Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

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

UCAS code
4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
8 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
80 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to Biological Sciences subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

Biology required plus one from Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.
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 Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA. 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

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

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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, Cell Biology or Zoology.
  • 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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences.

  • 82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


A short video with more information.

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Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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 upon which to base your 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 North America.

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 programmes

You can transfer to any of the following specialist degree programmes after year one:

Biodiversity and Conservation focuses on the interactions between organisms and populations with the environments they inhabit.
Cell Biology focuses on cell function and its role in major human diseases.
Genetics focuses on evolutionary, genomic and population genetics.
Human Genetics focuses on gene function in disease.
Zoology focuses on the study of animals in all their complexity and diversity.

Further information on these specialist degree programmes can be found on the Biological Sciences BSc departmental webpage.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Compulsory modules

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

Optional modules

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

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

Further information on these specialist degree programmes can be found on the Biological Sciences BSc departmental webpage.

Compulsory modules

Literature Review

Optional modules

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

Compulsory modules

Research Project in Biological Sciences
Current topics in Biological Research

Optional modules

You will between 0.5 and 1.5 credits from a wide range of optional modules 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 (2012-2014) graduates of this programme include:

  • Full-time student, PhD in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London
  • Strategy and Research Fundin Graduate Trainee, Cancer Research UK
  • Graduate GIS Consultant, Thomson Ecology
  • Full-time student, MPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge
  • Full-time student, MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology at Imperial College London

*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 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

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 (Third Year)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme only.

UK/EU students
£TBC (2017/18 - see below)
Overseas students
£21,960 (2017/18)

UK/EU undergraduate fees are currently (August 2016) capped at 9,000 and UCL charges fees at the level of that cap. This cap on UK/EU undergraduate fees is currently under review by the UK Government and may be subject to increase for the year commencing 2017 and for each year of study thereafter. Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

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 2017


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

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