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Undergraduate Study

BSc Human Sciences

UCAS code BCL0
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2021
Contact

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB - ABB
IB: 34/665 - 32/655
BTEC: DDD - DDM

View full entry requirements

Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Biosciences

Overview

  • Who and what are human beings? Why are individuals and society the way they are? What problems do human societies face now and in the future, and how can we address them?
  • This degree is designed to enable you to answer these questions through examining the past and present of humans from the perspectives of both social and biological sciences.
  • Delivered jointly by Biosciences, Geography and Environmental Science, the programme combines these exciting disciplines to make connections between biological processes, political and environmental issues and social patterns.
  • The programme covers a broad range of topics, from human evolution and genetics, to the development of human cultures and cultural diversity, all the way through to sustainability and the interactions between human societies and their environments.
  • Designed for those interested in human biology, the environment, social policy, politics, economics and society.
  • Field trip to Kenya in the final year*

* Field course destinations are subject to change

5th in the world for Geography and 7th in the world for Ecology

ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019

Top 25 in the world for Geography

QS World University Rankings 2020

10th for Biological Sciences and 8th for Geography and Environmental Science

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

Opportunities for professional placement, study abroad and field study in the UK and overseas

I really enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of the programme and that we get to analyse human behaviour and attitudes towards problems through the lenses of evolution and anthropology. The biggest highlight was the support I received from my tutor and other lecturers when I started to doubt myself. As a result I got 95% on one of my assignments and a First Class Honours for that year.

I loved Introduction to Evolution and Introduction to Human Science because they were really interesting modules and totally exceeded my expectations.

I chose to study at Exeter because it is a well-renowned institution and I was really attracted to the programme. I chose Cornwall in particular because the Penryn Campus has a real sense of community and people engage a lot in the societies.

I went to the Isles of Scilly on a field trip, which really broadened my horizons and boosted my career prospects. I learnt a lot in a beautiful environment and had great fun.

In the future I would like to become a Project Manager for the UN or WHO and work on solving the most pressing problems of humankind, or found my own company.

I would advise anyone thinking of applying to Exeter to just go for it! It will give you the chance to study fascinating and well-regarded programmes at a beautiful, green, sustainable and inclusive campus. When you get here, make the most out of this experience and try new things and societies, because it will help you find yourself and meet people who, despite being different from you, will become your best friends.

Read more from Lucia

Lucia

BSc Human Sciences

Entry requirements

Qualification Required grades Required subjects
A-Level AAB-ABB


AAA-AAB (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
No required subjects
IB 34/665 - 32/655


36/666 - 34/665 (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
No required subjects
BTEC DDD-DDM

DDD (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
No required subjects
GCSE C or 4 English Language
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBB
IB: 30
BTEC: DDM

Specific requirements must still be achieved, therefore where a grade A is required, offers will be ABC or ACC. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other UK, EU and International equivalences

View UK, EU and International equivalences

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

What should my personal statement include?

We would like to know why you are interested in studying Human Sciences, especially as it is not a subject typically taught in schools. You might discuss books that you have read, material you have covered in your school or college classes, or travel or work experience that has inspired you.

Course content

The study of human behaviour, culture and society is often set apart from the natural world. Yet humans, like other animals, have an evolutionary history and evolutionary forces continue to shape the way we live today. Important insights can therefore come from studying humans in the same way as we study other animals. Many of the problems we currently face, such as the biodiversity crisis, climate change, or the conflicts which occur within or between countries, relate to how humans create, shape and interact with their natural and social environments. Solutions to these problems will come from insights generated from a number of different disciplines.

Bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences, our Human Sciences programme allows you to combine exciting disciplines to make connections between biological processes, social patterns and political and environmental issues. It will enable you to understand relationships between science and policy and show how you may be able to facilitate decision-making in this context.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

You will develop both knowledge and practical skills in a range of core disciplines in the human sciences. This year includes lectures and laboratory work, introducing you to modern approaches to understanding the biology of organisms including humans, through ecology, genetics and evolution, to the comparative study of social and cultural patterns of world populations. You will also develop important communication and analytical skills.

In your second year, you will perform a more in-depth examination of the subject areas to which you were introduced in your first year. For example, you will consider the evolutionary origins of human behaviour by exploring the relationship between human cultural processes and human genetic processes. In particular, you will be encouraged to investigate the ways in which human beings both shape their environments and are shaped by them. You may also undertake a residential field course on the Isles of Scilly*.

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

Find out more about placement and study abroad options under Course variants.

with Professional Placement

with Study Abroad

In your final year, you will undertake a research project with a member of academic staff. Outside of the research project you will have freedom to choose among our final year modules, tailoring your degree to your specific interests. You will also take part in a two-week residential overseas field course in Kenya*.

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

Course variants

UCAS code: BCL2

Why choose a professional placement year?

In your professional placement year you will learn to apply the knowledge learnt during your first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability. Work placements allow you to gain experience of a professional workplace prior to graduating and develop your career focus, and are extremely valued by employers.

Where can I do my placement?

On the professional placement between the second and final years, you will gain valuable experience by spending a year working within an organisation appropriate to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.

Previous placement destinations include:

  • The Office for National Statistics
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Eden Project

What support is available during my placement?

The module convenor provides support while you are researching and applying for positions and you are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities.

Does it count towards my degree?

The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework. It contributes to your final degree classification, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ will appear in your degree title.

How does it affect my tuition fee?

If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the Fees section.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Human Sciences with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above.

How are the placements organised?

You are responsible for organising your own placement; however, we have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.

UCAS code: BCL1

Why study abroad?

Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.

Where can I study abroad?

If you choose to take the four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree, you have the option to spend your third year abroad, studying in a university with which we have established links. We have over 30 partner institutions around the globe; you can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the Study Abroad website (click on the College of Life and Environmental Sciences link). Previous Human Sciences students have studied in the USA, Canada and Sweden.

What will I study whilst I am abroad?

Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university to the value of 120 credits; these will be credited towards your degree, which you would then complete after four years of study rather than three.

Does it count towards my degree?

All assessments during the year abroad would be undertaken at the host university and would count towards your final degree. Upon return, you would then complete your degree in a fourth year.

How does it affect my tuition fee?

If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Human Sciences with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. To qualify for your Study Abroad year, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%.

Further information

For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £23,800 per year

Year Abroad and Professional Placement

If, as part of your four-year degree programme, you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year. If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.

Fieldwork

Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in field courses, you will be required to cover any visa costs and, if necessary, purchase anti-malarial medication and relevant immunisations.

You will also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination, e.g. walking boots, rucksack, mosquito net, sleeping bag, binoculars. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.

Scholarships

The University of Exeter is offering scholarships to the value of over £4 million for students starting with us in September 2021. Details of scholarships, including our Global Excellence scholarships for international fee paying students, can be found on our dedicated funding page.

Find out more about tuition fees and funding

Field work

Our field courses are among the most inspirational, rewarding and enjoyable experiences as an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter. They form an integral part of your degree, positioned at the very heart of our teaching in Human Sciences.

Field courses provide you with the ambition and ability to develop and apply the knowledge gained from our world-leading academic staff in the classroom into the central issues, concerns and experiences facing the world around us.

Each field course is carefully designed to bring theory to life, whether through developing fundamental field techniques in some of the most stunning landscapes found on our doorstep in West Cornwall, or further afield.

In Year 2 you will go on a week-long residential field course on the Isles of Scilly*. The Isles of Scilly is an ideal location in which you will get to try out a range of methodologies used in study, from ethnography to geomorphology. In addition the module will introduce you to key research skills such as sampling design, data analysis, interpretation of information, and field presentations.

In your final year, you will have the opportunity to go on a residential field course to Kenya*. This field course to Kenya will tackle a range of topics that you have been introduced to during your Human Sciences degree, including some of the biggest environmental and social issues facing the world today.

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

Learning and teaching

Where will I study?

At the Penryn Campus in Cornwall you will be welcomed into an intimate and supportive learning environment that encourages enthusiasm and passion for your programme. You will benefit from excellent student-to-staff ratios, small group tutorials and friendly, accessible staff.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Field work
  • Independent study

Learn from experts

We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and being taught by experts. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be an active member of a research team. Our academics bring their results from the laboratory and the field directly to their teaching, and our students also help to collect this data.

In your final year you will become an active member of our research team. Our Human Sciences academic staff have active research programmes in topics spanning psychology, anthropology, human geography and human biology, from the lab to the field. We do active field research in Kenya, India, Guinea and Switzerland, as well as Cornwall and the rest of the UK. Several members of our world-leading Human Behaviour and Cultural Evolution Group teach modules available to Human Sciences students.

Assessment

Your progress is monitored through a mixture of examinations, assessments (oral and written, formative and summative) and practical sessions.

The final degree mark is based on approximately 50 per cent exam and 50 per cent coursework assessments. The latter include a final year dissertation, which is an independent research project in which you study the topic that excites you most.

The modules taken in the first year must be passed to progress to the second year but the marks obtained do not influence your final degree classification.

Assessment methods will vary depending on your choice of optional modules; check individual module descriptions for details.

Foreign language modules

You can boost your employability by using up to 30 credits each year to study a foreign language. If you study the language for more than one year and achieve at least 60 credits in a language you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre offers modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level.

Further details can be found on the Foreign Language Centre web pages

Academic support

We are committed to providing you with a supportive learning environment in which you can build confidence. All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies, as well as a group of dedicated first-year tutors whose role is to support your transition to university-level learning. In addition, all students are represented through Student-Staff Liaison Committees and can regularly feedback through module and course evaluations.

You will have the opportunity to participate in a Student Mentoring Scheme in Year 1, matching you with a Year 2 or Year 3 student who can answer your questions, offer advice and moral support to smooth your transition to university.

Facilities

Our facilities include:

  • Biosciences laboratories with equipment for human biology, physiology and genetics modules
  • Computer suites with software for statistics (e.g. RStudio) and mapping (e.g. GIS)
  • Extensive online library of books and journals covering anthropology, psychology, sociology and other human sciences.

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Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

Students studying Human Sciences develop both a depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences that make them highly employable across a diverse range of careers.

These skills include:

  • Data gathering
  • Data analysis
  • Information retrieval
  • Problem solving
  • Project planning and management
  • Organising and communicating information
  • Report production and presentation (written and oral)
  • The ability to work effectively on your own and as part of a team.

Supporting your career in Human Sciences

A range of employability sessions are put on for the students which include: career talks with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, career conversations and employability seminar series events with employers, a Careers in Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Careers and Networking event and visits to the Met Office and UKHO. Plus the College of Life and Environmental Sciences annual Careers Fair and opportunities to access high-quality work placements through an employability optional module.

Careers Services

We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.

Career paths

The breadth of career opportunities open to graduates of Human Sciences is vast, such as health, conservation, education, third sector work, culture and heritage and community work. With training in both biological and social sciences, your options are likely to be broader than from a more narrowly focused subject. Further study is another popular choice for a number of students following graduation. Human Sciences is ideal preparation for a Master's degree in anthropology, biosciences, human geography or psychology.

Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Human Sciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.

Recent graduates

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Human Sciences, Environmental Science and Geography undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Conservation Film-maker
  • Data Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Field Research Assistant
  • Lab Technician/Research
  • Media and Communications Manager
  • Publishing Assistant
  • STEM Technician
  • Teaching and Learning Outreach Worker
  • Trainee Countryside Education Officer

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Ambios Ltd
  • Badger Trust
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Eden Project
  • Madagascar Conservation and Research Institute
  • National Trust
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)
  • Springer Nature
  • Science Museum Group
  • Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Human Sciences, Environmental Science and Geography undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17.

  • MA Climate Change: History, Culture, Society
  • MA Environment, Development and Policy
  • MRes Critical Human Geographies
  • MSc Applied GIS and Remote Sensing
  • MSc Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy
  • MSc Oceanography
  • PGCE Geography
  • MSc Spatial Planning and Development
  • MSc International Management
  • MSc Environment and Human Health

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