University of Surrey Biology

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University of Surrey Biology

University of Surrey Biology

Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) – 2018 entry

Our Biological Sciences programme will give students an exciting opportunity to study biology in its broadest sense. The optional Professional Training year and the final-year project add to students ability to specialise in a range of topics to make their own bespoke degree.

Dr Kate Plant Programme Director, BSc Biological Sciences

Why Surrey?

Surrey is one of the UK’s leading universities for Biological Sciences, with our programmes ranked sixth in the Complete University Guide 2018 and in the top ten in the Guardian University Guide 2018. This programme achieved 100 per cent overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2017.

Our Biological Sciences programme gives students an exciting opportunity to study biology in its widest sense: from molecules to ecosystems, from microbes to man. Starting from a broad foundation, you will have the opportunity to specialise your degree to reflect your emerging interests and to prepare you for the career that you aspire to.

Programme overview

Surrey is one of the UK’s leading universities for bioscience degrees, and home to inspiring academics and pioneering research that is changing our understanding of the world.

A Biological Sciences degree will provide you with an opportunity to study biological structure and function at various levels from molecules to cells, whole organisms and beyond into communities and ecosystems.  You will have an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a number of current areas including environmental impact, human and animal health issues and food security.  You will develop lifelong skills, including the ability to solve problems, evaluate evidence and analyse data, preparing you for a wide variety of future careers.

Programme structure

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specification documents which include further details such as the learning outcomes. Please be aware that these specifications are applicable to the current academic year.

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Professional Training placement (optional)

Many of our students opt to do a Professional Training placement. These normally begin at the end of the second academic year and finish in time for you to begin the third year of study.

Professional Training placements offer students the opportunity to gain access to the world of work, including meeting employers, developing job search skills and acquiring the employability skills that employers look for. Find out more about Professional Training placements.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)


We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study, which allows you to pursue the subjects essential to your particular degree, but at the same time offers you the flexibility to study other subjects of interest.

During your first year, almost a quarter of your time is spent in laboratory or fieldwork classes.

In your second year, the programme becomes more specialised and you will focus on many different aspects of the subject. In your final year, you will be performing your own scientific research project, usually in one of our research laboratories.

On average you will have approximately 20 hours of contact time each week (lectures, practical classes and tutorials), and you will also be expected to undertake private study such as laboratory write­ups, essays and other coursework for a similar amount of time.

Watch a video of a microbial sciences lab session.

Discover more about our academic staff in the Faculty of Health and Medical Science.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey’s Module Catalogue. See the programme structure section for more information.


Extensive teaching laboratories with modern equipment and networked computer suites with 24-­hour access are available to all undergraduate students in the School of Biosciences and Medicine.

For your research project in Year 3, you will work within our research laboratories alongside active and internationally recognised researchers in the fields of infectious diseases, pharmacology, cancer biology, sleep and chronobiology, nutrition and food science.

Your choice of project will reflect the interests that you develop throughout your degree.

Academic support

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and advise on your option choices and future career, helping you to get the most out of your time at Surrey.

As a student at Surrey, you will be treated as an individual. You will feel welcome from your very first day and our low student­-to-­tutor ratio ensures that you will get to know your personal tutor and other academic staff members well during your years with us.

Global opportunities

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. To check where you can go, visit our Global Exchanges pages.

Our international exchange programme offers you the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university for either one semester or a full academic year as part of your degree.

For Biosciences students, this might be possible for one or two semesters in your second year at one of our partner institutions in the USA (for example, Texas, North Carolina, Cincinnati or Florida) or in Singapore.

The exchange programme enables you to study and live in another country and earn credits that contribute towards your Surrey degree, without paying additional tuition fees.

In doing so you will broaden your horizons, meet other exchange students from around the world and experience student life in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Studying abroad also enables you to become more independent, teaching you how to adapt and adjust to the culture and climate of another country.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. Students have travelled to the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil and many European countries, and typically work in a research laboratory at a partner institution.

If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.

Careers and Professional Training

We are very proud of our track record for graduate employability. One of the main reasons for our graduate employability success is our Professional Training placement programme which is one of the largest in the World, with over 2,300 partner organisations in the UK and overseas. To find out more visit our Careers and Professional Training pages.

The majority of our students choose to undertake a Professional Training placement to gain vital work experience and develop professional skills required by employers.

Our experienced tutors will help you to choose suitable placements from a strictly vetted selection of industrial and academic institutions in the UK and abroad.

Recent placement providers include:

  • University College London
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Netherlands)
  • University of Turku (Finland)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Cornell University Medical School (USA)

Many of our placements provide a salary and, to ensure their success, students are visited by a tutor during the year. We have placements across the UK, Europe and the world, including major pharmaceutical, food and biotechnology companies, and research institutes.

Graduate prospects

A degree in Biological Sciences will prepare you for a wide range of careers, from scientific and technical roles in specialised areas, through to those which draw upon the breadth of Biological Sciences, such as teaching and science journalism.

While many of our Biosciences students go immediately into the scientific job market, others choose to undertake further study, such as Masters degrees or PhD studentships.

The scientific problem solving skills you will develop may be put to good use within the industrial or finance sector, while Biological Sciences graduates professional and communication skills make them ideal candidates for managerial roles.

With a degree in Biological Sciences, the nature of your future career is directed by your own interests and the combination of topics you choose to study.

Our recent Biosciences graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • Procter & Gamble, Microbiology Researcher
  • AstraZeneca, Analytical Chemist
  • GlaxoSmithKline,  Biochemist
  • Teaching within the FE and HE sectors
  • Genzyme, Quality Control Scientist
  • Food Standards Agency, Biochemist
  • Public Health England, Biomedical Scientist
  • ICON, Clinical Project Administrator
  • NHS, Manager
  • Journalism

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £20 – The equipment pack includes a laboratory coat, laboratory glasses, laboratory book, pen and padlock. Students are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing/replacing any equipment

Grand total: £20