School of Biological and Marine Sciences

BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences with Foundation Year

Are you looking for an alternative route into our biology degrees? Whether you’re returning to study or your results weren't what you’d hoped for, this year zero foundation course prepares you to enter any biology degree. You will be taught at the University by the same academics as on our degrees and will gain the understanding and confidence needed for your degree, plus the study skills needed to succeed.

Careers with this subject

Our biological science students have tremendous opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in a variety of work settings. Our hands-on approach to teaching and learning throughout the course will provide you with the topical skills and experience that you can apply to the wide range of career options as graduates.

Where could a biology degree take you?

Key features

  • This course is an integrated part of a biology degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of the foundation year (Year 0) provides progression onto Year 1 from a choice of biology degrees. With historical pass rates in excess of 85 per cent, you have an excellent chance of progression onto Year 1. You can progress onto BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology or BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare from this course.
  • You will benefit from over 25 years of expertise in science foundation courses at the University of Plymouth, which continue to produce excellent degree candidates.
  • You will be prepared to study at degree level during the course, so unlike A levels or Access Courses, you will actually learn how to study at degree level, giving you a significant advantage once you move onto the degree itself.
  • Your studies can be funded through standard tuition fee loans – it does not require an upfront investment.
  • You will benefit from enthusiastic, supportive academic staff that have substantial experience in helping students realise their potential and who are active researchers in their fields.
  • You will be taught at the University itself – not on a satellite campus or in a tertiary college – and you will be taught by the same academic staff that teach on our other degrees.
  • You will benefit from the full University experience from day one – Fresher’s Week, a full university Library and IT provision and so on to fully support your studies.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details
  • Foundation year

  • You will study biology alongside the core skills in mathematics, statistics and physics or chemistry needed to study biology in higher education. You will study two core modules of biology and a third covering contemporary issues in biology. A fourth core module covers the study skills and core mathematics that underpin study of biology. You will take optional modules in either chemistry or physics, plus a final module covering statistical skills needed to analyse and understand data.

    You will be supported through your studies and will have full access support from both the academic staff and wider University support services, such as the SUM:UP service for mathematics and statistics support, our Library and our Learning Development team. We understand that not all students need the same levels or types of support and our support services are primed to assist students in a flexible way.

    Core modules

    • Biology 1 (BIO012)

      This module introduces students to the study of biology and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of modern science. No prior knowledge is required or assumed. The emphasis is on understanding some of the core principles of biology, and applying these across the breadth of the subject. To ensure that key practical skills are developed, the module will incorporate many hands-on learning experiences.

    • Biology 2 (BIO013)

      This module builds on the core ideas introduced in BIO012, introducing a range of additional biological concepts. There will be a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles to a wide range of topics in biology, including many hands-on learning experiences to ensure that key practical skills are developed.

    • Issues in Biology (BIO014)

      This module addresses key contemporary issues in the biological sciences, introducing students to the breadth of topics and research methods in modern biology. The module will take an investigative approach, allowing students to develop their own understanding of how problems in biology are addressed and resolved, and fostering an appreciation of the scope of subjects encompassed by the biological sciences.

    • Chemistry 1 (CHM009)

      This module introduces students into the world of chemistry and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of science. No prior knowledge of science is required and the emphasis is on applying the principals of chemistry across a wide subject area, with many hands-on learning experiences.

    • Study and Mathematical Skills for Science (GEES001)

      This module is designed to enable learners to adapt to the Higher Education Learning Environment by the development of a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.

    Optional modules

    • Chemistry 2 (CHM010)

      This module is designed to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills inculcated in CHM009 and to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of organic Chemistry at a level sufficient for entry to the degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering, including the Chemistry Degree programmes.

    • Mathematics and Statistics for Science (MATH019)

      This module provides the basic mathematical background to enable learners to progress to honours degree programmes in science.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Biological Sciences with Foundation Year programme specification_6586

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

Candidates with formal qualifications awarded in the last three years:

For candidates with science-based Access to Higher Education diplomas: a pass in the diploma overall, with passes in the science based units therein (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science, electrical or technology background please contact: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk for further advice.

For candidates with BTEC National modules: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP from a science related subject. 12 Unit BTEC National Certificate/QCF Diploma: MP from a science related subject. If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

For candidates with A levels: a minimum of 2 A levels to include at least one pass in a science subject.

For candidates with International Baccalaureate:  24 overall to include 1 subject from science – English and mathematics must be included.

For candidates with other post-GCSE qualifications such as NVQ, Level 3 is usually required. If you have GNVQ or AGNVQ, passes in science subjects are generally required.

We would usually expect GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C/4, or equivalent.

For international applicants, we require an IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each element.


Candidates without formal qualifications awarded in the last three years:

We particularly welcome applications from candidates returning to study, who can offer work or other related experience in lieu of formal qualifications. Therefore candidates without formal science qualifications or with non-standard qualifications are assessed on an individual basis, usually via interview. We encourage any candidate who is unsure regarding the suitability of their qualifications or experience to contact Admissions in the first instance, who will then liaise with the Admissions Tutor and Programme Lead.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

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Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

People

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni is updated annually in September.