BSc Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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. Interdisciplinarity is encouraged, and you have the opportunity to enrol on courses at the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning in the second and third year.

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

A range of study options

You can extend your degree by a year to undertake an integrated master's , gain industrial/professional experience , study with entrepreneurship 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 bioscience 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. Year 1 contributes 10% to your overall degree mark.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam, short note questions, problem sets and other authentic assessments.Year 2 contributes 30% to your overall degree mark.

Final year

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam or extended coursework. 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 through a presentation 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:

  • biodiversity and evolution
  • biochemistry and cell biology
  • genetics and 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
Health & Safety online course BIOL12000 0 Mandatory
History of Biology BIOL10381 10 Optional
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Molecular & Cellular Biology BIOL10412 10 Optional
Microbes, Humankind 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
Non-Residential Field Course in 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 25 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. Enrolment in the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning is encouraged. You will also undertake a Science Communication unit.

In the Research Skills unit, you have the opportunity to carry out techniques that are widely used in current biological science research. Alternatively, you can build on your field work and ecological research skills with a field course.

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
Science Communication BIOL21392 10 Mandatory
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
Fundamentals of Bacteriology BIOL21181 10 Optional
Principles of Infectious Disease BIOL21192 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
Parasitology BIOL21252 10 Optional
Body Systems 2 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
Introduction to Cancer BIOL21742 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Optional
Environmental Microbiology EART21102 10 Optional
Evolution and Palaeobiology EART22101 10 Optional
Ecology and Conservation EART25001 10 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20282 10 Optional
LEAP BSL Part 1 ULBS50001 10 Optional
LEAP BSL Part 1 ULBS50002 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 43 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. The Biology course allows you the greatest flexibility and choice of lecture units.

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 40 Mandatory
Post-Genome Biology (L) BIOL31301 10 Optional
Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E) BIOL31311 10 Optional
Glycobiology: Glycan Function in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31321 10 Optional
Biochemical Basis of Disease (E) BIOL31332 10 Optional
Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L) BIOL31341 10 Optional
Current Topics in Microbiology (E) BIOL31351 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
Comparative Developmental Biol (L) BIOL31451 10 Optional
Chemical Communication in Animals (L) BIOL31461 10 Optional
Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology (E) BIOL31471 10 Optional
Conservation Biology (E) BIOL31482 10 Optional
Green Biotechnology (E) BIOL31501 10 Optional
Biotic Interactions (L) BIOL31511 10 Optional
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Living with Climate Change (L) BIOL31541 10 Optional
Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E) BIOL31551 10 Optional
Advanced Endocrinology (L) BIOL31571 10 Optional
Cardiovascular Systems (E) BIOL31582 10 Optional
Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E) BIOL31602 10 Optional
Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31612 10 Optional
Membrane Transport and Signalling in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31622 10 Optional
Imaging in Biomedical Research (E) BIOL31631 10 Optional
Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L) BIOL31651 10 Optional
Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E) BIOL31671 10 Optional
Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E) BIOL31681 10 Optional
Learning, Memory & Cognition (E) BIOL31692 10 Optional
Hormones & Behaviour BIOL31721 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Cell Adhesion (L) BIOL31771 10 Optional
Advanced Parasitology (E) BIOL31792 10 Optional
Immune Response & Disease (E) BIOL31802 10 Optional
Role of Diagnostics in Medicine BIOL31832 10 Optional
Computational Approaches to Biology BIOL33021 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Dinosaur Palaeobiology EART34001 10 Optional
Primate Evolution and Human Origins EART36202 10 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM30832 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32011 10 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33201 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 48 course units for year 3

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