Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) – 2019 entry

Why choose this course

The University of Surrey is one of the UK's leading universities for biological sciences, with our programmes ranked 6th in the Complete University Guide 2018 and in the top 10 in the Guardian University Guide 2018. Our BSc Biological Sciences course was ranked first and achieved 100 per cent overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2017.

Our BSc Biological Sciences gives you the exciting opportunity to study biology in its widest sense: from molecules to ecosystems, from microbes to humans. Starting from a broad foundation, you will have the opportunity to specialise your degree to reflect your emerging interests and to prepare you for the career that you aspire to.

What you will study

Our BSc Biological Sciences course will give you the opportunity to study biological structure and function at various levels, from molecules to cells, whole organisms, and beyond into communities and ecosystems.

You will develop your knowledge in a number of current areas including environmental impact, human and animal health issues, and food security.

You will study the topics that are fundamental to biosciences and will have opportunities to specialise and tailor your degree, particularly in your final year, to the areas that interest you.

The skills you will develop include the ability to solve problems, evaluate evidence and analyse data.

These skills will be with you for life and prepare you for a wide variety of careers.

Course facts

Qualification Course length Professional Training UCAS KIS code
BSc (Hons) 48 months 7C54 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 36 months 7C53 View KIS data set

Professional Training placements

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Biological Sciences placements

Our experienced tutors will help you to choose suitable placements from a well vetted selection of industrial and academic institutions in the UK and abroad.

Students have access to a wealth of Professional Training placement opportunities. Previous students have undertaken placements in genetics, environmental research, animal welfare, molecular research, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience research, cancer research and microbiology. We offer placements across the globe (US, Brazil, Singapore and Japan) and throughout the UK.

Recent placement providers include:

  • University College London (UK)
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Netherlands)
  • University of Turku (Finland)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Cornell University Medical School (US)
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd (UK)
  • University of Portsmouth (UK).

Many of our placements provide a salary and you’ll be visited by a tutor during your placement to ensure your success. We have placements across the UK, Europe and the world, including major pharmaceutical, food and biotechnology companies and research institutes.

Applying for placements

Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.

Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

This course will prepare you for a wide range of careers, from scientific and technical roles in specialised areas, through to those which draw upon the breadth of biological sciences, such as teaching and science journalism.

While many of our students go immediately into the scientific job market, others choose to undertake further study, such as masters degrees or PhD studentships.

The scientific problem solving skills you will develop may be put to good use within the industrial or finance sector, while biological sciences graduates’ professional and communication skills make them ideal candidates for managerial roles.

With a BSc Biological Sciences, the nature of your future career is directed by your own interests and the combination of topics you choose to study.

Our recent biosciences graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • Microbiology Researcher, Procter & Gamble
  • Analytical Chemist, AstraZeneca
  • Biochemist, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Quality Control Scientist, Genzyme
  • Biochemist, Food Standards Agency
  • Biomedical Scientist, Public Health England

Medical Laboratory Assistant, Medway Maritime Hospital.

Study and work abroad

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.

On this course you might be able to study abroad (subject to availability) during your BSc Biological Sciences degree for one or two semesters in your second year at one of our partner institutions in the US (for example, Texas, North Carolina, Cincinnati or Florida) or in Singapore.

The exchange programme enables you to study and live in another country and earn credits that contribute towards your Surrey degree, without paying additional tuition fees.

In doing so you will broaden your horizons, meet other exchange students from around the world and experience student life in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Studying abroad also enables you to become more independent, teaching you how to adapt and adjust to the culture and climate of another country.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training placement working in another country. Students have travelled to the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil and many European countries, and typically work in a research laboratory at a partner institution.

If you work in another part of Europe you may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement in an overseas higher education institution.

This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also to improve or learn another language.


The University of Surrey is home to our new £12.5 million Innovation for Health building, with its own biosciences lab. The lab is fully equipped to carry out a full range of biological experiments, including studying the micro-organisms used in biotechnology and that cause human infectious diseases, exploring cell biology to understand the make-up of cells and tissues, and delving into molecular biology to study genes and their regulation, biochemistry and physiology.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. All taught modules are 15 credits. Project modules and dissertation modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.


Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators.


We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study, which allows you to study the topics which underpin the biosciences, whilst allowing you to specialise and tailor your degree, particularly in your final year, to the areas that interest you.

During your first year, almost a quarter of your time will be spent in laboratory or fieldwork classes.

You will also conduct field work both on our own campus and further afield, and benefit from a number of visits embedded within this course to places like Marwell Zoo, The Millennium Seedbank at Wakehurst Place and the Surrey Wildlife Trust's Grazing project.

In your second year, the programme becomes more specialised. In your final year, you will perform your own scientific research project, usually in one of our research laboratories or out in the field. These projects draw from the full diversity of the course and will be chosen from a wide range of topics, from molecular and cellular to field-based ecology projects.

On average you will have approximately 24 hours of contact time each week (lectures, practical classes and tutorials), and you will also be expected to undertake private study such as laboratory write-­ups, essays and other coursework for a similar amount of time.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Programme leader

PLANT K Dr (Biosc & Med)

Personal tutor

All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:

  • Academic progress

  • Pastoral/welfare issues

  • Personal/professional development and employability.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Policies and regulations

Please refer to our academic regulations and student policies and regulations. These may be amended from time to time.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Student Personal Learning and Study Hub

SPLASH is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Additional Learning Support

ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.

The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB.

Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD in Applied Science or Applied Science (Medical Science) (please contact us if you are taking a different BTEC).

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 32.

Required subjects: HL5/SL6 in Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics. 

GCSE or equivalent: English and Maths HL4/SL4. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 78%.

Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry with at least 7.5 and at least 7.5 in a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English 6 (Language 1/2) or 7 (Language 3), and Mathematics 6. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit.

Required subjects: This must include 15 credits in Biology or Chemistry and 15 credits in a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Scottish Highers

Overall: AABBB.

Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Maths Scottish National 5 - C. Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with ABB from the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Required subjects: Biology or Chemistry and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). Applicants must have achieved these grades at the time of making their application.

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country

English language requirements

IELTS academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates may be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Qualification Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
BSc (Hons) 48 months To be confirmed To be confirmed To be confirmed
BSc (Hons) 36 months To be confirmed To be confirmed Not applicable

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate courses.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £20 - The equipment pack includes a laboratory coat, laboratory glasses, laboratory book, pen and padlock. Students are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing/replacing any equipment

Grand total: £20

These additional costs are accurate as of September 2017 and apply to the 2018 year of entry. Costs for 2019 entry will be published in September 2018.

How to apply

Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.

Admissions information

Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Scholarships and bursaries

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Open Days

June 2018


Join a webinar and speak to our current students

Our students


Find us

01SE01, Senate House
University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH