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Guide to Studying Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences includes biochemistry, biomedicine, cell biology, conservation, ecology, genetics, microbiology, pathobiology and physiology.

Biologial Science

What are Biological Sciences?

Jump to Biological Sciences graduate job prospects

  • Biology and Biological Sciences involve the study of life.
  • This wide-ranging subject studies living organisms, but allows you to choose topics of study depending on your interests. For example, options range from the molecular study of the immune system, disease processes and physiological processes, and if you wish can include global scale study of the environment, ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Biological Sciences / Biology courses will suit anyone with an interest in living organisms, either human or other animals, bacteria or plants, as you can select modules that best meet your interests; understanding and curing disease to conservation and the management of biological resources.
  • The flexibility of this degree scheme is the distinctive feature, students get an amazing opportunity to choose from the whole portfolio of teaching offered to develop a unique degree which reflects their interests.

Specific or general skills developed

  • You’ll be taught in lectures, workshops and tutorials, and learn practical skills in laboratory sessions.
  • Of course you’ll gain detailed subject knowledge from world leading researchers, but you’ll also gain transferrable skills in time management, group work, writing and critical thinking and you’ll grow in confidence in your presentation skills.
  • In addition to gaining these skills, which will enhance employability, some students will also have the opportunity to undertake a placement with an industrial collaborator during their degree, further enhancing employability.

Assessments and Exams

  • You will be assessed by a mixture of coursework, short tests and examinations. Typical coursework assignments include laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, poster and oral presentations. Examination questions may include True / False, short answer, essay or data analysis and interpretation.
  • You will have a final year project in a research topic in which you are most interested. This is likely to involve practical work investigating a novel research question, often as part of an existing larger research team. Other options meet the needs of students wanting to teach, by allowing them to gain experience teaching Biology in a school, and so strengthen their application for a PGCE.

What Degree Can I Get? 

Microbiology pic
© sakkmesterke – Fotolia
Common bacteria infecting humans

Examples of degrees in this subject include:

  • Biological Sciences BSc Hons
  • Biological Sciences MSci Hons (4 year undergraduate course)
  • Biological Sciences (Study Abroad) BSc Hons
  • Biological Sciences (Study Abroad) MSci Hons (4 year undergraduate course)

Related courses include:

  • Biological Sciences with Biomedicine : BSc Hons
  • Biology: BSc Hons
  • Biology with Psychology : BSc Hons
  • Biochemistry : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Biochemistry with Biomedicine : BSc Hons
  • Biochemistry with Genetics : BSc Hons
  • Biomedicine : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Biomedicine : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
  • Biomedical Science (IBMS Accredited) : BSc Hons
  • Pre-medical Studies : Certificate of Higher Education
  • Ecology and Conservation : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Ecology and Conservation (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
  • Environmental Biology : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Environmental Biology : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
  • Environmental Science : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Environmental Science and Technology : BSc Hons
  • Environmental Science and Technology (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
  • Environmental Science : MSci Hons / Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
  • Earth and Environmental Science : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
  • Earth and Environmental Science : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
  • Environmental Change and Sustainable Development : BSc Hons
  • Geography : BSc Hons / North America : BSc Hons
  • Geography (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
  • Physical Geography : BSc Hons / Australasia : BSc Hons
  • Geography : BA Hons / North America : BA Hons
  • Human Geography : BA Hons

What qualifications do I Need?

  • Generally two A levels need to include Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
  • Requirements vary with each institution, and are subject to change.

Use our Course Chooser to search through Biological Science courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There is a wide range of MSc and PhD opportunities, including:

  • Biological Science : PhD
  • Biomedical and Life Sciences : PhD
  • Biomedical Science : MSc (research)
  • Plant Sciences : MSc (research)
  • Medical Sciences : MSc (research)
  • Biomedicine : MSc
  • Bioethics and Medical Law : MA
  • Environmental and Biochemical Toxicology : MSc

Graduate job prospects

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*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Graduates pursue biological careers in a wide range of settings, many gain a Masters or PhD qualification, helped by their research led degree.
  • Whatever their final qualification, graduates can work in research, industry, universities or a hospital. Alternatively, students can take advantage of the skills they have gained to access careers in, for example, finance, management or marketing.
  • Recent Lancaster graduates have joined PhD and MSc programmes in Biochemistry, Biomedicine, Cell and Tissue Engineering and Conservation Management.
  • Others have been employed as researchers, microbiologists, immunologists, teachers, scientific equipment sales specialists and wildlife consultants.
  • Although their transferable skills are used in all these roles, some have used them to move into fields involving data analysis, such as accounting and finance.

For more information

  • Society of Biology, with content tailored for students as well as general interest, academics, teachers and industry.

See which universities rank in the Biological Sciences League Table.

Based on an original article by Dr Bob Lauder, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University.

Image credit: © kirstypargeter, iStock