Any questions?

Principal Admissions Tutor
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 2740

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

UK top 10 for biological sciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

UK top 10 for overall satisfaction
National Student Survey 2019

Course description

If you want to study biosciences, but don't meet the entry requirements to go straight into the first year, our Biosciences Foundation Year course could be for you. For example, if you've studied the right subjects but haven't achieved high enough grades, or if you've achieved good grades in unrelated subjects.

You'll study life processes, from genes, cells and organs, to organisms and ecosystems. You'll also develop the skills that every bioscientist needs by studying modules in chemistry and mathematics - these principles underpin the life sciences.

After successfully completing the one-year programme, you'll progress onto the first year of your chosen degree in:

- Biochemistry
- Biology
- Biomedical Science
- Ecology and Conservation Biology
- Genetics
- Microbiology
- Molecular Biology
- Plant Sciences
- Zoology

In your first and second year of your chosen degree you'll spend six hours every week in our dedicated teaching labs, developing the practical science skills required by bioscientists, including how to handle equipment, design experiments and interpret data. In the third year you'll be ready to put your new skills into practice with a semester-long research project.

Biosciences at Sheffield
We're made up of three specialist departments that span the breadth of biology: Animal and Plant Sciences, Biomedical Science and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. This foundation year programme is taught by the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Once you've successfully completed the foundation year, you'll either stay in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology or you'll move to one of our other two departments, depending on which specialism you choose.

Teaching and learning changes for 2020-21
Due to the coronavirus pandemic we have made some changes to teaching and learning for this course in the 2020-21 academic year.

Modules: what you study and when

Foundation years explained

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 BBC, including a science subject
International Baccalaureate 31, 5 in Higher Level Science
BTEC DDM in a relevant subject
Cambridge Pre-U M2 M2 M3, including a science
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher BBBBC + B in a science subject
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, including a science subject
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • Acceptable science subjects are Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Further Maths, Statistics, Physics, Geography, Psychology, Economics or Environmental Science/Studies. GCSE Maths and one science grade 6 or grade B
  • 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 C/4; 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.

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology website

Core modules:

Foundation in Bioscience
Advanced Level Chemistry
Introduction to Scientific Writing in Bioscience
Laboratory and Project Skills in Bioscience

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 Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Firth Court building

Molecular biology crosses the boundaries of cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and medical science. Our courses will give you the skills to be part of new developments within these fields throughout your career.

We'll challenge you to achieve your very best. We have small tutorial groups to support your learning, extensive practical experience, and a project in the third year that could involve laboratory research, computing, clinical diagnostics, science communication, or school teaching, depending on your career aspirations.

The course lets you combine topics from biochemistry, genetics and microbiology, so you develop a wide-ranging knowledge of the molecular biosciences. However, the first year is common to all of our courses, meaning that you're not tied to the course you register for. At the end of the first year, you can transfer to any course in the department: Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, and combinations of these subjects.

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology website

What our graduates do

Our graduates go on to make a difference in all sorts of ways. Many of our graduates are employed in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, food safety and manufacture, brewing and agrochemicals, forensic science and as NHS scientists. They also work in education, the scientific civil service, bioinformatics or medical schools. Others use their skills in IT, management and commerce. Many choose further study and go on to do research for organisations all over the world.

Student profile

"The first and second year of the course provided me with a wonderful opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of molecular biosciences covering not just biochemistry but also genetics and microbiology. The structure of the first two years allowed me to realise how the three subject areas integrate, with genetics and microbiology allowing my biochemical knowledge to be expanded."

Harriet Barker, MBiolSci Biochemistry

"Sheffield is a great place to live and study, and has given me opportunities to develop my interests and personal skills in the areas of biology that I'm interested in and want to pursue further, particularly insect biology and palaeobiology."

Henry Ellison, BSc Biology

"Personally, I think the best part about studying biomedical science is finding something that makes you go "oh, that's cool," which is easy when you start to become immersed in the exciting, cutting-edge research being carried out here at Sheffield."

Holly Smith, BSc Biomedical Science

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply:

How to apply >

When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website: >

Contact us

Principal Admissions Tutor
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 2740

Department website >

Visit us

University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Book your place >

Applicant days
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Find out more and book a place online >