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.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you choose from may differ from those shown here.
- Biology of Cells
- Human Structure & Function
- The Practising Scientist
- Introduction to Biochemistry A
- Introduction to Biochemistry B
- Introduction to Nutrition
- Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society
Year 2 and final year
- Career Development
- Molecular Biology
- Integrated Physiology
- Industrial Experience
- Professional Skills & Techniques
- Biochemistry of Cell Function
- Interrogating Genomes
- Data Carpentry
- Cell Biology
- Human Nutrition and Metabolism
- Applied Human Nutrition
- Molecular Biology of Cancer
- Advanced Genetics and Genomics
- Genomic Medicine
- Clinical Nutrition
- Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Bio-imaging
- Work Experience
- Independent Study in Life Sciences
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
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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