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Biological Sciences

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Ready to apply? You can apply for this course online now using the UCAS website. The deadline for UK students to apply for this course is 25 January 2023.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.

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Use these details to apply for this course through UCAS:

  • University name: University of Liverpool
  • Course: Biological Sciences C100
  • Location: Main site
  • Start date: 25 September 2023

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

Course overview

Study Biological Sciences at Liverpool to focus on the study of living things, and understand how they respond to each other and the world around them.

Introduction

This programme allows you to pursue your own areas of specific interest and to have an appreciation of the full range of the subject.

Should you decide sometime in the first two years that you wish to specialise, you can transfer to a number of programmes in the School of Life Sciences, subject to meeting the appropriate pre-requisites for your chosen programme.

A progressive series of field, laboratory and lecture modules cover most aspects of the Biological Sciences, with students able to select topics to match their interests. Modules are selected from more than 50 options offered within the School of Life Sciences.

In year three, field courses in Zoology and Ecology are available. You will also undertake a research project that you will choose from one of the various parts of the School to complement the lecture programme chosen for your Honours year. Each project gives an invaluable opportunity to see what real scientific research is like and to work alongside staff who are international authorities in their fields.

Across all 3 years there are options to choose laboratory practicals or field courses. In your final year you will also undertake a research project that you will choose from one of the various parts of the School to complement the lecture programme you have chosen for your Honours year. Each project gives an invaluable opportunity to see what real scientific research is like and to work alongside staff who are international authorities in their fields.

What you'll learn

  • Knowledge and understanding of the subject and the ability to evaluate and interpret this knowledge to solve problems
  • Skills that will equip you to investigate research topics and communicate your findings
  • How to analyse and interpret real-world data and communicate the results clearly and concisely
  • How to access and critically evaluate scientific literature in the area of biological sciences

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

During year one you will develop essential skills and a thorough understanding of this subject to prepare you for the more advanced modules in subsequent years of this degree.

Compulsory modules

MOLECULES AND CELLS (LIFE101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module describes the detailed composition of cells and the processes by which they obtain and generate energy, grow, replicate and eventually die.
The lectures will be supplemented with on-line resources and illustrated with some of the latest research methods that are used to study cell structure and function.
Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.
The module will be assessed by both continuous assessments and by a final examination.

EVOLUTION (LIFE103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module describes the evolutionary processes that have resulted in the generation of the diverse life forms that populate the planet.

This includes the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the genetic processes that result in gene evolution and diversity.

Selected scenarios and case studies will apply evolutionary concepts, showing the fundamental importance of evolution to a broad range of the life sciences.

The module is split into two parts: the first part (A) is the same for all students, the second part (B) contains a number of parallel strands tailored to students interest.

Students will be advised by their programme director which strand to follow. 

The lectures will be supplemented with a variety of on-line resources.

Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed by continuous assessments.

GRAND CHALLENGES IN BIOLOGY (LIFE105)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 1

​This module introduces students to how grand challenges (scientific and societal) are addressed in universities and in particular at the University of Liverpool. Students will be introduced to four major topics (Infections and Global Health, Ageing, Food Security, Personalised Medicines) by experts in the respective fields. Emphasis will be placed on students understanding concepts and assembling information rather than memorizing facts. The material will be delivered based on the concept of a scientific conference with plenary talks and parallel sessions presented by the lecturers, and (in light of Covid-19 driven procedures at scientific meetings) a video session driven by student input. Assessment of lecture material and associated readings will be by continuous assessment.

EXPERIMENTAL SKILLS IN CURRENT BIOLOGY (LIFE107)

Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This is the first practical module that students will take in the School of Life Sciences. The skills that students acquire will be needed for other practical modules that they will take in semester 2 Year 1, and during Year 2 and will prepare them for their year 3 research project and for their subsequent career.
This module is designed to teach the basic multidisciplinary skills required in the biological sciences.

It aims to develop careful working practices, experimental design and interpretation of results. Skills acquired in this module will be both utilised and enhanced by the co-requisite module LIFE 109 (communication and study skills and quantitative skills).

The way in which LIFE 107 is taught and assessed is designed to place emphasis on encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning . Demonstrators and academic staff will be on hand to answer questions or show students how to use lab equipment.

Resources will be available online via VITAL and include a weekly Blog, technical manual, module handbook, lab instruction manual and weekly lectures.
The module will be taught in weekly practical classes and it will be assessed through continuous assessment (assessment 1-2) and a final exam (assessment 3).

Quantitative Skills for the Life Sciences (LIFE113)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 1

For any student studying the Biological Sciences a firm grasp of quantitiative skills is an absolute necessity. This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to manipulate numbers and analysis/visualise data using digital tools. The module emphasises a "learn by doing" approach to the development of quantitative skills and is heavily workshop based.

Communication and Study Skills for the Life Sciences (LIFE130)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: whole session

Optional modules

ANIMAL BIODIVERSITY (LIFE112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module studies the body plans of the major groups of animals and explores the relationship between body form and function.

It also discusses the evlolutionary origins of these basic body plans and how these have been modified to adapt to particular habitats.

The module will be taught through a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous material. The former consists of pre-recorded videos and other online learning material, the latter consists of scheduled interactive online sessions. Students will also be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed through continuous assessment.

BIOCHEMICAL METHODS (LIFE122)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 2

This course introduces widely used laboratory concepts and practical techniques that are relevant to academic research, industry and medical applications.

BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES (LIFE102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will provide the foundation for future studies on the molecular basis of life and disease. It covers basic biochemistry and immunity and how these fields can provide a molecular explanation for life and disease. The module will encourage confidence, teamwork and communication through active learning in lectures and workshops centred around authentic assessments.

BIOLOGY & ECOLOGY FIELD SKILLS (LIFE124)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 2

​This five-day course takes place in the early summer in a biologically rich, beautiful location in the UK, typically the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales. Students gain an introduction to the skills biologists use to study individuals, populations, species and ecosystems in the field.

Students spend a day learning some of the basic skills biologists use to observe animal behaviour in the natural environment, focusing on birds and insects.

They then learn techniques used to monitor the number of animals in wild populations, given that in the field observing an entire population is typically impossible. They live-trap and release both small mammals and invertebrates, and trap moths.

Next, they spend a day examining the interactions between species, focusing on how the different characteristics of species determine how they compete and coexist with one another, and how seemingly minor microhabitat differences can radically alter community structure and the species that persist in an area. This day introduces plant taxonomy and diversity.

Finally, they learn techniques for investigating ecosystems at the largest scale, tracking how nutrients cycle through the plants and animals in a habitat, and the water and soil. They study how this flow of nutrients can alter an ecosystem, and impact on the survival of the species and individuals within it.

More broadly, students learn the basics of taxonomy, and an appreciation for the phenomenal diversity of organisms that can be found across the UK. Importantly, they are also taught to think critically about the methods they are using, gaining experience in experimental design, and a greater understanding of the challenges inherent to taking biology out of the laboratory and into the field.

ECOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT (LIFE120)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce students to the physical and chemical contexts of the biosphere, the cycling of important elements at different scales, the distribution of biomes and the ecosystem concept.

Ecological concepts such as succession, niche, food web theory and ecosystem stability will be introduced, and how these are impacted by human activities.

The module will also consider the conservation of biodiversity over a range of biological scales using UK and global case studies. The lectures will be supplemented with on-line resources.

Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed by coursework, including online test.

INTRODUCTION TO ANIMAL HUSBANDRY (LIFE118)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module provides an introduction to veterinary animal husbandry in the form of lectures, a workshop on poster presentation and a mini conference where students exhibit their posters.

The module covers the basic physiology relevant to animal management; environmental considerations, nutrition and housing; the welfare of managed animals and breeding issues.

The module is assessed by continuous assessment, the poster, and by a final examination.

Introduction to Animal Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and Public Health (LIFE126)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The module will introduce the biology of a range of veterinary infectious diseases. Basic concepts in disease epidemiology, surveillance and control will be introduced and the effects/association diseases have on animals, society and the environment. Students will be taught in small tutorial groups by research active teaching staff to develop information on a specific disease and present their group findings as a PowerPoint presentation at a “mini-conference”. The module is assessed through the presentation and a final exam.

INTRODUCTION TO PHYSIOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY (LIFE106)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Marine Ecosystems: Diversity, Processes and Threats (ENVS122)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces the range of diversity of marine ecosystems using example environments from around the world. Each week a new ecosystem will be covered, with the main organisms, key processes and human threats to the ecosystem described and explored. Central to this module are interactive discussion sessions that will build an understanding of how marine ecosystems are expected to respond to the human-induced changes of the anthropocene.​​

MICROBIOLOGY (LIFE110)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Introduction to Genetics and Development (LIFE128)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces students to modern genetics and developmental biology at an introductory level. Using examples taken from across the biosciences and medicine, students will develop their understanding of the inheritance of genetic traits, how mutation can lead to disease and the molecular techniques used to study genes. They will also be introduced to development from meiosis and germ cell formation through to organogenesis, emphasising both the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms involved and the embryological processes. Students will explore current advances in both fields including current and potential use of gene editing techniques and stem cells in therapeutics, and will consider the ethical implications of these advances.
The module is taught through a combination of lectures and workshops incorporating problem solving and discussion, with an emphasis on an appreciation of the techniques and experimental evidence underpinning the material. Assessment is by a combination of a written examination and a group ethics poster presentation.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Year in industry

Year in industry placements give you an in-depth workplace experience where you can develop your skills and apply your learning.

  • Develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for
  • Experience and understand workplace culture and disciple
  • Understand the relationship between academic theory and real world application
  • Begin your professional network
  • Gain industry insight and insight into potential career options.

You don't need to decide now - you can choose to add a year in industry after you've begun your degree.

To spend a year in industry, you'll need to secure a placement with an organisation. If you're unable to find a placement, you'll continue with the standard version of the course without a year in industry.

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as part of XJTLU 2+2

Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) can be studied through the 2+2 programme by students on the following XJTLU courses. Select your course for further details:

The natural next step for ambitious XJTLU students who want to build a brilliant career.

  • Spend two years at the University of Liverpool campus
  • Improve your prospects of progressing to postgraduate study at a top 100 university
  • Receive two degrees: one from XJTLU, one from the University of Liverpool
  • Get support with visas, accommodation and your career.

Read more about the 2+2 programme.

Study as a Master's degree

This course is also available as a four year MBiolSci programme.

View Biological Sciences MBiolSci

Your experience

Your course is delivered by the School of Life Sciences, which has over £30 million of recent investment in facilities where your day-to-day teaching will take place. These investments in our Biology Teaching Centre, the state-of-the-art Biosciences Building, the Biomedical Sciences Building and the Human Anatomy Resource Centre will ensure your studies are fully supported by the very best in teaching and research equipment. You will have access to extensive library facilities.

Virtual tour

Careers and employability

As a Life Sciences graduate from the University of Liverpool, you will have an excellent set of career options ahead of you. For those committed to a career as a professional scientist, higher degrees (MBiolSci, MSc, MRes, MPhil or PhD) at the University of Liverpool or elsewhere provide a flexible set of options for further study.

4 in 5 life sciences students find their main activity after graduation meaningful.

Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

In the public sector, Life Sciences graduates are in demand in research institutes, government departments, the National Health Service, forensic science and the Environment Agency. Commercial sectors that actively recruit graduates from the Life Sciences include the pharmaceutical, food, biotechnology, water and agriculture industries. There is also an increasing demand for life scientists to contribute to the public understanding of science as journalists and information/liaison officers.

A number of routes are available for graduates to enter the teaching profession one of which is taking a postgraduate qualification (PGCE). There are significant financial inducements provided to meet the current demand for science teachers. In addition to all of the opportunities for graduates in general, including careers outside of biology (such as management, accountancy and human resources), where the skills you have obtained in our degree programmes will be of considerable benefit. Our degree programmes are also popular routes to postgraduate Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science.

Preparing you for future success

At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:

  • Embedding employability within your , through the modules you take and the opportunities to gain real-world experience offered by many of our courses.
  • Providing you with opportunities to gain experience and develop connections with people and organisations, including student and graduate employers as well as our global alumni.
  • Providing you with the latest tools and skills to thrive in a competitive world, including access to Handshake, a platform which allows you to create your personalised job shortlist and apply with ease.
  • Supporting you through our peer-to-peer led Careers Studio, where our career coaches provide you with tailored advice and support.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the costs associated with placements or internships, and the optional field course in Uganda.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the costs associated with placements or internships, and the optional field course in Uganda.

Students should expect to cover the following costs.

Costs associated with placements/internships

Students in Life Sciences who have chosen international placements/internships will need to pay for their visa (if applicable), travel, accommodation, and meals.

There may also be costs associated with travel to interviews for placements/internships. These will vary, and some other extra costs may also be incurred. If students are spending a full year in industry, their employers may pay transport costs. School and University bursaries may be available to help with the cost of these opportunities.

Students might choose to pay for additional optional vaccinations in addition to the compulsory ones that the School pays for.

Tropical ecology field course
Students who elect to take the optional tropical ecology field course in Uganda are required to make a financial contribution that covers their own costs (travel, meals, visa, accommodation, and entry to national parks). In 2020-21, the student contribution was £1,500. A limited number of funded places are available.

Students might choose to pay for additional optional vaccinations in addition to the compulsory ones that the School pays for.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.

Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

Typical A level offer ABB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.

Available foundation years:

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

Biology and a second science, preferably Chemistry, at A level

Also accepted as a second science: Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, Geography, Psychology, Geology and Applied Science.

For applicants from England, where A levels in Biology, Chemistry or Physics have been taken, we will also require a pass in the Practical Endorsement

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

D*DD in Applied Science with a selection of preferred units in Biology and Chemistry, to include Distinction in Units 1 and 5 (Principles and Applications of Science I and II).

For previous BTEC (QCF) qualification:

D*DD in Applied Science with a selection of preferred units in Biology and Chemistry, with at least 120 Level 3 credits at Distinction.

Please note alternative BTEC subjects are not acceptable for this programme.

BTEC Applied Science unit requirements

View the BTEC Applied Science unit requirements.

International Baccalaureate

33 points, including 6 in Higher Level Biology, and 5 in another Higher Level Subject

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 - including grade H2 in both of Higher Level Biology and Higher Level (second science).
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Not accepted without Advanced Highers at grades ABB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at grade B as equivalent to a third non-science A level at grade B.
Access 45 Level 3 credits in graded units in a relevant Diploma, including 30 at Distinction and a further 15 with at least Merit. 15 Distinctions are required in each of Biology and Chemistry. GCSE Mathematics and English grade C/4 also required.
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.