Year 1 provides a foundation in biodiversity, cell biology, physiology and biochemistry. You will develop skills in safe laboratory and field working, data handling, statistics and information technology. A feature of your first year is a series of tutorials with your academic adviser (a member of the teaching staff who is responsible for overseeing your academic progress). The tutorials are designed to help you adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits.
In Year 2 and the final year you can choose from modules including molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, developmental biology, microbiology, animal behaviour and plant science, allowing you to either maintain a wide perspective over several inter-related subject areas or specialise in a focused area.
The final year modules are designed to build on earlier knowledge and skills with an emphasis on self-management and independent learning, thus serving to demonstrate your progression to an honours-level qualification. You will have an opportunity to carry out a research project in an actual research laboratory in order to provide you with practical experience of working as a biologist. Throughout, practical aspects of biology are emphasised through laboratory exercises and fieldwork designed to develop your understanding of the techniques employed by biologists.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.
Module titles marked with * in the lists below are those that need to be taken if you want to gain from accreditation by CIEEM (see 'Why choose this course?', above). They are not compulsory for the course.
Year 2 and final year
- Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
- Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation*
- Advances in Biotechnology
- Animal Behaviour*
- Biochemistry of Cell Function (double)
- Data Sciences and Bioinformatics
- Developmental Biology
- Enterprise Skills for Life Scientists
- Environmental Change: Fieldwork and Research (double)*
- Environmental Consultancy
- Environmental Processes, Pollution and Climate Change (double)*
- Evolution and Animal Development (double)
- Field Course: Surveys and Licensing*
- Haematology and Immunology
- Human Structure and Function (double)
- Independent Study in Life Sciences*
- Infection, Immunity and Immunology
- Molecular Biology
- Plant Science*
- Project (double)*
- Research Methods for Biology and Environmental Sciences*
- Science and Humanity*
- Special Study in Life Sciences
- The Context of the Cell
- Threatened Species*
- Work Experience
The optional work experience module (minimum four weeks) and the final-year project module provide you with opportunities to gain invaluable professional experience in an area of interest to you. They also enable you to develop links with biological and environmental organisations, which will enhance your career prospects.
You can also take your degree as a sandwich course with a full year in industry (minimum 9 months) gaining extensive experience in laboratory, fieldwork or related skills and various aspects of the industry.
Examples of Work experience include placements at Kew Gardens and The Cotswold Wildlife Park. Students also have opportunities to work with research groups for a final year project. These include our world leading Cell Biology and Evolutionary Developmental Biology research groups and our Centre for Ecology, Environment and Conservation.
We run three specific field courses currently in Oxford, the Cévennes (in southern France) and Devon, aimed at enabling students to put their skills into practice.
Field course: Identification and Methodology
You will experience a one-week trip to the Cévennes in the south of France - a most spectacular and diverse landscape that is rich in natural history. You will identify animals and plants in the field and apply a wide range of field techniques learnt in the classroom.
Field course: Surveys and Licensing
You visit a range of local environments to gain field techniques for assessing key habitat types and species for UK flora and fauna.
Environmental Change: Fieldwork and Research
You go to South Devon for a week to investigate environmental change using experimental design and advanced data analysis.
The cost of the above field courses are included in your course fee.
There are also opportunities to gain real-life experience of environmental consultancy or other work experience. For example, some students have researched the population dynamics of tigers and their prey in the Ranthambore National Park in northern India. The cost of such optional field trips is not included in your course tuition fee, and a separate fee will apply.
Great opportunities to study or work abroad
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
Most of our modules include lectures and
laboratory- or field-based practicals. There are on average 20 hours of lectures and 12 hours of practicals per
single-credit module (150 hours of student effort). We have three residential field courses
included in our module mix and these involve more practical time. There is an even split between modules that
are a hundred per cent coursework and modules that are assessed partly by coursework and partly by a written exam.
You will need to bring a lab coat and if you opt for modules that include field work appropriate outdoor clothing (waterproofs, boots). All of the core texts are in the library but you may choose to buy your own copy. We encourage you to become members of professional societies and there usually is a small cost associated with this (eg Student membership of the Chartered Society of Biology is £15). Some students choose to do their final year research projects overseas eg Peru or South Africa carrying out fieldwork. The costs of such optional field trips are not included in your course tuition fee.