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Human Biology

BSc (Hons) - single

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Human biology is an exciting and rapidly developing area of study, involving the application of a range of biological techniques and knowledge to the life-science study of human beings. How is our blood pressure controlled? How are the systems of the body integrated to allow us to live in so many diverse environments? These are the types of questions we address in our Human Biology course.

Typical offers

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

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

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 Biology 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 gain the practical skills employers require by using our state-of-the-art equipment such as electron and confocal microscopes.
  • 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.

Core modules taken in Year 1 introduce the basic concepts in human physiology, biochemistry, cell biology and nutrition. A feature of your first year is a series of tutorials with your academic adviser (a member of the teaching staff who is responsible for overseeing your academic progress while you are at university). Tutorials are designed to help you adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits.

The selection of modules available in Years 2 and 3 allows you to develop a degree programme which reflects your particular areas of interest. You will be able to choose from a range of modules that focus on the main strands of human biology, such as physiology, biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, or you can widen your studies by selecting modules from nutrition and biological psychology and anthropology.

The honours component of the degree is based on the accumulation, in your final year, of six honours-level credits. These may be chosen from a selection of honours-level modules, which can include a project. The project will involve an extended study of a topic of your choice from a suitable subject area.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

Alternative compulsory modules - two credits from:

Years 2 and 3

  • Applied Human Nutrition
  • Biochemistry of Cell Function (double)
  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology (double)
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Energy Regulation and Obesity
  • Enterprise Skills for Life Scientists
  • Evidence-Based Medicine and Diagnostics
  • Haematology and Immunology
  • Human and Other Primates
  • Human Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Independent Study in Life Sciences
  • Infection, Immunity and Immunology
  • Integrated Physiology (double)
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics (double)
  • Molecular Biology of Cancer
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathophysiology
  • Primate Societies
  • Project (double)
  • Research Methods for Health Care Scientists
  • Science and Humanity
  • Special Study in Life Sciences
  • Work Experience

Work placements

In the final year of your course, you will have the opportunity to undertake a professional placement in a clinical or research laboratory.

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.

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 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.

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

You will be taught and assessed in a variety of ways appropriate to the range of knowledge and skills covered in the course. Teaching methods include lectures, practical work and small group assignments such as the preparation and presentation of posters. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on general transferable skills, such as computer use and report writing. These skills are reinforced by both teaching and practice and often form part of the assessment of individual modules.

Teaching and learning takes place within a lively environment of research activity involving academic staff and postgraduate students in such areas as sports physiology, metabolic regulation and social aspects of disease.

The close links that staff maintain with other subjects in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences ensure that the content of the course is up to date and reflects the changing needs of employers.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 27%73%0%
2 25%75%0%
3 16%85%0%

Approach to assessment

The course includes a variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods that are informed by contemporary practice in science teaching in higher education.

Assessment methods include essays, reviews, examinations, laboratory or field notebooks, scientific reports, posters and oral presentations. Reflective learning is encouraged through use of self, peer or staff formative feedback on assignments, group work and project work, and reflective diaries. The relative contribution of coursework and examination to the final module mark may vary between modules.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 45%0%55%
2 46%0%54%
3 41%0%59%

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 and Physics

A-Level: preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry Mathematics and Physics

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 for 2017 entry). 
  • 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.
If your combination of qualifications doesn't match our typical offer, please contact our admissions tutor.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics, English Language and Double Integrated Science (or equivalent) at grade C minimum

You must have studied science post-16, either at A-level or equivalent qualification. 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. Successful completion of this enables students to progress on to Human Biology (and a range of undergraduate degrees in the faculty - see website for more details).

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

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Part-time students should apply directly to the university.

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 home to leading health care providers such as the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, providing excellent work experience and career opportunities.

Recognised as one of Europe's leading centres of enterprise, innovation and scientific knowledge, Oxfordshire is also a bioscience hotspot, with the Oxford, Milton, Begbroke and Harwell science parks in the county.

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 Human Biology

Our Personal and Academic Support System (PASS) is gaining 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

You will have access to a range of facilities including our British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accredited laboratory in addition to our Human Performance Unit and Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit. We also have a very good range of equipment, including high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), confocal and electron microscopes, and specialised laboratories for tissue culture, microbiology, physiology and cell biology.

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

As scientists, all human biology graduates are at an advantage in the general career environment. In addition, with a firm grounding in physiology, biochemistry, and cell and molecular sciences, human biology graduates are well prepared for careers in industry, biological organisations, college and university research and teaching, and medical and 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 biology graduate is also eminently well qualified for a career in medical writing, as an exercise physiologist or as an immunology research scientist.

Our courses are designed to equip you with the skills you need for employment. We put a strong emphasis on developing the multidisciplinary graduate attributes needed to keep ahead in a rapidly changing workplace.

Further study

Due to the broad nature of our Human Biology degree, more than twenty per cent 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.

Related courses

  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Human Biology
  • Medical Science