UCL Biosciences

1st Year Students 2015

Will you be starting a new undergraduate course in UCL Biosciences this September?

For further information, including induction week timetables and joining instructions, please see our Undergraduate Induction Week webpages.

BSc Human Sciences/MSci Human Evolutionary Sciences (BCL0/BCL1)


What is Human Sciences?

“It has been one of the most destructive modern prejudices that art and science are different and somehow incompatible interests”. Jacob Bronowski

Human Sciences is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree program that aims to provide a framework for students whose interests may span both the sciences and humanities. It provides a general scheme within which to arrange scientific knowledge about our lives. To achieve such a general view, one must have some knowledge of the various disciplines that study humankind in their own particular ways. Anatomy and physiology provide the basic information about the biological springs of human action. Psychology deals with the overt behaviour of humans and animals and the study of the brain. Anthropology tells about human origins and differences between people in relation to the way they live, while human genetics looks at the inheritance and measurement of human genetic variability. Human geography studies, among other things, the influences affecting human distribution and subsistence, while social geographical and biological sciences together analyse the growth and composition of the populations of the world.

Each of these is a vast subject in its own right and the human scientist accepts that they may not know all the details, but by sharing knowledge they hope to explain aspects of human life in much more complete ways than the individual disciplines. Besides knowing general principles, Human Scientists must have a detailed knowledge of some special parts of the field. Thus the degree programme aims to provide both wide, scientific knowledge of the life of humans and a detailed understanding of the evidence in some areas. People trained in this way will be well equipped both for academic life and for careers in trade, industry or administration.

Degree Benefits

  • You will benefit from being exposed to a variety of disciplinary approaches in the contributing departments and access to outstanding departmental resources.
  • The programme offers a wide choice of individual course combinations from life sciences, social and historical sciences and physical sciences.
  • Strong pastoral and academic support. The Human Sciences Tutor and your Personal Tutor will be available for consultation on structuring your programme.
  • A student committee organises academic and social events for Human Sciences students, such as a series of guest speakers.

Degree Features

In your first year you mostly follow a common syllabus, taking courses in human structure and function (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and genetics) and in human interactions (anthropology and psychology). You also receive an introduction to numerical, statistical and computing methods. Students may also choose between courses in Human Ecology and Science in the Spotlight.

In year two you take the compulsory course, The Human Sciences in Society, in which students work in a group to explore a topic of their choice within the social sciences. In year three your compulsory course is the Human Sciences Seminar Project, wherein you design and carry out a small research project, which you write up as a dissertation.

You choose your remaining courses in years two and three from the extensive range of options in biomedical, biological, environmental, social, historical or philosophical areas.

Entry Requirements
  • For all current entry requirements, including UK, Overseas and English Language requirements, please see our page within the UCL Undergraduate Prospectus

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 you to 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, refreshments 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 Friday 3rd July, Saturday 4th July and Saturday 12th September.

Funding and Scholarships
  • For further information on the UCL Scholarships and Funding available for undergraduate students, please see the UCL Fees and Finance page

 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: Marcella Baterip

Email: biosciences-admissions@ucl.ac.uk, m.baterip@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44(0)207 679 7169

Modules for Year 1

  • ANAT1003 Introduction to Human Anatomy
  • ANTH1014 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • BIOC1009 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Plus an option of:

  • GEOG1004 Human Ecology: Geographical Perspectives


Modules for Year 2

  • HPSC2008 The Human Sciences in Society
  • STAT6101 Introductory Statistical Methods and Computing

Plus a further 3 course units from a wide range of UCL modules

Modules for Year 3

  • Human Sciences Dissertation

Plus a further 3 course units from a wide range of UCL modules

Modules for Year 4

  • Human Evolutionary Sciences Research Project

Plus a further 2 course units in Evolutionary Science

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

1. How will I be taught?

Teaching in the first year is by lectures, small-group tutorials, workshops, practicals and laboratory sessions. Your second-year core course will involve lectures, group work and debates. The optional courses taken in other departments will be taught in a variety of ways according to the nature of the course and the usual practice of the department concerned.

2. How will I be assessed?

Assessments include essays, exercises using UCL's web-based Virtual Learning Environment, written examinations, practical reports, briefing papers and debating performance. The third-year dissertation is assessed solely on the written report; however you will be required to make a short presentation of your topic in the second term.

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 Human 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?

No, there is no specific reading lists for students before they arrive at UCL.

6. What careers are suitable for Human Sciences graduates?

 The Human Sciences BSc teaches a broad base of knowledge across many different subject areas. It is therefore no surprise that graduates have entered a variety of careers: journalism, nutrition, science communication, management, accountancy, teaching and the finance industry, to mention a few.

 A number of graduates pursue further studies, including Master's degrees in various fields, and, although the degree is not intended as a preliminary to them, qualifications in law and medicine.

7. How many places have you on offer?

The Human Sciences degree has approximately 45 places available each year.

8. How competitive are places for the Human 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 Human Sciences but any 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?

Re-sit applications are considered on an individual basis. 

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 Human Sciences? 

Unfortunately we are unable to accept personal statements from Medical Applicants for Human Sciences.  This is because the topics covered in Human Sciences are far removed from Medicine studies.

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).