BSc Developmental Biology with a Modern Language / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

Our BSc Developmental Biology with a Modern Language course will enable you to develop your language skills while learning how the single cell formed at fertilisation forms an embryo and then a fully formed adult organism.

Developmental biology is a multidisciplinary field that integrates genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, anatomy, physiology and computer modelling.

You will learn how developmental biology is having a significant impact on our understanding of evolution and modern medicine, including the treatment of birth defects, infertility and cancer in humans, focusing on stem cells in particular.

We offer French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin for the language component of the course, which includes a year abroad on a research placement.

Our course has Advanced Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology , which recognises academic excellence in the biosciences and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future.

Special features

Connect with other languages students

Learn alongside other students taking a variety of language degrees at the University, giving you the opportunity to practice your skills with your fellow students and make new friends.

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 away from this course to most of our biological sciences degree courses at the end of your first year or, in some cases, later. You can only transfer onto it if you have completed the required language units in Year 1.

Teaching and learning

The course consists of two-thirds of biological sciences learning and one-third modern language learning. You will learn your modern language alongside other students taking a variety of language degrees at the University.

Teaching and learning will be delivered using a variety of methods. A typical week in your first year of study will comprise approx. 30 hours of activity, of which approximately 15 hours will be timetabled study, such as interactive/active learning lectures, videos, tutorial sessions, laboratory classes and 15 hours will be independent or self-directed study.

As you progress through the course an increasing emphasis will be placed on independent study, and this reflects you applying your knowledge and skills in individual projects. 

The course contains strong practical elements. This commences in year 1 with 'Introduction to laboratory science' (semester 1) and `Introduction to experimental biology' (semester 2) which will enable you to develop basic experimental and data analysis skills.

In year 2 the Experimental Design modules (semester 1) will enable you to develop experimental skills, which are closely aligned to your degree programme. In Semester 2 you will take an intensive, degree specific Research Skills Module (RSM) module where you will have the opportunity to learn key experimental skills and design and analyse simple experiments relevant to your degree.

Students studying Organismal degrees, such as Biology, have the opportunity to take a field course instead of a laboratory based practical unit in Semester 2. For students taking BSc (Hons) Zoology, a field course is a compulsory component of both year 1 and year 2.

For BSc (Hons) with Language Students, the placement project must involve research within the field of biological science and be of relevance to the students degree programme.

The course is assessed by a variety of methods, each appropriate to the topic being assessed. These methods include coursework exercises, written examinations, online examinations, presentations and practical demonstrations. You will also have many opportunities to self-assess your progress using online quizzes and tutorial exercises. .

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.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

Placement year

You will complete a scientific report and undergo an oral examination on your research that contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

Year 4

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

You will also take two honours papers and 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.

Course unit details

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

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

For most languages, you will need to acquire 20 credits per year, but this can be higher for certain other languages, such as Japanese, which requires 40 credits.

Course content for year 1

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

  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • biodiversity
  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • molecular biology

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

You will spend approximately one-third of your time studying course units related to your chosen language.

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
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Molecular & Cellular Biology BIOL10412 10 Mandatory
Biodiversity BIOL10511 10 Mandatory
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Mandatory
History of Biology BIOL10381 10 Optional
Microbes, Humankind and the Environment BIOL10532 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
Fundamentals of Chemistry CHEM10111 10 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 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 an extended essay on a subject-specific topic.

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
Developmental Biology RSM BIOL20972 10 Mandatory
Molecular and Cellular Biology EDM BIOL21041 10 Mandatory
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Mandatory
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Mandatory
Principles of Developmental Biology BIOL21172 10 Mandatory
Organismal Genetics BIOL21371 10 Mandatory
The Biology of Being Human BIOL20982 10 Optional
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Optional
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Optional
Plants for the Future BIOL21202 10 Optional
Animal Diversity BIOL21221 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology BIOL21232 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Endocrinology BIOL21261 10 Optional
Gut and Renal Human Physiology BIOL21272 10 Optional
Human Anatomy & Histology BIOL21291 10 Optional
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 10 Optional
Molecules and Cells in Human Disease BIOL21351 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Subject to satisfactory academic performance and placement availability, you will spend this year overseas on your modern language placement.

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
Comparative Developmental Biol (L) BIOL31451 10 Mandatory
Advanced Developmental Biology (E) BIOL31642 10 Mandatory
Post-Genome Biology (L) BIOL31301 10 Optional
Biochemical Basis of Disease (E) BIOL31332 10 Optional
Advanced Immunology (E) BIOL31371 10 Optional
Gene Regulation & Disease (E) BIOL31381 10 Optional
Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E) BIOL31391 10 Optional
Human Genetics & Evolution (E) BIOL31402 10 Optional
Protein Sorting (L) BIOL31411 10 Optional
Cell Signalling (E) BIOL31441 10 Optional
Chemical Communication in Animals (L) BIOL31461 10 Optional
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Human Reproductive Biology (E) BIOL31561 10 Optional
Advanced Endocrinology (L) BIOL31571 10 Optional
Cardiovascular Systems (E) BIOL31582 10 Optional
Imaging in Biomedical Research (E) BIOL31631 10 Optional
Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L) BIOL31651 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Cell Adhesion (L) BIOL31771 10 Optional
Immune Response & Disease (E) BIOL31802 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

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. 

Scholarships and bursaries

A small number of scholarships may be available to overseas applicants. Details will be made available once confirmed.

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.

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