Biological Sciences

Whether it is managing natural resources, conserving species, undertaking stem cell research, restoring ecosystems, ensuring global food security or monitoring the emergence of a novel disease, biology and biologists will be vital for our planet in the 21st century.

The school is based in the iconic Life Sciences Building, opened by Sir David Attenborough in 2014 as one of the UK's leading biology facilities.

The school is highly rated for its research and teaching, and has strong links with the BBC Natural History Unit, conservation organisations and the biotech industry.

Why study Biological Sciences at Bristol?

Biological Sciences at Bristol is distinct because we cover all aspects of biological life, from genes and cells to populations and ecosystems.

We believe that successful biologists of the future need this broad-based training to tackle the scientific challenges facing humanity. We have strong links across the University:

  • palaeontologists and climate scientists in Earth Sciences;
  • molecular biologists in Biochemistry;
  • those studying human behaviour in Psychology.

We aim to equip you to bring rigorous, logical, interdisciplinary approaches to biological questions, starting with the fundamentals and progressing to the edge of knowledge.

You will be taught in lectures, practical classes, tutorials and other smaller group sessions, as well as in the field; directed independent study is essential too.

Your final year gives you considerable choice in which aspects of biology you wish to pursue as well as the opportunity to undertake your own research.

View the School of Biological Sciences on film.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Our Biological Sciences courses are ideally suited to you if you want a flexible course structure allowing you to choose a broad biological education or focus on particular areas of interest.

Our courses will be a good choice if you are keen to experience cutting-edge research in the field and the lab and are a motivated, independent learner with a desire to gain analytical and problem-solving skills.

You will learn to think rationally and creatively and we will teach you to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, for technical and lay audiences.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

We provide an excellent training framework that includes lectures, practicals, fieldwork and small-group tutorials, all delivered by active researchers.

First-year units are assessed by a combination of practical work, essays, short-answer tests and a written examination.

In year two, most units are assessed by a combination of coursework (write-ups of practical or project work, open-book tests, short-answer tests, critical and tutorial essays and oral presentations) and a written examination. You will also attend a week-long field or laboratory course of your choosing.

Further assessment includes written project reports. The third year lecture units are assessed by unseen written examinations.

What are my career prospects?

Recent graduates have progressed to higher degrees (master's and PhD) or gone directly to employment in biological research, government agencies, conservation and wildlife management, the biotech industry, agro-industry, pharmaceuticals, zoos, museums, environmental consultancy, teaching and higher education.

A significant number go into science media in television and journalism. Our degrees give you broad employment options beyond biology; you will be highly valued by employers outside of science, in commerce and industry, as a numerate graduate with good analytical, problem-solving and communication skills.

Read more about what students from Biological Sciences go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the Biological Sciences leaflet 2017 (PDF, 271kB)

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

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