BSc/MSci Biological Sciences (C900/C901)

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What is Biological Sciences?

Biological Sciences is the most diverse of the life science degree programmes embracing a broad range of specialist fields, and a varied spectrum of approaches. As research into whole organisms (including humans) gains ground and our understanding of their constituent cells and molecules increases, more and more interactions between the different branches of Biology have emerged. The Biological Sciences programme focuses on developing your understanding across as well as within subjects and will give you a full appreciation of the connections between them.

Dr Nick Lane talking about the origins of complex life


Degree Benefits

  • You will have the opportunity to choose a specialist degree option in Environmental Biology, Genetics, Human Genetics or Zoology.
  • Research-led teaching takes advantage of our links with London-based organisations such as the Natural History Museum, London Zoo and the UCL Institute of Child Health.
  • 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.
  • Our Summer Studentship scheme allows second-year students to experience original research in the laboratory or the field.
  • UCL Biological Sciences offers one UK/EU and one Overseas scholarship per year via the Harold and Olga Fox Scholarship.

Students and staff talking about the 2nd year Ecological Genetics field trip to Spain


Degree Features

  • Biological Sciences offers degrees in Biological Sciences, Environmental Biology, Human Genetics, Genetics and Zoology.
  • The first year for all programmes is broadly the same with topics covering all our degree areas, giving you a firm foundation for later specialisation.  At the end of the first year you can either stay on the Biological Sciences general programme, or specalise from the degrees listed above, giving you a chance to have a real taste of each of the degrees available.
  • Alongside our current 3-year BSc programmes, we run a 4-year MSci programme for all of our degrees allowing students to undertake an individual research project and advanced modules providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge.
  • In addition we offer an optional year abroad.  You will spend your third year abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe, the USA, Asia or Australia, where you will continue on your chosen degree path. The courses taken overseas will count towards your degree at UCL, while broadening your horizon by offering a different perspective on teaching and research in the biological sciences. 


Entry Requirements
  • For all current entry requirements, including UK, Overseas and English Language requirements, please see our pages within the UCL Undergraduate Prospectus, BSc (C900) or MSci (C901).

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

The Admissions Process
  • Once you have submitted your application to UCAS, we will receive a copy of your UCAS form for consideration.
  • Your application will initially be assessed based on your grade predictions (or achieved grades if you have already completed your exams) as they relate to our entry requirements and your personal statement.  
  • If we would like to consider your application further, a decision will then be made on your application, using your personal statement and reference.
  • Finally, if we wish to make you an offer, you will be invited to a post-application open day.  Open day attendance is optional but we strongly recommend that you visit to see the facilities and find out more from current students and staff.

Open Days
  • Open days will include UCL and subject talks, a research talk given by a lecturer at UCL, lunch and tours with current UCL students and an opportunity to talk to members of staff who will answer any questions you may have.  Please note, attendance at the open day does not form part of our admissions selection process and is optional.
  • If you are yet to apply for our programme and would like to visit UCL, you can attend the annual UCL Open Day.  The next Open Day will take place on Thursday 26th June 2014.

Funding and Scholarships
  • For further information on the UCL Scholarships and Funding available for undergraduate students, please see the UCL Fees and Finance page
  • In addition the Biological Sciences Department awards the Harold and Olga Fox Scholarship to one new incoming overseas student and one new incoming UK/EU student per year.  Please see the Biological Sciences scholarships page for further information.

 Contact Us
  • We hope that this site has provided you with all of the necessary information you may need if you are considering to apply for our programme.  Don't forget to check out our FAQs page on the next tab above.  However, if you would still like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the Division of Biosciences Admissions Office:

Contact: Heather Beasley

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk, h.beasley@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44(0)207 679 7169

Modules for Year 1

All students complete the same core first year.

Modules for Year 2

From year 2, students choose whether to specialise in certain degree areas - Human Genetics, Genetics, Environmental Biology or Zoology, or to remain on the Biological Sciences programme.  For students who remain on Biological Sciences they will choose from one of three pathways: Biology of Cells, Biology Generalist or Biology Whole Organism.

Biological Sciences pathways:
Biology of Cells
Biology Generalist
Biology Whole Organism

Genetics and Human Genetics
The Genetics pathway will enable you to enrol in courses such as the Field Course in Ecological Genetics to give you the in-depth details of genetics which you will encounter working in this exciting field. An in-depth focus on genetic techniques is important, complemented by consideration of ethical issues surrounding Genetics.

Environmental Biology

The core courses which you must take are Biology-oriented but as you have the freedom to choose course options you can balance these with modules from Geography and other Departments. From learning about animal anatomy to becoming aquainted with the principles of environmental management, this degree is very flexible.

Zoology
There is much more choice in what you can study, you are encouraged to choose options from departments throughout the University, making your Degree truly multidisciplinary and valuable to future employers. The work load does increase but it is more rewarding as you are focusing on your pathway of choice.

Modules for Year 3

In your third (final year for BSc students) you have the choice to take modules from many different subjects from across UCL. The range of options is very wide - you can study courses which follow on from those which you know you have enjoyed or you can try your hand at something completely new.

  • BIOL3004 Literature based Project (all MSci students must take this module)

OR (if you are a BSc student)

Plus a wide range of third year modules within the Division of Biosciences and UCL-wide.

Modules for Year 4 (MSci students only)

Plus a wide range of Masters Level modules within the Division of Biosciences and UCL-wide.

These FAQs are specifically for the Biological Sciences programme.  Please see Division of Biosciences Admissions FAQs for answers to general admissions queries.

1. How will I be taught?

A wide variety of teaching methods are used, including lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work. Each module will have its own set of teaching methods.

2. How will I be assessed?

A mixture of coursework, exams and practical work form the basis of assessment. The weighting varies depending on which modules you choose.

3. Is it possible to take modules in other departments?

It is possible to choose modules in other departments. You will receive advice from your personal and degree programme tutors on which modules are best for your chosen degree path.

4. What support is available during the Biological Sciences degree?

All kinds of support are available to students, whether it academic, financial, welfare or career advice. You will also have a personal tutor and a dedicated teaching administrator throughout each year of your degree who will provide guidance.

5. Is there a recommended reading list?

Yes. This will be sent to students in the summer before the academic year in question.

6. What careers are suitable for Biological Sciences graduates?

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.

7. How many places have you on offer?

The BSc and MSci Biological Sciences degrees have approximately 80 places available each year combined.

8. How competitive are places for the Biological Sciences course?

Competition for places is very strong, but all applications received before the deadline will be assessed by the same set of entry criteria. Only the best will be shortlisted so it is vital your personal statement and references are strong and demonstrate your strengths and character.

9. What work experience must I include on my application?

There is no absolute requirement for Biological Sciences but any science related work experience included in your personal statement will be seen as very positive.

10. I would like to visit UCL and talk to the admissions tutor, when can I do that?

Information on our annual Open Day can be found on the UCL website. The UCL study information centre can provide information and a self-guided tour brochure.  It may be possible to arrange an appointment if you are unable to attend the open day. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

As part of the admission cycle we invite all short-listed UK students to an open day including a tour, meeting students and discussions with the admissions tutor.

11. I did not get the required grades to be admitted to your course, will you reconsider my application if I resit my examinations?

Preference is given to those applying for the first time. We will only consider resitting candidates if they just missed our standard offer i.e. those resitting candidates who obtained less than ABB will not be considered. We will look at individuals with extenuating circumstances but these have to be documented with supporting letters from their school or college plus medical evidence.

12. I am applying to four medical schools and my personal statement reflects this. Do I need to supply a separate statement to cover my fifth choice for Biological Sciences? 

No, we are happy to use your personal statement for Medicine, but if you wish to send us a separate statement please email it to the Admissions Office biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

13. Can I transfer to Medicine? 

Unfortunately you are unable to transfer to Medicine during the course.  If you finish the BSc degree and achieve a 2:1 or higher, you are normally eligible to apply for graduate-entry Medicine programmes around the UK (please check individual institutions for this).