MBiol

Biology

If you are fascinated by all aspects of the living world, you will thrive on our MBiol Biology degree course here at Aberystwyth University. By choosing the MBiol degree scheme, you will combine a BSc with an extra year of study to graduate with a Masters qualification. During the three years studying at undergraduate level, you will explore a whole host of diverse topics that cover the cellular and molecular up to whole organisms. During your final year studying at Masters level, you will have the opportunity to apply your subject-specific knowledge and understanding to an independent scientific research project conducted in close collaboration with one of our research groups. Join us on our exciting MBiol Biology degree course and you will develop the breadth and depth of biological knowledge required to pursue a career as a professional scientist, and you will find that Aberystwyth is one of the best places in the world to explore our wonderful living world. 

Course Overview

Royal Society of Biology Advanced Accredited Degree

The Integrated Masters in Biology (C109) is for students who have the ability to study to a higher level than the standard BSc degree and integrates three years of undergraduate study in Biology with a further year of postgraduate-level study. If you choose this degree, you will graduate with an MBiol (Biology) - a recognised Masters qualification that will prepare you for a career in academic or commercial biological research. The final year at postgraduate level will give you the opportunity to complete a Masters research project embedded within one of our pioneering research groups and led by expert staff. You will pursue this alongside your studies on taught modules that develop the essential skills that are required of today’s professional biologists. 

On our MBiol 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. During your final year, you will have close contact with our research community as you work on your independent scientific research project. 

Your academic studies will be bolstered by a wealth of laboratory and field classes which build real scientific skills essential for your future career. 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. You will explore anatomy and structure, physiology and behaviour, alongside the scientific rationales for habitat requirements and ecosystem interactions. You will investigate subjects such as genetics, cellular biology, animal behaviour, ecosystems, humanity’s impact on the environment, and you will receive expert tuition in scientific protocol and hands-on lab work. 

By choosing our MBiol Biology degree, you will learn and live in an exceptional environment where you will be surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain, waterways, grassland and coast. 

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

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Field and Laboratory Techniques BRM4820 20
Frontiers in the Biosciences BRM4920 20
MBiol Research Project BRM2860 60
Research Methods in the Biosciences BRM6420 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 third 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 study essential research skills that will prepare you for your research project. You will practise and develop writing skills relevant to a professional research scientist and the output for your project will be a research paper. The research project is usually analytical in nature, investigating a topic of your choice, subject to your supervisor’s approval. You will explore the field and laboratory techniques that are used for conducting investigations into realistic problems in environmental management and in biological/ecological settings. You will also learn about the integration of topics and gain insights into various approaches to research, including how it is communicated and the way in which the information is used by stakeholders.

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. 

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 128 - 120

A Levels ABB-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

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

BTEC National Diploma:
BTEC not accepted for this scheme

International Baccalaureate:
32-30 points overall with 6 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75% overall with 7 in a relevant science

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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