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What makes Biology at the University of Worcester special?

Biology is one of the most actively changing subjects in the sciences, constantly seeking solutions to the many challenges that shape our world. At Worcester we engage with Biology at every level, from the molecular level through whole organisms and beyond to their relationships with each other and the wider environment.

Key features

  • Unique project opportunities. You could be involved in deciphering the genome of a bacterial species
  • The latest discoveries are inter-linked with established biological principles
  • Flexible structure: specialise in your particular areas, such as molecular biology or physiology, or keep your interests wider if you prefer
  • New laboratories and specialist equipment - an inspiring environment for you to develop your ideas
  • Study in a friendly and supportive environment
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TSB Accredited degreeThis programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers.

The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

Taster days

A Biological Science taster day gives you the opportunity to explore our facilities, take part in Biological Science taster activities, and find out about student life. This day is for those considering applying for the course, not those who have already applied or those who have been offered an interview. For further information or to request a place please email insiders@worc.ac.uk or complete this enquiry form.

Upcoming taster days:

Tuesday 8th May 2018, 10am - 2pm

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

UCAS tariff

96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology and A2 another science, maths or statistics.

104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology.

Other information

The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including Access courses, European Baccalaureate and pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ. Non-standard entry via the exploratory essay route is also available.

If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from http://www.ucas.com

I really enjoyed being at a smaller university with smaller class sizes, getting the attention of the professors and the support of the University and the staff.

Tiffany Slater, Biology graduate, originally from Kentucky.

Book your place at an Open Day

Want to know why so many students love living and studying in Worcester?

Our open days are the perfect way to find out.

Book your place

I arrived at the University of Worcester not too sure about the future direction of my career, but I finished my degree inspired and eager to start my journey into the world of academic research. The support I received throughout my studies was great.

Rebecca Molland

Course content

What will you study?

Here is an overview of current modules available on this course. Regular updates may mean that exact module titles may differ.

Year 1

Mandatory

  • Introduction to Ecology
  • Animal Diversity
  • Cell Biology
  • Comparative Animal Physiology      

Optional

  • Introduction to Nutrition in Humans
  • Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Health and Disease
  • Introduction to Biological Chemistry
  • Basis of Biological Surveying
  • Human Origins
  • An Introduction to Sustainability

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Plant Biology
  • Project and Career Development
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics and Conservation

Optional

  • Work Experience
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Agents and Allergens
  • Animal Senses and Survival
  • Human Genetics
  • Medical Forensic Science
  • Human Systems Physiology
  • Integrated Human Metabolism
  • Comparative Digestion and Nutrition
  • Invertebrate Biology
  • Population and Community Ecology
  • Ecology of Fresh Waters
  • Soils and the Environment
  • Field Techniques and Identification skills.

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Independent Study
  • Plant Development and Physiology

Optional

  • Work Experience
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Animal Movement
  • Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Biological Indicators for Crime Reporting
  • Pharmacology
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics
  • Extension Module
  • Parasitology
  • The Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Research Methods and Research Project
  • International Biology Field Trip
  • Residential Ecology Field Trip
  • Zoo-based Conservation

Student experiences

The course deals with many different groups of organisms in terms of their structure, development, physiology, metabolism and ecology. It also explains how a range of new techniques, such as the sequencing of the entire genomes of an increasing number of species, have added enormously to knowledge so that modern biologists can address questions that were unanswerable in the past.

A key strength of the course is the clear linkage between this new information and established knowledge. For example, the new ‘genomics’ material is taught in association with Mendelian genetics and modern ‘bioinformatics’ methods are used to show how evolution can be followed by examining DNA and amino acid sequences from different species.

View the Biology Programmes Overview.

Teaching and Assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. 

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of ‘hands on’ practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second or third year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme.

Contact time 

In a typical week you will have around 16 contact hours of teaching.  The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study. 

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
  • 1 hour of group workshops
  • 1 hour of Study Skills (first year only)

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 27 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve going over your lecture notes and reading around the topic in order to reinforce the content, completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions.

Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 93 per cent of course lecturers in the Biological Sciences have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Twenty per cent also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments.  Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.  

Assessment methods include practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1
4 practical reports
3 practical files
6 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 practical test
1 presentation
1 poster

Year 2
2 practical reports
5 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
2 poster presentations
1 presentation
1 practical test
1 practical handbook
1 bioinformatics handbook
1 data exercise
1 lay summary
1 literature portfolio
1 research proposal
1 CV and practice job interview

Year 3
1 Independent study report
2 poster presentation
2 presentations
4 examinations of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 on-line activity
1 essay
1 practical test
2 practical reports
1 scientific review article
1 summary and critical discussion of academic papers

Feedback

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Meet the team

Here are a few members of the department who currently teach on this course:

  • Lorraine-Weaver-200x200

    Lorraine Weaver

    Lorraine is Head of Biological Sciences and has a range of interests, from the physiology and behaviour of large agricultural animals to the ecology of Bryophytes, the latter being one of her main research interests.

  • Dr Chris Brown

    Dr Chris Brown

    Chris studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Following completion of his Honours degree, he joined the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology where he worked on their sub-Antarctic programme for several years, which included over two years carrying out research on the energetics and ecology of penguins, albatrosses and petrels on Marion Island in the sub-Antarctic.

  • Dr Mike Wheeler

    Dr Mike Wheeler

    Mike is currently investigating the function of a large family of secreted proteins likely to be involved in cell-cell communication in the model plants, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens.

    In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern.

Careers

Where could it take you?

Employability

The course prepares you for a number of degree paths including scientific researcher within government, industry or medical institutions, medical and laboratory sales, nature conservation, a range of public sector work and a teaching career. Many of our graduates go on to further study through masters and PhD degrees.

The Biological Sciences courses have a strong applied component. We have retained a great deal of practical and field work, both of which have been greatly reduced in many universities; these give our students an advantage when seeking employment or continuing their studies through a higher degree. This has suited students well for careers in the laboratory or the field. Some are engaged in research or education and some undertake medical qualifications or complete higher degrees.

There are many opportunities to extend your experience and enhance your CV by carrying out voluntary work. Staff members in the Institute have links with several Wild Life Trusts (including Worcestershire Wildlife Trust) and other environmental and conservation agencies, Sea Life Centres, Safari Parks etc. and can help organise voluntary work (which can feed into Independent Studies projects in the final year of study). There has also been the possibility for students to gain experience by volunteering to work within the Environmental Sustainability Eco Campus initiative.

Pollen Research

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Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in 2017 will be £9,250.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in 2017 will be £11,700 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in 2017 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying.  The amounts vary between courses.

You will also need a lab coat, which can be bought for around £13.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls, 358 of which were new in 2009. We offer halls of residence to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £94 per week to the £153 per week 'En-suite Extra'.

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Single Honours:
Biology BSc (Hons) - C100

 

Joint Honours:
Biology and Ecology - C193
Biology and Mathematics - CG11
Biology and Psychology - CC18

 

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

UCAS CODE:

C100

Apply now via UCAS

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Admissions office

01905 855111
admissions@worc.ac.uk

Lorraine Weaver

Head of Biological Sciences
01905 855598
l.weaver@worc.ac.uk

ISE Academic Support Unit

01905 855201/02/23
ise@worc.ac.uk