Course details

A Levels AAA Other entry requirements
UCAS code C309
Duration 4 years
Fee Look up fee
Related subjects Biology Ecology Zoology

Any questions?

Admissions Secretary
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 0123

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Top 5 for biological research
Research Excellence Framework 2014

Top 5 in the UK for biological sciences
The Times Good University Guide 2017

Top 100 in the world for biological science
QS World University Rankings 2016

94% satisfied with their course
National Student Survey 2016

Course description

A year of specialist research training completes this advanced, four-year course.

The course explores areas such as population and community ecology, animal conservation and biodiversity, molecular ecology, evolution and behaviour. We have been at the forefront of important recent developments in the study of natural selection and the outcome of evolution at the individual and population levels.

You'll develop skills that are central to scientific investigation, including observation, testing of ideas, analysis and critical interpretation. With level three project work you'll apply these skills to your own research.

In the first and second years, you can choose modules run by our other two biology departments, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences. You may need A Level Chemistry to take these modules.

Your fourth year involves an extensive, individual research project similar to that of a masters degree. You'll work one-to-one with a member of academic staff. The project will develop your in-depth knowledge and teach you more skills than you could learn on a three-year course. It's excellent preparation for a research-related career or higher degree.

There are optional field courses in the UK, Ireland, Arctic Sweden, the Mediterranean and tropical rainforest in Malaysian Borneo in the summer between your second and third levels.

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 AAA including Biology and a second science
A Levels + Extended Project Qualification AAB including B from Biology and a second science + B. The Extended Project should be in a relevant subject
International Baccalaureate 36, with 6 at Higher Level Biology and a second science
BTEC DD in Applied Science with Distinctions in all science units + grade A in A Level Biology or a second science
Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 D3 including Biology and a second science
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AAAAB including a second science + B in Biology
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A+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
  • GCSE Maths grade 4 or grade C
  • Human Biology is acceptable instead of Biology. Second science from Chemistry, Computer Science, Maths, Statistics, Physics, Geography, Psychology, Economics or Environmental Science/Studies
  • International students need overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or an equivalent English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
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
Animal Physiology, Reproduction and Development
Genes in Populations
Molecular and Cell Biology

Optional modules:

Behaviour of Humans and Other Animals
Ecological identification skills
Ecosystems, Climate and Environmental Change
Plant Physiology, Reproduction and Development
Population and Community Ecology 1

Second year

Core modules:

Animal Diversity
Animal Diversity Practicals
Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
Careers for Biologists
Data Analysis

Optional modules:

Population and Community Ecology 2
The Molecular Revolution in Biology
Animal Behaviour
Biology Projects
Conservation Principles
Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment
Evolutionary Biology
Insect Biology Practicals
Inside Animals
Talking the Talk: Getting science on Film
Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation

Third year

Core modules:


Optional modules:

Biology Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme
Conflict and Cooperation
Conservation Issues and Management
African Ecology and Biodiversity Field Course - human and natural influences
Animal Ecology and Behaviour Field Course
Arctic Ecosystems Field Course
Behavioural Ecology Field Course
Biology and Ethics
Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
Evolutionary Ecology
History and Philosophy of Science
Human Evolutionary Genetics
Life in Extreme Environments
Marine Ecology Field Course
Phylogenetic Approaches to Evolution
The Ecology of Landscapes
Topics in Evolutionary Genetics
Trends in Biology
Tropical Rain Forest: Biology Field Course

Fourth year

Core modules:

Research Project
Research Dissertation
Advanced Biological Analysis
Advanced Trends in Biology
Research and Study Skills in Biology

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.

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose.

Scheduled teaching 18%
Independent study 82%
Placement 0%

Exams/tests 45%
Coursework 49%
Practical 6%

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

The Times Good University Guide 2017 puts Sheffield in the UK top 5 for biosciences. In fact every edition since 2009 put us in the top 5. We think this means we're doing something right.

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 out own world-leading research.

The timetable is busy and varied. We combine lectures with small group tutorials. You'll also take part in ongoing, cutting-edge field and lab research, giving you an exceptional breadth of experience.

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

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

What our graduates do

Life scientists are employed throughout business and industry, in universities, schools and hospitals, as well as government departments and charitable foundations. They develop new technology, and improve our health and living standards. They're vitally important to the economy.

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

Our graduates work with water companies, conservation agencies, environmental consultancies, wildlife trusts,
museums, universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural institutes, development agencies and in local, national and international government.

Our graduates are employed in local, national and international industries, addressing issues that range from conservation and management of natural resources through to medical, veterinary or agricultural research.

Plant Sciences
Our graduates have an understanding of ideas and techniques that are in extensive demand, particularly in agriculture, biotechnology, crop protection and environmental management. There are excellent career opportunities in government, academic and industrial research institutes focused on science and policy, as well as in teaching and consulting.

Ecology graduates are well qualified for careers in government or 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.

Student profile

Cindy Cosset, Zoology

"I've loved being able to get involved with real research in my third year and fourth year projects. We've investigated the impacts of forest fragmentation and logging on biodiversity in the tropics. It's exciting to find out new information from your data, and all the highs and lows that come with carrying out the project make it a very gratifying experience."

Cindy Cosset ,

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Admissions Secretary
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 0123

Department website >

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Department open days
If we offer you a place on a course, you'll also be invited to a department open day. Animal and Plant Sciences open days take place from December to March.

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