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.
Our Biological Sciences course spans the entire scale of biological systems, from molecules to ecosystems. Our exceptionally wide range of options allow you to choose modules that are best suited to your interests and career ambitions. You will be exposed to cutting-edge research in molecular, cellular and whole organism biology, while covering applications of science to major global challenges such as environmental management, food security and human health.
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. Core and optional modules in the second and third years allow students to tailor their degree.
All modules are core in the first year with optional modules in year two and three.
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 fourth 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
- AAB to include Biology
- OR ABB to include Biology and one of the following: Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Applied Science, Environmental Science, Statistics, Geology or Geography.
- You must also achieve a pass in the science practical assessment (if applicable)
- 36 to include 5 in Higher Level Biology
- OR 34 to include 5 in Higher Level Biology and 5 in Higher Level Chemistry/Physics/Maths/Geography.
- 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.
Animal and Plant Biology
Drawing on zoology and botany, on this module you'll 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'll be able to integrate your organismal and molecular knowledge in a broad, evolutionary context. You'll also have opportunities to practise your skills in presentation and communication.
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 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.
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.
Tutorials and Laboratories
Chemistry for Biologists - compulsory for entrants without A2 level Chemistry
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.Plant Molecular Development
You will discover the complexity of the eukaryotic cell and its subcellular compartments. You will gain an overview of cell division and its underlying control process, the cell cycle, and how this responds to growth signals and death signals, resulting in cell proliferation and programmed cell death respectively.Genetics and Genomics
This module introduces concepts and techniques in genetics and genomics that are used to understand and manipulate complex traits. It includes hands-on workshops.Ecology Principles and Processes
This module is designed to give an overview of ecological principles and processes to aid an understanding of the natural world, and to provide a foundation for later studies for students with a special interest in environmental studies.Biological Oceanography
You will be introduced to the major marine habitats, the ecologically significant groups of organisms, and the biological processes in the oceans that play a crucial role in regulating the global fluxes of major elements. You will examine how anthropogenic influences are influencing the marine environment and, thereby, the climate.Evolution
An introduction to modern evolutionary theory, population and evolutionary genetics in order to understand the fundamental processes and the genetic make-up of populations.
Year Three/Four (Depending on if you do an industrial placement or study abroad)
Tutorials and Research Project
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.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students:
- Extreme Environment Biology
- Biological Clocks
- Integrative Neuroscience
- Interdisciplinary and Business modules
- One World Health and Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Introduction to Secondary Teaching in Biology
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
"As soon as I realised study abroad was an option, I knew it was something that I wanted to do. I love travelling and this was a chance to visit Australia, explore the country and make new friends from all over the world. It was also an opportunity to learn new things, both related to my course and for life in general.
I am really enjoying my time studying here at Monash University. Last term I studied a mix of biology and humanities modules. Being able to take any module has been great as I have been able to choose topics that I wouldn’t have been able to at Warwick, e.g. learning about social justice and Indigenous Australians. It has also allowed me to develop and reinforce what I have already learnt, such as ecology. I have been able to broaden my knowledge since being here and I have really loved it.
I would definitely recommend taking part in a year abroad! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far and am excited for the next 6 months. I have become more independent and confident since being here which hopefully will help me to stand out to employers and give me something interesting to talk about in future interviews."
BSc Biological Sciences with Placement Year
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.