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
    • APIE303 Biology:Placement

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training of at least 26 weeks duration with an approved company or host organisation between Stage 2 and 4. While on placement, students will gain work experience related to their degree programme, be able to apply their biological knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • BIOL307 Advanced Skills and Concepts

      Students will select from a catalogue of short, intensive courses relating to biology, developing skills and concepts to an advanced level. The courses offered will be focused on developing the students¿ skills sets and career aspirations, enhancing student employability.

    • BIOL314 Research Project

      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
    • BIOL301 Plant Biotechnology

      Despite the increasing importance of 'food security' in a changing world, plant biotechnology has had much negative publicity. This module will give students an appreciation of the science and also the ethical and social issues that surround the subject and show why these techniques are so important to secure our food supply.

    • BIOL310 Global Change Biology

      This module provides the student with an in-depth overview of the likely consequences of climate change for plant and animal species biology and distribution over the coming century. From this starting point we will show how an understanding of climate change biology is vital for conservation theory and practice over coming decades.

    • BIOL311 Ecotoxicology

      This module provides a detailed analysis of the concepts and principles of ecotoxicology, with an emphasis on evaluation of ecotoxicological techniques and methods for assessment of impacts of pollutants on the aquatic environment.

    • BIOL319 Animals and Society

      In a world where impacts of human activity are increasing this module seeks to engage learners in a dialogue that promotes exploration and understanding of human perceptions of animals and their worth. In particular it explores the sociological development of our notional obligations and ideologies as they relate to animal protection and use, and wider global issues that impact upon our abilities to manage such notions.

    • BIOL320 Animal Nutrition

      This module examines the principles and practice of animal nutrition for a range of animal species. It provides an understanding of feds, feed evaluation, diet formulation and feeding. The module also examines the impact of ingredient, physical, manufacturing and legal constraints on the production of diets.

    • BIOL321 Pharmacology and Natural Products

      Natural products (NPs) from diverse sources are used by humans including many compounds that affect organisms at cellular and molecular levels. This module will give you an understanding of the generalised mechanism of action of such compounds, their synthesis and an overview of specific compounds, their actions and uses from an array of biological sources and in a number of clinical and industrial contexts.

    • BIOL3313 Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology

      Explores the many important activities of micro-organisms in a range of environments and aspects of their metabolic processes. For each activity and process covered, the parallel subject of biotechnological exploitation will be explored, drawing entirely from real-world examples of microbial biotechnology, linking back to the underpinning theory.

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 September 2016 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.

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.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

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 Sciences

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