Biological Sciences

Biological sciences at Sheffield gives you a unique level of flexibility, letting you tailor your degree to your interests and career goals. You'll be able to study the full extent of biological sciences, from organisms and the environment, to biomedicine to biochemistry, genetics and microbiology.

APS students in the lab (15724)

About biological sciences at Sheffield

Our biological sciences courses offer you the flexibility to discover what kind of biologist you want to be by giving you the freedom to choose the topics you want to study.

From year one, you’ll be defining your degree and putting your skills and knowledge into place for a vibrant future. You’ll have access to modules across all scales of biological systems from biotechnology, cell biology, genetics, microbiology and biochemistry, to biomedicine, neuroscience, human health and disease, to biodiversity, evolution, sustainability and climate change. More than half of our Biological Science students are taking modules across this full spectrum of the subject.

You’ll have the chance to carry out your own research projects in the lab or the field. You might do research in the lab using the latest, cutting-edge equipment to study proteins and enzymes, analyse stem cells, sequence DNA or image cells. Alternatively, you might work in the lab or the field to explore how organisms and populations grow and how biodiversity is managed. No matter what you choose, it’ll give you invaluable hands-on experience in your chosen area.

You might choose to do field research projects in the Peak District National Park, or to embark on a once-in a lifetime field course in the UK or abroad. You can make the most of our links with the NHS, completing research on cancer and ageing in conjunction with the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. You can even choose to combine these areas.

Tailor your degree

Biological Sciences at Sheffield is all about enabling you to study what you’re passionate about, from genes and molecules, to organ systems and from behaviour to biodiversity and ecosystems, and everything in between. You could follow an existing theme that would help you select complementary modules, or you could select individual modules that appeal to you. Your personal tutor and dedicated support staff will help you to tailor your degree to your interests and career goals.

Our courses

Our courses all come with options to gain additional experience beyond the three-year BSc. You can add an extra year of research experience with an integrated masters, or gain valuable work experience with a top employer as a recognised part of your degree by spending a year on a work placement. You can even apply to spend a year studying abroad in a fantastic location, after you've joined the University.

2024-25 entry

Courses with a placement year

2024-25 entry

BSc Biological Sciences with a Foundation Year

Our foundation year programme provides mature students with non-standard entry qualifications a thorough and supportive academic preparation for successful degree level study in the School of Biosciences.

Explore our BSc with a foundation year

What our students say

Jennie Smith

My course helped me secure a PhD scholarship to study marine biology in Australia!

Jennie Smith MBiolSci Biology

From gaining field experience through her field course in Borneo, to studying Heliconius butterflies as a research assistant in Ecuador, Jennie made the most of her time at Sheffield.

Photo of Henry Ellison

I got to explore the areas of biology that I’m interested in, particularly insect biology and palaeobiology

Henry Ellison BSc Biology (now Biological Sciences)

Henry’s time as a Sheffield mentor not only improved his communication and time-management skills, but also gave him the opportunity to meet new students and help them as they adjusted to university life.

Student photo Olga Kondrashova

My placement helped me realise my passion for being outdoors and conservation

Olga Kondrashova BSc Biology with Placement Year

Olga spent her placement year working at the Field Studies Council on the doorstep of Snowdonia in North Wales. During the year, Olga took part in biological surveys, conservation projects, outdoor education and adventure activities.


You'll be taught through traditional lectures and small group tutorials, (where our world-leading academics will share their latest research findings with you). You'll also conduct research projects and take part in practical lab sessions (where you’ll be working with the latest technology for DNA and protein analysis) as well as head off on field trips to zoos, aquaria and wildlife reserves.

We encourage our students to be fully engaged throughout their courses, so you'll have lots of opportunities to be creative, think independently, and express your ideas. You’ll spend a lot of time working in the lab or field, working with amazing technology and learning skills like microscopy, DNA analysis or mathematical modelling for biodiversity conservation.

We embed employability skills into all of our degrees. This array of teaching and learning approaches gives you plenty of chances to gain the skills and experience you need to build a strong and adaptable CV.

Find out more about our teaching

Research projects

Student with butterfly

You’ll undertake research projects throughout your degree, getting practical hands-on experience in the laboratory or the field that will lead to an in-depth research project and dissertation in your third year. Most students focus their interests as they progress and specialise in a particular area. The flexibility of the Biological Sciences degree means that you can take your degree in any direction you wish within the Biosciences. That might mean settling on a theme that resembles one of our other named degrees or pursuing an interest that isn’t covered elsewhere. Common themes include:

  • Microbiology, antimicrobial resistance and immunology - research the constant battle between bacteria, antibiotics and mammalian biology
  • Ecology and Conservation - tackle global challenges such as climate change or the biodiversity crisis
  • Biomedicine - connect the breadth of biological science to clinical impact in areas such as neuroscience and cancer
  • Plant Science - understand the science that is the cause of the sustainability crisis and find solutions to how we provide the world with food, resources and medicines
  • Molecular Genetics - focus on how DNA directs all biological processes and what happens when things go wrong

There are several types of capstone projects to choose from depending on your interests and career goals, each of them giving you plenty of chances to gain new transferrable skills and experience to put on your CV. Current projects include:

  • Lab-based: Investigate a scientific problem, using state-of-the-art facilities and working alongside our leading research scientists
  • Field-based: Gather data or  insect, plant, or mineral samples samples in the field and analyse them on location or back in the lab
  • Clinical diagnostics: Learn how to use the analytical software used by clinical diagnostics staff in NHS laboratories to diagnose leukaemia in collaboration with the Sheffield Children's Hospital
  • Molecular systems and computing: Analyse and evaluate complex data to investigate fundamental biological processes, with opportunities to learn computer programming
  • Science communication: Build up a portfolio of writing on a scientific topic of your choice and evaluate the effectiveness of different communication strategies
  • Education and outreach: Organise events to get school children better engaged with science – students generally work in primary schools or university technical colleges (UTC) to gain teaching experience communicating science to school children

And if this really excites you, our integrated Masters courses (MBiolSci) allow you to work for a fourth year to complete a further, in-depth research project whilst embedded in one of our specialist research groups.

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