Biology is the study of life and living organisms. It's a fascinating subject that answers key questions such as how life first began, and which offers developments and solutions to major social and ethical challenges. It has offered an advanced understanding of serious threats to human populations, conservation and habitats.
This course allows you to gain a broad understanding of molecular, cellular, organismal and population biology, as well as giving you the chance to specialise in areas that suit your interests through a wide range of optional modules. You'll gain a broad understanding of genetics, immunology, microbiology and other key disciplines, while you could also choose to explore plant growth, conservation biology, population genetics, bioinformatics and many more.If you are unsure of the difference between Biological Sciences and Biology? Check our guide to help you decide which is right for you.
Both our Integrated Masters (MBiol) programme and BSc with Industrial Placement Year programme has been awarded advanced accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting in part the academic and experience requirement for the Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).
Compulsory modules in year 1 will give you a broad foundation as a scientist. You'll be introduced to cell biology, genetics, ecology and the application of biology to agriculture. You'll also develop your research skills through extensive practical work in our labs and apply them to field work in North Yorkshire. An optional module of your choice will allow you to gain specialist knowledge in a topic that interests you, such as the chemistry underpinning biological processes or immunology.
In the following year, you'll deepen your understanding of plant and animal biology through evolution in core modules, as well as building your skills in research and examining experimental design. This year also allows you to begin tailoring your degree to your interests and career ambitions. You'll be expected to maintain a spread across modules related to the areas of genetics and organisms, but you'll be able to study topics such as genetic engineering, bioinformatics, sustainable food production and animal nutrition. A choice of field courses will be among the optional modules open to you.
Year 3 will give you more scope to work independently, as a research project, literature review and poster allow you to focus on a biological topic in depth. This work is supported by a wide range of choice. You'll select optional modules from the fields of genetics, ecology, and animal and plant organisms. Topics could include population genetics, plant growth and resource acquisition, evolution and conservation biology, and a field course in South Africa is also on offer.
If you are unsure of the difference between Biological Sciences and Biology? Check our guide to help you decide which is right for you.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
Entry requirements, fees and applying
A-level: AAA - AAB
Including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.
We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.
Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.
Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.
GCSE: Typically Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.
Number 1 for employability - the Faculty of Biological Sciences is ranked highest for employability amongst Russell Group universities. Higher than Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Durham, Edinburgh, Kings College, Liverpool, Manchester, York.
Our biology students graduate into many different careers, including the pharmaceutical industry, agribusiness, conservation, environmental consultancy and education. Many graduates go on to specialise through further study such as a masters or PhD.
Career destinations in the field of biology are wide-ranging and employment prospects are excellent, with 96% of recent graduates having secured jobs in a multitude of roles relating to the subject of Biology or in further study within six months of graduating.
Recent graduates can be found working as for example:
Faculty Employability team
We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University's Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That's one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Study abroad and work placements
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of the BSc studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.
Industrial placements are typically taken between your second and final year. If you choose to undertake a placement year, this will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and application letters and provide a list of organisations which may offer industrial placements.
Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.
One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer at least the option of a field course in every year.
Year 1: Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
This compulsory course takes place over the summer after your end of year exams and gives you a first taste of field research in a group setting. You'll get a taste of Yorkshire's natural history and be exposed to a wide range of natural systems: moorland plants and birds, intertidal invertebrates, freshwater fish and insects and sea bird colonies.
Year 2: Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
An optional course which runs after the summer exams, this course will expand on the training you've gained in your first two years of study. You'll choose from projects on a wide range of topics in behaviour and ecology including bat behaviours, bird song and habitat preferences of small mammals. If you're feeling brave you could also take part in a caving trip - and there's our infamous treasure hunt and pub quiz.
Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
Usually involves a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You'll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.
Year 3: African Ecology Field Course, South Africa
This optional course takes place in The Great Fish River Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. You'll take part in group projects collecting data and samples and analysing them, with help from both Leeds lecturers and demonstrators and staff from nearby Rhodes University. Past projects have included the diet of the black rhino, small mammal diversity and distribution and kudu-vegetation interactions.
Find out more and view photo galleries from our Field Courses
Related coursesBiology with Enterprise BSc
Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc