UCL-IoE merger

UCL and the Institute of Education merged on December 2, 2014. Learn about the study options available to you.


Admissions Tutor

Dr Daniel Pearce

Admissions Administrator

Ms Heather Gardiner

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7169

More Information

Subject area:

Biological Sciences

Faculty overview:

Faculty of Life Sciences

Department website:

Division of Biosciences

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

55% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Biological Sciences MSci

UCAS code: C901

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.

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA
Subjects 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.
GCSEs 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

Points 38
Subjects 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.

Other qualifications

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

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

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

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

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: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. 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 Environmental Biology, Genetics, Human Genetics or Zoology.
  • Benefit from excellent facilities including our own field station at Blakeney Point in Norfolk and our own on-site museum, the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  • Undertake your final-year research project in collaboration with major organisations in London such as the Natural History Museum, London Zoo and the UCL Institute of Child Health.
  • Our Summer Studentship scheme allows second-year students to experience original research in the laboratory or the field.

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 four specialised degree pathways: Environmental Biology, Zoology, Human Genetics or Genetics. If you choose to do Biological Sciences, there are three streams to suit your emerging interests: Generalist, Whole Organism or Cells.

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 and you will also take advanced Master's level courses, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge.

Specialist Degree Options:

Environmental Biology 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, at the levels of gene and cell through to whole organism and population. Human Genetics include options in cytology, pre-natal diagnosis and genetic counselling, while Genetics focuses on evolutionary, genomic and population genetic approaches.

You should note that, if you study one of the specialist degrees the final degree awarded on completion will reflect this, for example Environmental Biology MSci, Genetics MSci, Human Genetics MSci, Zoology MSci.

Your learning

The programme consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, and extensive personal study. You will have the opportunity to go on field courses studying animals and plants in their natural habitats. Besides the department's own field station in Norfolk, fieldtrips are organised to Scotland and Spain, and you may be able to undertake your own field research for your final-year project.


Assessment is primarily by end-of-year examinations with a smaller component from practical reports or other coursework such as essays.

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).

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

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 either:

Environmental Biology
Human Genetics

If you remain on the Biological Sciences programme, you will choose from three streams to suit your emerging interests: Generalist, Whole Organism or Cells.

Year Three

Compulsory courses

Literature Review

Optional courses

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of optional courses in your chosen pathway or stream of study and from other approved disciplines within UCL.

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Research Project in Biological Sciences
Current topics in Biological Research

Optional courses

You will select 0.5–1.5 credits from a wide range of optional courses in your chosen pathway or stream of study and from other approved disciplines within UCL.

Further details on 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 or 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)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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. We may also send you a questionnaire to complete.

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.


If you live in the UK, and we are considering offering you a place, 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.

Video: how to make your application stand out

Video: applying to UCL through UCAS

Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£20,100 (2014/15)

General funding notes

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

Playlist: funding for UK/EU and overseas students

Overview video(s) for Biological Sciences MSci

Undergraduate playlist

Video channels

Page last modified on 26 feb 14 08:05