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BSc (Honours)/MSci Biology

Apply biological principles to real-world situations in a research-led environment, and develop skills highly valued in research and employment.

Course length 3-4 Year(s)
Location City Campus
UCAS C100 Course code

Course description

What you study
This course covers the breadth of biology from human physiology to ecology, plants and evolution. There is a focus on molecular, genetics and biochemical theory and practice relevant to current fields of biology. The course provides a rigorous laboratory experience so that graduates are research and employment ready, and this is reflected in the interim accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology.

You study the latest laboratory skills and techniques in modern and well-equipped facilities. For example, you use specialist cell culture laboratories that replicate industry equipment and measure gene expression using quantitative PCR. You also complete valuable field work, which has previously included a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, exploring contrasting environments in the Peak District and a residential ecological and environmental field course, all at no additional costs.

You benefit from a strong emphasis on laboratory work, which brings the theory from lectures to life and allows you to gain the practical skills every biologist needs, including maths and the underpinning chemistry, which enhances your employability.

There is an emphasis on practical-problem solving and developing laboratory management and research skills through short independent laboratory projects, which lead to an independent final year research project.

Throughout the curse, problem solving, independent thinking, creativity and critical analysis are encouraged and practised.

The optional transfer to the MSci qualification is aimed at those students wanting to pursue a career in research and is suitable for students who achieve good results during years one and two.

Placements and work experience
Once you have developed your knowledge and skills in the lab, you can apply for an optional third-year work placement, which gives you the chance to apply theory and practice in the workplace. This is a great opportunity to gain experience and professional skills that can give you a significant advantage at the start of your career. Alternatively you are encouraged to undertake internships or other short placements to enhance your CV and future career goals.

You can apply for a placement in the UK or use the opportunity to work abroad in Europe, America and further afield. We have a wide range of major national and multinational placement partners, including • GlaxoSmithKline • Covance • Eurofins • and various universities.

If you are doing your work placement in another European country there may be funding available through the Erasmus programme.

Major research project
Finally, you combine all the skills and knowledge you have gained during your final year research project. This can sometimes be carried out at your placement organisation to help improve further your employment prospects.

Previous project titles include

• investigating the membrane interactions of alpha synuclein oliomers in Parkinson’s disease

• the development of microbial fuel cells utilising methane oxidising bacteria

Professional recognition

Graduates of MSci Biology

This programme has been awarded Advanced Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

Normally five GCSEs at grade C or grade 4 above, including mathematics, English language or literature and a science subject or equivalent*

*GCSE maths, English & Science equivalents accepted:
•equivalency test from www.equivalencytesting.co.uk

plus one of the following

112 UCAS points from at least two A levels (including at least 32 points in Biology) or equivalent BTEC National qualifications (including suitable Chemistry and Biology modules.) We accept AS Levels. We do not accept General Studies.


96 UCAS points from three A levels (including 32 points in Biology) or equivalent BTEC National qualifications (including suitable Chemistry and Biology modules.) We do not accept General Studies.

New UCAS tariff points system for courses starting from September 2017. This is significantly different to the current points system and uses an alternative method of calculation. You can find information about these changes on the UCAS website and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.

• successful completion of our Extended Degree Programme Preparatory year in Biosciences and Chemistry or equivalent

• Access – an Access to HE Diploma from a relevant QAA-recognised Access to HE course which has mainly biology and chemistry related modules, or an equivalent Access to HE certificate. Normally we require 15 credits at level 2 and 45 at level 3 of which at least 15 level 3 credits should be graded at distinction level.

You also need to demonstrate an ability to

• study academic subjects at degree level
• debate topics and issues
• draw on conclusions from written material
• study independently as well as a member of a group
• use computers and technology associated with contemporary teaching, learning and assessment methods
• successfully complete a range of assignments including researched essays and practical examinations

These are normally achieved through completing academic study at level three or above in the last four years.

If English is not your first language you must have an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.

We strongly recommend that you tell us about any long term health conditions or disabilities you may have. This is so we can assess whether we can deliver the course in such a way that you can meet the course requirements and take part without disadvantage. You can contact our University student support staff on 0114 225 3964 (voice and Minicom) and explore any issues you may have.

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Four years full-time (including one year work placement) or three years full-time, plus one year to MSci (optional)

Typical modules may include

Year one modules

• plant physiology and anatomy • human physiology and anatomy • cellular biology, biochemistry with microbiology • environmental biosciences • professional and scientific practice 1

Year two modules

• applied ecology and environmental bioscience • biochemistry and molecular biology • evolutionary biology and animal behaviour • advanced cell biology or topics in biochemistry • professional and scientific practice 2

Year three

• optional work placement - leading to academic assessment via final year professional and scientific practice 3 module.

Final year core modules

• plant biotechnology • environmental biotechnology • research project • professional and scientific practice 3

Final year options

• bioethics • human genetics • bioinformatics • applied biochemistry • neurobiology

MSci year (optional)

• research methods and statistics • research projects

  • examinations
  • coursework
  • written assignments
  • tests
  • group work
  • practical work


This broad course means you can enter many careers. Our graduates are working in areas including • pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries • agriculture • research.

Many graduates progress to specialist masters courses or carry out research for a PhD to enhance their qualifications. Graduates may also have a career in teaching or use their skills in non-scientific careers such as business and government support.


Home / EU student

We do not charge course fees during a placement year.

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

For the course fee and further information on scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.

International student

We do not charge course fees during a placement year.

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 a year

2017/18 academic year

Typically £12,750 a year

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS.

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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