Life Sciences

Key Facts

Code C990
  • UCAS Tariff

  • Course Length

    4 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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If you lack the necessary qualifications to enter one of our three-year programmes, Aberystwyth University’s Life Science foundation year is an effective way of entering university to study biological sciences. You will be taught the fundamentals of biology, including biochemistry, microbiology, cell biology, ecology, zoology, genetics, botany, etc. On successful completion of the foundation year, you will be able to transfer onto any of the three-year degree schemes offered by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

Student Satisfaction and Employability Results

Top 15 in the UK for Teaching Quality and Student Experience for the subject of Biological Sciences (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)

91% overall student satisfaction for the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (NSS 2019)

98% of our graduates were in work or further study within 6 months, 3% more than Biological Science graduates nationally, (HESA 2018*)


Why study Life Sciences at Aberystwyth?

  • Learn and live in an exceptional environment where you will be surrounded by many internationally recognised habitats including the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere, RAMSAR wetlands, marine special areas of conservation, National Nature Reserves, sites of special scientific interest to name but a few.
  • Taught by internationally recognised staff from within Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) utilising state of the art teaching facilities providing an outstanding learning experience.
  • Use of an array of modern facilities including aquaria for marine and freshwater organisms, mass spectrometry and analytical unit, high-throughput DNA sequencing, a bio-imaging laboratory, growth rooms and glasshouses, the National Plant Phenomics Centre, university farms and an equine centre etc.
  • Learn in an award-winning department; IBERS received the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' award at the 2013 Times Higher Education Awards. 
  • Top 10 in the UK for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment (2014). 78% of research assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 REF.
  • The Department offers a number of modules taught through the medium of Welsh. Check out the module tab for more information!
Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.


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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Molecules And Cells BR01340 40
Communication Skills BR01120 20
Organisms And The Environment BR01440 40
Practical Skills For Biologists BR01220 20

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The foundation year will provide you with the skills and knowledge to:

  • to understand key biological concepts covering: biological molecules, cells, organelles and their function, cell growth and division; prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms including plants and animals, their ecological interactions, evolution, natural selection, and conservation;
  • use scientific literature to research topics;
  • use standard field and lab techniques to investigate hypotheses;
  • use mathematics to deal with biological data in order to answer experimental hypotheses;
  • produce scientific reports and write essays on biological topics;
  • undertake team work and deliver presentations.

Following the successful completion of the foundation year, you will transfer onto one of the degree schemes offered by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. 

How will I be taught?

  • You will be taught through a balanced programme of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical work which will be supplemented by laboratory research and experimentation. You will also work on individual and group tasks. You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, survey reports, portfolios, oral presentations and written exams. 
  • You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Student Views

I loved doing the C990 Life Sciences course as it was a route for me into higher education as a mature student. Having done little classroom-based learning since I left school 25 years ago, the C990 course eased me gently into the learning environment and allowed me to feel at home on the university campus before the start of my degree proper. The course material has been a useful springboard into the first year of my degree, and I feel that it was even better preparation than A levels would have been. Full marks Aberystwyth! Fiona Tyson

I really enjoyed C990 Life Sciences because it gave me lots of experience about university life and living away from home for the first time. I got to know the lecturers very well because we had such a small class. The tasks we did and the skills I gained in C990 gave me an advantage in Year 1 because I had become familiar with the way reports were structured, and how lab practicals and exams were run. I feel that I am focusing better because I previously did the C990 foundation year. Now I don't worry about missing home because I have already settled into university life. My work is benefiting so much because I did the C990 course! Helen Louise Hayes

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff

A Levels Available to candidates without formal qualifications who have suitable background education, experience and motivation.

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
Enlgish or Welsh, Mathematics and Science

BTEC National Diploma:

International Baccalaureate:

European Baccalaureate:

The University welcomes applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma. 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 are studying a qualification not listed on this page, please get in touch with the Undergraduate Admissions Office for further advice. Details about the country-specific qualifications the University accepts can be found on our country-specific pages. For further information, contact

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