Undergraduate

Biology

student examining petri dish under a special light
Students wearing wetsuits enter a lake to practise their scuba diving training
Shore Crab with eggs and larvae UNI-4388 copy
University lecturer Dr Katherine Hubbard

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Tackle the biggest challenges facing our world today with this career-focused degree that includes plenty of opportunities to get hands on in the lab and out in the field.
Develop the specialist diving skills relevant to ecological science with our optional Ecology module. This includes the opportunity to complete integrated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver training as part of your degree.⁴
We'll give you a foundation in the core topics of modern biological science, but you're also free to specialise in the areas that interest you most, like molecular genomics, toxicology or ecology.
We have three winners of the Royal Society of Biology’s Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award in our department. And they'll get to know you personally as part of a small and friendly department.
Biology doesn't just happen in lecture theatres. Our facilities offer industry-standard spaces to practise and develop your cutting-edge skills.
The field, analytic and lab skills you’ll learn are in demand, and you’ll get the chance to engage with potential employers as part of your degree.
student examining petri dish under a special light
Students wearing wetsuits enter a lake to practise their scuba diving training
Shore Crab with eggs and larvae UNI-4388 copy
University lecturer Dr Katherine Hubbard
North Teaching Laboratory
A Biological and Marine Science student examines a sample using a spotlight

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Biology at Hull is all about tackling global challenges, from genetic engineering through to climate change.

You’ll gain real world practical skills in the lab and in the field, and learn to communicate important topics in biology to diverse audiences.

Plus, you'll study in a supportive and friendly department which includes three winners of the Royal Society of Biology’s Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award. No other university can claim that.

  • Top 10 in the UK

    for Value Added 1

  • Award-winning

    academics teach on this course 2

  • Field trips

    in the UK and overseas 3

  • Get hands on

    in our industry-standard facilities

  • Dive in

    and train to become a PADI-certified diver 4

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Course overview
Module options

About this course

This degree reflects the breadth of modern biological sciences, with core topics including genetics and genomics, microbiology, evolution, cell biology and biological diversity.

We’ll help you build your degree around your interests, like molecular genomics, toxicology, applied ecology or other specialist topics. Fascinated by human biology? You can also take modules from biomedical sciences. Or if you’re interested in all areas of biology you can take a broad range of options – the choice is yours.

You'll get plenty of hands-on training in the lab and field and you'll work on mini-projects throughout your course.

You can also take one of our residential field course options, including overseas trips to Brazil or Mallorca, where you’ll learn essential skills for ecological careers.

Other facilities include super-computing power for genomic analysis, our 33,000 litre tropical aquarium, and a dedicated team of teaching technicians to support your skill development.

Scheduled study hours and how you’re assessed

Throughout your degree, you’re expected to study for 1,200 hours per year. That’s based on 200 hours per 20 credit module. And it includes scheduled hours, time spent on placement and independent study. How this time’s divided among each of these varies each year and depends on the course and modules you study.

How you'll be assessed depends on the course you study, and the modules you choose. You may be assessed through a mix of examinations, coursework, presentations and group projects.

Choose your modules

Each year, you’ll study modules worth a certain number of credits, and you need 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits – so you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more. In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120. Some modules are compulsory, some are optional, so you can build a course that’s right for you.

Preparing for Learning in Higher Education

This module is designed to give you the best possible start to your university studies, making sure you have all the essential skills you need to succeed. Through lectures and workshops we will teach you how to write in an academic style, how to find quality sources, how to reference work, culminating in writing up a mini-research project.

Core20 credits

Introduction to Biological Sciences 1

This module covers basic knowledge on cells and biological molecules and how they are connected to the function of major organ systems in animals, plants and humans. The main topics are cell structure, exchange and transport, the genetic code, microbiology and energy processes.

Core20 credits

Introduction to Data Analysis

You'll be introduced to different ways of analysing qualitative and quantitative data, learn how to code qualitative data and use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse quantitative data.

Core20 credits

Group Challenge (Sciences)

In a group, you'll formulate questions that can be tested by scientific investigations and take part in weekly workshops with academics.

Core20 credits

Introduction to Biological Sciences 2

Explore a range of biological topics relating to whole organism biology, diversity and adaptations. Through lectures, workshops and practical sessions you will delve in to the world of classification and identification, natural selection and evolution, food security, population biology, environmental monitoring and human impacts.

Core20 credits

Foundation Maths Skills

This module delivers core mathematics skills at level two and three to give a solid basis for future studies. You will study the following topics: manipulation of numerical data and converting between different units of measurement; exponentials and logarithms; and standard form and problems involving ratio, proportion and percentages.

Optional20 credits

Foundation Mathematics A

You will study pure mathematics topics, including proof, algebra, trigonometry, differentiation, integration, exponentials, logarithms, sequences and series. The applied topic is probability and statistics.

Optional20 credits

For those who do not have a strong enough academic background in biology or ecology, the foundation year aims to provide a grounding in scientific, intellectual and investigative skills and knowledge, while developing a reflective and adaptive approach to study. You will learn through a mix of formal study, discussion and practical experience.

7 Modules

Microbiology

How does microbiology govern our world? In this module you will learn the basic principles of microbiology before exploring the interplay between microbes, ourselves, and the wider environment.

Compulsory20 credits

Cells and Organelles

Explore the fascinating inner workings of cells, giving you a foundation in areas such as cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry. 

Compulsory20 credits

Diversity of Life

​Through practical workshops, this module introduces you to the diversity of life and the fascinating adaptations that enable organisms to inhabit nearly all conceivable ecological niches.

Compulsory20 credits

Principles of Genetics

Explore core genetic concepts leading to an understanding of how genetics underlies the biological and molecular traits observed in organisms. 

Compulsory20 credits

Evolution

Why did sex evolve? Why do we die? What is a species? How can evolutionary medicine help us? This module will provide you with an understanding of how life on earth came to be what it is, from genes to species. Without evolution, nothing in Biology makes sense.

Compulsory20 credits

Human Physiology

Explore topics including the circulatory system, blood and cardiac and skeletal muscles; the nervous system; reproduction; respiration; the gastro-intestinal system; and the endocrine system.

Optional20 credits

Ecology (with optional Dive Training)

Ecology is the study of interactions among living organisms and their environment, and is the basis for nature conservation and understanding human impact on the planet. Gain an understanding of ecological theory, applied ecology, and the collection and analysis of ecological data. You can choose to complete integrated PADI Advanced Open Water training, with an opportunity to develop specialist diving skills relevant to ecological science.

Optional20 credits

The first year is designed to give you a good foundation in all aspects of Biology, from molecular genetics through to ecology. Modules include training in essential skills including fundamental laboratory and field skills, experimental design, scientific writing and data analysis.

7 Modules

Genetic Analysis

You'll take a  problem-based approach to understanding modern molecular genetics and genomics of eukaryotes. 

Compulsory20 credits

Vertebrate Zoology

This module provides an integrated view of vertebrate biology by showing how changes over time and geography drive morphology, physiology, behaviour, and ecology in different vertebrates. Structure-function relationships are presented to appreciate how different animals evolve similar solutions and adaptations to the same ecological challenge while closely-related animals diversify in response to different environmental challenges.

Compulsory20 credits

Molecular Evolution and Genomics

This module will focus on the big topics in molecular evolution. What do genomes contain and why? How do we build trees from DNA sequences? How can recombination or gene duplication or transposons lead to adaptation? How do we detect selection in the human genome? We’ll cover these in theory and in practice with some fascinating examples from nature.

Compulsory20 credits

Metabolism

Examine the biological processes that allow the ‘symphony of life’ to occur. Understanding key metabolic concepts will further your understanding of biology itself, from human disease to the flow of energy through ecological systems so will feed in well with the other modules available to study.

Optional20 credits

Conservation Biology

Have we entered a new era of mass extinctions? Examine current threats to biodiversity and the characteristics that make some species more vulnerable than others. Learn to use scientific evidence to support biological conservation strategies.

Optional20 credits

Biological Basis of Disease

In this module, you will gain an understanding of the biological, biochemical and genetic basis of several diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Optional20 credits

Cellular Regulation and Biotechnology

This module will explore the inner workings of the cell, and how our understanding of cell biology can be used in biotechnology. We will consider a range of human, animal, microbial and plant based signalling systems, as well as core techniques. 50% of the module will be based around a lab based project using fluorescent reporter proteins (e.g. GFP). The module will also support you in reading and critically evaluating research papers.

Optional20 credits

Ecological Monitoring

You'll monitor species, habitats and environmental factors. Choose from mammals, birds, herpetofauna, insects, terrestrial vegetation, freshwater and marine communities.​

Optional20 credits

Behavioural Ecology

Develop your understanding of why wild animals behave the way they do. You’ll study the proximate and ultimate causes of behaviour, and the interactions between animals and their environment.

Optional20 credits

In the second year you can start to tailor your programme to your interests, and will also be introduced to more advanced lab or field techniques. We will also give you training in how to apply for scientific jobs to enhance your employment prospects on graduating. 

9 Modules

Biological Futures

How can Biology make the world a better place? In this module you will co-organise and present at our annual ‘Biological Futures’ conference, collaborating on an exciting whole class project, developing collaborative and professional skills alongside biological understanding.

Compulsory20 credits

Practical Conservation

Work in partnership with local environmentally orientated organisations to learn about the day-to-day practicalities of species and habitat management.

Compulsory20 credits

Final Year Projects

Show off what you have learned across your degree! Undertake traditional research-based projects with experts in subjects like climate change, or try something a bit different like creating a documentary on shark attacks. Whatever you choose, it will be something that takes pride of place on your CV. 

Optional40 credits

Biology in Education

Gain valuable experience in the professional environment of education via placements at local schools, colleges or other educational organisations. You'll be a role model for science in the classroom while you train your communication and collaborative skills.

Optional40 credits

Red Listing Conservation Project

The IUCN Red List is the “world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species”. In this module, you will learn how to undertake Red List assessments of species, determining their vulnerability against the Red List criteria, and could gain an official IUCN endorsement of your abilities. You’ll then apply your knowledge to undertake a desk-based research project to explore extinction risk, threats and conservation of a species group, habitat or geographical region that interests you.

Optional40 credits

Ecotoxicology

Pollution and the impact of chemicals in the environment is one of the big global challenges along with global warming and biodiversity loss. Understanding the molecular level, mechanistic impact of different types of chemicals in organisms, such as microplastics in aquatic organisms, or PFAS in polar bears, is required before policy makers and regulators can begin to mitigate and introduce regulations.

Optional20 credits

Sensory Physiology of Animals

Discover the fascinating world of animal communication to learn how sensory systems control behaviour, and how this is applied to and affected by human activity, including climate change.

Optional20 credits

Field Studies (Biology)

Recent students have selected from destinations including a dive-based trip in Malaysia and an exploration of the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil (financial contribution required).

Optional20 credits

Sex and Social Behaviour

You'll develop a deeper understanding of fascinating topics such as the evolution of sex, cryptic female choice, sperm competition, sexual conflict, parental care, brood parasitism, co-operative breeding and much more.

Optional20 credits

Concepts in Pharmacology

Use your knowledge of biochemistry to explore the metabolic and functional fates of xenobiotic compounds, and study the biochemical tools used to assess drug action.

Optional20 credits

Practical Conservation

Work in partnership with local environmentally orientated organisations to learn about the day-to-day practicalities of species and habitat management.

Optional20 credits

Cancer Biology

Gain an understanding of the key concepts in cancer biology. You'll learn how current research impacts diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

Optional20 credits

Molecular and Medical Parasitology

Explore how medically important parasites have a major impact on populations around the globe. You'll also develop practical skills in parasitology.

Optional20 credits

You can select your choice of final year modules from a wide range of options, including residential field courses around the world, Biology in Education or a work placement module.

You can choose modules allowing in-depth study of areas of interest; we regularly review our final year modules to ensure they include cutting edge topics. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a research project within your area of interest, working closely with a member of our academic staff to develop skills to prepare you for employment or post-graduate study.

13 Modules

Playlist

Dr Dave Lunt

Course Overview 3 mins

Practical Lab Training

Course highlight 5 mins

Biology in 60s

Course Overview 1 min

Extracting DNA

Subject session 2 mins

Entry requirements

What do I need?

We consider experience and qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations above.

But it's not just about the grades - we'll look at your whole application. We want to know what makes you tick, and about your previous experience, so make sure that you complete your personal statement.

Have questions? Our admissions team will be happy to help.

What do I need?

If you require a student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by the University of Hull.

If your English currently does not reach the University’s required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

Fees & funding

How much is it?

Additional costs you may have to pay

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme. There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make:

  • Books (you can borrow books on your reading lists from the library, but you may buy your own)
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (incl. travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (incl. travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel, food and more.

How do I pay for it?

How much is it?

Additional costs you may have to pay

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme. There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make:

  • Books (you can borrow books on your reading lists from the library, but you may buy your own)
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (incl. travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (incl. travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel, food and more.

How do I pay for it?

Take a look at our facilities

Advanced Training Lab

The lab offers students access to industry-standard facilities and is used for teaching state-of-the-art techniques for investigating genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Molecular Laboratory

Learn and practise all the latest techniques in cell and tissue analysis in the same facilities our academics use for their cutting-edge research.

Marine Biology Laboratory

Get up close with marine life on campus in this laboratory – one of our core facilities for our biological and environmental science teaching and research.

Brynmor Jones Library

One of the most eye-catching pieces of architecture on campus, our library offers round-the-clock access, more than a million books and over 400 open-access PCs.

See more in our virtual tour
students in the Advanced Training Lab looking at a petri dish
Hull Molecular Imaging Centre
marine-biology-student

Look around

students in the Advanced Training Lab looking at a petri dish
Hull Molecular Imaging Centre
marine-biology-student
Brynmor Jones Library Observation Deck
Hull student Hannah Lightley

Future prospects

The field, analytic and lab skills you’ll learn here are much in demand, and you’ll get the chance to engage with potential employers in a range of local organisations and businesses.

Our graduates have gained jobs in bioscience industries, teaching, veterinary medicine, ecological consultancy and scientists in government and non-government organisations. Our students also go on to further study through either Masters or PhD level qualifications, becoming scientific leaders of the future.

University of Hull Open Day

Your next steps

Not ready to apply?

Visit our next Open Day, and see all that Hull has to offer for yourself. Talk to our lecturers about your subject, find out what university is really like from our current students, and take a tour of our beautiful campus and amazing facilities.

  1. (Joint 8th) The Guardian University Rankings 2023.
  1. Three of our friendly, supportive lecturers are winners of the Royal Society of Biology’s 'Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award'.
  1. Previous destinations include Brazil, Malaysia and Majorca (extra fees may be payable).
  1. Module options include PADI-certified Advanced Open Water Diver training (extra fee may be payable).

 

All modules presented on this course page are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

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