The University of Sheffield
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Biology

BSc

UCAS Code: C100
Typical offer:
AAB
Length:
Three years

MBiolSci

UCAS Code: C109
Typical offer:
AAA
Length:
Four years

  

Contact time: 15 hours per week in lectures and labs, tutorials in years one and two, independent projects in year three

Study topics across biology and focus on what interests you most

Be taught by world-leading scientific researchers

How to apply for this course

Other Biology options: Biology with a Year Abroad | Biology with a Modern Language
Other APS courses: Ecology and Conservation Biology | Plant Sciences | Zoology | Environmental Science

What can our Biology course do for you?

The Biology course looks at whole organisms: from the tiny molecules that make up all plants and animals, to the ecosystems they inhabit and the way they interact with one another. This means you develop an in-depth understanding of how life works at every level, in lectures, labs, tutorials, and field courses in the UK and overseas.

The great thing about our Biology course is that it is flexible. You will start off by getting a detailed overview of the subject, but you can specialise in the areas that most interest you, picking modules from across APS and the two other biology departments in the University. Click on the Module list tab at the top of the page to see the variety of available to you – this includes modules that give you essential research training, and transferrable careers skills that can help you get a job in any field, science or otherwise.

Graduates from APS go on to do many different things. Some remain in academia and do PhDs, while others go on to careers in wildlife conservation, ecology and research, working for charities, environmental organisations, government agencies and the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. The project management, data analysis and communication skills you learn from our Biology degree are invaluable in all sorts of other areas too, such as teaching, journalism and management.
After your degree

If you choose the four year MBiolSci course, you can spend an additional year conducting your own piece of advanced research, which will prepare you well for a professional career in science.
Undergraduate Masters

Alternatively, you can do a degree with employment experience, where you can spend a year in the world of work, putting your scientific knowledge into practice.
Degrees with employment experience

Inspirational teaching in state-of-the-art facilities

In APS, our courses don't have many core text books. That’s because we teach you the latest science from cutting edge research papers, which won't be in text books until years from now. In other words, we don't just teach science – we do science, with leading academics who are dedicated to teaching while working hard every day to make new discoveries in biology. Our staff includes several winners of the University Senate Award for Learning and Teaching, and Professor Tim Birkhead, the UK Bioscience Teacher of the Year.

You’ll learn lots of research skills during the field courses we offer in locations including Borneo, Sweden and Portugal, as well as here in the UK. Sheffield has one of the UK's most spectacular natural locations – the Peak District – on its doorstep, giving our Biology students plenty of opportunities to study the diversity of the local ecosystem. Meanwhile, on campus we have glasshouses, ponds and artificial streams for experiments, state-of-the-art DNA and molecular analysis equipment, and controlled environment chambers that can replicate any climate on the planet, past, present or future.

Typically, you will take between three and five modules each semester and in your first and second years you will spend around fifteen hours in labs and lectures each week, with small group tutorials every fortnight. In the third year, the practical classes and tutorials are replaced by your own piece of lab- or field-based research in the first semester, and a dissertation in the second semester. These can be done as individual or group projects, with our academics there to guide you and provide one-on-one supervision.

First year

Core modules:

  • Laboratory Skills in Biology 1 and 2
  • Comparative Physiology
  • Evolution
  • Ecosystems and Environmental Change
  • Skills for Biologists 1
  • Genes, Cells and Populations

Options include:

Second year

Core modules:

  • Data Analysis
  • Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
  • Careers for Biologists
  • Biology Practicals: options – Animal Diversity, Biology Projects, Insect Biology, Environmental Biology, Plant Habitats and Distributions, Ecological Interactions

Options include:

  • Biotechnology and Food Security
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Insects
  • Plant, Cell and Environment
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • World Ecosystems
  • Plant Habitat and Distribution
  • Paleobiology
  • Conservation Principles
  • Animal Diversity
  • Population and Community Ecology 2
  • The Molecular Revolution in Biology
  • Symbiosis
  • Modules from Biomedical Science, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, or elsewhere in the University

Third year

Core modules:

  • Research Project
  • Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme or Dissertation

Options include:

  • Environmental Regulation in Plants
  • Global Change
  • Trends in Biology
  • Life in Extreme Environments
  • Biology and Ethics
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Topics in Evolutionary Genetics
  • Sustainable Agro-ecosystems
  • Cooperation and Conflict
  • The Ecology of Landscapes
  • Conservation Issues and Management
  • Field course (UK, Borneo, Portugal or Sweden)
  • Modules from Biomedical Science or Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Hands-on science, incredible locations

More about field courses

Borneo

The focus of this course is on rainforest ecology, adaptations of rainforest organisms and some of the specific issues resulting from the exploitation of rainforest environments

Portugal

With access to a range of habitats characteristic of drier southern European climates, the focus of this course is on insect ecology and behaviour

Sweden

This course considers the ecological processes in sub-arctic environments, looking in particular at the ecology of plants, plant-animal interactions in arctic/sub-arctic environments and some of the particular threats to such environments

Wales

Providing an opportunity to focus on carrying out investigations in the marine environment, this course is a chance to develop sustained research projects involving experimental manipulations and observations over sequential tidal cycles, with a focus on intertidal marine organisms, their adaptations, ecology and behaviour

Sheffield – Peak District

We always have one or more field courses running from the department in Sheffield which take advantage of the range of interesting and important habitats on our doorstep, with the current course focussing on insect-plant interactions and insect ecology and behaviour

Ireland

The focus of this course is on environmental forms and processes, and their effects on the development and functioning of plant and animal communities – primarily for Environmental Science students, but open to other APS undergraduates where there is availability