Biosciences with a Foundation Year

Biosciences (with Foundation Year) BSc

School of Biosciences

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    You are viewing this course for 2024-25 entry. 2023-24 entry is also available.

    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.

    During your foundation year you'll develop the skills and knowledge that every bioscientist needs by studying modules in chemistry and mathematics, the principles that underpin the life sciences. You'll also study life processes, from genes, cells and organs, to organisms and ecosystems, ready to start your degree.

    After successfully completing the one-year programme, you'll progress onto the first year of our BSc Biology degree.

    Our biology degrees are designed to give you the flexibility to discover the kind of biologist you want to be, with the freedom to chose the topics you want to study across the breadth of biology from your first year.

    Moving to one of our specialist degree courses is possible during the first year of your degree. These include Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Plant Sciences and Zoology.


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

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Title: Biosciences with a Foundation Year 2022 / Biosciences (with Foundation Year) 2023 BSc course structure
    UCAS code: C900
    Years: 2022, 2023
    Foundation year

    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.


    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

    Standard offer

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

    International Baccalaureate 31, with 5 in Higher Level science

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in Applied Science or Forensic and Criminal Investigation

    BTEC Diploma DD in Applied Science or Forensic and Criminal Investigation + C at A Level

    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 Award of Access to HE Diploma in Science, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction (to include sufficient Chemistry), and 15 at Merit

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

    • GCSE Maths and a science subject at grade 4/C

    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 qualifications | UK and EU/international

    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
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      A top 10 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2022, High Fliers report

    School of Biosciences

    Top five in the UK for quality of research

    Research Excellence Framework 2021

    98% of our research and impact is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent

    Research Excellence Framework 2021

    Graduate careers

    School of Biosciences

    As a Biosciences graduate, you’ll have a huge range of career opportunities open to you. Whether you want to work in industry, join a Top 100 graduate employer, or continue your studies, employers seek out our graduates because of the skills they develop during their time at Sheffield.

    Whatever you’re passionate about, we’ll make sure you get the scientific skills and knowledge to pursue it. Here are just a few of the exciting things our graduates are doing now:

    • Saving local biodiversity and developing solutions to global food shortages at the RSPB and local Wildlife Trusts
    • Working in industrial research at organisations including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Reckitt
    • Working in healthcare, in the NHS or for private healthcare providers or charities
    • Studying for a PhD

    A biosciences degree from the University of Sheffield can even take you into roles in marketing, teaching, human resources, IT, science communication and beyond. Each year our graduates apply their transferable skills and begin careers in these areas with Top 100 employers like GSK, Google and Aldi.

    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 Tom Scott

    My MBiolSci year gave me the skills to secure my graduate job

    Tom Scott MBiolSci Biology

    During his MBiolSci research project, Tom had the opportunity to work with BirdLife International, a global conservation charity protecting birds. Thanks to the skills and knowledge he gained, Tom secured a graduate job with the organisation after he finished his degree.

    Headshot of Barbara Ojei Agwaziam

    Coming to Sheffield is one of the best decisions I made!

    Barbara Ojei Agwaziam MBiolSci Biology with a Year Abroad

    Barbara has worked for the Civil Service since graduating in 2017. Whilst her roles haven't been directly linked to Biology, the transferable skills that she gained during her degree have proven really useful, helping her to get to the heart of issues, coming up with innovative solutions, and presenting them clearly.

    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

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

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

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place


    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:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    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.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer


    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:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.