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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.
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.
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.
Uncovering the link between HPV and head and neck cancer
Our scientists have developed a new screening method that detects human papillomavirus (HPV) in the mouth. They are now using this method to gain a better understanding of how HPV causes head and neck cancer.
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.
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.
This module will provide students with a theoretical understanding of physiology and anatomy of the relevant body systems. Fundamental anatomical and physiological concepts will be explored for a range of body systems in relation to what these systems consist of and how they function. The concepts of health and disease will be introduced as the range of body systems are explored.
The module will incorporate both theoretical and practical learning to enable students to apply their knowledge of the human body.
This module will introduce students to psychology as an integrated and multi-faceted discipline. Students will explore both classic and contemporary aspects of psychology from a position of little or no knowledge. They will gain an understanding of the breadth of psychology and the ways in which the topic areas included can be approached from a number of different theoretical perspectives using a variety of methodological approaches.
This module provides an overview of the sporting landscape within the United Kingdom and how recent developments have helped shape it. Students will gain an understanding of the broad range of subject disciplines attributed to sport and exercise and begin to develop an appreciation of the skills required to work within the diverse sport and exercise field.
This module focusses on both the ‘art’ and ‘science’ of sport and exercise to ensure a grounding knowledge for all. Students will learn of the different roles a sport and exercise professional may take on and the skills attributed to each in order to be successful.
The module aims to develop an understanding of what health and wellbeing is and the states of human health that exist. Students will gain knowledge of impacts upon health and wellbeing, and significant public health issues. They will also be introduced to how the clinical laboratory specialities of biomedical science work together in disease diagnosis.
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.
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.
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.
This module will introduce students to the key research methodology required in medical biosciences, which will include cellular pathology, clinical microbiology and clinical biochemical experimental techniques, ethical implications, scientific report writing, presentations and data analysis. Future careers in Biomedical Science and Human Health.
Introduction to Biological and Developmental Psychology
This module has two components, Developmental Psychology and Biological Psychology. The Developmental Psychology component introduces students to concepts, theories and methods relevant to the study of child development. Students will first be introduced to the area of developmental psychology, its historical development, the methods used by researchers working in this field and key debates such as what drives development? The research and theories proposed by key figures working in the areas of social and cognitive development will then be discussed.
Within the Biological Psychology component students will explore how the brain works, including an introduction to the brain, neural structures and neurons. We will investigate whether parts of our brains serve specialised functions and if there are individual differences in brain structure, in particular associated with handedness. We will also investigate how our understanding of brain function informs our understanding of selected areas of cognition and behaviour.
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.
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.
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.
This module investigates the function and role of dietary macro nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, supplements/ergogenic aids and fluid consumption on sport and exercise performance.
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.
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.
Using skeletal remains to assist in human identification is an important area of practice for the Forensic Scientist and involves a variety of theories and methods focusing on the wider scope of human skeletal biology on issues of medico-legal significance. This module provides an introduction to the practice of Forensic Anthropology. Through a series of lectures and practical lab sessions, you will learn about methods of bioprofiling used by forensic anthropologists, topics on skeletal biology, disease and trauma that can be observed on bone, and ethical concerns involved when working with human remains in legal contexts.
The module aims to develop in students a critical understanding of the main forms of mental illness from a psychological perspective. The module provides students with an understanding of the key features of a variety of disorders and examines the contribution psychological approaches make to the theories, research, diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behaviour.
This module has two components, Biological Psychology and Developmental Psychology. The Biological component of this module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the relationship between brain functioning and behaviour.
Students will examine the biological bases of a range of behaviours and will consider how research in biological psychology can contribute to the understanding of psychological function. This component of the module is delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops/online materials and activities, and discussion.
The Developmental component of this module aims to further develop students’ understanding of psychological concepts, theories and methods relevant to the study of lifespan developmental psychology. During this section of the module students will explore a range of research relating to cognitive and social development throughout the lifespan and develop the skills needed to evaluate existing research. This component of the module may be delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops/online materials and activities, and discussion.
Both components will be assessed by a single exam.
This module will enable students to understand the incidence and causes of mortality and morbidity. The benefits of physical activity on multiple facets of health such as coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity and cancer will be discussed. The module will also examine health promotion initiatives put forward by a range of organisations, and the methods by which people can be motivated to become more physically active for health benefit.
This module provides a framework for the development of “lifelong learning” skills appropriate to all areas of professional practice; including objective setting, planning, negotiating, implementing, demonstrating and reflecting. The emphasis in this module is on the analysis and evaluation of the work completed within the organisation. This module also gives students an opportunity to relate their academic knowledge to the work environment.
Students need to be aware of the commercial realities and external factors that influence the success of an organisation. This module provides opportunities for students to acquire an understanding of contemporary issues that may impact on industrial and professional practices relevant to a career within their chosen discipline.
During this period of work experience, students can gain a deeper appreciation of the responsibilities arising from both corporate and individual responses to such issues, thus enabling them to relate to the wider world when exploring a personal direction for potential career development.
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.
A knowledge of cell signalling is essential to understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease and the rationale behind drug design. This module focuses on the regulatory 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All substances, if taken in large enough doses, are toxic to humans. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the multidisciplinary field of toxicology, from the biological and biochemical processes which occur when a poison is administered to the chemical analysis of toxicological samples. While a range of toxins from various sources will be considered, particular emphasis will be placed upon the study of drugs of abuse, including their chemistry, legislation and analysis of both toxicological and non-toxicological samples.
Neuropsychology deals with the problems that arise from brain injury that affects cognitive functioning. This module looks at the biological and cognitive consequences of a number of conditions and analyses the knowledge we have at present and what that knowledge tells us about the normally functioning brain.
This module will explore a number of conceptual issues within the context of neuropsychological disorders. Issues covered will include, population sizes, methodologies, recovery of function, remediation versus research, normal versus abnormal deficits, and lesion sites. These issues will be illustrated through the exploration of visual agnosia, amnesia, blindsight, and ageing. The module will combine the acquisition of knowledge with the skill of delivering that knowledge appropriately to a named target audience.
Schizophrenia is one of the most fascinating mental illnesses. There are a number of myths that surround the disorder and many lay people think that a schizophrenic person is someone to be feared. This module is designed to look at the research surrounding schizophrenia and will include research from all aspects of the disorder.
We will look at the signs and symptoms and the way in which schizophrenia has been reclassified under DSM V. We will look at explanations of schizophrenia that will include biological, psychodynamic, evolutionary, cognitive and social dimensions. The module will also look at a wide range of therapies from the use of antipsychotic drugs to the value of music therapy and dance therapy.
Biomedical Implications of Exercise, Activity and Health
The high incidence of lifestyle-related health problems like coronary heart disease, obesity and stress means that increased activity and programmes that encourage and support the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyles are becoming increasingly important.
The challenge of increasing the level of physical activity requires an understanding of individual and situational factors that inhibit regular exercise. It is also recognised that that several clinical populations could benefit from regular activity (e.g. cardiac rehabilitation, osteoporosis and diabetes) and medical teams dealing with such patient groups need an understanding of how to promote long-term adherence to exercise. The module deals with the biomedical, lifestyle and physiological aspects of disease in normal and clinical populations. The health benefits of improved lifestyle and increased activity and underlying mechanisms and will be explored.
Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism for Sport and Exercise
This module builds on the basic grounding delivered in 5BY500 Nutrition and Metabolism for Sport & Exercise. Students will investigate a variety of pertinent topics such as but not limited to: nutraceuticals / synergistic use of ergogenic aids in sport and exercise performance, nutrition and immune function, nutrition for the global athlete, dysfunctional approaches to nutrition in athletes (i.e. fe/male athlete triad) and nutritional strategies for exercise in extreme environments.
The module will also progress student’s knowledge in more advanced topics of nutrition for sport and exercise such as the direct/indirect role of nutrigenomics and/or nutrigenetics on health and sport and exercise performance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / Audition
Alternative entry qualifications:
BTEC - MPP
Pass Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2.
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
£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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Included in your fees
You will receive 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
If a DBS check is needed for the purposes of a module or programme related work placement, this is included in your fee if done via the University
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Two bound copies of your Independent Study - approximate cost is £12
Optional costs not included in your fees
Recommended text book - approximate cost is £60
Membership of the Human Biology society - approximate cost is £10
If a DBS check is needed for the purposes of a module or programme related work placement
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.