Undergraduate study
Biological Sciences (with Foundation Year)

Biological Sciences (with Foundation Year)
BSc (Hons)

 

Course overview

This extended degree course is ideal if you wish to study for a university degree but you don't have the necessary Level 3 qualifications required for direct admission. In the first year of the extended programme you enhance your knowledge in maths and the fundamentals of biological, chemical and physical sciences.You can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

Biological science covers everything from the complexities of the genetic code to ecosystems on land and in the oceans. You study modules as diverse as endocrinology, molecular ecology and environmental sustainability. Your broad study base is ideal for employment in a range of biology-related specialisms.In the first year of study you develop your knowledge in maths and the fundamentals of biological, chemical and physical sciences, together with material to help you develop numerical, communication, practical and learning skills. Successful completion of your first year enables you to proceed confidently on to the remainder of your degree course.

 

Course details

The foundation year modules provide an excellent preparation for our science-based degree studies. You enhance your understanding of mathematics and science to prepare you for the remainder of your course.

The remaining years of this course are the same as the BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences degree.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Big Data

Big data – it’s a phrase that a lot of people would argue is overused, or at least not always used in the appropriate context. So what is it really? How is it made and how do we make sense of it?

In this module you learn how big data is not just abundant but a growing field in so many aspects of our society from policing and conservation to health and bioinformatics. You explore how groups and communities use and share big data to help keep themselves safe in disaster zones around the world. You begin to value the role data plays in helping to make sense of community relationships in society, from uncovering criminal networks, tracking disease outbreaks to developing a deeper understanding of our ecology.

Data might end up in a data-frame spreadsheet format but it doesn’t begin there. It is often created with people and animals engaging with each other and technology. You explore how search engines collate and store the data we need to help make predictions, enhance decision making, or simply to better understand society’s needs.

Chemical Science and the Environment

This module provides an overview of fundamental concepts in chemistry and their application in the context of environmental and life sciences

Chemistry is the study of the structure, properties and reactivity of elements and compounds, and plays a key role in all physical, life and applied sciences. The topics covered include the structure of the atom, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactivity, environmental science, biogeochemistry, pollution, green chemistry and climate change.

Experimental Methods for Life Science

This module is based around a series of laboratory sessions. The first sessions emphasise important foundation skills, such as how to work safely in a practical environment and how to properly document practical work. These are followed by a series of sessions based on your wider academic interests including the basics of microscopy, handling microorganisms, safe handling food, using volumetric glassware and investigating acid base titrations.

Global Grand Challenges

This module focuses on how science can help address some of the biggest global Grand Challenges that face society. This reflects the University’s focus on externally facing research that makes a real, practical difference to the lives of people and the success of businesses and economies.

You work on a project in a group, to enabling you to develop innovative answers to some of the biggest issues of our time based on five thematic areas – health and wellbeing, resilient and secure societies, digital and creative economy, sustainable environments and learning for the 21st century.

Life on Earth

This module explores the diversity of life on earth and the concept of evolution. You consider Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection to demonstrate relationships between species, the principles of taxonomy and speciation, and how they relate to the evolutionary tree.

You are introduced to the physiological processes, cellular organisation, homeostasis, metabolism, growth, reproduction, response to stimuli and adaptation - all hallmarks of living organisms equipping diverse species to survive and thrive.

Life Science

This module focuses on the life sciences from a human perspective. While developing an understanding of human biology you explore the role of different but interconnected life science disciplines in modern life.

While reviewing life science from an interdisciplinary context, relatable to a variety of backgrounds, you examine the major human body systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, excretory, endocrine, nervous, digestive, skeletal and reproductive. This module enables you to appreciate how such knowledge is relevant to issues in health, disease and modern society.

 

Year 1 core modules

Animal and Plant Biology

This module introduces the themes of ecology, diversity, variation within animals and plants, population biology and the complexity within ecosystems, and the relationships between animals and plants and their environment. You gain a thorough introduction to these themes within the lecture series and are given example problems to solve within tutorials. Learning is supported by a field trip surveying diversity within the local area, and laboratory sessions exploring the physiology of animals and plants.

Biochemical and Chemical Science

Biochemistry, the study of the chemistry of life, is one of the most important and exciting areas of science. It spans areas including biomedical science, nutrition, drug design, forensic science, agriculture and manufacturing. It covers the most important principles of biochemistry including the structure of the atom, chemical bonding and the forces that operate between molecules, chemical reactions and biological pathways. You study the chemistry of carbon and why it is capable of forming the complex 3D modules that make life possible. And you study important groups of biological molecules in detail including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids.

Biodiversity and Evolution

You study the concept of evolution and how it led to the development of biodiversity and the world we now inhabit. You discuss evolution by natural selection and our development from the common ancestor, along with the principles of taxonomy, speciation and the evolutionary tree to demonstrate relationships between species. We highlight the impact of modern molecular methods of taxonomy in the form of phylogenetics, particularly the discovery of the domain of archaea. We discuss the complex biodiversity of the microbial, plant and animal worlds and their importance in ecological balance for the earth, human kind and society in the form of conservation. Lectures and tutorial sessions provide an insight into the theoretical aspects of evolution and biodiversity, and you discuss and analyse problem-based exercises to affirm your theoretical knowledge.

Biological Methods

Life sciences is a multifaceted field drawing on knowledge and understanding from the molecular level to whole organisms and ecosystems. Biologists must be able to work in teams, drawing on this vast knowledge to solve problems in the field. In this module, you work in teams to solve a biologically relevant problem, taking into account the principles of health, safety and ethics facing professionals in the workplace. You develop a range of employability skills such as time management and presenting your work. You also gain the research skills needed to support problem solving in the field and to help you become a well-rounded, professional scientist.

Core Skills in Life Sciences

Knowledge of the degree subject is not the only thing you learn whilst at university and it’s not the only thing that potential employers are looking for after graduation. You also need to develop a range of skills applicable for a variety of career pathways These include your ability to articulate yourself clearly, confidently and effectively to different audiences; to work independently or on your own initiative demonstrating creativity and adaptability when tackling problems where you don’t have all the necessary information available; to locate information and critically assess its usefulness; and to make efficient and effective use of the latest information technology.

You also learn to assess your own performance, giving you the chance to recognise and build on your strengths, and identify and improve your weaknesses as a way to raise your aspirations. This module also introduces you to basic principles and good practice in collecting, recording and evaluating data, and using information resources and referencing. You also consider the assessment and handling of scientific errors. You review a range of basic mathematical skills and introduce statistical methods that are essential in a wide range of scientific endeavour. Emphasis is placed on using spreadsheets for data recording, presentation and statistical analysis.

Microbiology and Cell Biology

The cellular basis of all living organisms is one of the characteristics which defines life. This module explores the common features and the immense diversity of form and function displayed by cells of organisms. The module will increase your understanding of biological processes at the cellular level. It covers the structure and function of major cellular components and examines how fundamental processes within cells are organised and regulated, such as gene and protein expression. It also addresses the mechanisms by which cells divide, reproduce and differentiate. You study the historical development of cell biology and microbiology advances in theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. You explore how knowledge of the biology of microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, has informed the identification and control of infectious diseases. You also examine the beneficial roles of many microorganisms and their utilisation in genetic engineering and biotechnology.

 

Year 2 core modules

Ecology and Biodiversity

This module is for students interested in ecology and how complex interactions shape the distribution and abundance patterns of species in the natural environment. You examine the ecology of populations and communities, and how the integration of powerful new molecular biology technologies can inform the study of ecology and ecological interactions. You explore the underlying theories used to explain the observed spatial and temporal patterns of diversity observed and the measurements which can be used to quantify diversity. These topics are aligned to current issues, enabling you to appreciate the environmental, ethical and socio-economic concerns raised by ecological studies. Field trips give you the opportunity to sample natural environments and interpret ecological data, such as diversity indices, based on these sites.

Genetics and Molecular Biology

This module introduces you to a range of modern molecular biology concepts and techniques. It addresses general molecular biology, molecular biology of genetic diseases and using molecular biology for producing recombinant proteins and forensic applications. The new age of molecular biology is underpinned by gene and genome sequencing, sequence analysis and sequence manipulation. You are introduced to the principles of sequence analysis and how these techniques have revolutionised all areas of molecular biology, particularly the technique of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). You learn through lectures and tutorials that allow you to gain insight into the theoretical aspects of molecular biology. A series of laboratory practical sessions introduce the basic techniques at the heart of modern molecular biology such as DNA purification, PCR, restriction digestion, control of gene expression, nucleic acid analysis through agarose gels and sequencing.

Human Diseases and Immunology

Infectious diseases are responsible for a third of global mortality and have a significant impact on quality of life on a worldwide basis. This module examines the organisms able to generate pathogenic interactions with human populations and takes a systems-based approach, for example gastrointestinal, respiratory and genitourinary tract, to examine the virulence determinants, pathology, characteristics and epidemiology of selected pathogens. You are also introduced to the current molecular and cellular biology of pathogen interactions and co-evolution with host cells, and their relevance to human diseases. And you consider the factors contributing to the emergence of devastating pandemics and new diseases, in particular the significance of zoonotic diseases. The module reviews the extensive array of protein and cell-based responses which are typically launched against microbial pathogens as part of the innate and acquired immune response. You analyse the effectiveness of strategies used to treat and control the transmission of infectious diseases.

Human Metabolism and Clinical Biochemistry

This module provides you with a broad understanding of the linked themes of metabolism and endocrinology. Metabolism, the chemical processes that occur in living organisms, is examined in the context of cellular respiration, and the metabolism of exogens such as drugs and vitamins. Endocrinology, the study of the physiological role of hormones, is covered in detail, including review of the mechanisms underpinning hormone action, the roles of second messengers, and endocrine system disorders. This module also explores the methods used for collecting, measuring and analysing clinical samples.

Science Communication and Bioethics

Central to this module is using teamwork for problem-based learning and monitored or facilitated self-directed learning. You explore the way science is communicated within the scientific community, to stakeholders and the general public. You discuss and critically analyse the different communication methods. You are also introduced to bioethical issues central to your programme of study. You are expected to debate these issues and sensibly communicate the complexity of the themes which are embedded within the scientific disciplines.

Science Research Methods and Proposal

You will take this module if you are studying a science degree and complete a hypothesis-driven research project at Level 6 of your degree studies. It is delivered though lectures, tutorials and workshops.

You develop a proposal for your research project, which includes an explanation of the project targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, and details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. The proposal considers academic beneficiaries and economic, environmental and societal impacts. Project costs are estimated on the basis of a full economic costing model. In addition, the proposal is supported by a targeted CV.

A short lecture series at the start of the academic year provides you with an introduction to the module and advice on completing the research proposal documentation, followed by a series of assessment centre-style workshops and tasks which help assign you to a specific research project area and supervisor. These tasks familiarise you with the type of activities you might face during the application, interview and selection procedures.

You must produce a research proposal for your individual project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor to provide feedback on your progress.

For the proposal to be considered you must acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee. Once you are allocated a project you join discipline-based tutorials with other students. Each discipline operates tutorial sessions, which are used to provide academic guidance and support for completing ethical clearance documentation and the proposal. A series of research methodology-based workshops introduce you to various experimental designs and statistical techniques relevant to your discipline. These sessions also demonstrate how you can use software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel to present and analyse datasets. These workshops help you decide on the design and analysis of the data associated with your project.

The module is assessed by you successfully acquiring ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submitting a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

 

Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

Biologics and Biotechnology

Working in small groups you design a biological product relevant to the agricultural, environmental, industrial or medical biotechnology sectors. This product can either be a biotherapeutic or a platform chemical from waste. You consider the market need for your product, feasibility of its production and scale-up, UK bioeconomy, intellectual property and technical requirements of its production. Lectures support you throughout the process providing case studies and discussing the considerations needed to take a product to market. Tutorial and laboratory sessions allow you to explore the logistics of developing a product prior to the intensive group week.

Biology Research Project

The Biology Research Project allows you to bring together a range of practical and academic skills developed in previous years of study. You specialise in a particular area of biology supported by an academic staff member as your research supervisor. They will act as a mentor, guiding you in developing and completing your research project.

You must present a poster and abstract at the annual School of Science & Engineering poster day attended by academic members of the School, external examiners and professionals from the region. The poster contributes to your final project mark.

Throughout the project you are expected to maintain systematic and reliable records of your research. These records will be reviewed on a regular basis by your supervisor and assessed at the end of the project. Finally, you will submit your research in the style of a paper which could be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal related to your discipline.

 

and three optional modules

Biogeography and Conservation

This module is ideal for you if you’re interested in the biogeographical distribution of species and how this information can inform conservation practices.

Biogeography, with its focus on the distribution of species at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which ecosystem services, and the increasing impact of human activity on global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, can be evaluated.

You explore the contribution of habitat destruction and fragmentation and invasive species to biodiversity losses. You examine underlying principles in biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, and investigates how these principles can inform effective conservation practices targeted at preventing biodiversity losses. You explore how endangered species are characterised, the selection and design of conservation areas, and the legal and policy frameworks in place to support conservation efforts.

Biotherapeutics

Biotherapeutics are medicinal products derived from living organisms. This module looks at the role of a biologist in the upstream and downstream aspects of a typical bioprocess. You cover the molecular and cell biology techniques required during the upstream part of the process including selecting suitable production organisms, recombinant DNA technologies and synthetic biology. You cover the different fermentation strategies and how these relate to the product being manufactured, economics and sustainability of the process. You learn about controlling and monitoring the fermentation process using analytical methods and process analytical technology.

For the downstream processing aspects, you focus on the different separation and purification strategies used for isolating the target product. This module highlights the regulatory and quality management aspects that impact on a bioprocess at all of these stages, in particular the roles of good laboratory and manufacturing practice. You develop an understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of the bioprocessing industry and how a biologist is required to have an appreciation of the engineering, chemistry, economic and regulatory aspects of a bioprocess.

Ecological Sustainability

The module is for life and environmental sciences students. You explore key areas in which biological-based technologies have the potential to offer more sustainable solutions to environmental problems. You consider the complementary and multidisciplinary analytical techniques that are used to understand and ensure the sustainable management of different ecological systems. You learn through a combination of lectures, student-led seminars, tutorial sessions and a field trip where possible.

Environmental Resource Management

In this module students will critically evaluate international agreement-derived sustainability models. In particular, eco-efficiency and ecological models, and their underpinnings of key thrusts, such as industrial symbiosis and sustainable product development. These will be analysed at the local, national and international level. The module will consider in detail the importance of energy policies and energy technologies and their implications in climate change. Specifically, the roles of renewable energies, such as wind, wave, solar, biomass and biofuels will be evaluated. The potentially important role the hydrogen economy could play in satisfying future energy requirements, taking cognisance of the pivotal role of carbon dioxide sequestration and storage, will be discussed.

Human Ageing and Disease

This module furthers your understanding of the molecular, cellular and whole organism ageing processes. It addresses how ageing occurs by the accumulation of damage to molecules, cells and tissues, resulting in a loss of function and leading to an increased risk of death. Ageing is a major risk factor for a number of diseases including dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. This module addresses advances in intervention mechanisms which have contributed to reduced disease risk and development in an ageing population.

Medical Microbiology

The module helps you explore how modern clinical microbiology can be used to detect, diagnose and control infectious diseases. You extend your understanding of the molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis and it allows you to explore how modern molecular biology techniques have been employed to define the nature of host-pathogen interactions.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

The first year of this course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, projects, examinations), but you are also expected to spend time on your own - self-study time - to review lecture notes, prepare coursework assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments.

One module in each year of your study, excluding your first year (Level 3), involves a compulsory one-week block delivery period. This intensive problem-solving week, provides you with an opportunity to focus your attention on particular problems and enhance your team-working and employability skills.

How you are assessed

Your course involves a range of types of assessments including research assignments, laboratory work, presentations and tests


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Examples of typical entry qualifications include:
• Any combination of Level 3 qualifications (for example, A/AS levels, BTEC Certificates/Diplomas, Access to HE)
• A High School Certificate/Diploma with good grades completed after at least 12 years of primary and secondary education
• Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of relevant post-school work experience.

Any Level 3 subject is acceptable for entry to this course. Students are expected to provide evidence of English language and mathematical skills equivalent to at least GCSE grade 4. We consider a wide range of English and maths qualifications alternative to GCSEs. Please contact our admissions staff for advice.

Interviews
You may be invited to attend an interview to help us reach an offer decision. Your interview session is designed to help you by giving you the opportunity to showcase your individual strengths and qualities that define your potential to succeed on your chosen course. You may receive a more flexible offer following a good interview performance.
It is important to us that you reach an informed decision on where to study so we make every effort to provide you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. During your visit you will have the opportunity to learn more about your course, see our excellent facilities, meet staff and students, and learn more about studying at Teesside University. We receive very positive feedback from visiting students and we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience too.

Alternative progression routes
If you are not eligible to join this course directly then we may be able to help you prepare for admission by studying appropriate pre-degree Summer University modules.
Please contact us to discuss the alternative progression routes available to you.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Career opportunities

Graduates are ideally suited to sectors including the food, water, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, as well as careers in environmental agencies, hospitals and government laboratories, teaching or postgraduate research.

Work placement

We produce graduates with the problem-solving and leadership skills necessary to forge successful careers.

This programme allows you to spend an optional year - in-between your second year and final year - learning and developing your skills through work experience. You have a dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking. Employers are often invited to our School to meet you and present you with opportunities for work placements.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Throughout this programme, you get to know prospective employers and extend your professional network. An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2019/20 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£11,825 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years with additional work placement year
  • UCAS code: C101 BSc/BioSFY
  • Typical offer: Offers tailored to individual circumstances

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available part-time
 

Choose Teesside

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Accommodation

Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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Find your ideal degree course here at Teesside University and feel welcomed, supported and prepared for the career you want.

 
  • On video

    National Horizon Centre fly-through

    Take a virtual tour of our new £22m National Horizons Centre to open in March 2019. The University’s research, teaching and training facility at our Darlington campus complements our existing facilities and supports the emerging bio-based industries. You will have access to a wider range of labs and equipment in biologics, biotechnology, bio-pharmaceutical science, biomedical science, bioinformatics and related technologies.

     
 
 

Open days

17 November 2018
Undergraduate open day

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