BSc Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Our BSc Biology course covers a diverse range of topics within the study of living organisms, allowing you to discover areas of interest early on in your degree and choose what you want to focus on.

You can keep your options open and cover a wide variety of areas, or you can identify those that interest and hopefully excite you to focus on particular biological topics.

A highlight of the course is the opportunity to go on a  field course  in the UK and abroad, travelling to locations chosen for the richness of their flora and fauna.

Throughout the course, you will benefit from a wide spectrum of training in biological sciences from staff who are specialists in their chosen subject areas.

Special features

Study in the field

Travel to locations in the UK or countries such as Mallorca or South Africa on a  field course .

A range of study options

You can extend your degree by a year to undertake an  integrated master's , gain  industrial/professional experience  or learn a  modern language .

It is possible to broaden your degree by taking units from the University College , Business and Management for all Programmes or the University Language Centre in exchange for a few units from your degree.

Foundation year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our  foundation course  first.

Flexibility to transfer between courses

You can transfer between most of our biological sciences degree courses at the end of your first year or, in some cases, later.

Teaching and learning

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit.

These range from lectures and tutorials to practicals and research projects, including the  final year project .

Find out more about how you will learn and see a typical Year 1 timetable on our  teaching and learning  page.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. 

  • Lecture units are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), which are held at the end of an academic semester in either January or May/June.
  • Field courses are usually assessed via oral and written presentations, group work and/or projects.
  • Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam.
  • The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study. 

Year 1

Lecture units are usually assessed by e-learning activities during the unit and multiple choice exams at the end of the semester. 

If you wish to continue on the modern language or industrial/professional experience course, you must normally obtain a mean mark of at least 60% in Year 1.

Year 1 contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

Year 2 contributes 30% to your overall degree mark.

Final year

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam. Students also take two 'honours' papers: degree programme-specific examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems.

A significant part of the year (accounting for one-quarter of the overall degree mark) is the project, which is assessed by literature review and a written report.

The final year contributes 60% to your overall degree mark.

Course unit details

This course is modular. You will study compulsory course units and choose some optional units.

Most units are assigned 10 credits and you will take 120 credits each year.

Course content for year 1

You will gain a broad introduction to biological sciences, covering key concepts such as:

  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • biodiversity
  • molecular biology.

You can choose to go on a field course in the UK or abroad.

Year 1 also provides an introduction to the essential data handling and laboratory skills required for all biological scientists.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 1 BIOL10000 10 Mandatory
Biochemistry BIOL10212 10 Mandatory
Molecular Biology BIOL10221 10 Mandatory
From Molecules to Cells BIOL10232 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Laboratory Science BIOL10401 10 Mandatory
Biodiversity BIOL10511 10 Mandatory
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
A History of Biology in 20 Objects BIOL10381 10 Optional
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Molecular & Cellular Biology BIOL10412 10 Optional
Microbes, Man and the Environment BIOL10532 10 Optional
Field Course in Marine Biology I BIOL10602 10 Optional
Field Course in Mediterranean Biodiversity and Conservation BIOL10622 10 Optional
Field Course in Animal Behaviour and Diversity BIOL10642 10 Optional
British Conservation Ecology & Behaviour BIOL10662 10 Optional
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Optional
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 10 Optional
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 10 Optional
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 10 Optional
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Chemistry CHEM10111 10 Optional
Introduction to Ecology EART10602 10 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. You will also undertake a dissertation.

In the Research Skills unit, you have the opportunity to carry out techniques that are widely used in current biological science research.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 2 BIOL20000 10 Mandatory
Organismal Biology EDM BIOL21051 10 Mandatory
Dissertation BIOL21090 10 Mandatory
The Biology of Being Human BIOL20982 10 Optional
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Optional
Proteins BIOL21111 10 Optional
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Optional
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Optional
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Optional
Principles of Developmental Biology BIOL21172 10 Optional
Prokaryotic Microbiology BIOL21181 10 Optional
Principles of Infectious Disease BIOL21192 10 Optional
Plants for the Future BIOL21202 10 Optional
Ecology & Ecosystems BIOL21211 10 Optional
Animal Diversity BIOL21221 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology BIOL21232 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Parasitology BIOL21252 10 Optional
Endocrinology BIOL21261 10 Optional
Gut and Renal Human Physiology BIOL21272 10 Optional
Animal Physiology BIOL21281 10 Optional
Human Anatomy & Histology BIOL21291 10 Optional
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 10 Optional
Drugs & the Brain BIOL21312 10 Optional
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 10 Optional
Motor Systems BIOL21332 10 Optional
Sensory Systems BIOL21341 10 Optional
Molecules and Cells in Human Disease BIOL21351 10 Optional
Haematology BIOL21361 10 Optional
Organismal Genetics BIOL21371 10 Optional
Introduction to Virology BIOL21381 10 Optional
Anatomy of the Special Sense Organs BIOL21402 10 Optional
Animal Behaviour BIOL21432 10 Optional
Disease in Nature BIOL21442 10 Optional
How to Make a Brain BIOL21451 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Optional
From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
The Information Age HSTM20282 10 Optional
British Sign Language ULBS20011 10 Optional
British Sign Language - semester two ULBS20012 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 42 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Final year topics reflect the current hotspots of bioscience endeavour and the research interests of our staff, and are constantly being updated.

You will undertake an independent in-depth  research project  that may involve supervised practical work in a laboratory, or you may choose to work on e-learning, educational, data analysis, bioinformatics or enterprise topics. 

Please note the course units listed below are just a small selection and do not represent the number and breadth of course units available on this course.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 3 BIOL30000 0 Mandatory
Projects BIOL30030 30 Mandatory
Project Literature Review BIOL30101 10 Mandatory
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Geomicrobiology EART30831 10 Optional
Advances in Palaeobiology EART30882 10 Optional

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the  Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog .

Facilities

Learning facilities

Our modern teaching labs are equipped for a range of biological and biomedical techniques. The following are just a few of the techniques you could undertake during your degree:

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • DNA sequencing
  • gel electrophoresis
  • spectrophotometry
  • dissection and histology
  • electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG)
  • immunofluorescence microscopy.

Our computing facilities include access to over 200 PCs in dedicated clusters and e-learning tools including online lecture notes, discussion boards, lecture podcasts and quizzes.

Our experimental grounds include a variety of plants and controlled growing conditions used in research. These facilities complement resources at the Manchester Museum where you have access to important  natural history collections  and a  tropical frog conservation centre .

You will also have access to the University's other  facilities for undergraduate students .

Research facilities

As a final year student, you have the opportunity to undertake a project in the labs of our world-class bioscience researchers.

To support our research, we have extensive   research facilities  equipped with high-quality technology.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk