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Biology courses

If you enjoy biology but not sure which area of this vast subject to specialise in, a broad-based biology course may suit you. Biology is the study of living things from tiny micro-organisms, plants and animals to human beings. You will learn about genetics, environmental biology, plant biology, zoology (including animal behaviour), biochemistry and molecular biology with options to specialise as your interests develop. Graduate destinations include scientific research and development, teaching, management and finance.

Studying biology at university

Example course modules

  • Biochemistry
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Marine and terrestrial ecology
  • Plant science
  • Human physiology
  • Habitat ecology
  • Environmental issues
  • Molecular methodology for biologists
  • Cell structure and function
  • Principles of genetics

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 63%
    Male : 37%
  • Mature : 16%
    School leaver : 84%
  • Full-time : 92%
    Part-time : 8%

What students say about biology

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Biology

Useful to have

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
More advice on A-level requirements

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition
More advice on applying to uni

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Personal statement tips and advice

Career prospects

Things are improving - slowly - for biology graduates. If you want a career in biology research – and a lot of biology students do - you'll need to take a doctorate, so give some thought as to where you might do it and how you might fund it (the government still funds doctorates for good students). If you think you only want to do a first degree for now, there are jobs for biologists in science and clinical labs and in the health, food and water industries. But you can actually get all sorts of jobs with a biology degree – last year’s biology graduates got jobs in sectors ranging from PR to accountancy.
Professional and accrediting bodies:
Sources: HECSU & KIS

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Sales assistants and retail cashiers

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • MLSO (Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer)
  • Biologist (research, marine, soil etc.)
  • Embroyologist

Other real-life job examples

  • Conservation officer
  • Field trials officer
  • Investment consultant

What employers like about this subject

Studying for a degree in the diverse subject of biology means that students can learn a range of subject-specific skills including statistical skills and good laboratory practice. Transferable skills you can develop on a biology course include advanced numeracy; written and spoken communication and problem-solving skills. Biology graduates are in demand from employers such as hospitals, clinical and scientific analysts, the pharmaceutical industry, government, nature and conservation reserves, zoos and botanical gardens. If you’re aiming for a career in research, you will usually need to take a postgraduate qualification (probably a Doctorate) after your first degree.