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Biological Sciences

BSc (Hons) - single

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Our Biological Sciences course provides flexibility by tailoring the course to suit you. The first year of your degree allows you to study a diverse range of topics helping you to decide where your interests lie. Second and third year provides an opportunity to specialise. You can choose from our extensive range of modules or opt to move to one of our specialist degrees. You can choose from:

The course helps prepare you for a wide range of opportunities. Our team focuses on developing your employability skills to further your career. You have the opportunity to go on a placement or gain work experience. The course allows you to apply what you've learnt in a professional environment. Through hands on experience in the lab and coursework in the field, your skills will be developed as a scientist.

You will be taught by biologists who have their finger on the pulse of current research findings and techniques. Oxford Brookes has an international reputation for outstanding research work in the Biological Sciences. The Oxford area is an increasingly important centre for the bioscience industry. This combination makes our university the ideal place to study. 


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, 4 years sandwich
  • Part time: part-time study is possible

UCAS code


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

  • You can tailor the course to suit your needs. Choose between taking a broad approach or focus on a narrower range of modules with a view to becoming a specialist.
  • You will gain the skills employers need through extensive practical experience. This includes laboratory techniques, data handling, computing, report writing, oral presentations and teamwork.
  • We encourage and support work placements.
  • You can join a research group in your final year as part of a research project. You will use advanced techniques and state of the art equipment, such as electron and confocal microscopes.
  • You will benefit from high quality teaching, supported by some of the best learning resources in the country. You can access the UK's largest science collection, the Radcliffe Science Library.


Our Biological Sciences degree has the flexibility to keep your studies broad or to specialise. By introducing a diverse range of topics in first year we allow you to discover what interests you. In years 2 and 3 you continue with your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. Through research and practical work our staff will help to immerse you in the subject.

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

  • Biodiversity
  • Cell Biology and Genetics
  • The Practising Scientist

Optional modules (Alternative Compulsory Modules) 

  • Introduction to Biochemistry A
  • Introduction to Biochemistry B
  • Field course: Identification and methods


Year 2 and final year

Compulsory modules

  • Molecular biology
  • Cell biology
  • Career development
  • Interrogating genomes
  • Research Project
  • Professional skills and techniques


Optional modules

  • Data carpentry
  • Animal behaviour
  • Animal developmental biology
  • Microbiology
  • The green planet
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry of cell function
  • Special study in life sciences
  • Advanced genetics and genomics
  • Advanced cell biology and bio-imaging
  • Animal neurobiology and behaviour
  • Evolution and animal development
  • Molecular biology of cancer
  • Science and humanity
  • Work experience
  • Independent study in life sciences


Work placements

We encourage our students to undertake a work placement, with the experience giving you a competitive edge when you apply for jobs. The course has two optional work experience options. 

Work experience module

On the 'Work Experience' module you will spend at least 115 hours in a working environment relevant to your subject. This is equal to 3 weeks full time work. The module involves reflecting on your interests and career aspirations. By approaching potential employers about opportunities in their organisations you can enhance your employability.

Although it is your responsibility to secure your work experience there's lots of support available. Your subject lead, academic advisor or dissertation supervisor all have a wide range of contacts with a range of suitable organisations.

Industrial Placement

An Industrial Placement helps you get experience of applying science in a practical environment. You will develop practical skills that enhance your employability. On placement you gain an insight into various aspects of working in a scientific environment.

Although it is your responsibility to secure your placement our team will do everything we can to assist you. We can suggest suitable employers through our network of industry contacts. You should look carefully into the financing of placements but this is something we will guide you through every step of the way.

Field trips

At the end of your first year there is a field course module in southern France. You can experience one week of field study in the Cevennes region. This area is known for its rich natural history, habitat and landscape diversity. The field work allows you to broaden your UK experiences by encountering unfamiliar plants and animals. As the field trip is an alternative compulsory module the cost is covered within the course fees. Depending on your choice of modules there will be other half-day visits and these are at no extra cost. 

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.

This is an optional part of the course so any costs e.g travel,living expenses associated with it are not covered in your tuition fees which does cover tuition at the exchange institution.

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 (which equals 150 hours of student effort). This represents a minimum of 12 hours contact per week.

Additional costs

You will need to buy some basic personal protection equipment for laboratory practicals (lab coat, safety glasses), at a cost of around £25.

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, either in the lab or out in the field. This helps to develop skills for your future career. 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

Throughout the course we focus on applying fundamental biology to real life issues. Teaching and learning methods include lectures, practicals, tutorials, seminars and surgeries.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 27%73%0%
2 27%73%0%
3 18%82%0%

Approach to assessment

Assessment is designed to ‘shape and develop’ learning and not simply measure it. Assessment methods include:

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

We encourage our students to reflect on what they learn. By using feedback on assignment together with reflective diaries, students can analyse areas to improve.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 45%0%55%
2 45%0%55%
3 43%0%58%

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

Oxford is one 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. Oxford is also home to leading health care providers such as the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. They offer excellent work and career opportunities.

Recognised as one of Europe's leading centres of enterprise, innovation and scientific knowledge, Oxfordshire is a bioscience hotspot. The county has several science parks including Oxford, Milton, Begbroke and Harwell.

The Oxford Brookes Student Bioinnovation Hub helps to open up access to collaboration within bioscience. Through the Hub we help to provide our students with opportunities for their placements  and work experience.

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

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 new Microscopy Annex includes a state of the art bio-imaging suite used by researchers and students. A high-speed PC cluster to support you in your degree will open before September 2019. 

Our modern labs are equipped for a variety of biological techniques. The following are some of the equipment and techniques you could use during your degree:

  • electron microscopes
  • fluorescence microscopes
  • spectrophotometers
  • protein purification and analysis
  • tissue culture
  • molecular biology

As well as our outstanding facilities, Oxford Brookes students are able to access the Bodleian library. This provides students with access to the largest university library system in the UK.

Engaging with research in the department is a big part of the course. Our strong external links will mean you will be exposed to cutting edge research. 

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

Our graduates enjoy good career prospects working with many diverse organisations. These are some of the destinations of our recent graduates:

  • medical school
  • teaching
  • working in local authorities
  • working in research laboratories

As many as 50% of our graduates each year are appointed to research posts. These are within universities, research institutes or biotechnology companies. Many others pursue careers allied to medicine. 

Our courses are designed to equip you with the skills you need for employment. The university places a strong emphasis on developing its students to be equipped for a rapidly changing workplace.

Further study

About a quarter of our graduates go on to further study, such as MSc courses, PhDs or PGCEs. One option for future study is the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics at Oxford Brookes.

Related courses

  • Animal Biology and Conservation
  • Medical Science
  • Biological Sciences (Genetics and Genomics)
  • Biological Sciences (Human Biosciences)
  • Biological Sciences (Zoology)