Bachelor of Science (BSc)
4 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Life Sciences
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Life Sciences provides a wide range of biology-focused degree courses. Advances in new technologies, including genomics and integrative biology, have made this varied discipline more exciting than ever. We teach and research the processes of life from the molecular, right through to whole animal and the environment, to understand the cellular, molecular and physiological interactions that are fundamental to biology and medicine.
Following an in-depth foundation in biochemistry, this course broadens out to allow a focus on more specialist fields. These include biophysical chemistry, which covers biological macromolecules at the atomic level, and understanding the genome and gene regulation. Our exceptionally wide range of options allows you to pursue areas that interest you. You'll graduate with a sound understanding of the biochemical and structural basis of molecular, cellular and development processes in a variety of organisms.
You'll benefit from our tutorial system for academic and pastoral support, alongside high-quality laboratory time.
A core syllabus is offered in the first year for all degree courses providing the essential foundations in biology, biochemistry, genetics and chemistry. The shared content in the first year means that it is often possible to transfer between the different degrees at the end of the first year.
You will spend your third year on a work placement, either in the UK or abroad, or on a study abroad programme.
In your fourth year you will complete a challenging full-time research project on an area of particular academic interest. This may be lab-based or involve data analysis and will give you invaluable experience of applying your subject knowledge to real-life workplace challenges.
How will I learn?
You will have weekly (first year) and fortnightly (second and third years) taught tutorials, which are in small groups to ensure that you are able to develop, and receive regular feedback on assessment. Purpose-built teaching facilities are fully integrated with research laboratories, meaning you will be learning alongside teaching and research staff who are at the cutting edge of their fields. You will spend one or two days a week undertaking lab work. This becomes more project-oriented in your second year, culminating in a six-week individual research project in your third year.
In your first year, lecture sizes are typically 320 students. The modules you take in years two and three will vary in class size. The maximum number is typically 100 and the minimum 10 students.
12 - 16 hours per week over 25 weeks. In your first year you should expect around 10 lectures a week, a full day in the laboratory and a taught tutorial with your personal tutor and 6-7 of your peers. Independent learning, reading and preparing for lectures and preparing assessments will occupy the rest of your study time.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed through tutorials, laboratory practicals, oral presentations, written assignments and exam-based questions. Approximately 35% of your marks will be assessed by coursework throughout your degree.
As an alternative to a work placement we support student mobility with the opportunity to apply for a year abroad at one of our partner universities all over the world. The Study Abroad Team based in the International Student Office supports these activities, and the School’s dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator will provide more specific information and assistance.
You can take a year in industry after your second year to gain industrial experience. Work placements cover a wide range of work experience types and destinations, both laboratory and non-laboratory. You will have both an academic and placement site supervisor. Your placement will allow you to improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and will enhance your employability. Whilst we do not guarantee you a placement, you will be given extensive support to secure one. Recent placements have included GSK, The Binding Site, Micropathology and The Body Shop. Many of our BSc students also choose to undertake work placements during vacations. We actively promote these placements and will support you with applications and interview skills.
General entry requirements
- ABB to include Biology and Chemistry
- OR AAB to include Chemistry and either Mathematics, Physics or Statistics
- Plus one of the following:
- GCSE Biology grade B/grade 6
- GCSE Double Science grades B, B/grades 6, 6
- AS Level Biology grade B
- Grade A in a Biology-related EPQ
- You must also achieve a pass in the science practical assessment (if applicable).
- 34 to include 5 at Higher Level in Biology and 5 at Higher Level in Chemistry
- OR 36 to include 5 at Higher Level in Chemistry and 5 at Higher Level in either Mathematics or Physics
- Plus one of the following:
- 6 at IB Standard Level in Biology
- GCSE Biology grade B/grade 6
- GCSE Double Science grades B, B/grades 6, 6
- We welcome applications from students taking BTECs as long as essential subject requirements are met.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
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).
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).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
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.
Molecules, Cells and Organisms
You'll study this module as the essential foundation for most other modules taught in the School of Life Sciences. You'll 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.
Physiology and Metabolism
On this module, you will learn how parts of the body function and work together in the whole organism. You will study the physiology of the nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and special senses. Your study of metabolism will help you to understand the generation of energy within the body, anabolism, the role of enzymes, and specific functions such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, pentose phosphate pathway and photosynthesis. You will then combine your learning to gain a thorough understanding of the way the body adapts to environmental conditions such as altitude, depth, cold and heat.
On this module, you will gain an understanding of the fundamental physical principles that underlie biochemical reactions and the functional properties of biomolecules. In particular, you will gain greater insight into the thermodynamics and kinetics of biological processes.
Quantitative Skills for Biology
All biological scientists need to understand and analyse quantitative data. So, this module will see you learning to use statistical methods for analysing and summarising experimental data (for example, from your lab classes), and learning the basic principles for modelling biological populations.
This module, taught in the Chemistry department, provides you with a basic understanding of organic chemistry. It will allow you to have a fundamental look at organic chemical bonding, structure, reactivity, mechanism and synthesis of simple functional groups.
Tutorials and Laboratories
Tutorials and LaboratoriesMolecular Cell Biology
On this module, you will gain a sound knowledge of the organisation, complexity and essential processes that occur in the genomes and information-processing mechanisms in all three domains of life. You will study the molecular biology that underlies fundamental cellular processes, including the cytoskeleton in cellular structure, function and motility, the mechanisms that control cell proliferation and genome stability, protein processing in secretory pathway organelles, and programmed cell death in eukaryotic cells.Enzymology
You will become familiar with the basic methods of studying enzymes, understand the mechanisms whereby enzymes are able to catalyse reactions and appreciate how individual reactions are controlled and integrated into the metabolic pathways of the cell.Tools for Biochemical Discovery
On this module, you will examine the principles by which key techniques in the field of biochemical discovery provide biochemical information. This will involve you studying structural techniques such as X-ray, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and cryo-electron microscopy. As well as, biophysical and analytical techniques such as circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and fluorescence. In the second half of the course, you will widen your studies to analyse biological interactions through case studies, covering topics such as proteomics, high-resolution light microscopy, surface plasmon resonance, isothermal titration calorimetry and immunoprecipitation.Protein Structure and Function
Basic concepts of protein structure are built upon in order to understand the structure/function relationships of proteins in terms of the chemistry of their component amino acid residues.Neuropharmacology
Neuropharmacology is the study of how chemical agents influence bodily functions in both health and disease, and indeed how the body deals with these chemicals. The module will concentrate on the use of drug-based therapeutics in a range of human diseases and will bridge the gap between basic cell signalling, biochemistry and the complex patho-physiology and treatment of the diseases.Molecular Endocrinology
This module provides you with a foundation for the further study of endocrinology at the cellular and molecular level and a firm basis for understanding normal hormonal control.
Year Three/Four (Depending on if you do an industrial placement or study abroad)
Tutorials and Research Project
You will be applying the knowledge of molecular and cell biology you have gained in previous years to protein targeting, a field of fundamental importance and research interest in cell biology. You will gain a deeper appreciation of the molecular nature of targeting signals and the appropriate transport apparatus, and an enhanced understanding of the specific protein–protein interactions required at each step of a given transport pathway. You will scrutinise the mechanisms by which large globular proteins are translocated across membrane bilayers, including where these are impermeable even to protons. This is a substantial opportunity to apply your knowledge in a realistic, research-led, practical environment.
Structural Molecular Biology
It is becoming ever more apparent that to completely understand a protein’s biological mechanism, three-dimensional structural information is essential. On this module, you will have the opportunity to explore and apply modern approaches and practical techniques to the study of biological macromolecules, building on your previous study of biophysical techniques and protein structures. You will pay particular attention to the structural techniques used to elucidate fundamental aspects and problems in biology-specific fields of interest in structural biology, including protein-nucleic acid interactions, protein–ligand interactions, protein folding and structure, macromolecular structures and biophysics.
Dynamics of Biological Systems
The study of non-autonomous dynamical systems can shed new light on biological systems. On this module, you will learn how our understanding of cells and cellular pathways can be enhanced by considering them as entities that can change their behaviour both in space and time.
Selection of optional modules that current students are studying
- Science Communication
- Genetics and Genomics
- Principles of Development
- Integrative Neuroscience
- Synthetic Biology
- Introduction to Secondary Teaching in Biology
- Interdisciplinary and Business modules
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
Graduates on our courses have gone on to work for employers including:
- Civil Service
- Johnson and Johnson
- ALS: Sarstedt Ltd
- Universities and Schools
They have pursued roles such as:
- Graduate-entry medicine students
- NHS scientists
- Biomedical research and development scientists
- Scientific publishing professionals
- Laboratory technicians
- Business, marketing and accountancy professionals
- Postgraduate students or researchers
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support you. They offer impartial advice and guidance, together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Careers in Life Sciences Networking Event
- Careers in Science
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
- Mock Interviews for Life Sciences students
- Interested in Careers in Scientific Publishing
"Since graduation, I've been working at the Financial Times in Business Development, which on the surface seems as far removed from Biochemistry as you can get. However, my job involves a lot of science communication, from navigating partnerships with the Wellcome Trust to hosting events on climate change. Warwick – and especially the Science Communication module I took in third year- has equipped me well to deal with these conversations. I often find myself translating 'scientific jargon' to my colleagues. Equally, I've found it very useful to be able to hold my own in conversations with some of the country’s leading scientists.
In essence, the greatest benefit I got from Warwick was that of communication- both in science and beyond. Various modules which required presentations and pitching, including my Final Year Research Project, meant that when I started work I was already confident with pitching to a large group of people. The best thing about the Life Sciences degree is that it is flexible: it taught me time management, organisation skills and the importance of teamwork, even aside from the incredible grounding in science that it gave me."
This information is applicable for 2021 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.