Why choose this course

The University of Surrey is one of the UK's leading universities for biological sciences, with our courses ranked 8th in the Guardian University Guide 2020. We are also ranked 4th for overall student satisfaction in molecular biology, biophysics and biochemistry in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2018. 

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 biology and 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 Foundation year Professional Training Start date UCAS KIS code
BSc (Hons) 36 months Oct 2019 7C53 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 48 months Oct 2019 7C54 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 48 months Oct 2019 7C55 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 60 months Oct 2019 7C56 View KIS data set

Professional Training placements

A Professional Training placement provides you with 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 many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.

The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.

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 our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. 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 the 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.

Professional recognition

BSc (Hons) - Royal Society of Biology
Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting, in part, the academic and experience requirement of membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).

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. View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.

Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

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.

Foundation year

The Biological Sciences BSc with foundation has an additional year of study designed to support your transition on to latter years of the course. You will study full-time for one year at foundation level, and after successfully completing it you will be ready to move on to the next three years of the course.

This qualification is subject to approval. This means that it has received initial agreement from the University and is currently undergoing a detailed final approval exercise, through the University’s quality assurance processes.


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.

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 (PDF) 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, student demand and/or class size caps.

Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course, you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification below: 

Year 2

Optional modules for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5

To apply to students enrolled from 2018-19 onward.

For Non-specialised programme: Choose 4 from the following 8 options:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS2035, BMS2036 and BMS2038. Students must choose one option from BMS2037 or BMS2048.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are BMS2062. Students must choose three options from BMS2043, BMS2044, BMS2045, BMS2046, BMS2047 and BMS2070. BMS2043 and BMS2070 are mutually exclusive. BMS2054 is not available to the unspecialised programme.
For Infection and Immunity specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS2035, BMS2036, BMS2037 and BMS2038. No options are available. BMS2048 is not available.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are BMS2044, BMS2045 and BMS2062. Students must choose one option from BMS2046 and BMS2047. BMS2043, BMS2054 and BMS2070 are not available.
For Cellular and Molecular Sciences specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS2035, BMS2036, BMS2038 and BMS2048. No options are available. BMS2037 is not available.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are BMS2043, BMS2047 and BMS2062. Students must choose one option from BMS2045 and BMS2046. BMS2044, BMS2054 and BMS2070 are not available.
For Animal Biology and Ecology specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS2035, BMS2036 and BMS2038. Students must choose one option from BMS2037 and BMS2048.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are BMS2062 and BMS2070. Students must choose two options from BMS2044, BMS2045 and BMS2054. BMS2043, BMS2046 and BMS2047 are not available.

Year 3

Optional modules for Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6

To apply to students enrolled in 2017-18 onwards.

For Non-specialised programme:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules is BMS3048. Choose 3 from 9 options: BMS3052, BMS3054, BMS3055, BMS3060, BMS3079, BMS3090, BMS3091, BMS3092 and BMS3095.
Semester 2: Compulsory module is BMS3048. Choose 3 from 8 options: BMS3063, BMS3064, BMS3066, BMS3072, BMS3073, BMS3093, BMS3096 and BMS3099.
For Infection and Immunity specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS3048, BMS3054 and BMS3079. Choose 1 from 5 options: BMS3055, BMS3060, BMS3090, BMS3091 and BMS3092.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are: BMS3048 and BMS3073. Choose 2 from 4 options: BMS3063, BMS3072, BMS3093 and BMS3099.
For Cellular and Molecular Sciences specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS3048 and BMS3092. Choose 2 from 5 options: BMS3052, BMS3054, BMS3055, BMS3090 and BMS3091.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are: BMS3048, BMS3063 and BMS3093. Choose 1 from 3 options: BMS3064, BMS3072 and BMS3099.

For Animal Biology and Ecology specialism:
Semester 1: Compulsory modules are BMS3048, BMS3091 and BMS3095. Choose 1 from 3 options: BMS3062 BMS3079 and BMS3090.
Semester 2: Compulsory modules are: BMS3048 and BMS3096. Choose 2 from 5 options: BMS3064, BMS3066, BMS3072, BMS3073 and BMS3074. BMS3073 and BMS3074 are mutually exclusive.


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 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 School of Biosciences and Medicine.

Programme leader

SANTORELLI L 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, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.

Academic Skills and Development

Academic Skills and Development 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.

Disability and Neurodiversity Service

The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.

We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.

Find out more about the support available or contact the team directly for further information.

English language support

Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB-BBB.

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.

Foundation year: A-level CCC (or equivalent) to include one Science A-level.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at grade C(4) (or equivalent).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD-DDM 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%-75%.

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 to 45 Level 3 credits overall including 27 at Distinction and 18 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


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-BBB from a combination of 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 ­– Numeracy as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. Please check the A-level drop down for the required GCSE levels.

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

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.

English language requirements

IELTS academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other 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 Start date Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
BSc (Hons) Oct 2019 36 months £9,250 £21,100 Not applicable
BSc (Hons) Oct 2019 48 months £9,250 £21,100 £1,850
BSc (Hons) Oct 2019 48 months £9,250 £21,100 Not applicable
BSc (Hons) Oct 2019 60 months £9,250 £21,100 £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

05 July 2019


Join a webinar and speak to our current students

Our students


Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Placement location

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.

University of Surrey

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH