Biological Sciences is a broad flexible course and you have the option to choose a named specialised degree, or to keep broad. The broad biological science degree will develop your understanding of organisms from microbes to animals and their structure, function, evolution and diversity. You will be able to make choices in molecular biology and how to work with genomes, cell biology and specialist areas such as stem cells and cancer.
Subjects studied in Year 1 include cell biology and genetics, evolution, diversity, science skills introductory biochemistry, animal biology, ecology and current challenges facing the living planet.
In Year 2 subjects include molecular biology, career development, research methods, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, developmental biology, animal behaviour, plants, microbiology, interrogating genomes.
Year 3 subjects include stem cell biology, advanced cell biology, evolution and animal development, animal neurobiology and behaviour, wildlife conservation, genetics and genomics.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you choose from may differ from those shown here.
- 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
- Molecular biology
- Cell biology
- Career development
- Interrogating genomes
- Research Project
- Professional skills and techniques
- Data carpentry
- Animal behaviour
- Animal developmental biology
- The green planet
- 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
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.
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.
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.
You will need to buy some basic personal protection equipment for laboratory practicals (lab coat, safety glasses), at a cost of around £25.
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