Course details

A Levels AAB Other entry requirements
UCAS code C205
Duration 4 years
Fees and additional costs Home students Overseas students Fee status help
Related subjects Biology Plant Sciences

Any questions?

Admissions Secretary - Plant Sciences
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 114 222 0123
Email apsadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk
Website sheffield.ac.uk/biosciences/undergraduate/courses/plant-sciences

Plant Sciences

Top 5 for biological research
Research Excellence Framework 2014

Top 10 in the UK for biological sciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

92% overall satisfaction
National Student Survey 2019

Course description

This course allows you to do a year-long, paid work placement as part of your degree. You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're on placement and you'll have the support you need from our departmental placement tutor and the University. Most students earn salaries during their placements and many are offered a graduate-level job at the end.

Previous students have found placements within industry, charities or government at organisations that include Atkins Environmental Consulting, Food and Environment Research Agency and Kew Gardens. It's a great opportunity to test out a career path that you're considering - whether that's in the lab or applying your scientific knowledge and transferable skills in industry.

This course spans fundamental plant biology, exploring evolution, developmental biology, photosynthesis and disease whilst considering the role of plants in solving global food and energy shortages and developing green technologies. You'll cover two main themes at Sheffield: plant physiology - how plants harvest light energy, acquire nutrients from the soil and convert this in order to sustain growth, and plant ecology - how plants interact with each other and their non-living environment.

All of our students study an essential set of core modules designed to give you the skills that every professional plant scientist needs. You'll choose from optional modules that span ecology and conservation biology and zoology. You can mix and match these modules, covering photosynthesis, global warming and vegetation, climate change and pollution impacts on plant communities, underpinned by the latest research discoveries from our experts.

In your first year, you'll spend your first week on a field course in Sheffield, collecting and analysing data throughout the city's green spaces and out to the edge of the Peak District. Throughout the year you'll develop practical skills in the lab, including microscopy and genetics, complemented by regular field trips to zoos, aquariums and nature reserves. You'll also have lectures and take part in small group tutorials where you'll enhance your writing, data analysis and presentation skills as you learn about the latest research findings from our world-leading academics.

In your second year, your modules will cover more advanced scientific topics and techniques across plant science. Some students choose to take our science communication module 'Talking the Talk: Getting Science on Film' where you'll get the chance to make your own factual science documentaries, with support and advice from professional filmmakers. All of our zoology students receive training in modern data analysis techniques and get the opportunity to go on an optional two-week long field course between second and third year, giving you the chance to design and carry out your own research and develop an understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of different habitats across the globe.

Once you return from your placement, in your third year you'll complete a research project and dissertation in an area of plant science that interests you alongside your chosen specialist modules. Conducted under the supervision of one of our world experts, you'll work in a small group to define questions, develop experimental protocols, conduct the research, analyse the data and ultimately produce a written report in the form of a scientific publication.

If you want to study plant sciences, but don't meet the entry requirements to go straight into the first year, our Biosciences with Foundation Year could be for you. After successfully completing the one-year programme, you'll progress onto the first year of your chosen degree.

Modules: what you study and when

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels AAB, including Biology and a second science
A Levels + additional qualifications ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in the EPQ; ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 34, 6, 5 in Higher Level Biology and a second science
BTEC DD in Applied Science (with Distinctions in all Biology units if Biology not offered at A Level) + A in an A Level science
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AAABB, including a science subject + B in Biology
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA in Biology and a second science
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • Human Biology is acceptable instead of Biology. Second science from Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Environmental Science or Geography
  • GCSE Maths grade 4 or grade C
  • You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
  • Access Sheffield - find out if you're eligible for additional consideration or an alternative offer
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department

Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Course information on Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

First year

Core modules:

Skills for Biologists 1
Biodiversity
Evolution
Genes in Populations
How Plants Work: Physiology, Reproduction & Development
Molecular and Cell Biology

Optional modules:

Animal Behaviour
Animal Physiology, Reproduction and Development
Ecosystems, Climate and Environmental Change
Population and Community Ecology 1

Second year

Core modules:

Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
Careers for Biologists
Data Analysis
Plant Habitat and Distribution
Plant, Cell and Environment

Optional modules:

Animal Diversity
Behavioural Ecology
Biology Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme
Biotechnology and Food Security
Conservation Principles
Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment
Environmental Biology Practicals
Evolutionary Biology
Genomics and Wildlife Forensics
Molecular Evolutionary Genetics
Palaeobiology
Population and Community Ecology 2
Symbiosis
Talking the Talk: Getting science on Film
Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation

Fourth year

Core modules:

Research Project
Dissertation
Future Plants: From Laboratory to Field

Optional modules:

Conservation Issues and Management
Biology and Ethics
Cooperation and Conflict
Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
Evolutionary Ecology
Global Change
Human Evolutionary Genetics
Plant Biotechnology
Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems
Topics in Evolutionary Genetics
Topics in Modern Ecology
Topics in Modern Zoology

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

The Times Good University Guide 2019 puts Sheffield in the UK top 10 for biosciences. We think this means we're doing something right.

We combine lectures with small group tutorials. You'll also take part in cutting-edge field and lab research, giving you an exceptional breadth of experience. We're a close knit community where every student gets the support and encouragement needed to achieve their best work. Our staff are world leaders in their fields and much of what we teach is based on our own world-leading research.

Our state-of-the-art facilities include controlled environment chambers that simulate natural climates around the world. We also have experimental gardens and glasshouses, artificial stream and pond systems, leading equipment for DNA analysis, biomolecular and elemental analyses, and extensive computing resources.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

What our graduates do

Wherever you choose to start your career, you'll be in demand. Each year our graduates join conservation and environmental consultancies, wildlife trusts, museums, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and local, national and international government. They use their transferable skills - in data analysis, project management and teamwork - and their specialist knowledge and skills to thrive in a range of organisations.

Here are some examples of what graduates in each area are doing now:

Biology
Our graduates work in business, IT, consulting, sustainability, museums, banking, agriculture and health. They also work in biodiversity conservation for local and national governments, charities, wildlife trusts and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Many go on to do PhDs.

Ecology and conservation
Ecology graduates are well qualified for careers in government, charity and industry sectors that focus on environmental management and consulting, sustainable forestry, agriculture and conservation. You could go into research, education, journalism, finance, law or a technical profession. Many of our MBiolSci students go on to PhDs.

Plant sciences
Our graduates have an understanding of ideas and techniques that are in demand, particularly in agriculture, biotechnology, crop protection, environmental management and climate change mitigation.

There are excellent career opportunities in government, academic and industrial research institutes focused on science and policy, as well as in teaching and consulting. Plant scientists are also needed in biotechnology companies and administration, including areas that require scientific training, such as computing, research and management skills.

Zoology
Our students graduate with a deep knowledge of zoology as well as core transferable skills in data analysis, presentation and writing. They're well equipped for positions in environmental consulting, wildlife trusts, and international conservation organisations. Some choose to work in business, IT and consulting linked to sustainability, museums, banking, agriculture and health. Many go on to do PhDs.

Student profile


"One of the big assets of coming to Sheffield was the field courses on offer...being able to come out to the Peak District regularly with my tutor or my lecturer, or going on field courses further afield, even internationally. I'm now an environmental photojournalist."

Ben Cherry
Animal and Plant Sciences


All you need to know about undergraduate study in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at Sheffield.

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Admissions Secretary - Plant Sciences
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 114 222 0123
Email apsadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk

Department website >

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