Student in science laboratory


Biological Sciences

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Full-time: four years; sandwich: five years
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Dr Gareth Robinson
Key fact:
MSci Biological Sciences at UWE Bristol offers human biology, ecology and molecular biology themes to allow you to tailor your degree according to your own interests.

Page last updated 13 September 2017


Why study MSci Biological Sciences?

Exploring the diversity and complexity of living organisms and living systems, Biological Sciences gives you a broad understanding of life in all its forms. You will develop the scientific knowledge and research skills that can make an important contribution to the welfare of people and the environment. You will also build the analytical, problem-solving and communication capabilities that every employer values.

MSci Biological Sciences is an ideal platform if you wish to pursue a research career, want to further develop your communication and presentation skills or would like to learn more about the biological sciences.

Why study our course?

MSci Biological Sciences at UWE Bristol has an emphasis on applying biological science to the real world and takes a hands-on, practical approach to learning. Whether studying in our microbiology or genetics labs, undertaking field work on an expedition to Madagascar or a Cuban island, or studying primate ecology at Bristol Zoo, you will learn the methods and technology at the cutting edge of the field.

The course explores life from the molecular level to the scale of ecosystems and you will have the opportunity to pursue your learning in the areas that interest you. MSci Biological Sciences builds on the strengths of our BSc, with the fourth year focusing on research and the research process. The course will help you apply your academic knowledge to contemporary issues and expand your career horizons.

Real-world experience

With many opportunities to build essential practical experience in real-world situations, the course offers the chance to undertake placements, internships, fieldwork and residential trips in the UK and abroad. If you choose the sandwich course option, your third year can be spent on placement with a major employer in the pharmaceutical, healthcare or research sector in this country, Europe or further afield.

Where it can take you

After qualifying, our students gain graduate-level jobs in a diverse range of companies and organisations. Many pursue careers in biological sciences, working in research and development for organisations in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and agrochemical sectors. Some choose to work in sales, marketing or education, while others opt to study for postgraduate qualifications to further develop a research career.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The course structure allows you to adapt your studies to your own interests. From Year two, you can choose to specialise by selecting modules which fall into one of three themes: molecular biology, human biology or ecology. Alternatively, you can select modules from all three themes. In Year three, the same principle applies.

Year one

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Life on Earth
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Cell Biochemistry and Genetics
  • Skills for Biosciences.

Year two

You will study the following compulsory module:

  • Research Skills

In addition, you will study three of the following optional modules:

  • Microbial Life
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genes and Biotechnology
  • Human Health and Disease
  • Physiological and Immunological Systems
  • Ecology and Ecosystem Protection
  • Wildlife Ecology.

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

Year three

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research Experimental Project OR Research Dissertation Project
  • Scientific Frontiers and Enterprise.

In addition, you will select from the following optional modules (depending on credit requirements):

  • Applied Biotechnology
  • Science Communication
  • Medical Genetics
  • Genomic Technologies
  • Gene Control
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Human Nutrition
  • Pathophysiology
  • Primate Ecology and Conservation
  • Sustainable Food Production
  • Global Forest Systems
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Marine Ecosystems
  • Environmental Forensics
  • Tropical Expedition
  • Professional Practice in Applied Science*.

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research in Practice
  • Research with Impact
  • Contemporary Biology.

*compulsory module if you choose to go on a placement.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We have a student-centred approach to learning; there are opportunities for one-to-one guidance and you will receive individual feedback.

Guided independent learning is encouraged and a framework is provided through lectures, seminars and tutorials. Practical classes are very important in supporting learning with both laboratory and computer-based sessions.

You will learn from experts with research specialisms ranging from the use of bioluminescent bacteria in cancer therapy, microbial fuel cells and molecular techniques to combat a disease threatening our supplies of chocolate.

Your practical learning develops through an independent research project during your third year, which will be undertaken with a project supervisor and may be carried out alongside their research team.

The final year will focus on research and the research process, allowing you to undertake an extended research project, further developing your practical skills and understanding the significance of research with impact. You will have further opportunities to study advanced contemporary aspects of the biological sciences.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


The range of assessment tools includes both traditional approaches, such as essays and reports, and group tasks and presentations. You will work closely with students in your group and will be supported by student advisers and a year tutor. Overall, assessment will take place through both coursework and examinations.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check



Throughout the course, you will be able to apply your expertise and build professional skills in work-based settings with placements, internships and volunteering roles. The sandwich course option involves up to 40 weeks of work-based training in a specialised area of biological sciences. You will have the chance to work with major employers in the pharmaceutical or health care industry, such as GlaxoSmithKline, ICI and Novartis, government laboratories , hospital pathology and various university research centres. Some students choose to spend their year overseas in destinations such as the USA, Malaysia, Germany or Switzerland.


Fieldwork is an essential part of studying and understanding the natural world, so you will have the opportunity to spend a significant proportion of your time working in the field. Fieldwork will range from short local trips in and around Bristol, other UK destinations and international residential visits to pleaces ranging from Cornwall to Cuba.

Watch Richard, Emiko and Chris in our short film about their field trip to study the ecosystems of a tropical island near Cuba.

Study facilities

You will have access to a comprehensive range of well-equipped, modern science laboratories featuring specialist apparatus for molecular biology, cell culture suites to support immunology, virology and microbiology and an extensive range of instrumentation to measure human performance physiology. There are extensive facilities for microscopy, with an electron microscopy suite and, for molecular biology, biosensing and biotechnology.

The plant sciences are supported by a large greenhouse used for teaching and research, and by a suite of controlled environment cabinets. We also have a dedicated field centre to support ecology teaching.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.


You will be supported and mentored by a team of leading biological sciences specialists. Guided independent learning is encouraged and supported by a course of lectures, seminars and tutorials, complemented by laboratory and computer-based sessions.


Careers / Further study

You will graduate with the knowledge, skills and practical experience to make a valuable contribution to the health of the community and the wellbeing of the environment. The majority of our graduates follow careers in biological sciences in particular, research and development work in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, education and agrochemical sectors. As well as laboratory-based jobs, the course will equip you with the transferable skills demanded by employers recruiting for a wide variety of roles from sales and marketing to consultancy and conservation. Many graduates choose to continue their studies with MPhil/PhD research degrees.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching and a vacancy service for internships, along with placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Useful links

Guardian - what to do with a degree in biosciences.


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year450

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language, Mathematics and Double Science, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: Grade C or above in a science subject. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Subjects that meet the science requirement for this course: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry and PE. For further information and advice please contact Admissions.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a science subject.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 level 3 credits at merit in a Science subject and an additional 15 credits at merit in another subject.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum grade of 5 in a higher level science subject.

Entry requirements

If you do not meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

UWE Bristol's International College
If you are an international student who does not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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