Undergraduate Courses at Bangor University

Biology BSc (Hons)

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Course facts

  • UCAS code: C100
  • Bangor code: BSc/B
  • Course length: 3 years

Biology covers both the unity and diversity of living organisms. You will be able to develop interests in plant and animal science and receive a thorough grounding in cell and molecular biology, as well as access modules as diverse as marine ecology and medical genetics.

Evolutionary, ecological and environmental aspects are strongly emphasised and there is opportunity to follow applied aspects of biology and to learn about fundamental biological processes and mechanisms. Extensive use is made of the exceptional range of local terrestrial and aquatic habitats during field courses and practical classes. We are unusual among British Universities in having our own botanical gardens with various habitats for biological studies. We are also part of the Environment Centre Wales which is a partnership venture between Bangor University and the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

You will receive training that covers the biology of plants and animals – from their molecular biology to their function in natural communities. We provide a diversity of laboratory and field biology experience, enabling you to acquire transferable skills (data analysis, group work, writing and presentational skills, IT skills). Biologists are able to choose from a variety of modules across the School making it possible to specialise in different aspects of Biology depending on individual preferences. Possibilities range from plant diversity and ecosystem functioning through to whole-organism studies down to molecules and cells, with consideration of animal/plant form and function. We also offer modules on human health and disease and enable students to undertake field work.

Please see the Master in Biology page for information on the 4 year MBiol course.

Career Prospects

Biologists pursue a range of careers from being environmental consultants to working in research and development, the health service and further education.

For more on studying degree courses see our Study at Bangor section.

Students on this Biology course are required to take 120 credits each year made up of lectures, practicals and interactive exercises, as well as field  trips and tutorials in years 1 and 2. The final year includes an Integrated Research Project, supervised by a staff member on a subject of interest. Modules become more specialised as the degree progresses and the number of compulsory modules varies between years. Assessment is by a mixture of formal examination and continuous assessment. Welsh medium modules are also available.

The number of credits is given in brackets after the name of each module. Some modules will include lectures, practicals and interactive exercises. Students taking the Biology degree have a wide choice of optional modules.

Please see the Master in Biology page for information on the 4 year MBiol course.

What will I study?

Year 1

The first year is a general year for all of our biology related degrees, which will introduce three broad and very important aspects of modern biology. Students are required to take four compulsory lecture modules, one module in key skills and one practical module. In addition there are tutorials with individual members of staff.

Compulsory modules:

Organismal Diversity (20): The module will present an overview of basic classification, form and function of the major groups of living organisms.

Ecology & Evolution (20): Ecology is about understanding the dynamic changes in individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems in relation to each other and the physical environment, and understanding their evolutionary processes.

Cellular and Molecular Biology (20): This module will cover the chemistry of life, the molecular basis of inheritance and important aspects of cell biology, such as structure and function.

Biology Practical Module (20): Students will undertake a range of practicals from molecular and cell biology, through to animal function and ecology. Field work is included. The practicals will coincide with the appropriate subject area in the lecture modules.

Introduction to Microbiology (10): The module will introduce students to prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms by outlining their characteristics and structures.

Research Skills (20): The module is aimed at developing a range of skills commonly used by natural scientists, including basic mathematical manipulation, data interpretation, and presentation, experimental design and statistical analysis, IT skills and effective use of the literature.

Tutorials (degree specific) (10): Tutorials will be held by individual members of staff to groups of 6-7 students and involve discussions that are degree specific. Tutorials will develop communication skills.

Year 2

In the second year you will extend and deepen your understanding of biology by specialising in animal and plant diversity and function, and learning about the importance of molecular and cellular processes. There are four compulsory modules incorporating both lectures and practicals. You can choose 40 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules:

  • Bioscience Skills (20)
  • Evolution & Genetics (20)
  • Molecular Biology & Biochemistry (20)
  • Cell Biology (20)

Optional modules:

Choose 40 credits from:

  • Invertebrates (20)
  • Field Courses (20)
  • Vertebrate Biology (20)
  • Plant Diversity (10)
  • Plant Diversity Practical (20)

Year 3

The third year includes a major project that may be experimental or take the form of a Literature Review, which is supervised by a member of staff on a subject to suit your interests. Students take 60 to 80 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules:

20 to 40 credits from:

  • Experimental Project (40)
  • Literature Review Project (20)

Optional modules:

Choose 60 to 80 credits from:

  • Advances in Behaviour (20)
  • Herpetology (20)
  • Animal Survival Strategies (20)
  • Molecular Ecology & Evolution (20)
  • Freshwater Ecosystems 2 (20)
  • Tenerife Field Course (20)
  • Aspects of British Flora 1 (10)
  • Aspects of British Flora 2 (10)
  • Attack and Defence in Plants (10)
  • Medical Genetics (10)
  • Sugars and Signals (10)
  • Forest Ecosystems (10)
  • Freshwater Ecosystems (10)
  • Practical Developmental
  • Biology (20)

Further information on each module can be found on our website.

Modules for the 2014–15 academic year:

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Compulsory Modules

20 to 40 credits from:

Optional Modules

80 to 100 credits from:
10 to 20 credits from:
20 credits from:

Programme Specification

  • Cutting-edge science is integral to our research programmes, and feeds through into the teaching environment. Our expertise in biology covers aspects of stress biology, energetics, adaptation to change, population genetics, biogeography, molecular ecology, climate change and carbon stores, cell and genomic biology, environmental micro-biology, neurobiology and development.
  • Our excellent facilities include: a Botanical Garden; our own Natural History Museum containing a comprehensive collection of invertebrate and vertebrate material and extensive marine and freshwater aquaria; and the Robert Edwards Laboratory for teaching cell and molecular biology.
  • Bangor’s location makes it an ideal place to study biology – the range of soil types, climate and topography provides numerous diverse habitats, all within easy reach for field-based studies.
  • Bangor is the home of the Countryside Council for Wales (now part of Natural Resources Wales) as well as the divisional offices of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, both of which have close links to the University and staff associated with this course.
  • As part of the course you may choose to spend 3-6 months in year 2 at a University in either Europe or the United States on a student exchange programme.

Entry requirements

  • 260-320 points including Biology and usually one other science subject at A2 level. (Please note, we do not consider Psychology as a science subject for the purposes of study in the field of Biological Sciences.)
  • Irish Leaving Certificate including Biology at Higher level
  • Scottish Highers including Biology at Advanced Higher Level
  • Access and BTEC qualifications
  • Mature age students with relevant experience.

Contact us:

The Admissions Administrator
School of Biological Sciences
Tel: 01248 382527
E-mail: ucas.enquiries@sbs.bangor.ac.uk

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