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.

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 optional 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

    • SoBMS Project (PROJ302)

      This module provides an opportunity to undertake a research project on an individually developed topic and experience the entire process of scholarly research: from problem formulation, through the design and execution of an investigation, analysis of results and presentation of outcomes. It will develop skills in independent working and self-awareness in relation to personal, professional and academic development.

    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.

    • Advanced Behaviour Analysis Techniques (BIOL323)

      Learn to use a range of modern animal behaviour analysis techniques in a variety of settings, such as labs, farms, zoos etc. Cover how you identify and follow individual animals to collect social data and construct a social network, how to analyse animal movement and how we can test and train animals to assess behavioural changes - and how to communicate, to a wider audience, the importance of these techniques.

    • Advanced Bioinformatics and Phylogenetics (BIOL324)

      Technological advances have generated a substantial increase in the amount and speed of data production. You will build expertise in skills used for data analysis, essential for working in the life sciences (big data sets, bioinformatics, phylogenetics, image analysis and genomics etc.) to address questions in biology, ecology, evolution and behaviour; and communicating these complex ideas to the wider public.

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 2024 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.
Admissions depends on foundation programme studied and all applications will be referred to the Admissions Tutor. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team on email: 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

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
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. More information about fees and funding.

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.

Tuition fees for optional placement years

The fee for all undergraduate students completing any part of their placement year in the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,850.
The fee for all undergraduate students completing their whole placement year outside the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,385.
Learn more about placement year tuition fees

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

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

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
Students and technician working in greenhouse, Skardon Garden


Meet our school technical staff   

Our technical staff are integral to the delivery of all our programmes and bring a diverse range of expertise and skills to support students in laboratories, workshops, and the field.