School of Biological and Marine Sciences

BSc (Hons) Biosciences

Have you successfully completed a foundation degree in biology and want to continue your studies to degree level? This broad-base biosciences course covers subjects including science communication, ecotoxicology, microbiology, plant sciences, animal/human health and genetics. You’ll also undertake a specialised research project where you can explore your own interests in-depth. By the end of the year you’ll be well-equipped for a career in human health, biotechnology or related industries.

You will expand your learning through practical classes in the laboratory and in the field. You’ll draw on a strong system of student support and tracking through personal tutors. You’ll take part in an optional work placement year before starting the course and gain invaluable insights into the practical aspects of working in biosciences. As this is a 'top-up' programme for FdSc graduates only, it is not available during Clearing.

Key features
  • Develop a range of knowledge, skills and practical experience in biosciences, that will equip you for a wide variety of careers. Biosciences students go on to careers including biomedical and human health sciences, biotechnology or environmental biology.
  • Benefit from a dedicated research project module catering for the needs of incoming foundation degree students.
  • Expand your learning through practical classes in the laboratory and in the field.  
  • Draw on a strong system of student support and tracking through personal tutors.
  • Take part in an optional work placement year before starting the course and gain invaluable insights into the practical aspects of working in biosciences.
  • Study up to four topic areas in depth including plant biotechnology, global change biology, ecotoxicology, environmental microbiology and biotechnology, medical genetics, animals and human health and science centres communication.
Course details
  • Course overview

  • You'll carry out an in-depth research project specifically designed for the needs of incoming foundation degree students, using a range of practical skills, data gathering and interpretation, scientific literature synthesis and communication skills. You'll also be able to develop your knowledge and practical experience from a range of option modules.

    Core modules

    • Biology:Placement (APIE303)

      All students on our degrees have the option of undertaking a (minimum of 6 month) work placement at a company or university anywhere in the world undertaking some kind of work (usually research-based) relating to their programme of study.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules

    • Advanced Skills and Concepts (BIOL307)

      You will select 3 'podules' - short courses of study that revolve around a particular set of advanced skills or concepts not typically found in undergraduate programmes but often highly desired by employers. In each 'podule', you will be assessed both in the form of coursework (usually addressing the conceptual basis) and in a practical assessment of your ability to carry out a particular method.

    • Research Project (BIOL314)

      The largest component of the module comprises a research study element that incorporates the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data. Other elements include a conduct of study component and a communicating science element. Students will also complete a comprehensive introduction to the research report that incorporates a brief literature review of the topic that addresses wider issues of relevance to their field of research study.

    Optional modules

    • Plant Biotechnology (BIOL301)

      You will understand the role of plant biotechnology in food security with consideration of both scientific and social matters, such as ethics.

    • Applied Conservation Biology (BIOL308)

      You will focus on the application of biological theory to the management of populations of wild and captive animals. You will understand how theory feeds into, and informs, practice, whilst developing knowledge of the major approaches, analytical tools and techniques, and software used in the public and private conservation sectors.

    • Global Change Biology (BIOL310)

      You will gain an overview of the state of the art understanding of the consequences of climate change across all three domains of life. From this, you will understand how climate change biology is essential in conservation theory and practice and the impacts of climate change and both local and global scales.

    • Ecotoxicology (BIOL311)

      You will gain a detailed understanding of concepts and principles of environmental hazard and risk assessment with an emphasis on the evaluation of the ecotoxicological methods used in the assessment of pollutants on the aquatic environment.

    • Animal Nutrition (BIOL320)

      You will understand the principles and practice of animal nutrition for a range of species. You will understand feeds and their evaluation, diet formulation and feeding methods. You will examine the impact of ingredient, physical, manufacturing and legal constraints on the production of feeds.

    • Pharmacology and Natural Products (BIOL321)

      You will understand the diverse range of useful compounds and materials produced by living organisms that can be harnessed by humans. You will understand the chemical and biological diversity of natural products along with strategies for identification, characterisation and extraction.

    • Aquatic Microbial Ecology (BIOL322)

      This module covers methodologies and current research in aquatic microbial ecology. You will study microbial life from all three domains of life - the Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea as well as viruses. You will cover freshwater (lakes, rivers), marine (polar ice caps, neuston, benthic plain, hydrothermal vents) and hypersaline (playas, soda lakes) ecosystems as well as flora and fauna of these ecosystems as habitats.

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 Biosciences Programme Specification 4673

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
A foundation degree (FdSc), Higher National Diploma (HND) or other equivalent qualification in a biological subject. You will be advised on appropriate module choices based on your specific foundation degree or diploma content on enrolment at the University.

Admissions depends on foundation programme studied and all applications will be referred to the Admissions Tutor. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team on email: or by phone: +44 1752 585858.

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.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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

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.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

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

Undergraduate study in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences

Watch and find out more about studying in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at Plymouth.