childbirth
  • Physical Activity and Health - Provides an understanding to the incidence and causes of mortality and morbidity, and how exercise can help improve health
  • Nutrition and Metabolism for Sport and Exercise - Investigate the function and role of dietary macro nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins and micronutrients
  • Psychopathology - this module equips you with a basic understanding of mental disorders and prepares you for further study in this area, such as opting to study modules 'Schizophrenia' and 'Neuropsychology' in Stage Three

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 Bioscience - You will undertake an independent piece of work of your choosing (subject to approval)

Optional Modules:

  • Biomedical Implications of Exercise - The health benefits of improved lifestyle and increased activity will be discussed in relation to physiological aspects of disease
  • Cell Signalling in Health and Disease - This module focuses on the regulatory mechanisms behind the cellular response to a variety of external signals
  • Oncology and Immunology - Explore the causes of cancer, how it is treated and what directions are currently being undertaken by cancer research scientists. Develop an understanding of medical immunology, including autoimmune disease
  • The Human Genome - You will develop your understanding of the molecular evolution of DNA sequences, bioinformatics and genomics
  • Neuropsychology - Explores problems that arise from brain injury that affects cognitive functioning
  • Science Communication - Explores the spectrum of delivery methods of scientific information in modern society including newspapers, museums, TV and the internet
  • Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism for Sport and Exercise - Covers advanced topics of nutrition for sport and exercise such as nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics, nutrition and immune function
  • Toxicology and Drugs of Abuse - Provides a comprehensive introduction to the multidisciplinary field of toxicology
  • Schizophrenia - Explore schizophrenia (its myths and origins) including biological, evolutionary, social and cognitive, and psychodynamic explanations
  • Vocational Module - The student has freedom to select an appropriate host organisation to undertake a placement within a company, voluntary body or public establishment

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, and e-learning, supported by hands-on laboratory practicals. We’ve recently updated our science laboratories and developed a student research laboratory to provide you with the equipment and facilities to channel your scientific curiosity.


No single assessment style suits everyone, so we take a diverse approach across the different modules. You’re assessed using a range of written assignments (including data analysis, portfolios, and practical reports), computer-based assessments, poster and seminar presentations.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

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*



£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.

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


A Human Biology degree from Derby paves the way to career success in rapidly-changing and hugely important areas such as medicine, sports science, nutrition and mental health.

You will be equipped with up-to-date knowledge and practical know-how that is ideally suited to roles in the NHS, health charities, medical research and biomedical industries. Highly transferable, your skills will also set you apart if you decide to pursue other scientific or analytical roles in areas such as scientific sales, medicine, dentistry and scientific writing.

A group of students throwing their graduaiton caps in the air outside the university.
Elizabeth Marsh working in Forensics lab

Dr Elizabeth Marsh
Programme leader

Elizabeth is a Senior Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She teaches on and leads modules across Biosciences programmes, and is also the Level 4 (first year) lead for Biomedical Health and Human Biology. Her research interests are in host-pathogen interactions and innate immunity, and she is leading a project on the role of Human Papillomavirus in Head and Neck Cancers.

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.

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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.

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