A contemporary skills-based course producing highly employable, professional biologists.
- Flexible structure of course allowing breadth or specialism.
- Practical course using contemporary learning methods.
- High employability of graduates.
This course covers all the core aspects of biology, while allowing you to develop expertise in specialist areas. Biology has a strong practical element and you'll have plenty of opportunities to study plants and animals in the wild as well as in our laboratories. There is also a strong human biology thread in our degree programme. As well as scheduled practical sessions, day trips and residential field trips provide the opportunity to study topics in greater depth.
'The Bath Spa Biology team gives you the confidence to go on and achieve any aim you set for yourself, and the freedom to explore science in the most incredible environment.'
Liza Stanley, Biology graduate
What you'll learn
The course covers a broad range of fundamental biology topics, from cell biology and genetics to plant, animal and human biology. In additional to these core topics, you have a wide range of modules to choose from, allowing you to develop a particular theme which interests you.
You'll develop a broad range of skills, some specific to Biology, while others are useful in varied professional environments. The course is "real-world" focused; you'll graduate as a professional Biologist prepared to solve a range of problems and keep up-to-date with scientific advances.
We'll focus on fundamental topics such as cell biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, evolution, classification, food production and ecosystems. Associated practical classes give you hands-on experience of these concepts, and optional modules allow you to explore themes - such as biodiversity, microbiology, human biology, food production, nutrition, biochemistry and science communication - in more detail.
We'll cover a range of concepts including biological systems and the importance of biology in real life. You'll explore themes such as ecology, environmental management, microbiology, human pathophysiology, biodiversity and food analysis, allowing you to develop your interests at a higher level. You can also select optional topics in business, education, science journalism and psychology.
An optional Professional Placement Year between your second and final years gives you the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain relevant and vlauable experience in the workplace.
Single honours and major students will undertake a dissertation in the final year. This substantial research project enables you to experience being responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on a biology topic.
In addition, you may study topics in medical biology, environmental practice, exercise science, animal behaviour, food safety, epidemiology, marine biology, plant biology and wildlife documentary. Themes in business, education, psychology and science publishing are also available.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments are varied and designed to be appropriate to the particular skills required for each module. Some modules have coursework and examinations, but many are coursework only. The practical nature of our assessments contributes to our high levels of graduate employment.
Types of assessment include scientific papers, posters, oral presentations, interviews, essays, reports, reviews, leaflets and video presentations. There are also plenty of opportunities to choose the biological theme on which you are assessed, allowing you to have deeper understanding of aspects of biology that are of interest to you.
How will I be taught?
You'll be taught using a combination of teaching and learning methods. Interactive lectures provide you with fundamental knowledge, which is enhanced by the practical skills you learn in supporting sessions. Around half of your contact time will be in lectures and half in practical or workshop sessions.
Biology with a year in professional practice (UCAS code: S117)
Subject to approval, you can opt to take a year in professional practice ('sandwich year') between your level 5 (year 2) and level 6 (year 3) studies.
This placement will enable you to put theory into practice, build professional networks and meet and work with potential employers. It will also help with work management and give you experience to bring back to your studies in your final year.
Your degree title will include the phrase 'with a year in professional practice', so it is clear to all employers that you have this experience as part of your degree.
You'll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Spain, Sweden and the USA.
From Kew Gardens to Haverfordwest, you'll have opportunities to participate in field trips across the Biology modules. Please note that you'll have to pay a contribution towards the cost of some of these study visits.
Work placements, industry links and internships
Our students have worked with clients such as the NHS, Bristol Zoo, Operation Wallacea, English Nature and local authorities.
Biology graduates have a range of professions including teaching, medical lab assistant, wildlife trust warden and science technician. Graduates have been employed by companies including NHS, New Zealand Department of Conservation and RSPB.
Competitions and awards
We'll encourage you to participate in local and national science festivals.
Each year we award five prizes to our students. These are:
- the Bath Spa University Biology Prize for best performance (one per year of study);
- the OUP Prize;
- the CIWEM Prize.
Facilities and resources
Where the subject is taught
You'll have access to our:
Located in the Gardens area of the Newton Park campus, we have a number of well-equipped recently refurbished laboratories dedicated to a variety of practical work. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and physiology.
- Low Hazard Laboratory Space
We have 'low hazard' laboratory space where you can carry out activities such as the preparation and assessment of food, exercise or psychological studies.
- Biology Resources Room
- Commons building
- Newton Park library
- Virtual Learning Environment
Biology students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University's free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment from binoculars, to telescopes and video cameras.