Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

Biological Sciences MSci

This four-year MSci offers an additional year on top of the Biological Sciences BSc, which includes a research project, providing extra depth and knowledge which will particularly benefit those interested in further research. Year three may be spent abroad at a university in Asia, Australia, Europe or the USA.

Key Information

Degree Programme
Biological Sciences MSci
UCAS code
4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
Biological Sciences
Total intake (by subject area)
86 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
7 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Entry requirements

A Levels

Biology required plus one from Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including Biology at grade 6 and one from Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Biology required plus one from Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics

A,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). Biology required plus one from Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A, plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades AA. Biology required plus one from Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • You will have the opportunity to choose a specialist degree option in Biodiversity and Conservation, Genetics, Human Genetics, Molecular Cell Biology or Zoology.
  • Benefit from excellent facilities including our own field station at Blakeney Point in Norfolk, our own on-site museum, the Grant Museum of Zoology and the newly refurbished UCL Cruciform Hub.
  • Undertake your final-year research project in collaboration with major organisations in London such as the Natural History Museum, ZSL London Zoo and the UCL Institute of Child Health.
  • Our Summer Studentship scheme allows second- and third-year students to experience original research in the laboratory or the field.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The first year of the programme covers a core range of subjects from across the spectrum of the biological sciences, giving you a firm foundation for later choices.

In your second year, you can either continue towards a degree in general Biological Sciences, or you can choose from five specialised degree pathways.

In your third year you have the choice to take courses from many different subjects from across UCL. You may also apply to transfer to the International Programme MSci and spend your third year at one of our partner universities in Asia, Australia, Europe or the USA.

The fourth year will largely centre on a supervised research project, occupying 50–75% of the time, and you will also take advanced Master's level courses, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge.

Specialist Degree Pathways:

Biodiversity and Conservation allows you to study the interactions between organisms and populations with the environments they inhabit. In the Zoology programme you will focus on the study of animals in all their complexity and diversity. Genetics focuses on evolutionary, genomic and population genetics while Human Genetics is more concerned with gene function in disease. In Molecular Cell Biology you will take advantage of UCL-wide expertise in the molecular basis of cell function and its role in major human diseases.

Year One

Compulsory courses

Cellular and Molecular Biology
Introduction to Genetics
Introduction to Microbiology
Life on Earth
Quantitative Biology

Optional courses

Either Chemistry for Biologists or Fundamentals of Biology and Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Year Two

Pathway options

In the second year, you will have the opportunity to either remain on the generalist Biological Sciences programme, or select a specialist pathway in:

Biodiversity and Conservation
Human Genetics
Molecular Cell Biology

Year Three

Compulsory courses

Literature Review

Optional courses

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of optional courses in your chosen degree and fro other approved disciplines within UCL.

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Research Project in Biological Sciences
Current topics in Biological Research

Optional courses

You will between 0.5 and 1.5 credits from a wide range of optional courses in your chosen degree and from other approved disciplines within UCL.

Your learning

The programme consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, and extensive personal study. You will have the opportunity to take part in UCL's world-leading research from the first year onwards, either in the laboratory or studying animals and plants in their natural habitats.


Initially you will be assessed primarily by end-of-year examinations with a smaller component from practical reports or other coursework such as essays. As your programme progresses, research-based coursework exercises will become important, culminating in your final-year research project and dissertation.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Biological Sciences MSci.


The breadth of biological studies opens up a wide range of careers, and key skills training embedded in our degrees, for example, statistics, computing and making presentations, helps make you attractive to employers.

Many of our graduates choose to undertake further studies, aiming for a research career in universities or industry. As well as careers in scientific fields, such as in the health service, conservation or the pharmaceutical industry, our graduates have also pursued further training or employment in management, teaching, accounting, the civil service and law.


First career destinations of recent graduates of this programme include:

  • Full-time student, MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at UCL (2012)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology at Imperial College London (2012)

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Student view

What I really love about Biological Sciences at UCL is the vast number of choices going into the second year. I have chosen to specialise in Human Genetics, but other specialisms are available or you can keep your degree broad. Alice Miller - Biological Sciences MSci (Second year)

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£21,320 (2016/17)


Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance


The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

Application and next steps

Your application

When we read your application we will be checking not only that you will meet our academic entry requirements, but also for evidence of your interest in the subject and your involvement in related activities, for example, through extracurricular science clubs, laboratory visits or participation in summer schools.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2016


If you live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an applicant open day. This will involve talks from staff about the programme and the department, a tour of UCL and a visit to a research laboratory.

You will have the chance to talk to current students and staff about any questions you might have about studying Biological Sciences, or about UCL in general.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students