Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) – 2018 entry

Why choose this course

The University of Surrey is one of the UK's leading universities for biological sciences, with our programmes ranked in the top 10 in the Guardian University Guide 2019. Our BSc Biological Sciences course was ranked first and achieved 100 per cent overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2017.

Our Biological Sciences programme gives students an exciting opportunity to study biology in its widest sense: from molecules to ecosystems, from microbes to man. 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

Surrey is one of the UK’s leading universities for bioscience degrees, and home to inspiring academics and pioneering research that is changing our understanding of the world.

A Biological Sciences degree will provide you with an opportunity to study biological structure and function at various levels from molecules to cells, whole organisms and beyond into communities and ecosystems.  You will have an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a number of current areas including environmental impact, human and animal health issues and food security.  You will develop lifelong skills, including the ability to solve problems, evaluate evidence and analyse data, preparing you for a wide variety of future careers.

Course facts

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

The majority of our students choose to undertake a Professional Training placement to gain vital work experience and develop professional skills required by employers.

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

Recent placement providers include:

  • University College London
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Netherlands)
  • University of Turku (Finland)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Cornell University Medical School (USA)

Many of our placements provide a salary and, to ensure their success, students are visited by a tutor during the year. 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.

A degree in Biological Sciences 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 Biosciences 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 degree in 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:

  • Procter & Gamble, Microbiology Researcher
  • AstraZeneca, Analytical Chemist
  • GlaxoSmithKline,  Biochemist
  • Teaching within the FE and HE sectors
  • Genzyme, Quality Control Scientist
  • Food Standards Agency, Biochemist
  • Public Health England, Biomedical Scientist
  • ICON, Clinical Project Administrator
  • NHS, Manager
  • Journalism

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.

Our international exchange programme offers you the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university for either one semester or a full academic year as part of your degree.

For Biosciences students, this might be possible for one or two semesters in your second year at one of our partner institutions in the USA (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 year working in another country. Students have travelled to the USA, 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 will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.


Extensive teaching laboratories with modern equipment and networked computer suites with 24-­hour access are available to all undergraduate students in the School of Biosciences and Medicine.

For your research project in Year 3, you will work within our research laboratories alongside active and internationally recognised researchers in the fields of infectious diseases, pharmacology, cancer biology, sleep and chronobiology, nutrition and food science.

Your choice of project will reflect the interests that you develop throughout your degree.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

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.

Year 2

Optional modules for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5

To apply to students enrolled from 2017-18 onward.
For non-specialised programme: Choose 4 from the following 8 options: Semester 1 choose BMS2037 or BMS2048; semester 2 must choose at least one of BMS2043, BMS2044 or BMS2070 with remainder from BMS2045, BMS2046 and BMS2047. BMS2043 and BMS2070 are mutually exclusive. BMS2054 is not available to the unspecialised programme.
For Infection and Immunity specialism: also compulsory BMS2037, BMS2044, BMS2045. Choose one from the following two options (semester 2): BMS2046, BMS2047. BMS2054 is not available.
For Cellular and Molecular Sciences specialism: also compulsory BMS2048, BMS2043, BMS2047. Choose one from the following two options (semester 2): BMS2046, BMS2045. BMS2054 is not available.
For Animal Biology and Ecology specialism: also compulsory BMS2054, BMS2070. Choose two from the following five options: BMS2037 or BMS2048 (semester 1); BMS2044, BM2045 or BMS2047 (semester 2).

Year 3

Optional modules for Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6

To apply to students enrolled in 2016-17 and previously.
For non-specialised programme: Choose 6 from 17 options. BMS3062 and BMS3074 are not available for the non-specialised programme. Students may choose BMS3060 or BMS3091, but not both. Students may choose BMS3079 or BMS3095, but not both. Students who choose BMS3096 cannot choose BMS3072 or BMS3099.
For Infection and Immunity specialism: BMS3054, BMS3073 and BMS3079 compulsory. Choose 3 from the following 9 options: Semester 1 choose one - BMS3055, BMS3090, BMS3092, BMS3060 or BMS3091. Semester 2 choose two: BMS3063, BMS3072, BMS3093, or BMS3099.
For Systems Biology specialism: BMS3090, BMS3092, BMS3072 compulsory. Choose 3 from the following 8 options: Semester 1 choose one - BMS3052, BMS3055, BMS3060 or BMS3091. Semester 2 choose two: BMS3063, BMS3073, BMS3093, or BMS3099.
For Cancer and Molecular Sciences specialism: BMS3092 and BMS3063 compulsory. Choose 4 from the following 10 options: Semester 1 choose two from BMS3052, BMS3054, BMS3055, BMS3090, BMS3091, BMS3079; semester 2 choose two from BMS3064, BMS3072, BMS3093, or BMS3099.
For Drug Science specialism: BMS3055 and BMS3099 compulsory. Choose 4 from the following 11 options: Semester 1 choose two from BMS3052, BMS3054, BMS3090, BMS3079, BMS3092, BMS3091 or BMS3060 (latter two are mutually exclusive); semester 2 choose two from BMS3063, BMS3064, BMS3072, or BMS3093.
For Neuroscience specialism: BMS3055 and BMS3064 compulsory. Choose 4 from the following 10 options: Semester 1 choose two from BMS3052, BMS3090, BMS3091 and BMS3092; Semester 2 choose two from BMS3063, BMS3066, BMS3072, BMS3093, BMS3096, BMS3099
For Animal Biology and Ecology specialism: BMS3091, BMS3074, BMS3095, BMS3096 compulsory. Choose 2 from the following 6 options: Semester 1 choose one from BMS3055, BMS3090, BMS3062; Semester 2 choose one from BMS3064, BMS3066, BMS3073.


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. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).


We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study, which allows you to pursue the subjects essential to your particular degree, but at the same time offers you the flexibility to study other subjects of interest.

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

In your second year, the programme becomes more specialised and you will focus on many different aspects of the subject. In your final year, you will be performing your own scientific research project, usually in one of our research laboratories.

On average you will have approximately 20 hours of contact time each week (lectures, practical classes and tutorials), and you will also be expected to undertake private study such as laboratory write­ups, essays and other coursework for a similar amount of time.

Watch a video of a microbial sciences lab session.


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.

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) 36 months £9,250 £20,500 Not applicable
BSc (Hons) 48 months £9,250 £20,500 £1,850

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

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

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.

Open Days

June 2018


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