Course details

Study options

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

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

120 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

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

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

If you’d like a scientific career where you can focus on improving people’s health and wellbeing, our BSc (Hons) Human Biology course is the ideal starting point.

 Royal Society of Biology Accreditation Logo

Human biology is crucial to developments in medicine, sports science, nutrition and mental health – and this course equips you with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career at the forefront of those developments. 

Agata talks about her passion for Human Biology, her internship and lab work, and her experience as an international student at the University of Derby

View Agata's Experience video transcript

In-depth understanding

Our undergraduate human biology course has been designed to provide you with a comprehensive and clear understanding of the human body, drawing upon fundamental principles of bioscience such as anatomy, genetics and physiology.

It also encompasses psychology and the science of sport and exercise to help you appreciate how the body functions in both health and disease.

Your studies will address some of the most pressing health concerns facing society today, such as dementia, cancer and obesity. We examine how these affect the body and how diseases can impact 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.

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

Tailor your degree

You can adapt your studies to suit your chosen career path while gaining a greater understanding of how the body functions. We offer a range of optional modules in bioscience, sport science and psychology to enable you to focus on areas that interest you most. In your final year, you’ll undertake an in-depth research project into a human health theme which matches your interests and aspirations.

Invaluable placement opportunities

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, boost your future prospects and develop the broader professional skills demanded by employers today. Previously our students have secured roles at the Leukaemia Research Foundation in London, Royal Derby Hospital and local pharmacies. 

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

“What about me” is a short educational film about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is designed to provide a greater understanding about HPV and the links to head and neck cancer

State-of-the-art laboratories

You will hone your practical know-how in our newly-upgraded learning facilities.  They include high-specification laboratories 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.

We have also opened a student research laboratory which gives you a dedicated space for your independent study project at the end of your degree.

Learn from leading researchers

Our human biology teaching team are active human health researchers, so your studies will be informed by latest developments and innovative thinking in areas such as human health and disease, delivery of health services and public health policies.

The diversity of research projects under way is vast – covering 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 apply to help with the team’s research projects, which will deepen your understanding and give you an ideal preparation for your future career.

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

Broaden your perspectives

We’re committed to your professional and career development. Guest speakers will add an extra dimension to your learning experience. We also have a vibrant Human Biology Society, established and run by students, which organises monthly guest lectures by notable academics on topical subjects. The inaugural lecture covered research into the environmental health conditions in the Calais refugee camps.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • 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.

Smiling girl with scarf sitting in cafe with cup of coffee

Find out more about Human Biology

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

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 points120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

At least a C in Biology at A-level (or equivalent qualification)

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

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

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


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

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

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

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

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

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

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Our degree equips you with highly relevant and up-to-date skills that are important for careers in the NHS, health charities, medical research and biomedical industries.

It also builds your transferable skills which will be invaluable 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 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.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

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

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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

You might also like