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Guide to studying Biological Sciences

A Biological Sciences degree will allow you to explore areas of biochemistry, biomedicine, cell biology, conservation, ecology, genetics, microbiology, pathobiology and physiology.

Colleagues inspecting leaf on petri dish


  1. What's Biological Sciences?

  2. Why study Biological Sciences?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Biological Sciences graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Biological Sciences?

Biological Sciences is the study of life. This wide-ranging and flexible subject studies all living organisms, where you can choose topics that interest you most.

Options include the molecular study of the immune system, disease processes and physiological processes, and, if you wish, global-scale study of the environment, ecosystems and biodiversity.

Similar courses for Biological Sciences include: 

  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology 
  • Molecular Biology, Biophysics & Biochemistry
  • Zoology 

Why study Biological Sciences?

The flexibility of Biological Studies means that, if you don’t want to, you never have to choose between lab and fieldwork. Ecology students might never get the chance to don a lab coat and try out some pipettes, just as microbiologists will rarely ever lace up their boots for a walk through the woods. If you’re studying Biological Sciences, you get the chance to do both.

A Biological Sciences degree will often ask you to go out and conduct research of your own, pursuing a question of your own creation. Not only is this exceptionally fun, it’ll help develop the kind of skills that will attract employers. You'll be working in a team, so you'll develop skills in communication, delegation, research and management.

One of the best things about a degree in Biological Sciences is the way it lends itself to postgraduate study. Specialising by undertaking a master's degree is almost a natural step forward, and plenty of Biological Sciences students go on to take MAs in subjects like Biochemistry and Environmental Biology. 

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 transferable 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 your employability, you may also have the opportunity to undertake a placement with an industrial collaborator during your degree.

Scientists working on example disease in a laboratory

What jobs can you get as a Biological Studies graduate?

Graduates pursue biological careers in a wide range of settings. Many start off by gaining a master's or PhD qualification.

Whatever your final qualification, you can work in research, industry, academia or healthcare. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the skills you've gained to access careers in areas such as finance, data analysis, management or marketing.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

Biological Science degrees generally ask for an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology, and sometimes Chemistry.

Other useful subjects include Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography and Psychology.

Grades and other requirements vary with each institution, so always check with the university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

Examples of degrees in this subject area include:

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

Related courses include:

  • Biological Sciences with Biomedicine
  • Biology
  • Biology with Psychology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry with Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry with Genetics
  • Biomedicine
  • Pre-medical Studies: Certificate of Higher Education
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Environmental Change and Sustainable Development

How will you be assessed?

You'll be assessed through a mixture of coursework, short tests and examinations. Typical coursework assignments include laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, poster work and oral presentations. Examinations may include true/false, short answer, essay or data analysis and interpretation questions. You’ll also have a final year project where you'll pursue a research topic of your choice.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There's 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

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