Student life

Biosciences offers undergraduate students the opportunity to join a friendly, close-knit discipline. We pride ourselves on providing not only an exciting, challenging academic experience, but also an enjoyable social experience too, so that our graduates leave us as highly employable people with great memories of their time in Biosciences. Many choose to stay on to postgraduate study with us and continue their work with staff and fellow students they know well.

Both our campus locations provide a community feel for our students, and the team spirit is evident in something as simple as gathering together for tea breaks or at social events, or as memorable as shared fieldtrip experiences or group research projects. Our academics and students have a good amount of contact time and develop strong working relationships over the course of a degree programme, a factor we feel is important to students' success. We aim to make sure our students leave us with memories of their time at university that they will treasure, and benefit from, for a long time after they graduate.

Read more in this section about what it is like living in Exeter or Cornwall, and read profiles from some of our students as they talk about their experiences.

Student-Staff Liaison Committees

Your voice as a student

We are committed to enabling all students to communicate their views and to receiving suggestions to influence changes to our policies and procedures. Biosciences has an undergraduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), which gives you the opportunity to voice your opinions about studying with us and to comment on a wide range of issues and possible developments.

The SSLC is presided over by Subject Chairs (a student elected by the Students’ Guild) and composed of elected student representatives from each year and programme and appropriate staff representatives. The Associate Dean (Education) and Assistant College Manager (Education) for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences meet with Subject Chairs on a regular basis, and Subject Chairs are represented on the College’s Education Strategy Group.

Module and course evaluation

Feedback from students is requested for every module. Module leaders receive this feedback and are required to respond to the scores and comments received via the Annual Module Review process. The responses are subsequently shared with students.

Living in Cornwall

For biologists there are few places better in the UK than Cornwall. With the area’s natural features of coastline, rivers and moorland on your doorstep, students are surrounded by beautiful landscape and a wealth of opportunities for study.

Cornwall has a rapidly growing economy fuelled by investment from business, the Government and acclaimed developments such as the Eden Project, and is leading the way in renewable energy technologies.

The local area complements course-related fieldwork beautifully, but a wide variety of outdoor pursuits are also open to you – from surfing (some of the best in the country) to walking, kite boarding to diving. The campus is based in Penryn, near Falmouth, which is a lively student town with bars, pubs restaurants and a vibrant café culture to explore, plus theatres, cinemas, shops and galleries.

Facilities and services

The University has all the services and facilities you'll need to make the most of life on campus, view our Penryn Campus page and Why Exeter? pages for more information. The Penryn Campus is a modern campus with a friendly, vibrant atmosphere, enhanced by its shared location with Falmouth University.

Maps and directions

You can find a map and directions for the Penryn Campus on our Visiting us webpages.

Student societies in Cornwall

There is a wealth of extra-curricular societies for our Biosciences students to get involved with on the Penryn Campus. These societies are the cornerstone of campus life and cover a diverse and fascinating range of activities.

Whatever your particular interest, there is something to appeal to everyone. Whether it is learning more about the ecology of Cornwall, wider issues relating to the global natural environment, or specific areas such as bee keeping, our societies provide you with a diverse and stimulating range of opportunities to meet like-minded people and develop your understanding of the subject.

Our societies are about more than just enhancing your social experience on campus. Increasingly employers are looking for evidence of the skills and abilities gained outside the boundaries of your degree when considering potential employees. The experiences, knowledge and confidence  you will secure from these societies will enhance your future career opportunities from the moment you graduate.

There are a number of ways in which you can participate in these vibrant societies. The extent in which you get involved is entirely up to you – whether it is as an active member, taking part in its running and organisation, or developing it for the next generation of students to enjoy. Of course, you are not limited to those societies that are already established. If there is a club or society that we don’t have, but which you want, then we will try and help you set it up.

Below are just some examples of the societies already proving popular on our Penryn Campus:

The Bioscience Student Employability Committee (BSEC)

The BSEC is a student-led committee that showcases relevant employability opportunities to Biosciences students. Now in its third year, the society organises a series of high-profile events over the course of the year. These include the successful Biosciences Careers Fair, which, in 2012, hosted speakers from the BBC Natural History Unit, Acorn Ecology Ltd and Cornwall Council Environmental Service and attracted more than 200 students. BSEC has also run a week-long Student Employability Seminar series, which has featured guest speakers from the RSPCA, Erasmus and the BBC. Further events are planned for the coming academic year that will showcase relevant employability options, provide targeted work experience opportunities, and develop employer-student relations.


This popular society offers a fascinating insight into the world of bee keeping. Launched in 2011, it already has more than 60 active members and looks at the recent decline in bee numbers, as well as the introduction of new pests and diseases to the local honey bee populations. The Society has secured good levels of funding to establish new bee hives, and works closely with a local bee keeper to learn “bee friendly” techniques. BeeSoc runs a series of events over the course of the academic year, including an Introduction to Bee Keeping course; free screenings of specialist films such as “Last of the Honey Bee”; and attending West Cornwall Bee Keeping Association meetings. Members have also held practical bee keeping sessions, planted wild flowers and held courses on bumble bee nest making.


The Ecological Society provides students with the opportunity to get out and about in Cornwall and learn more about the natural world around them. Its 300-strong members work alongside the local community to help promote sustainability and an understanding of the ecology of Cornwall. The Society helps organise and run events alongside a wide variety of organisations based in Cornwall, including basking shark watching with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and green woodworking with the National Trust.

People and Planet

This is a national student-led movement which specialises in protecting the environment, defending human rights and putting an end to world poverty. People and Planet Tremough have established a series of campaigns and projects concerning both ethical and environmental issues. These have included promoting sustainable transport, raising awareness about unsustainable fishing methods, and a dedicated series of events during Sustainability Week.


Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. The group sets up local and worldwide projects that transfer business and entrepreneurial skills to empower and improve the quality of life of those in need. It currently has more than 100 active members in Cornwall.

Expedition Society

The Expedition Society offers opportunities unlike any other on campus. Along with weekly outings around the Cornish countryside and further afield in the UK, the Society also helps students design their own overseas research expeditions, known as the FXpeditions. This gives you a chance to design and undertake your very own expedition during the summer months. During a typical term you will explore all that the Cornish landscape and culture has to offer; talks and workshops from adventurers, explorers and academics; socials; and planning your next big adventure. Visit the FXU Expedition Society page for more information about how you can get involved, what's gone before, and more.

Living in Exeter

Exeter is a city with an attractive mix of vibrant culture and a safe, student-friendly environment. With its excellent shopping, including the £235 million Princesshay development, and pubs, cafes, restaurants, theatres and cinemas there is plenty to do in the city, from the popular mainstream to the quirky and unusual.

Exeter is well placed for easy access to beautiful countryside and moorland, with Dartmoor and Exmoor on your doorstep – perfect for walkers and horse riders, plus the stunning coastline provides scope for surfing, swimming, kiteboarding, sailing, diving and almost any other watersport you can think of.

Streatham Campus

The Streatham Campus is an attractive campus with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, located an easy 15 minutes’ walk into the city centre. Student halls are located on campus and at a variety of locations closer to the city centre, giving students the convenience of easy access to both locations.

Virtual tours and maps

You can see virtual tours and a map of the Streatham Campus on our Visiting us web pages.

Student societies in Exeter

There is a wealth of extra-curricular activities for our Biosciences students to get involved with on the Streatham Campus. These vibrant societies provide an integral part of campus life and feature an absorbing range of activities that will appeal to you, whatever your particular interest. As well as providing a diverse range of opportunities to meet like-minded people, these groups will help develop your understanding of the subject.

Our societies provide you with a variety of skills and abilities gained outside of the boundaries of your degree that can prove important to potential employers. The experiences, knowledge and confidence you will secure from these groups can greatly enhance your future career opportunities from the moment you graduate.

The extent in which you get involved is entirely up to you – whether it is as an active member taking part in its running and organisation, or developing it for the next generation of students to enjoy. Of course, you are not limited to those societies that are already established. If there is a club or society that we don’t have, but which you want, then we will try and help you set it up.

Below are just some examples of the societies already proving popular at the University of Exeter.

Biological Society (BioSoc)

BioSoc is the ‘must-join’ society for Biosciences students based in Exeter, whether it is for social pursuits or course-related activities. As well as offering a variety of fun-packed nights, outings and social and sporting events, BioSoc is affiliated with the Society of Biology and offers students discounted memberships to the Society of Biology.

Buddy Up scheme

The Buddy Up scheme helps new Biosciences undergraduate students settle in and find their way around more quickly. It provides a wealth of information for new students to allow them to successfully navigate their way around, network, and learn from other students within the same discipline. The Buddy Up scheme also provides a personal development opportunity for second and third year students to enhance their communication and leadership skills, which counts towards the Exeter Award. Find out more about the Buddy Up scheme.

Students as Change Agents

Students as Change Agents is a scheme that lets you take an active part in making your time at the University even better. We have some great Our Biosciences students on the Streatham Campus are initiating an Employability Group, which works with students to help enhance their employability and graduate development skills.

Biosciences Undergraduate Student Conference

More than 130 students took part in the second University of Exeter Biosciences Undergraduate Student Conference, held in May 2013 on Streatham Campus. This conference gave final year undergraduate students a platform to present their research in a realistic conference environment to an academic audience. It provided an excellent opportunity to improve employability prospects by enhancing presentation and communication skills. Biosciences alumni presentations and discussions also allowed students to experience a valuable, first-hand insight into the prospects of a career in science and beyond. Guest speakers at the event included Professor Sarah Gurr, who opened the conference with a talk entitled “Food Security: Food, Famine and Fungi”, and Professor Timothy Quine.

Cultural Café

The Cultural Café is a meeting place for UK and international Biosciences students at the Streatham Campus. It promotes communication across cultures and languages, and provides the ideal environment in which to practice English in an informal environment, as well as make new friends, learn about different cultures and network. For more information visit the facebook group.