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Undergraduate Study

BSc Biological Sciences

UCAS code C100
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Biosciences

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

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: AAB - ABB
IB: 34/665 - 32/655

Contextual offers

A-Level: BBB - BBC
IB: 30/555 - 28/554

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: AAC
IB: 32/655


  • Tailor your programme to your interests, potentially culminating in a named specialism. These include Animal Biology, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, and Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Optional residential field courses in the UK and abroad
  • The opportunity to apply your skills in practical settings throughout your studies provides a variety of employment and further study opportunities after you graduate
  • Four-year programmes include a placement year working in an appropriate business or industry or a year studying at a partner institution overseas

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

Top 10 in the world for Ecology

9th in the ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022

Opportunities to undertake study abroad or a year’s placement in business or industry

Top 5 in the Russell Group for student satisfaction

Biosciences:  In five out of seven themes (National Student Survey 2023)

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level AAB - ABB

AAA (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
B in Biology and B in another Science subject*

A in Biology and A in another Science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
IB 34/665 - 32/655

36/666 (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
HL 5 in Biology and HL 5 in another Science subject*

HL 6 in Biology and HL 6 in another Science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)

DDD (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve A-levels at grade B in Biology and B in another science subject*

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve A-levels at grade A in Biology and A in another science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
GCSE C or 4
B or 5
Grade C or 4 in English Language, and in either Double Award Science or Chemistry
Grade B or 5 in Mathematics
Access to HE 30 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade - 24 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade.

30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
To include 12 L3 Credits at Merit Grade in Biology and 12 L3 Credits at Merit Grade in an acceptable Science subject area

To include at least 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in an acceptable Biology subject and 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in another Science subject area (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
T-Level T-Levels not accepted N/A
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBB - BBC
IB: 30/555 - 28/554

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: AAC
IB: 32/655

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other accepted qualifications

View other accepted qualifications

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply

*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology^; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Economics; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths^; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Sport Science; Statistics.

^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.

The lecturers are a great support throughout the course. They are always quick to reply to emails and happy to chat and talk further about topics of interest. You can tell they want the very best from us and want us to be inspired to take their research further.

I had always heard such good things about the University of Exeter and when I came to the Open Day, it did not disappoint! I loved the campus; it had such a great feel to it and promoted the biological sciences department really well with welcoming current students to answer any questions. The sports opportunities are also amazing!

There is a great community vibe on my programme, on campus and throughout the sport I do. You get to know people really well and receive lots of help from the lecturers. The university as a whole is a very supportive and proud community. There are always so many opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities, including intramural sport, supporting big games and attending large events. 

I love how you can walk everywhere in Exeter and student housing is close by. The town is ten minutes away and it makes you feel like you know the whole city inside out, and will almost always bump into someone you know. It's a lovely area with lots of greens space, and we're close to the coast and to the moorland, so have a great mix of everything.

The time has gone so fast and I've had so many opportunities throughout my time in Exeter. I'm applying and doing things I would never have thought of when I first started university, showing how much my course and the whole experience really benefits you.

Read more from Emily


BSc Biological Sciences

Course content

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, BSc 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 final years. Options range from forensic science to the ecology of environmental change; from mammalian biology to microbiology; from human molecular biology to a coral reef field course. Shape your degree as you wish – following one of the named specialisms outlined below, or in other areas, whilst keeping your biological choices broad.

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 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.

*Field course destinations are subject to change

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

with Professional Placement

with Study Abroad

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.

During your degree you can, if you wish, choose to specialise in one of three named specialisms:

  • BSc Biological Sciences (Animal Biology)
  • BSc Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease)
  • BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology) 

To qualify for one of the named specialisms you must study sufficient relevant specialist modules from within the core programme. You need to study at least 90 credits, spread across your second year and final year, from the selection of specialist modules below, including at least 60 credits from non-project/dissertation modules.

You will receive advice about the specialisms once you’re at Exeter so you don’t need to make any decisions in advance.

Please refer to the Year 2 and Final year dropdowns above for full module details. 

BSc Biological Sciences (Animal Biology)

Year 2

Code Modules Credits
BIO2074 Marine Biology 15
BIO2081 Coral Reef Field Course 15
BIO2082 Animal Ecophysiology 15
BIO2096 Practical Skills in Field Ecology 15
PSY2214 Observations and Experiments in Animal Behaviour 15
PSY2217 Wild Behaviour 15

Final year

Code Modules Credits
BIO3067 Ecotoxicology 15
BIO3047 Advanced Applications of Physiology 15
BIO3083 Current Issues in Marine Biology 15
BIO3091 Animal Developmental Biology 15
BIO3096 Biosciences Research Project* 45
BIO3098 Biology of Marine Vertebrates 15

*For credits from your Independent Research Project/Dissertation to count towards the specialism, your focus of study in this module must be in the field of animal biology.

BSc Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease)

Year 2

Code Modules Credits
BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene 15
BIO2101 Advanced Microbiology 15

Final year

Code Modules Credits
BIO3078 Cellular Basis of Immunity 15
BIO3079 Molecular Basis of Infection 15
BIO3096 Biosciences Research Project* 45
BIO3097 Living in a Microbial World 15

*For credits from your Independent Research Project/Dissertation to count towards the specialism, your focus of study in this module must be in the field of microbiology and infectious disease.

BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Year 2

Code Modules Credits
BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology 15
BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene 15
BIO2092 Genomics and Introductory Bioinformatics 15
CSC2004 Medical Genetics  15

Final year

Code Modules Credits
BIO3077 Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology 15
BIO3078 Cellular Basis of Immunity 15
BIO3086 Cell Biology of Disease 15
BIO3092 Bioinformatics 15
BIO3096 Biosciences Research Project* 45

*For credits from your Independent Research Project/Dissertation to count towards the specialism, your focus of study in this module must be in the field of molecular and cellular biology.

The field trip to San Salvador in The Bahamas was a truly memorable experience*. Snorkelling alongside an incredible diversity of marine life including rare corals, green turtles, nudibranchs, and fish was a once in a life time opportunity.

Being able to learn about real-world issues from the people researching them is amazing. The academics are really passionate about their subjects. The ecology lecturers, in particular, are brilliant. I can now fully appreciate the pressures facing the environment, and the world-class science going on in the background looking for the solutions.

The best thing about the biosciences programme is that it is extremely flexible. You can choose from a broad range of modules, allowing you to specialise in those you find most interesting and relevant to your future plans.

Undertaking my final year research project was one of the most enjoyable parts of my degree. I gained essential experience in biological techniques in a world-class laboratory, all whilst working alongside researchers at the top of their field.

My Professional Placement was with the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust at Paignton Zoo, where I worked as an Ecology Research Intern. My main role was carrying out my own independent research project, looking at the effects of street lighting on woodland bats. Alongside my project, I gained some valuable skills in ecological monitoring, surveying the spatial ecology of badgers and the diversity of butterflies. I also observed the social behaviour of hamadryas baboons... and even the behaviour of a western grey kangaroo who had lost her hop.

We really have the best of both worlds here at on the Streatham campus; both the rolling hills of Dartmoor and beautiful seaside towns are very accessible and make for the perfect day trip. Exeter is a small city but offers everything you could possibly need. It’s historic, there are loads of little cafes and shops tucked away, and the Quay is perfect for walks to take your mind off studying.

*Field course destinations are subject to change

Read more from Luke


BSc Biological Sciences with Professional Placement

Course variants

UCAS code: C101

Why choose a Professional Placement?

This programme includes a professional placement year between the second and final years, which will enable you to gain valuable experience from working in an appropriate business or industry with services in biological research, analysis or consultancy, in the UK, EU or USA.

As well as increasing your first-hand knowledge, a professional placement will also improve your personal and transferable skills and will help make new contacts and enhance your employability. 

Where can I do my placement?

We have established collaborations with local, national and multinational organisations.

Previous placement destinations include:

  • Astra Zeneca
  • Cefas
  • Eurofins
  • Forest Research
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratories 
  • Randox Laboratories
  • Shell

What support is available during my placement?

During your placement year you will take two modules: Learning from Industrial Experience and Industrial Placement and Report. You will have regular contact with an academic supervisor in addition to a supervisor at the company.

Is the Professional Placement year paid?

It is your responsibility to decide which placements will be suitable for you financially.  We present ideas of paid placements and those that have a stipend and/or accommodation.

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 online.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Biological Sciences with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above. Once at Exeter, progression to the Professional Placement year is dependent upon successful completion of your Year 1 studies, with an average mark of at least 65%.

How are the placements organised?

The placements are sought during the second year of study and start the following October. You are responsible for applying for positions, with direct guidance from the Professional Placements Co-ordinator.

UCAS code: C000

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.

What will I study whilst I am abroad?

All of our study abroad partners offer approved training in relevant subjects and also include new opportunities (e.g. palaeontology), programmes with specialisms (e.g. natural sciences) and courses with local expertise (e.g. shark biology). Students are also encouraged to choose subjects outside science for a (programme-specific) fraction of each term. Scuba diving, comparative theology, photography and astronomy are a few recent choices by Exeter students.

Does it count towards my degree?

Credit for academic work during your year abroad is arranged by agreement between the University of Exeter and the host institution. These marks are then translated back into your degree at Exeter.

Transferring to a Study Abroad programme

If you are not sure about studying abroad when you apply for your degree, it may be possible to apply to transfer to a four-year programme at the end of the first year of a three-year programme. Permission to take part in Study Abroad in all cases will depend on your academic progress and the places available in your chosen country.

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 information.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Biochemistry with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. Once at Exeter, progression to the Study Abroad year is dependent upon successful completion of your Year 1 studies, with an average mark of at least 60%.

Further information

See our study abroad information on the Biosciences Current Students page for information about your tuition fees and additional information from some of our students who have studied abroad during their Biosciences degrees.

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

Working in a huge company like GSK has given me great exposure to many different aspects of pharmaceuticals. Alongside having a great name to put on my CV, I have gained skills in and out of the lab. This means I have experience to go whichever way I choose post-graduation, be that a PhD with my lab skills through to a marketing graduate scheme with softer skills gained.


BSc Biological Sciences with Professional Placement


In the second year, if you are interested in ecology you can attend one of our optional ecology field courses in the Bahamas.

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. 


Tuition fees for 2024 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 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.


Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in these optional field courses, you will be expected to cover the cost of travel to some locations, which will be outlined clearly beforehand. However, field courses with no additional travel costs are available to select in each year.

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.


The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.

* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Find out more about tuition fees and scholarships

The Coral Reef Field Course in the Bahamas was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience for me! Not only did I gain key biological field work skills, but I also made life-long friends and experienced a beautiful part of the world. My group were lucky enough to have wild dolphins come up to us and play while we were out doing our surveys! 

I loved how enthusiastic all of the staff and post-graduate assistants were about their research, and how supportive they were for all of us on our work and survey skills. Travelling across the world to a new place opened my eyes to new ways of life and strengthened my self-confidence. I can now apply the field-work skills I gained on this trip to any future career I pursue in biology. I am so grateful that my degree offers this field course, and I definitely recommend it to any students contemplating signing up for it!

Read more from Maddy


BSc Biological Sciences

Learning and teaching

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory sessions
  • 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.

We frequently introduce 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.

Learn from experts

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.

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.


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.

Academic support

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.


Over the course of your degree programme, you will have access to our multi-million pound teaching, learning and research facilities, including our:

  • State-of-the-art teaching laboratories
  • World-class Aquatic Resources Centre
  • State-of-the-art bioimaging facility, incorporating confocal and electron microscopy
  • Next-generation DNA sequencing and mass spectrometry facilities
  • Plant growth rooms and greenhouse facilities

Optional modules outside of this course

Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a second subject

If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.

  • A Foreign Language
  • Law
  • Social Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership

Find out more about proficiency options

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Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

A degree in Biochemistry will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biosciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.

Supporting your career in Biosciences

Each year Biosciences students are able to access a huge range of opportunities to support their future career options. Sector related careers and employability sessions are put on for the students over the course of their programme which include: career talks and networking events with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, employability seminar series events hosted by employers, ‘Dragons Den’ style assessment days, mock interviews and an annual Careers Fair where students can develop networking skills.

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

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. 

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Biosciences undergraduate programmes*. 

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Laboratory technicians
  • Chartered and certified accountants
  • Biochemists and biomedical scientists
  • Teaching professionals
  • Project support officers
  • Authors, writers and translators
  • Biological scientists
  • Natural and social science professionals
  • Chemical scientists
  • Taxation experts

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Cawood Scientific
  • Centrica
  • Deloitte LLP
  • Environment Agency
  • Institute Of Physics Publishing Ltd
  • Menarini Diagnostics
  • Met Office
  • NHS
  • PA Consulting
  • Thames Water

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes*. 

  • MPH/MRes/PhD Biological Sciences

  • MPH Medical Studies
  • MRes Ecosystem and Environmental Change
  • MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
  • MSc Environment and Human Health
  • MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
  • MSc Immunology
  • MSc Marine Environmental Management
  • MSc Surveying and Land/Environmental Management
  • MSc Toxicology

*This information has been taken from aggregating the responses from full-time, first degree, UK domiciled students who completed 2017/18 and 2018/19 Graduate Outcomes surveys. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

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