Biosciences with a Foundation Year

Biosciences with a Foundation Year BSc

School of Biosciences

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You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry.

Key details

Course description

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

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

As you progress through your degree, you'll have a chance to explore your core subjects in greater depth, choose optional modules across the biosciences to broaden your knowledge and participate in a research activity.

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, you'll spend six hours a week in our dedicated teaching labs, developing your practical science skills, including how to handle equipment, design experiments and interpret data. In your third year you'll put your new skills into practice with a semester-long research project.

Moving to a different degree course is possible depending on your qualifications, usually in the first year of your degree.

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 can either stay in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology or move to one of our other departments, depending on which specialism you choose.


After successfully completing the foundation year modules, you can start your main degree.

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.

Title: Biosciences with a Foundation Year BSc course structure
UCAS code: C900
Years: 2021

Core modules:

Foundation in Bioscience

This module provides an introduction to the biological sciences at degree level and supports the transition to University study It explores the core concepts in the areas of biology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, neuroscience and ecology at foundation level. The module is structured around academic skills development in the context of studying the biosciences, with opportunities to develop skills in writing, research, data analysis, teamwork and communication.

40 credits
Advanced Level Chemistry

The unit covers a selection of the major concepts from areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry in order to develop a sound basic knowledge of chemistry corresponding to the common core A level curriculum as preparation for successful studies in the Material Sciences and Chemical Engineering.

20 credits
Further Foundation Chemistry

The unit covers a selection of the major concepts from areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry in order to develop a sound basic knowledge of chemistry corresponding to the common core A level curriculum as preparation for successful studies in the Sciences and Engineering.

20 credits
Laboratory and Project Skills in Bioscience

This module will allow you to develop generic practical investigative and mathematical skills relevant to your future work in bioscience. Using bioengineering activities as a platform you will develop generic skills in data gathering, data analysis and practical report writing. Group project work will show you the importance of communication skills and provide an opportunity for you to develop information searching, evaluation and presentation skills. This is a unique opportunity for you to see the value and impact of mathematical and practical principles to bioscience in our increasingly interdisciplinary world.

20 credits
Introduction to Scientific Writing in Bioscience

This module will equip you with the skills needed to research an area of bioscience and produce a written review of the area for a scientific audience. Working within topics linked to your destination department (e.g. organ systems, genetics, ecosystems) you will identify valid sources of information, using these to explain to your readers the aspects that are key to understanding. By writing a reflection of the process you have followed, the challenges you faced and the solutions you identified, the module will also develop your skills in self – reflection, a key skill for success in your future studies.

20 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment


Our research-embedded teaching ensures you’ll gain knowledge and understanding from the forefront of the full breadth of biology, from the cell and molecular level through to whole organisms and biodiversity.

You’ll learn through lectures, small group tutorials and workshops, field courses, research projects and practical sessions in the lab and field. Our biology course benefits from exceptional teaching across all three bioscience subject areas, including biochemistry and biomedical science.

To support your learning, you’ll have access to a virtual learning environment with interactive course materials. You'll also have a personal tutor throughout your course, to give you advice and guidance on both academic and pastoral issues.

To support your learning, you'll have access to a virtual learning environment with interactive course materials. You'll also have a personal tutor throughout your course, to give you advice and guidance on both academic and pastoral issues.


Throughout the course you will be assessed through a variety of methods, including exams, tests, presentations, coursework and practical work.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including a science subject

International Baccalaureate | 31, with 5 in Higher Level science

BTEC | DDM in a relevant subject

Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | BBBBB + B in a science subject

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + BC including a science subject

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction (to include sufficient Chemistry) and 15 credits at Merit. Applicants are considered individually

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

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

Visa and immigration requirements

Other requirements
  • Science subjects include Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Maths, Further Maths, Statistics, Physics, Geography, Psychology, Economics or Environmental Science/Studies

  • GCSE Maths and a science subject at grade 6/B

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

School of Biosciences

BSc Biochemistry and Microbiology with a Year in Industry

Biosciences at Sheffield is home to over 120 lecturers who are actively involved in research at the cutting edge of their field. You'll learn from scientists who are helping to solve some of the biggest global challenges, from global food shortages and antibiotic resistance in MRSA to degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer's and combating infectious diseases like Covid-19.

We're a close-knit community where every student gets the support and encouragement needed to achieve their best work. Whether it's joining one of our student-led societies and taking part in nights out, trips abroad and quizzes with lecturers, or volunteering, fundraising and organising your own events, there are lots of opportunities to get involved.

Biosciences students are based across Firth Court, the Alfred Denny, Florey and Addison buildings. We are at the heart of the University campus, adjacent to the Students' Union and just a 15-minute walk from the city centre.


Our students have access to world-class laboratory and computing resources for biological research and are trained in specialist teaching laboratories, supported by teaching assistants and our technician team.

Biosciences at Sheffield is home to state-of-the-art facilities, including super resolution light, cryo-electron and atomic force microscopy, NMR and X-ray facilities, a Biological Mass Spectrometry facility and the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility, which provides molecular genetics facilities and training to the UK science community.

We also have controlled environment facilities that can simulate any past, present and future climate, leading equipment for DNA analysis, and facilities for cell culture used in studying immunology, medically important microbes and biotechnology on campus.

School of Biosciences

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A top 100 university 2022
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

School of Biosciences

Top 10 in the UK for Biological Sciences

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

Top 5 for Biological Sciences research

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Our graduates are among the UK's top ten most targeted by leading employers

High Fliers Research 2020

Graduate careers

School of Biosciences

Our courses equip students for a wide range of careers, from scientific roles to graduate schemes with top employers. Whether you want to pursue a career in science, apply your skills in industry, or continue your studies, bioscience graduates are highly sought after due to their specialist laboratory skills, ability to solve problems, handle and analyse data, and effectively communicate complex ideas to a range of audiences.

As well as progressing onto a masters programme or PhD, our students secure roles in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies like GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Redx, the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) and government bodies like Public Health England.

Transferable skills are embedded and developed throughout our degrees, which means year on year our graduates join high-profile organisations like Microsoft, HSBC, KPMG, United Kingdom Civil Service, Unilever and Wellcome. You can also apply your degree to other varied careers including brewing, bioinformatics, marketing, medical writing, genetic counselling, agrochemicals, teaching and science policy.

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.

Fees and funding


Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

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.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant open days, which take place between November and April. These open days 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.

Book your place on a campus tour

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:

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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