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Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences)

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

C1C9

Start dates

September 2020

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: part-time study is possible

Department

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


On our Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences) degree you will study the biology of humans at a systematic and whole human organism level. Topics include: 

  • physiology
  • anatomy
  • biochemistry
  • cell biology
  • neuroscience
  • nutrition
  • genomics.

You will also:

  • work with data from molecular lab techniques
  • handle and analyse genomes
  • use the latest microscopy techniques to explore living cells in our Bioimaging labs
  • develop the skills bioscientists need for this new era of genomics and big data. 

We have a reputation for outstanding research work. And the Oxford area is an important centre for the bioscience industry. We have world class research centres like the Nuffield and Churchill hospitals on our doorstep. So you can improve your employability with active engagement in the local bioscience sector.

Students working in the lab

How to apply


UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

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.

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

A Level: Including one A Level or a comparable Level 3 qualification in a science subject (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths, PE, Physics, Psychology).

GCSE: Grade 4 (C) in English, Maths and Science. For English and Maths, Level 2 Functional Skills are accepted as alternatives to GCSEs.

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.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

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.

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.

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

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate 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.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£14,280

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14.800

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£14,280

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14.800

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

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 below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

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 below.

There are some additional costs for the course including the purchase of a lab coat, safety goggles, stationery 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.

Learning and assessment


You will benefit from our department’s research expertise in areas such as: 

  • cardiopulmonary 
  • renal
  • reproductive physiologies 

Studies in Year 1 aim to develop a firm understanding of core topics:  

  • cell biology
  • human physiology 
  • anatomy
  • basic science skills

Year 2 and your final year allow you to expand your studies. 

You can choose modules covering subjects that include: 

  • genetics
  • integrated physiology
  • biochemistry
  • molecular biology of cancer 
  • neuroscience

You will spend your time in practicals. 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. This will enhance your career prospects.

Students working at a table

Study modules

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

Compulsory modules

Career Development

The module aims to provide essential training in professional career management skills designed to assist you in actively planning and preparing for your future career. It will take you through a career development cycle starting with discovering your potential, exploring opportunities (jobs, post graduate study or training), plotting a way forward and making it happen.

Molecular Biology

A study of structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes at the molecular level with an overview on the experimental evidence that has contributed to current concepts, models and paradigms and practical experience of key molecular biology laboratory techniques. The module focuses on aspects of genetic engineering and environmental applications of modern molecular tools, with emphasis on phylogeny, ecology and evolution.

Integrated Physiology

An examination of aspects of sleep physiology and the physiology and selected pathophysiology of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems in humans. In many textbooks, these systems are treated in relative isolation, but in the functioning body, their activities are integrated and interdependent. For example, blood pressure is effectively regulated by both the cardiovascular system and the kidneys, similarly pH is regulated by the lungs and the kidneys and sleep will affect respiration and vice versa. In this module we will consider these individual systems from an integrated view point. This will also be reflected in the approach to the description of relevant pathological conditions. 

Optional modules

Biochemistry of Cell Function

The module considers the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells with an emphasis on mammalian tissues. Using several approaches, we will explore the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells, including the chemical nature of the compounds that are involved in cellular processes. Examples of diseases caused by failures in these processes reinforce understanding and provide relevance and application.  The module emphasises relationships between events at the cellular level and at the systemic level, building a clear picture of the importance of biochemical events in human health and disease. In addition, some of the most relevant biomedical diagnostic techniques will be discussed.

Interrogating Genomes

Biological applications, whether in industry, academia or health care, are increasingly reliant on generating and analysing high-throughput global level (“-omic”) data. Analysing such high-throughput data requires a new breed of biologists with some level of competency in bioinformatics and computational biology. This module provides an introduction to computational thinking in the biological sciences. This involves learning programming to tailor bespoke solutions to biological problems and developing a capacity to approach biological problems from a computational perspective (computational thinking). Additionally students are introduced to a variety of –omic data types (RNA, DNA, Protein-level), public databases and publicly available software for bioinformatics applications. Bioinformatics provides key highly transferable skills that can be used in academia, or in other work case scenarios.

Data Carpentry

This module introduces students on how to get biologically meaningful answers from data while providing a generic introduction to concepts of ‘big data’ and machine learning. This conceptual framework is delivered via a more practical approach where students learn how to program, analyse, manage and communicate data from diverse biological disciplines using the R language for statistical computing.

Genetics

This module focuses on patterns of genetic inheritance at different scales from individuals to populations to evolutionary lineages. It will develop an understanding of Mendelian/transmission, quantitative, population, ecological and evolutionary genetics and an ability to analyse and interpret genetic data.

Cell Biology

This module focuses on eukaryotic cell structures and functions and highlights examples from animals, plants and fungi. The composition and functions of the cytoskeleton, cell membranes and cell components including chloroplasts, mitochondria and the nucleus will be discussed. In addition, cellular processes such as cell division and cell death will also be examined. Students will use well established methods such as fluorescent microscopy of living cells to experimentally investigate topics from lectures in lab classes.

Human Nutrition and Metabolism

This module provides a detailed examination of sources of metabolic energy and other nutrients required by human metabolism, including their sources in food and the UK diet and the consequences of sub-optimal intake or excess. The students will gain a detailed understanding of nutritional biochemistry including the mechanisms for the integration of metabolism at the molecular, cellular and whole body levels. Nutrient requirements will be discussed with reference to UK Dietary Reference Values.

Applied Human Nutrition

This module is a detailed study of the features and problems of nutrition-related disease in the UK, Europe and other prosperous countries and communities. The module will explore the relationship between food, health and chronic disease. The module is composed of three broad sections: nutrigenomics (the role of nutrients on gene expression and the genetic susceptibility to disease stages); chronic diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome); and specialist topics (vegetarianism, alcohol). Students participate in a laboratory-based class activity that explores the challenges of preparing nutritionally-adequate meals for people with special dietary requirements. This involves learning how to use specialist dietary analysis software (Nutritics), which is a key skill for any nutritionist. The practical session is also a useful opportunity to encourage students to take a food-based approach to nutrition.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Project

An individual project related to some aspect of the student's degree subject. The associated practical work may be conducted in a research or industrial laboratory or in the field, depending on the nature of the project.

Professional Skills & Techniques

This module focuses on the development of the professional skills, personalised to your career ambitions. You will select three ‘podules’ from a selection of podules, which draw upon our research expertise and links with external partners. Podules will cover a wide range topics relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. Each podule consists of an introductory lecture, plenty of hands-on experience, and a seminar in which you will learn more about the application of ‘your’ skill in different contexts.

Optional modules

Molecular Biology of Cancer

An exploration of the nature and causes of cancer with particular emphasis on the molecular biology of underlying mechanisms. The role of oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, and cell signalling is explored. The role played by other cellular processes such as the cell cycle, apoptosis, cell growth and division, and DNA repair in cancer development is also explored. The module is framed around the concepts of the ‘hallmarks of cancer’ and will also explore the emerging field of cancer genomics as well as cover the therapeutic options for tumour patients.

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

The module will specifically focus on the use of natural variation for the study of population history, selection inference, and analysing variation in complex traits; the use of comparative genomics and phylogenetics to understand evolutionary relationships and investigate gene and genome evolution; the role of microbiomes in human health and ecosystems and the study of gene function. Key techniques discussed include access and retrieval of data from public resources, population statistics, phylogenetics (including co-evolution between genomes), genome-wide association studies, gene annotation, transcriptome analysis, transcription factor binding prediction and characterisation of epigenetic modifications. Students will apply knowledge to devise a research programme addressing one such current challenge in biological and medical science.

Genomic Medicine

The key areas of genomics, human genetics and genetic variation will be introduced. An understanding of genetics in disease and how genomic medicine can be utilised to elucidate disease mechanisms and biology will be developed. Basic genetics and genomics will be discussed to enable development of understanding the role of genetics in disease and how genomic information can be utilised to elucidate disease mechanisms and biology. Effects of gene mutations and gene polymorphisms in human health including an in-depth discussion of linkage and association studies.

Pathophysiology

The module aims to explore at an advanced level the pathogenesis, pathology and pathophysiology of common cardio-pulmonary disease conditions including obstructive and restrictive lung disease, heart failure and obstructive sleep apnoea. Module content will link key physiological principles (including expiratory airflow limitation, acid-base balance, ventilation/perfusion matching and pulmonary hypoxic vasoconstriction) to understanding pathophysiological mechanisms. Students will be exposed to cutting-edge and controversial issues in the field through a combination of problem-based learning case study, student debates, hospital visits and guest lectures by medical and healthcare professionals within the field.

Neuroscience

The core of the module will comprise lectures on a range of topics that are currently major research fields in neuroscience. At the beginning of the module there will be a review of neuronal structure and function, human neuroanatomy, and the development of the vertebrate nervous system. Core lectures will then focus on the development of the brain, and how neural systems give rise to perception, memory and ultimately consciousness. The module will allow students to develop and study in depth their own particular interests in specific areas of neuroscience research, and this will be assessed by a written project and a presentation.

Clinical Nutrition

This module provides a detailed study of nutrition theory and practice within a clinical setting. It takes a 'process' approach to clinical nutrition and outlines the general principles and processes that underlie most clinical cases.  The module will explore human energy requirements during health, disease states and in clinical settings. It also investigates the management of nutrition-related diseases, and the uses of clinical dietary therapy and therapeutic diets. It also examines the underpinning supporting research evidence for clinical practice as appropriate. The focus will be on nutritional management of common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, renal/liver disease.

Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Bio-imaging

This module is designed to give students an in-depth appreciation of currently topical areas in the cell biology of mammals, yeast and plants, and the techniques underpinning the associated research. Topics to be covered will include cell signaling, the endomembrane system, and the cell cycle. Control of these three aspects of cell biology is, ultimately, at the level of interacting proteins and these interations will be explored. Advanced experimental bio-imaging is one of the most powerful experimental methods for investigation of cell biology and confocal light microscopy will be used in practicals to observe living cells of animals and plants and to measure the strength of protein interactions in different biological situations.

Work Experience

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a supervised work-based learning experience. You will spend a minimum of 60 hours in a working environment that is relevant to your future career path. By learning how to reflect on your learning and professional development, and how to present your insights in a written essay and in a video, you will develop useful skills for your future job applications.

Independent Study in Life Sciences

A study (normally library-based) of a topic of the student's choosing that is relevant to the student's programme but not formally offered as part of the taught course.  A learning contract is agreed between the student and a supervising member of staff in the semester prior to the one in which the study is to be undertaken, and this must be approved by the Subject Examination Committee. Only once the learning contract has been formally approved will the module be registered on the student's programme of study.

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Optional modules

Work placement

The Industrial Placement module lets you gain first-hand experience of applying theoretical and practical science within a professional environment, for example within an industrial biotechnology company or a laboratory. You will gain insight into the work of a professional scientific employer and develop both practical laboratory skills and the ability to self-assess. We will suggest employers but experience tells us that successful students are usually those who are pro-active in searching out their own placements. Many placements do come with a salary, but sadly some employers 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. This issue of salary will have implications for you and for your funding status. We will give you advice on this during the application process, but you should make sure you understand your situation fully by talking with the Student Finance department.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Throughout the course we focus on applying fundamental biology to real life issues. You will focus on applying your knowledge in practical settings, either in the lab or out in the field. 

You have the opportunity to gain a wide range of skills. These include:

  • molecular techniques
  • bioinformatics
  • advanced light and electron microscopy
  • field-based methods for species and landscape assessment
  • cutting edge methodologies for the study of evolution and developmental biology

Our teaching methods include: 

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • surgeries

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is designed to shape and develop learning, not simply measure it. 

Our assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • reviews
  • examinations
  • laboratory or field notebooks
  • scientific reports
  • posters
  • oral presentations

You’ll reflect on your progress with assignment feedback together with your diaries.

Study 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.

After you graduate


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. 

Free language courses


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.

Information from Discover Uni


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.