BSc

Biology

If you are fascinated by all aspects of the living world, you will thrive on our BSc Biology degree here at Aberystwyth University. You will explore a whole host of diverse topics that cover the cellular and molecular up to whole organisms. You will also learn how biology can be used in practical ways that can contribute to improving the quality and sustainability of life – a subject that is highly relevant to the challenges posed by climate change. From proteins to puffins, our BSc Biology degree explores everything that the living world has to offer, and you will find that Aberystwyth University is located in one of the best places to uncover and understand the wonders of the natural world. 

Course Overview

Royal Society of Biology Accredited Degree

On our BSc Biology degree course, you won’t have to limit yourself to just one area of Biology. You might be studying microbiology in the morning, and investigating the life found in sand dunes in the afternoon. Our degree structure is flexible and gives you the opportunity to keep your options open or to specialise. 

You will be taught by passionate, engaged, and friendly staff who have expertise across the full range of Biology topics. Our staff are not only lecturers but also active researchers and their research interests feed into our courses, meaning that you will benefit from the very latest information. We have invested heavily in our research facilities over many years, and as part of the Research Project module, you may get the opportunity to work in the research units on the main campus, or in our dedicated research facility at Gogerddan just outside Aberystwyth. 

Your academic studies will be bolstered by a wealth of laboratory and field classes which build real scientific skills essential for your future career. You will explore anatomy and structure, physiology and behaviour, alongside the scientific rationales for habitat requirements and ecosystem interactions. This is a practical course where you will sample, record and analyse data in our excellent, well-equipped laboratories as well as out in the field. Aberystwyth is situated amongst hills, wooded valleys, wetlands, sandy and rocky shores and, of course, alongside the pristine waters of Cardigan Bay. 

If you would like to study Biology with an Integrated Masters, then have a look at our sister course (C109), which has an additional year that allows you to gain a Masters qualification.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff in the Department of Life Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry. The Department has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules September start - 2023

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Biochemistry and the Cellular Basis of Life BR15320 20
Evolution and the Diversity of Life BR14310 10
Exploring Genetics BR14410 10
Metabolism BR12010 10
Molecular Laboratory Skills BR12210 10
Ecology BR13510 10
Microbial Diversity BR12110 10
Study and Communication Skills BR12410 10
The Green Planet BR13610 10

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Biological Thought and Discovery BR12510 10
Comparative Animal Physiology BR14110 10
Soils and their Management BR14910 10
The Biosphere BR13210 10

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Biotechnology BR35520 20
Global Biodiversity Conservation BR33420 20
Research Project BR36440 40

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Anthropogenic threats to the Biosphere BR36720 20
Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics BR37120 20
Conservation Genetics and Evolution Field Course BR36220 20
Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture BR33220 20
Frontiers in Plant Science BR35820 20
Microbial Pathogenesis BR33720 20
Parasitology BR33820 20
Terrestrial Ecology Fieldcourse BR36620 20
Wildlife Conservation BR34520 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Careers

Recent graduates are working for education authorities, the Environment Agency, conservation organisations, pharmaceutical companies, the NHS, sea-life centres, public health laboratories and the water industry, to name a few. 

They are working as: 

  • research scientists 
  • clinical molecular geneticists 
  • nature conservation officers 
  • educators. 

With a degree in Biology, you could also progress to further training in the following fields: 

  • dentistry 
  • medicine 
  • science writing.  

Aberystwyth University has an excellent Careers Service and we have our own dedicated, professional Careers Advisors. We also have a member of staff who is Director of Employability for the Department, and we are constantly striving to embed and enhance the delivery of real-world skills into every module we offer. 

What skills will I develop while studying Biology? 

Employability is embedded in our teaching. Our students leave Aberystwyth University with the following: 

  • research and data analysis skills 
  • enhanced mathematical and computational skills 
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills 
  • information technology skills 
  • the ability to work independently 
  • time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines 
  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, both written and spoken 
  • self-motivation and self-reliance 
  • team-working skills, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement. 

What work experience opportunities are available to me while I study? 

Find out about the various opportunities that our Careers Service offers. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and our Year in Employment Scheme

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn? 

You will focus on the sequencing of whole genomes, analysis of their evolution and investigation of individual gene function, using cutting-edge analytical methods. You will also consider the ethical dilemmas being posed by advances in biological knowledge, for example in controversial disease treatments or reproductive medicine. You will have opportunities to apply molecular techniques including DNA extraction, sequencing and analysis, and benefit from advanced analytical expertise in the Department, from bioinformatics and GIS to epidemiology. Our aim is to develop your knowledge and experimental skills as well as to encourage you to think independently, creatively and critically. 

In your first year, you will explore a wide range of topics from biochemistry to evolution, and diversity of life to ecology. These are all designed to give you a firm grounding in Biology and prepare you for your second and final years when you will explore topics that you might never have considered before. 

In your second and final year, you will be able to select topics from a wide range of modules – the widest range of any of our degree courses. In these years you can specialise, perhaps taking a more molecular or environmental route choosing subjects such as applied molecular biology and bioinformatics or ecological surveying. On the other hand, you can keep your options open by mixing and matching topics like proteins and enzymes and health microbiology with wildlife conservation. The latter approach is ideal if you are interested in a career in education. The second and final years are where you will also find our field courses ranging from topical zoology to terrestrial ecology. 

In your final year you will also undertake your research project. Because of the range of research at Aberystwyth you will have no trouble finding a project that really engages you and builds your scientific skills. The projects may be lab or field-based, or data analysis studies, but all will help you to develop advanced analytical skills. The topics that you may study could include bird behaviour, cancer, plant breeding or parasites to name a few. 

How will I be taught? 

It’s not all lectures and exams here at Aberystwyth. We place great emphasis on field and practical work to let you get hands-on experience and build practical and analytical skills. These skills are essential for a career in Biosciences and teaching, but they also make Biology graduates an attractive proposition for employers in many other sectors. Seminars, tutorials and residential field courses also play a role in teaching here. Our aim is to make everything we do fully accessible to everyone, and our teaching and support staff are dedicated to achieving this. 

How will I be assessed? 

There are exams, of course, but every module has more than one form of assessment. Coursework assessments range from practical or field reports through to writing journal-style articles and making podcasts. Our assessments are not just designed to test your knowledge and understanding, but also build real-world skills such as teamwork, presentation and report writing skills that are needed in any graduate-level job. When we teach and examine, we are aiming to create the scientists of the future as well as first-class potential employees. 

Personal Tutor 

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will be your main contact throughout the duration of your studies. Your personal tutor can help you to settle in when you first arrive and will be available to help you with anything after that, whether academic or personal. 

Student Testimonials

It's great, I get to cover a large range of topics which allows me to tailor my modules to my own taste and make it fit my interests and needs. Elizabeth Smith

It is very broad and caters for the interests of anyone wishing to study biology. The modules in the second year allow you to specialize in subject areas that you are interested in. The flexibility of the degree scheme is very attractive to a prospective student who is not yet sure where their true interests lie. The practicals are diverse and well spread over the academic year and reinforce lecture material. Jodie Ackland

Biology is the study of life. To me, that is the most important study of all. From the smallest Archaea in extreme conditions to the dense masses and diversity of a rainforest, Biology covers it all with unbelievable detail and fantastic enthusiasm, particularly at Aberystwyth University. The teaching at Aberystwyth has allowed me to explore certain aspects of biology that I find fascinating, allowing me to acquire skills that will help me succeed in the future with a career I want. Biology at Aberystwyth: I wouldn't have it any other way. Matthew Collins

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 104

A Levels BBB-BCC with B in Biology

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh and Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DDD-DDM in a specified subject

International Baccalaureate:
30-28 with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall with 7 in Biology

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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