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Biology

Sundew

Available with a foundation year Available with a modern language Available with a industrial/professional experience Available with an integrated masters year

Biology 'the study of living organisms' is a wide-ranging topic in which you may have many potential areas of interest. This course will suit you if you want a broad biological course while avoiding early specialisation.

You can keep your options open and cover a wide range of areas; or you have the flexibility, when you identify areas that interest and hopefully excite you, to focus on particular biological topics. You can benefit from a wide spectrum of training in the life sciences from staff who are specialists in their chosen subject areas. Many biology students report that field courses were their favourite units; these take place in locations in the UK and abroad, chosen for the richness and interest of their flora and fauna.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Biology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to units as course units or modules.)

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20000    Academic Tutorials Year 2
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL21051    Organismal Biology EDM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)

Optional modules

BIOL20302    Science and Society RSM
BIOL20312    Biochemistry RSM
BIOL20322    Cell Biology RSM
BIOL20332    Genetics RSM
BIOL20342    General & Medical Microbiology RSM
BIOL20352    Molecular Biology RSM
BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL20902    Clinical Sciences RSM
BIOL20912    Human Anatomy RSM
BIOL20922    Neuroscience RSM
BIOL20932    Pharmacology RSM
BIOL20942    Physiology RSM
BIOL20972    Developmental Biology RSM
BIOL20982    The Biology of Being Human
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21422    Alpine Biodiversity & Forest Ecology
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
BIOL21442    Disease in Nature
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
UCOL20001    Leadership of Learning
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL21002    Leadership of Learning
UCOL21102    Diverse Britain in a Globalising World
UCOL22001    Essential Enterprise
UCOL22002    Becoming Global
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"
UCOL23002    Figuring Out Society: Data in the News
UCOL24002    The Art of Enterprise
UCOL25002    The Digital Society
UCOL28002    You Can't Say That!: Learning to think and argue critically
UCOL29002    Physics & The Grand Challenges of Today
ULBS20011    British Sign Language
ULBS20012    British Sign Language

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3
BIOL30030    Projects

Optional modules

You can choose from any modules, timetable permitting, provided you have studied the prerequisite modules in your 2nd year. A full list of final year modules can be found on the following chart:

Degree programme requirements 2012-2013

BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
HSTM30832    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000
HSTM31212    The Nuclear Age: Hiroshima to Nuclear Terrorism
HSTM33201    History of Climate Change

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Biology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to units as course units or modules.)

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20000    Academic Tutorials Year 2
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL21051    Organismal Biology EDM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)

Optional modules

BIOL20302    Science and Society RSM
BIOL20312    Biochemistry RSM
BIOL20322    Cell Biology RSM
BIOL20332    Genetics RSM
BIOL20342    General & Medical Microbiology RSM
BIOL20352    Molecular Biology RSM
BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL20902    Clinical Sciences RSM
BIOL20912    Human Anatomy RSM
BIOL20922    Neuroscience RSM
BIOL20932    Pharmacology RSM
BIOL20942    Physiology RSM
BIOL20972    Developmental Biology RSM
BIOL20982    The Biology of Being Human
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21422    Alpine Biodiversity & Forest Ecology
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
BIOL21442    Disease in Nature
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
UCOL20001    Leadership of Learning
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL21002    Leadership of Learning
UCOL21102    Diverse Britain in a Globalising World
UCOL22001    Essential Enterprise
UCOL22002    Becoming Global
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"
UCOL23002    Figuring Out Society: Data in the News
UCOL24002    The Art of Enterprise
UCOL25002    The Digital Society
UCOL28002    You Can't Say That!: Learning to think and argue critically
UCOL29002    Physics & The Grand Challenges of Today
ULBS20011    British Sign Language
ULBS20012    British Sign Language

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3
BIOL30030    Projects

Optional modules

You can choose from any modules, timetable permitting, provided you have studied the prerequisite modules in your 2nd year. A full list of final year modules can be found on the following chart:

Degree programme requirements 2012-2013

BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
HSTM30832    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000
HSTM31212    The Nuclear Age: Hiroshima to Nuclear Terrorism
HSTM33201    History of Climate Change

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Students say...

Natasha Brewer

“The best thing about the Biology course is the variety of modules I have to choose from and the freedom which I have to choose anything I like. For example this year I am taking genetics with an animal diversity course. It means that I can keep my options as broad or as specialised as I like and I can study what interests me.”

Natasha Brewer (with Industrial Experience)

Branwen Messamah

“The flexibility in Biology is what appealed to me most - there is a great deal of choice concerning units and practicals, and the broad life science background it provides opens you up to many fields in life sciences that you might not be otherwise exposed to on a more specialised degree program. The best part of my first year by far was the South Africa Field course in animal behaviour. It was challenging as well as being fun and a great chance to gain experience outside the lab.”

Branwen Messamah (with Industrial Experience)

Careers

For information on the range of career options available to graduates of Life Sciences related courses please see the Faculty of Life Sciences Careers page .

Graduates from Biology go into a range of careers. Around a third choose to work in scientific research and development, which may require significant postgraduate study, usually a PhD. Around two thirds of graduates choose other career options such as teaching or communicating science, as well as careers unrelated to the life sciences including management, finance, marketing and the civil service.

Recent graduates have secured roles as:

  • Graduate Trainee at a brewing research company
  • Clinical Safety Scientist at a multinational pharmaceutical company
  • Trainee Cellular Pathology Scientist for a biotechnology company
  • Genetic Technologist for the NHS
  • Product Development Scientist for a healthcare company
  • Research Technician for a biotechnology company
  • Trainee Medical Writer for a medical communications company
  • Instructor for a science education company
  • Account Handler for a pharmaceutical company
  • Project Co-ordinator for a science education charity

Non Life Science roles included:

  • Associate Tax Consultant for a multinational accountancy firm
  • Healthcare Team Manager at a multinational pharmacy group

Biology Graduate Profile - Medical Writer, HealthEd

Biology Graduate Profile - PhD Student, University of Manchester

Course director

Holly Shiels

Holly Shiels

Biology is the study of living organisms. The Biology course at Manchester offers flexibility and diversity. This means that you can keep your options broad and cover a wide range of areas, but similarly you can focus on particular biological topics when you realise that these are areas that interest and excite you most. As Biology Course Director I support and positively encourage the flexibility that the biology course offers.

“By undertaking a Degree in Biology the breadth of the subject can be tailor-made to meet your interests.”

My own research area is cardiac physiology in ectotherms. I am interested in strategies of cardiac adaptation that permit maintenance of heart function in animals living in fluctuating environments. For example, changes in temperature, pH, or oxygen dramatically affect the ability of the heart to maintain normal function and yet many ectothermic animals experience these changes during their everyday existence.

Although my specific area of research focuses on animals, I am a biologist and I appreciate the advantages of looking at a wide range of organisms and the breadth of processes organisms employ. Lessons can be learnt from talking to people who work on different organisms or different levels of organization within an organism. By undertaking a Degree in Biology the breadth of the subject can be tailor-made to meet your interests.

Field courses

Treefrog

Courses are currently held in several European locations, South Africa, and South and Central America. They offer you the chance to study organisms in a range of environments, from marine to freshwater, temperate to tropical. Field courses last from one to three weeks and take place in the Easter or summer holidays. Find out more on our field courses page.

Graduate Profiles

Joanne Parker

Joanne Parker

What degree did you do at Manchester?

BSc (Hons) Biology, I graduated in 2004.

What job do you do now?

Medical Writer, HealthEd.

What were the highlights and the biggest challenges for you whilst you were studying at Manchester?

I think the highlight of studying at Manchester was the variety of courses on offer within my degree. I could study anything from plant ecology to pharmacology to animal behaviour. The calibre of teaching was also excellent and we were learning about cutting-edge developments in biology that were taking place within the University research departments. I also met some fantastic people who I still remain friends with. Of course the degree wasn't without its challenges. Workload was heavy (especially in the final year)and juggling this with everything else in life could sometimes be challenging!

How has your career progressed since leaving Manchester?

After graduating from Manchester I took a role in medical publishing which led to my current role as a Medical Writer. I have been a Medical Writer since 2006 and find it very interesting and rewarding. I work for a company who specialise in patient education materials. We produce information for patients about a variety of health-related subjects. This includes writing about specific disease areas as well as healthy-living and psychosocial advice. Our information is presented in a variety of formats from printed items to websites and DVDs. I also write information for healthcare professionals, which may involve medical education programmes and patient-counselling tools.

What is the most interesting thing about your job?

The most interesting thing about being a medical writer for me is learning about different therapy areas and new developments in these areas and the variety of the workload. I also enjoy the fact that the materials I produce help people understand more about their illness and raise awareness of different conditions.

How do the skills you learnt during your degree help with your job?

My degree in Biology gave me the foundation knowledge needed to write confidently about a variety of health-related topics. It also gave me core skills that help me in my role as a medical writer such as knowledge of biostatistics.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Many medical writers have PhDs, however it is not essential. Most companies employ graduates as associate or junior writer and you recieve on the job training and (hopefully) progression to medical writer. The link below provides a list of medical communications companies.

Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson

What degree did you do?

I did a BSc (Hons) in Biology, graduating in 2008.

What was the highlight and biggest challenge of your degree?

I really enjoyed having the freedom to follow my interests within biology through the variety of courses on offer and the flexibility of the degree programme. It helped me find my way in the subject and focus my interests. The biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding, was my final year project. It was a bit daunting to be thrown in at the deep end in a “proper” lab setting to work independently, but this ultimately gave me a taste of what it’s like to be a real scientist and inspired me to work in research.

What job/course do you do now?

I’m currently studying for my PhD in biochemistry, specifically looking at how proteins are targeted and transported across membranes.

What does it involve on a typical day?

Most days vary, but they usually involve designing and conducting my own experiments. I make radioactively labelled proteins and can follow their movement across membranes. Interfering with this process allows me to understand some of the machinery involved in targeting the proteins to the membrane. I have frequent meetings with my supervisor to talk through results and establish what directions my research will go. I attend lectures from visiting scientists and have even presented some of my own work at conferences in the UK and abroad.

How did the skills you learnt in your degree help you get your job/PhD?

I use pretty much everything I ever learnt in my degree. Obviously you will need most of the scientific knowledge, but my degree helped to develop other skills too. Time management, extended writing, and communication skills are all vital to success in whatever field you choose to go into.

What do you plan to do next?

I’m hoping to continue in research, hopefully as a post-doctoral researcher.

Any advice for applicants?

Some of the degree options can be a bit daunting (especially in biology). Don’t worry about specialising too early, take some time to figure out what you’re interested in. Also make sure you enjoy yourself at uni and get involved in as much as possible, you never know where it will lead.

Wiesia Woodyatt

Wiesia Woodyatt

What degree did you do?

BSc Hons Biology, Graduated 2004 MRes Biological Sciences, Graduated 2005

Career progression

I initially worked as a Project Manager then Senior Project Manager for a Medical Communications agency (involved in delivery of publication strategies, standalone meetings, satellite symposia, advisory boards, training materials, abstracts, posters, publications etc). From this I then transferred into the public sector working as a manager for a Clinical Trials Coordination team (Gastro-Intestinal). My remit has extended as I have worked through the ranks and I now work across many different disease specialised teams in an oncology setting at The Christie Hospital in Manchester. My role is still research focussed with overarching responsibility for the 75 Trials Coordination staff we employ at this Trust.

What attracted you to this career?

I knew from my year completing the MRes that I did not want a bench-focussed career. My natural skill set lent itself to a more project management focussed career but I wanted to retain an element of my degrees in what I did. My roles since graduating have fitted this brief perfectly.

How do you think the knowledge and skills you gained as part of your degree helped you in securing this job?

As my career has been in a research focussed setting within medical research, a prerequisite for most roles has been a life sciences degree. Employers in this field are always looking for science graduates that have a solid medical/ science grounding, coupled with the IT, presentation, planning and analytical skills that are usually consolidated as part of a degree programme.

What does the job entail in a typical day or a typical week?

My current role is very varied, ranging from planning hosted conferences, overarching line management of the Trials Coordination staff, building relationships with pharmaceutical companies and streamlining the processes used in the Trust in terms of data collection, study set-up etc.

What do you enjoy the most/find the most interesting about your job?

The variety is brilliant. Weeks vary from having a HR hat on when dealing with complex cases of absence/ capability management through to having the autonomy to implement change and move with the ever varying nature of research in an oncology setting.

Do you have any advice for people who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Clinical research is a really interesting path having completed a life sciences degree. The Christie supports the development of new graduates in this arena and it is worth contacting the Trust to see if you can volunteer within the R&D division to get a taster of what roles are out there and the career paths you can take.

Questions? Get in touch...

We are always pleased to talk to prospective students and we have dedicated people to answer any questions you may have - so don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions Office
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester
G.683 Stopford Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PT UK
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5032
Fax: +44 (0)161 275 5456
Email: ug.lifesciences@manchester.ac.uk