University of Nottingham Biology

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University of Nottingham Biology

University of Nottingham Biology

Biology BSc

 Fact file – 2018 entry
Biology | BSc Hons
UCAS code
3 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
Biology and a second science at A level, preferably from chemistry, physics or maths; geography and psychology are also accepted. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GCSE maths and English grade 4 or above also required.
IB score
34 (5/6 biology and one other science, in any order, at Higher Level)
Course location
University Park Campus and Medical School
Course places
90 (with MSci Biology)


Study a wide range of topics covering all aspects of biology, preparing you for a variety of careers.
Highlights of biology at Nottingham
  • expand your study through a wide choice of optional modules, including the unique Biological Photography and Imaging modules
  • get hands-on during field courses to Portugal and the Peak District, adding context to your learning
  • benefit from substantial laboratory experience from year one
  • travel while you learn, with opportunities to study abroad in your second year
  • work on real research alongside research groups within the school; some students even have work published

Biology is ideal if you have previously studied science subjects and would like to keep your learning broad.

On this course you will study all types of biology from microbial and plant to human and animal. This breadth of knowledge provides opportunities for a variety of careers in industry, healthcare, government agencies or research.

If you find a particular area of biology interesting, there is flexibility (through optional modules and research projects) to tailor the course to focus on those interests.

Yearly overviews

Year one

In this year, you will find out more about the biology of animals, plants and microbes and the biochemical, evolutionary and genetic processes that underlie their biology.

You will explore the remarkable diversity of life on Earth, and learn about the fundamental building blocks of life: genes, molecules and cells.

You have the opportunity to learn about the workings of the human body, the ways that living processes in all organisms are regulated by the genome, and the role that animals and plants play in their environment.

The experimental approach forms a key component to the year, with courses teaching practical skills and the principles of experimental design and analysis.

Key transferable skills encountered this year include the use of learning resources, essay writing and oral presentations.

Year two

In year two, you will be able to focus on your favourite areas of biology, with a high degree of choice.

One major theme of modules this year is health and disease in humans, other animals and plants. You will learn about the genetic and developmental basis of disease, the fundamental biology of pathogens and parasites, and what happens when the nervous system doesn’t work properly.

Another major theme is the evolutionary origins and ecological consequences of biodiversity – something you might explore in the wild on one of our field courses.

Alternatively, you might take our unique Biological Photography and Imaging module, where you will learn how to capture images in a range of biological situations, from wildlife photography to microscopy.

Transferable skills that we focus on in year two include researching the primary scientific literature and writing according to the rules of scientific convention. This culminates in you writing an extended essay on a topic of your choosing.

Year three

The main theme of the third year is diversity, and in addition to a compulsory module in science and society, you will be able to choose from a wide range of advanced modules to enhance your learning in areas such as neurobiology, genetics, plant science, ecology, animal behaviour, conservation, aquatic biology, immunology and developmental biology.

All your learning in previous years culminates in a major practical research project, which allows you to carry out your own biological investigation in a topic area that interests you, either in the laboratory or the field.

See what third year students George and Georgina
say about their projects.

Learning and assessment

You will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module. This may include:
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • workshops
  • residential field courses
  • tutorials

You will study in the School of Life Sciences building on University Park Campus and the Medical School, which is embedded in the Queen’s Medical Centre. We have large lecture theatres, smaller seminar rooms and large multidisciplinary laboratories.

Assessment methods

Assessment varies on the module being studied but typically is a combination of:

  • exams
  • essays
  • dissertations
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations

Exams happen twice a year at the end of each semester.

Find out more about our teaching on our school website.

Study abroad and placements

We offer the chance to study abroad at an approved partner university through the Universitas 21 programme. This is an exciting opportunity to gain a global perspective of science, boost your communication skills, and to discover a new culture.

There is also the possibility to gain valuable work experience with an optional placement year. Placements are a great opportunity to see what the sector you want to go into is like, try out specific job roles, and to gain the skills that employers want.

Please note that placements have to be organised by the student and approved by the school. The University’s Careers and Employability Service can provide advice on how to find and apply for a placement.

Information on fees for a placement or study abroad year can be found on the fees website.

Student support

All students have a personal tutor. Personal tutors are members of academic staff in the school and they will:

  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback
  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters

At Nottingham we still offer small group tutorials of around six students. This ensures you have enough time to build a relationship with your tutor and benefit from their support. Your fellow tutees also provide peer support.

Additionally, the school has a dedicated Welfare Officer and a Student Liaison Officer who are available to help you adapt to university life and provide advice on more complex issues.

Peer mentoring

BioSoc is the student-led biology society. Alongside organising social, sporting and networking events, BioSoc provide peer mentoring. You will be matched with a senior student who can offer help and support and introduce you to the rest of what the society offers.

Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our mature students website.

International applicants

We welcome applications from international applicants. The University’s International Office can provide advice and support throughout your application and preparation for coming to the UK.

Please see the entry requirements tab for English language requirements.

If you are unable to attend an open day, we can meet you in your country at one of our overseas events or arrange an individual visit to the University. Find out more on the International Office website.

Student profile

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB, including biology and a second science at A level, preferably from chemistry, physics or maths; geography and psychology are also accepted. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. Maths and English GCSE grade 4 or above are also required.

English language requirementsIELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

Alternative qualificationsFor details please see the alternative qualifications page.

Science Foundation CertificateInternational students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.

Science with Foundation YearHome, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.

Flexible admissions policyIn recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.


Typical year one modules

Genes, Molecules and Cells
Core Skills in Biology
Life on Earth

You must choose a minimum of one module from the following:

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Human Physiology
Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Further module options:

You also have to choose an additional module, which can be done by selecting one further module from the three offered above or by selecting a module of your choice from those offered outside the school.

Typical year two modules

Higher Skills in the Biological Sciences
The Genome and Human Disease

Optional modules:

Evolutionary Biology of Animals
Biological Photography and Imaging 1
Behavioural Ecology Field Course
Biodiversity Field Course
Infection and Immunity
Animal Behaviour and Physiology
Molecular Imaging
Microbial Biotechnology
Bacterial Genes and Development
Building Brains
Developmental Biology
Neurobiology of Disease
Neurons and Glia
Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics
Signalling and Metabolic Regulation
Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes
The Green Planet


Typical year three modules

Research Project
Science and Society

Optional modules:

Molecular Plant Pathology
Plant-Microbial Interactions
Parasite Immunology
Biological Photography and Imaging II
Conservation Genetics
Cancer Biology
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Evolution and Behaviour
Evolutionary Ecology
Human Variation
Ageing, Sex and DNA Repair
Plant Disease Control
Gene Regulation
Advanced Developmental Biology
Aquatic Biology in a Changing Environment

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


You will graduate with a sound understanding of the biology of animals, plants and microbes and the biochemical, evolutionary and genetic processes that underlie their biology.

You will have acquired scientific, analytical and communication skills, and also an understanding of the optimal design and analysis of scientific investigations.

Find out more about the career options open to biology graduates, including recent Nottingham graduate destinations by visiting our careers page.

Average starting salary 

In 2016, 92% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,037 with the highest being £42,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.


Careers Support and AdviceStudying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursariesThe University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A ‘home’ student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.