Biological Sciences

 

 

What courses? Where to start? Biology; biological sciences; biochemistry; microbiology; molecular biology; physiology; marine biology; ecology; environmental biology; forensic biology; natural science; anatomy; zoology. The list goes on.

What do you come out with? A BSc

Why do it? "Biological sciences at university opens up an enormously broad world of diversity, both in its literal sense of life on earth, and also in the context of modern developments in all types of life sciences from molecules to genes, ecology to evolution. It enables students to cover the whole range of topics, or alternatively to specialize, ranging from, for example, marine ecology to cell biology. As well as providing one of the most exciting subjects in the modern world, graduates acquire a broad range of talents which are highly suitable for many careers outside biology. Thus many students will go on to become medics, accountants, journalists, teachers or lawyers." - Dr Martin Speight, admissions coordinator for biological sciences and reader in zoology, University of Oxford

What's it about? The science of life and organisms. Biological sciences can be studied as a general degree, but more commonly, it is an umbrella term used to cover an endless list of specialist areas that are concerned with investigating the science behind living things. Exactly what you’ll be doing on your course will depend completely on what you choose to study, from human biology to genetics. Most courses will have core modules in cell and molecular biology, microbiology, physiology and adaptation, but later on you’ll find yourself becoming far more specialized. Whatever you choose to study though, you’ll be sure to be spending a lot of time in the lab, with personal research taking up a larger proportion of your time as your degree progresses.

Study options: Three years full-time generally, although some universities do offer a year abroad. In Scotland you study for four years and get an MSc. If studying alongside a language you’ll most likely spend a year abroad, while a minority offer bioscience degrees a sandwich year in which to work in industry.

What will I need to do it? Surprisingly enough, an A-level in biology is a given when it comes to most institutions’ entry requirements and many ask for a second science subject as well. Biological sciences at Oxford and Cambridge ask for A*AA and at Imperial it’s AAB for its biology course. Obviously, grade requirements vary by university – Anglia Ruskin asks for 240 UCAS points (three Cs at A level).

What are my job prospects? If you want to specialise in your chosen field, you’re going to have to go into further study, and over a third of students do. Biology and physiology students will find they have a good footing from which to transfer to medicine, while others go to work in research laboratories or the pharmaceutical or biotech industries. According to The Times’ Good University Guide 2012 around one quarter of graduates find themselves in graduate-level jobs within six months of finishing, while another quarter are employed in non-graduate roles. Starting salaries average just over £19,000 for graduate-level positions, placing biological science in the bottom 20 for subjects’ graduate earnings.

Where’s best to do it? As in a lot of cases, Cambridge tops the Complete University Guide 2012, with Oxford close behind, and Imperial in third. Sheffield, Durham, Leicester and York follow. It’s students at Gloucestershire that are most satisfied, however, with York, East Anglia and Huddersfield also faring well in this area.

Related degrees: Agriculture; earth and environmental sciences; ecology; medical sciences.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing