LIFE SCIENCES AND GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (BASc)
Full-time 2019 entry, AAB, IB 36
Use your passion for Life Sciences and apply it to answering the Big Questions of our time by studying it in combination with Global Sustainable Development (GSD).
Can we end world poverty by 2030? How can we ensure our cities are safe? How can we tackle the effects of climate change on our world? If you’re keen to search for the answers and make a difference to our world, Global Sustainable Development can show you how.
Our students are aspiring global citizens with social consciences. They are flexible, adaptable and broad minded. What challenges does the natural world face in the wake of unprecedented human impact upon the environment? How might new research and innovations in the Life Sciences work to secure the future of sustainable societies by countering infectious disease and biodiversity loss? By choosing to pursue a degree in Life Sciences and Global Sustainable Development, you will be considering these questions. You will gain invaluable lab and analytical experience whilst studying with Life Sciences, and will apply that knowledge to our current understandings of climate change, social justice, and food security. You’ll investigate a range of current global challenges; considering these from many different perspectives in order to appreciate their complexity and you’ll learn to use a variety of approaches to think creatively about potential solutions.
We’ll challenge you to become an active participant in your own learning and help you to develop professional skills through certificates you’ll complete as part of the course. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend part of your second year studying abroad at our partner institution in Monash, Australia – home to the world-leading Sustainable Development Institute.
Year 1: Four core GSD modules comprising half of the workload and four core modules in Life Sciences. Opportunity to take Certificate of Digital Literacy.
Year 2: For the GSD half, 60 credits of GSD modules comprised of one 30 CAT optional core (Food Systems, Security and Sovereignty or Bodies, Health and Sustainable Development) plus further module(s) totalling 30 CATS selected from the range of modules available across the University (including from within the Global Sustainable Development Department) which have a global sustainable development focus.
For the Life Sciences half of the course, students take four core modules worth 48 CATS including a Field Trip, plus one optional module worth 12 CATS.
If you opt to travel abroad to study at Monash University for part of the year you take one of two optional GSD core modules in the first term whilst at Warwick together with further relevant second year modules from within or outside of the School totalling 15 CATS. In addition, you take a core module from the School of Life Sciences (18 CATS) plus a further optional core (12 CATS). Whilst abroad, you are required to study relevant approved modules equating to 60 credits selected from those offered by the partner institution.
Final Year: Core GSD module 'Dissertation' (30 CATS) plus further relevant modules from within or outside of the School totalling 30 CATS. For the Life Sciences half of the course, you undertake a Research Project alongside a range of optional modules.
You will attend lectures and take part in seminars, workshops and tutorials and work with your fellow students in teams on controversial, topical problems that pose significant sustainable development questions. You will undertake fieldwork, archival research, interviews with members of the local area and engage in peer discussion to propose alternative solutions. You will review the work of your fellow students.You will also engage in laboratory based work on the Life Sciences half of the course.
You will be taught by a range of academics, from different disciplines, who will communicate their expertise on a specific issue and describe their methodology for addressing it. Your role is to bring together these various approaches and to develop your own informed stance on each issue.
Core first year GSD modules have 23 hours of contact time each made up of lectures, workshops and, for the 'mini-project' module, group supervision sessions and a field trip. In the second year, optional core GSD modules have around 45 contact hours each for the 30 CATS versions and half this for the shorter 15 CATS versions.
Teaching is via workshops. Optional GSD modules are available with between 20 and 50 hours for scheduled contact time depending upon how the module is taught. For example, some modules have lectures, seminars, film screenings and research supervision whereas others have lectures and workshops. Some modules include field trips.
Seminar groups comprise between 10 and 15 students.
In the first year, two of the GSD core modules have an exam worth 40%. The remaining 60% of these modules and the other core GSD modules are assessed by methods other than formal examination. For Life Sciences, two of the core first year modules are wholly assessed by exam. Others are assessed by coursework. In the second year GSD optional cores and options do not have traditional examinations. Two of the Life Sciences cores are assessed by examination. Optional cores are assessed either wholly by exam or wholly by coursework or a combination of the two. The final year core GSD module is a Dissertation/Long Project and so is assessed via 'coursework'. The overall percentage of the course that is assessed by coursework depends upon the options taken.
The final degree classification is determined by your second and final year marks and each contributes 50%.
There is an option to spend part of the second year abroad studying at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Students may be based at either the University’s Melbourne campus or at its campus in Malaysia.
Students spend the first term of their second year studying at Warwick and will travel to Australia in February to join Monash for the start of its second semester (which spans Warwick’s second and third terms). This arrangement is the integrated terms abroad variant of the course.
During their time abroad students study approved modules/units and will undertake assessments. The credit gained from this study is used to contribute towards the final degree classification awarded by Warwick. Students may also choose to spend a year studying or working abroad (e.g. as part of the ERASMUS scheme).
Marks gained from such study do not count towards the overall Warwick degree but recognition of the time spent abroad is recorded on the HEAR.
"The modules in first year have given new perspectives on topics I thought I knew a lot about, and it has helped me think more about my life."
Check out Meredith's blog
"First-year core modules are varied and I loved how my days could begin with a lecture on the structure of bacteria flagella and end with a lecture on the nervous system."
Check out Emma's blog
A level: AAB, to include A Level in Biology. You will also need Grade B/Grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE
IB: 36, to include Biology (at Higher Level 5), Mathematics and English
You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Contextual data and differential offers: Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Access Courses: Access to HE Diploma (QAA-recognised) including appropriate subjects with distinction grades in level 3 units. Candidates must meet essential subject requirements.
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP) All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Interviews We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Economic Principles of GSD
You’ll start your studies with an introduction to the concepts and perspectives related to the measurement of global sustainable development, and the links between economics and policy. You’ll progress to analysing real-world problems, such as the connection between poverty and the environment, to deepen your conceptual understanding of how economic activity relates to development. You’ll be expected to critique alternative economic models and interventions, using theories and explanations based on externalities, game theory, and theories of decision-making under risk and uncertainty. You’ll also learn to use quantitative information to evaluate policy design, this will also improve your skills of oral and written communications and independent learning.
Social Principles of GSD
You’ll engage with the social and political principles of global sustainable development, and use stimulus and simulation techniques to grapple with the ideas through a combination of practical activities, groupwork, seminars and online collaboration. By the end of this module, you will be able to offer well-informed, evidence-based evaluations of key global challenges, and to explain how particular forms of economic development cause social problems. You will be able to provide ideas for strategies that could tackle problems of social inequality in food, education and health, and be able to write competently and proficiently on topics such as goal-based development, in preparation for your second-year.
Environmental Principles of GSD
You’ll investigate a range of perspectives on sustainable development from the standpoint of environmental studies, to equip you with the capacity to engage in critical discussion of the world’s most pressing environmental issues, as outlined by the framework of the nine planetary boundaries. You’ll demonstrate your understanding of the causes and impacts of anthropogenic activities, and appraise discourses of environmental decline and sustainability from a rigorous and interdisciplinary perspective. You’ll also gain important employability skills, such as independent research and persuasive communications, through creating and presenting a briefing paper and policy pitch.
During this module, you will collaborate with your peers on a task of investigating the issue of sustainable transport. Immersing you in a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data that you will gather, examine, analyse and critique. As well as deepening your understanding of the economic case for sustainable transport, you’ll be strengthening your academic research skills to deconstruct a major problem, formulate and test hypotheses, evaluate the evidence, and undertake field research, including interviews and focus groups.
Life Sciences modules
Molecules, Cells and Organisms
You will study this module as the essential foundation for most other modules taught in the School of Life Sciences. You will gain the basic knowledge you need of molecular and cellular aspects of biology, and also become familiar with whole-organism and developmental biology, in the context of evolution.
Agents of Infectious Disease
You will start by gaining a thorough foundation in microbiology and virology, using infectious diseases as a common link to promote your understanding. Through your study of epidemiology, you will learn to appreciate the way that diseases spread and the methods used to investigate this spread. On completion, you can expect to understand the role of various structures associated with the bacterial cell in causing a range of diseases, and appreciate the structure of viruses and how this relates to their capacity to cause disease and the host response to viral challenge. This will equip you with the necessary theoretical foundations to underpin your future studies.
Animal and Plant Biology
Drawing on zoology and botany, on this module you will broaden your biological knowledge to support your learning on second-year modules. By analysing and studying our current understanding of animal and plant evolution, diversity and physiological activities, you will be able to integrate your organismal and molecular knowledge in a broad, evolutionary context. You will also have opportunities to practise your skills in presentation and communication.
Bodies, Health and Sustainable Development
Your starting point on this module is the sustainable development goals for health and well-being, gender equality and reducing inequalities, with an overarching theme of how our bodies relate to various forms of development. You can expect to articulate your knowledge of major global inequalities and apply your understanding across different cultural and social norms. Asking provocative questions and critically engaging with the way the environment is affecting health outcomes, and critiquing the efficacy of policy measures that aim to address health-related global crises. You’ll also improve your research skills by generating original, well-researched arguments for policies that address health and inequalities outcomes.
Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System
At least 800 million people are chronically undernourished globally, and the global population is projected to increase to a staggering 10 billion by 2050. From this challenging starting point, you’ll be working with active researchers from across various disciplines at the University of Warwick, especially those involved in the Global Research Priority on Food. You will become acquainted with contrasting disciplinary approaches to the investigation of food systems, and be able to analyse scholarly concerns surrounding food security, sovereignty and sustainability. You’ll evaluate competing solutions, and research, evaluate and synthesise academic and other credible research and analysis in order to respond critically to the essential topics and questions in this exciting field.
Life Sciences modules
Ecology and Environment
On this module, you will gain an overview of the ecological principles and processes that underpin our understanding of the natural world, with particular attention given to major marine habitats, ecologically significant organisms and biological processes in the oceans.
Ecology and its Applications
Students gain a scientific and interdisciplinary perspective of the earth and its processes including measuring with remote sensing, changes to climate and environmental responses by habitats and species to disturbance.
On this module, you will gain foundational knowledge in the study of the natural and managed environment and start to understand the pressures on the planet that result from anthropogenic activities. You will also look in more depth at how society responds to the challenges posed by environmental change.
Year 3Dissertation/Long Project
Plus a choice of Life Sciences Research Project
A selection of optional modules that current students are studying:
Global Sustainable Development
- Keeping the Phoenix Flying or Clipping its Wings?
- Learning through Student Research into the Praxis of ‘Local’ Sustainable Development
- Extinction & Survival
- Inequality: Wealth, Behaviour and Society
- Surviving the Apocalypse
- Genetics and Genomics
- Microbial Pathogens
- Plant Molecular Development
Our degree programmes have been developed to provide you with a set of skills that will enable you to compete for existing and emerging roles across a variety of professions. Your options are varied across a range of industries, from working in the United Nations to advising small businesses on issues that will affect the local community.
You will also learn valuable transferable skills that will help you with your employment prospects including:
- Analytical and problem solving: Through your study of economic principles and models, you’ll learn how to extract the essential features of complex systems, providing useable frameworks for evaluation.
- Critical thinking: Assess arguments, make judgements, formulate reasoned debates and generate feasible solutions.
- Communication: Develop advanced communication skills that enable you to communicate with a variety of audiences and in different settings.
- Research: An integrated programme of research skills training, teaching you how to source, evaluate and use different forms of information and data.
- Organisational: Through a rigorous assessment schedule and a compulsory dissertation module in your final year, you’ll learn the essentials of time management, prioritisation and how to be well organised.
- Team working: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to work with others and nurture your emotional intelligence, developing a professional attitude.
- Project work / lobbying for international organisations, NGOs and charities
- Advisory / consultancy roles in public services, education or the environmental or energy sectors
- Roles in communications, public relations and the media
- Sustainable finance
A level AAB to include A Level in Biology. You will also need Grade B/Grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE
IB 36 to include Biology (at Higher Level 6),Mathematics and English
Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc)
3 years full time
24 September 2019
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry and optional study abroad term in Year 2 at a partner institution in Australia.
Find out more about fees and funding
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course.
This information is applicable for 2019 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.