MSci Biological Sciences
|Typical offer||A*AA-AAB; IB 38-34; BTEC D*DD-DDD|
The four-year MSci Biological Sciences programme mirrors the BSc Biological Sciences programme during the first three years, but also includes an additional fourth year during which you will undertake a research project. This will focus on a specialised area aligned with one of our leading research groups. You will also undertake advanced modules in your final year.
This is a flexible degree programme, giving you the option to design either a broad-based biology degree or a more focused degree specialising in areas of biology which interest you. You will have the opportunity to follow one of three specialisms – animal biology, microbiology and infectious disease or molecular and cellular biology – and graduate with your chosen specialism named as part of your degree title, eg, MSci Biological Sciences (Animal Biology).
After a foundation first year, which covers the range of biology from molecules to ecosystems, you have complete freedom of module choice in your second and third years. Options range from forensic science to the ecology of environmental change; from mammalian biology to medical biotechnology; from human molecular biology to a coral reef field course. You can shape your degree as you wish – following one of the named specialisms outlined above, or in other areas, whilst keeping your biological choices broad.
Our Biological Sciences degree leads to a variety of employment and further study opportunities in a wide spectrum of bioscience-related areas and can also act as an excellent foundation for non-science related career paths.
- This flexible degree programme, has the option to design either a broad-based Biology degree or a more focused degree specialising in areas of biology that interest you.
- After a first year that covers the range of biology from molecules to ecosystems, you have great freedom of module choice. Depending on your choices, specialisms in animal biology, microbiology and infectious disease or molecular and cellular biology can be named as part of the degree title
- The opportunity to apply your skills in practical settings throughout your studies provides a variety of employment and further study opportunities after you graduate
You will be introduced to modern techniques associated with biology research and their application within a range of fields from biotechnology industries to biodiversity and conservation. Modules cover animals, cells, biochemistry, ecology, genetics, microbiology and plants.
There is only one compulsory module in the second year (Research Skills and Bioethics) and this forms a foundation for the work of the final year research project. Optional modules span a wide range of biology, including field courses in the UK and abroad*, and subjects including medical and general microbiology, forensic science, human and molecular biology.
In the final year, you will take modules that will provide you with the opportunity to focus on an area of biology that particularly interests you. You will also undertake a research project, centred on the cutting-edge research of leading scientists in biosciences.
In your fourth year you will undertake a research project focused on a specalised area aligned to one of our leading research groups. You will also undertake advanced modules in this final year.
- BSc Biological Sciences
- BSc Biological Sciences with Professional Placement
- BSc Biological Sciences with Study Abroad
*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.
Exeter receives my fullest praise... These [programmes] set degrees in Biological Sciences at Exeter as some of the most attractive in Britain.
Professor Jeffrey G Duckett, Emeritus Professor of Botany, Department of Botany, Natural History Museum External Assessor for the BSc Biological Sciences programmes.
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.
The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted, or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme.
You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in stages 2 and 3 of the programme as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
Entry requirements 2019
A*AA-AAB; IB 38-34; BTEC D*DD-DDD
GCE AL Biology grade B or IB Biology HL5, plus another science subject at AL grade B or IB HL5. GCE AL/AS science includes: Biology/Human Biology*, Chemistry, Computing, Design and Technology, Electronics, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths*, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Science (applied), Statistics and GCSE Maths at grade B or 5 and either GCSE Double Award Science or GCSE Chemistry at grade C or 4.
*If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one ‘science’ but could count as two A-levels towards our general requirements.
Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL requirements: Applied Science, Animal Management, Agriculture, Countryside Management, Fish management, Forestry and Arboriculture.
International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Biomedical, Life and Environmental Sciences.
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-led culture 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. The complementary expertise of our staff ensures a vibrant, collaborative research culture within our research groups, made up of researchers at all stages, from Masters to Post-doctoral scientists.Learning and teaching is through lectures, seminars, tutorials, field work, laboratory sessions and independent study with internationally recognised, research-active staff. You will have the opportunity to undertake challenging independent research projects dealing with questions and issues at the cutting edge of life science research. Regular research seminars, by our staff and visiting lecturers, bring you the latest issues on a wide range of research topics.
You’ll experience a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, laboratory sessions and independent study. Over the course of your degree, you will participate in a mix of larger lectures to smaller, focused sessions based around the latest research topics. In the teaching laboratory you will develop the necessary skills to become a professional biologist; you will then put these to use while undertaking your independent research project. We encourage students to publish their results in the scientific literature and make a real contribution to the fields of Biosciences.
Our staff have close links with a wide range of industrial, medical and conservation organisations, with whom there may be the chance to collaborate for your final year research project. Many of our students work with these organisations during their vacations and others build experience through one of our four-year programmes with industrial experience. Many of our students also work with these organisations during their vacations.
We frequently introduce We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.
We pride ourselves on providing a very high standard of care and support to our students. You will have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit. As well as more than 15 hours per week of direct contact time with your lecturers, all students have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
Your first year does not count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. All marks after your first year count towards your final classification.
Modules are assessed using a variety of methods including essays, exams, presentations, laboratory reports and a dissertation.
Exeter was an excellent choice of university for me, as it offers a city experience with both the sea and countryside just minutes away. Campus is attractive and conveniently close to town, if a little hilly!
The Biological Sciences course is both diverse and flexible, offering a wide range of module choices in the 2nd and 3rd years. The highlight of the course was the independent research project in my final year. This project was based in one of the department laboratories and gave me the opportunity to work alongside staff and get a feel for what research is really like. Reading Biological Sciences also enabled me to get involved in the ‘Excited about science’ Sutton Trust project, running science workshops with year 11 students from schools in Exeter. Throughout my time at university I have become involved in the local community, working with Community Action’s Kids Club as well as a local Guide unit. My involvement with the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme enabled me to develop a variety of skills, as well as giving me the opportunity to pass on my unquestionable enthusiasm for my course and university life to prospective students and other campus visitors. I was also glad to be a part of sport at Exeter, playing hockey for the university throughout my time here. With 6 teams, this club has high standards yet caters for all abilities, as well as providing a lively social aspect to the university experience.
Kate le Cocq, Biological Sciences graduate.
Coral Reef field course video
Staff and students from Biosciences give a flavour of the Coral Reef field course in the Bahamas. View full size.
In the second year, if you are interested in ecology you can attend one of our optional ecology field courses in the Bahamas.
Coral reef field course (Bahamas)
This field course introduces the ecology and conservation of tropical marine habitats in the Bahamas, including coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves. Bahamian coral reefs are important to study because their biodiversity and economic importance (for fishing and tourist revenue) are threatened by human impacts. Run on the beautiful desert island of San Salvador, the field course presents a fantastic opportunity to study ecology in a unique and exciting environment. The island is surrounded by coral reefs – many in excellent condition – and other associated habitats. During eight days in the field, you will have the opportunity to snorkel patch reefs, a reef crest, a drop-off, sea-grass beds and mangroves. Off-shore sites are reached by boat; at these you may encounter a variety of turtles, sharks and rays in addition to typical Caribbean reef fish.
Independent research project
In the final year, you have the opportunity to focus on an area of biology that particularly interests you. During the first two terms you undertake an independent research project. This may be field-based and/or laboratory-based and is centred on the research work of members of staff.
A degree in Biological Sciences will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. A number of our students continue their studies in the subject by following a further degree and research in their chosen area, or by training as a teacher. Many of our graduates are employed in discipline relevant roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, conservation management, ecology, teaching and nursing. Others use the skills gained on their course to enter widely different career paths in law, business or management. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biological Sciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Developing your skills and career prospects
Biosciences provide a range of support and opportunities to help you develop skills that are attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and Employability web page for more information.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Biosciences undergraduate programmes in Exeter. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2015/16. 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 for:
- Ambios Ltd
- Endell Veterinary Group
- Institute of Zoology
- Madagascar Conservation and Research Institute
- Royal Botanic Gardens
- Johnson & Johnson
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Forecasting Analyst
- Medical Affairs Executive
- Veterinary Nurse
- Social Media Specialist
- Technician in Zoology
- Terrestrial Science Manager
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree in Exeter. 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) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
|Food security and sustainable agriculture
Food and nutrition
University of Cambridge
University of Exeter
University of Southampton
University College London
University of Birmingham
City University London
University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland
University of Bristol
University of Glasgow
University of Leeds
University of Manchester
Find out more
Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise the employment prospects of our graduates employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.
All the expertise and opportunities that are on offer at the University of Exeter are invaluable to any student. Studying Biosciences has given me an awareness and lifelong appreciation of my subject. The University has provided the solid foundations to launch my career into wildlife media. Wildlife documentaries have always inspired me and I would love to be a part of the process. During my work experience, I gained a real insight into the industry. I assisted in researching natural history programmes and experienced many other aspects of production. This really increased my desire for such a career and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.
Laura Madden, BSc Biological Sciences graduate