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Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences)

BSc (Hons) - single

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

The Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences) degree provides a flexible programme of study that will prepare you for your future career. The biology of humans is studied at a systematic and whole human organism level. You can combine a core of physiology, anatomy and biochemistry with choices from different specialisms such as cell biology, neuroscience, nutrition and genomics. The degree takes a broad approach but allows you to focus on a narrower range of modules with a view to becoming a specialist. The flexible nature of this course allows the creation of a degree that reflects your needs and evolves as your interests develop. 

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Human Biology and Physics

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Headington Campus, Marston Road site

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: part-time study is possible

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • This Human Biosciences course will equip you with subject knowledge and transferable skills that you can apply to a whole range of roles, from a clinical perfusion scientist to a medical events organiser.
  • You will get the opportunity to go on exciting work placements to enhance your career opportunities through our established links with local bioscience organisations and hospitals.
  • You will get to know the other students and lecturers on your course well, as we keep our practical classes small.
  • Our academics are keen to involve you in our research groups, exploring subjects such as genetic damage induced by radiation, the mechanisms of nicotine addiction and how heart and lung functions are controlled in health and disease.
  • Students can tailor the course to suit their needs.  Choose between taking a broad approach, based on the principles and methods of different aspects of biology, or focus on a narrower range of modules with a view to becoming a specialist for example in cell biology, neuroscience, nutrition and genomics. 
  • Oxford Brookes has an international reputation for outstanding research work into areas such as cardiopulmonary, renal and reproductive physiologies. The Oxford area is an important centre for human and medical research.

Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences) may be studied as a single honours degree, either full-time or part-time. You will benefit from the department’s research expertise in areas such as cardiopulmonary, renal and reproductive physiologies to gain the key theoretical and practical skills.

Studies in Year 1 aim to develop a firm understanding of core topics such as cell biology, human physiology and anatomy, along with basic science skills.

Year 2 and the final year allow you to expand your studies in both breadth and depth, and you can choose modules covering diverse topics. Subjects include genetics, integrated physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology of cancer and neuroscience. The topics are all supported by time spent in practicals, and you may wish to develop your scientific skills further by carrying out a research project with one of our staff members.

As well as developing your skills as a biologist, you will have the opportunity to gain invaluable professional experience, which will further enhance your career prospects.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you choose from may differ from those shown here.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Biology of Cells
  • Human Structure & Function
  • The Practising Scientist

Optional modules

  • Introduction to Biochemistry A
  • Introduction to Biochemistry B
  • Introduction to Nutrition
  • Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society

Year 2 and final year

Compulsory modules

  • Career Development
  • Molecular Biology
  • Integrated Physiology
  • Industrial Experience
  • Project
  • Professional Skills & Techniques

Optional modules

  • Biochemistry of Cell Function
  • Interrogating Genomes
  • Data Carpentry
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Human Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Applied Human Nutrition
  • Molecular Biology of Cancer
  • Advanced Genetics and Genomics
  • Genomic Medicine
  • Pathophysiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Bio-imaging
  • Work Experience
  • Independent Study in Life Sciences

Work placements

Students will also have opportunities to gain work experience and enhance their professional skills via our links with regional employers. Within your Programme you have the option of doing a year in Industry (minimum 9 months) or the Work Experience module (minimum of 4 weeks) that counts as one of your final year modules. For both option, students are expected to find their work placement independently although there will be support in applying for these within the year 2 Career development module

We encourage our students to undertake a work placement as the experience will give you the competitive edge when you are applying for jobs. There are two optional work experience module, work experience over the summer or during the final year and an industrial placement for a year between the second and final year.

Work experience module

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a work-based, supervised learning experience, in which you will spend at least 115 hours in a working environment that has relevance for your subject. This is equivalent to 3 weeks full-time (7.5 hrs/day) or 6 weeks part time (~4 hrs/day) work. As part of the module, you will practice career management skills by reflecting on your interests and career aspirations and approaching potential employers about opportunities in their organisation. These will be integral elements linked to enhancing your overall employability.

We strongly believe that arranging a placement yourself will give you a head start after graduation, as you will have practiced essential career management skills. Ideally, it will be your responsibility to find, apply for and secure your work experience placement. If you get stuck, your subject lead, your academic advisor or your dissertation supervisor will be able to provide you with some contacts in a wide range of suitable organisations.

Cost of the opportunity: There may be some costs such as travel associated with work experience and these are not included in the course tuition fees

Industrial Placement

The Industrial Placement module provides the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the application of theoretical and practical science within a professional environment, for example within an industrial biotechnology company, a research or hospital based laboratory. You will have the chance to gain insight into various aspects of the work of a professional scientific employer and develop both practical laboratory skills and the ability to self-assess.

We will do what we can to suggest employers who may offer placements but experience tells us that successful students are usually those who show themselves to be pro-active in searching out their own placements.

You should also look carefully into what you will be paid as a placement student. Whilst many placements do come with a salary, sadly some companies and institutes do not feel they are obliged to offer a salary, and that the expenses they incur by hosting and training you are sufficient outlay for them. It is often hard to predict what a company or institute might be prepared to offer if they do not usually host placements; this should not discourage you from approaching potential hosts but you should likewise not feel bound to accept a non-paid placement if it is not possible in your financial situation. This issue of salary (or no salary) will have implications for you in terms of your finances and also for your funding status. We will guide you as best we can and give you advice on this during the application process, but you should make sure you understand your situation fully by talking about your placement, any salary and what this means for you, with the Student Finance department.

Study abroad

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. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

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 have the opportunity to study for comparable courses, allowing you to 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.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.

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.

Attendance pattern

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). You will have at least 12 hours contact per week.

Additional costs

There are some additional costs for the course including the purchase of a lab coat, safety goggles, stationary such as a lab notebook, printing and text books (though the library will have some copies). If the student opts for the placement year then there will be living costs associated with this year but we encourage students to seek a placement with a bursary or a paid placement to mitigate this. Work experience also may also incur travel costs.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Teaching and learning

Teaching focuses on applying theory in practical settings with a specific focus on developing skills for employment. The latter is reinforced with two dedicated modules (i.e. Career Development and Professional Skills and Techniques). Students have the opportunity to gain a wide range of skills in the field of, but not limited to, human biosciences. Such skills include physiology, molecular techniques, bioinformatics and advanced light and electron microscopy. Throughout, there is a focus on the application of fundamental biology to real life issues.

The activities of our research groups underpin our teaching and support the development of student’s research literacy.  These include our world leading Cell Biology, Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Human Genetics and Genomics and Physiology and Endocrinology research groups.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is designed to ‘shape and develop’ learning and not simply measure it (the notion of assessment for learning as well as assessment of learning). The role of formative feedback (i.e., feedback comments which may or may not be associated with a mark/grade) is central to facilitating student learning through assessment. Modules include formative feedback on assignments that includes generic/skills elements (encouraging and facilitating ‘feed-forward’ and transferability to other possibly different tasks). Modules include at least one assignment where students need to engage with feedback provided on earlier work. Assessment seeks to measure students’ progress towards and ultimately their acquisition of programme outcomes and for this reason assessment decisions are co-ordinated at programme level, while seeking to ensure that assessment methods are well integrated in each module.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £14,000 2019/20: £14,280

*Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Human Biology and Physics

A-Level: BBC

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 30 points



Students studying more than one science subject may receive a lower offer.

We seek to admit students who have the potential to make good scientists and accept that qualifications are not the only indicator of future potential. Typical offers also include:

  • A-level grades BB plus 2 AS-levels at grade C (equivalent to 112 UCAS Tariff points)
  • 1 12-unit vocational A-level at grade BB plus 1 A-level or 2 AS-levels at grade C
  • other recognised qualifications, eg BTEC Nationals or Scottish qualifications (equivalent to 112 UCAS Tariff points).

If your combination of qualifications doesn't match our typical offer, please contact our admissions tutor.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: 4 GCSEs at Grade 4 (C), or above, including Mathematics, English Language and 2 Sciences

You must have studied science post-16, either at A-level or equivalent. If you do not have a background in science, we encourage you to consider our Life Sciences foundation year taught at Abingdon and Witney College.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an  international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our  pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

International applicants

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Recognised as one of Europe's leading centres of enterprise, innovation and scientific knowledge, Oxfordshire is a bioscience hotspot with the Oxford, Milton, Begbroke and Harwell science parks in the county. The Oxford Brookes Student Bioinnovation Hub is a focus for partnerships with industry providing work experience through placements and projects.

Oxford is also home to leading health care providers such as the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust which offers excellent work experience and career opportunities.

Oxford is one of the world's great academic cities, it is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects.

In addition to our own excellent libraries and resource centres, our students have access to the world-renowned Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Science Library.

Support for students studying Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences)

Our Personal and Academic Support System (PASS) has gained national and international recognition for its proactive approach to personal tutoring. It recognises that students need to make various adjustments as they move into higher education, whether from school or employment.

The system encompasses three elements:

  • a structured group tutorial programme
  • an academic adviser who will help you to plan your degree programme and future career
  • interaction with other students on your course.

The first stage includes regular seminars covering a wide range of subjects including research skills, understanding assessment criteria and making the most of coursework feedback. Our programme also helps students adjust to university life by developing their transferable skills.

Secondly our academic staff monitor your progress regularly to check that you are maximising your potential. If you experience academic difficulties we can arrange for you to receive academic mentoring support.

Thirdly if you are faced with challenges that affect your ability to study, such as illness, bereavement, depression, financial difficulties or accommodation issues, we will work with you in finding a way forward. Please talk to your academic adviser or our student support team. Oxford Brookes also offers a range of excellent services to support you.

Specialist facilities

Biological science is a practical subject and we have amazing laboratory facilities. The labs have recently been completely refurbished and equipped. A significant addition to the Department was realised in the new Microscopy Annex which includes a state of the art bio-imaging suite used by researchers and students. We have new teaching laboratories and teaching equipment supporting taught modules and student research projects.  A high-speed PC cluster to support research, data science and bioinformatics teaching in your degree will be opened before September 2019. 

We have new electron microscopes, equipment for protein purification and analysis, tissue culture and molecular biology and a range of teaching equipment including spectrophotometers and fluorescence microscopes. These resources compare well with other Universities.   While students are accommodated in purpose-built teaching labs for their practicals many students also work in our research labs for their research projects.

All staff use the Virtual Platform Moodle extensively and successfully for module delivery and evaluation.  All modules place lecture and assignment content onto Moodle (along with the Module Handbook), and add to this to share with or signpost students to further sources of information, including links to websites and publications.  Moodle acts as a news platform for some modules and a place for discussion forums, both message-based and Skype (or equivalent) based.  All assignment are uploaded through Moodle, often in conjunction with Turnitin and/or Grademark.  In addition to the module and programme pages on Moodle, the Department has set up a page linking students to the BioInnovation Hub and employers

We have a fantastic library. Richard Persaud is Subject Librarian for the Programme. He is involved in the development of student literacy through library skills in the 1st year skills modules and library inductions to new students.  Richard liaises closely with staff and students in relation to module reading lists and other resource recommendations (books, journals, online talks such as the Henry Stewart Talks) for students, and is proactive in seeking texts that are available as e-books.  For sources beyond the scope of our own library, Brookes students are able to access the Bodleian library  In addition to this, our Programme has an arrangement that students can join the Cairns library, sited at the JR Hospital, from their 1st year, and through this site they can have access to Bodleian library resources.

The research of the Department is seen as a vital component of effective teaching with a high proportion of staff being research active with strong external links. You will be exposed to current high quality research with many undergraduate projects providing experience of this.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

With a firm grounding in physiology, supported by knowledge and skills in areas such as biochemistry, cell biology and molecular genetics, Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences) graduates are well prepared for careers in industry, biological organisations, college and university research and teaching, as well as medical and health-allied fields.

Employment prospects are varied. About half of our graduates are appointed in the science sectors, and recent graduates have gone on to medical school, become forensic scientists or taken research posts in companies or academia. The Human Biosciences graduate is also eminently well-qualified for a career in medical writing, as an exercise physiologist or as an immunology research scientist.

Further study

Due to the broad nature of our Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences) degree, more than 20% of graduates go on to further study including second degrees, PGCEs, MScs and PhDs. Graduates have specialised in a wide range of subjects such as physiotherapy, medicine, nursing, biotechnology, psychology and plant cell biology. 

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