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Undergraduate Study

BSc Evolutionary Biology

UCAS code C182
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2024
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Ecology and Conservation
Contact

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

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: ABB
IB: 32/655
BTEC: DDM

Contextual offers

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555
BTEC: DDM

Overview

  • Evolutionary Biology is a fast growing area of study, utilising ever-more sophisticated technology to unravel the history of life on earth
  • Experience extensive field work in the UK and international locations
  • You’ll have access to state-of-the-art facilities to develop advanced knowledge of the impact of genes and evolutionary processes on individuals, communities, landscapes and entire ecosystems

Top 10 in the world for Ecology

9th in the ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022

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

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

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

Whilst studying BSc Evolutionary Biology I enjoyed furthering my education on subjects that I'm really passionate about, such as conservation, mammals and evolution. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to pick which modules I wanted to do in year two and my final year.

Bethany

BSc Evolutionary Biology

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level ABB

AAB (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
B in a science subject*

A in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
IB 32/655

34/665 (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
HL5 in a science subject*

HL6 in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
BTEC DDM

DDD (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE A-level Science: Applied Science, Animal Management, Agriculture, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability, Fish Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Marine Biology
GCSE C or 4
B or 5
C or 4 in English Language
B or 5 in Mathematics
Access to HE 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 accepted science subjects*



To include at least 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in accepted science subjects* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
T-Level T-Levels not accepted N/A
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555
BTEC: DDM

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; Environmental Studies, and Environmental Science; Geography; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Nutrition and Food Science; Marine Science; Physics; Psychology

Course content

On our BSc Evolutionary Biology you will utilise our cutting-edge facilities to develop advanced knowledge in this rapidly developing field, which encompasses genetics, animal behaviour and psychology, and examine evolution from many perspectives – from the smallest building blocks of life to entire ecosystems.

As a fast growing area of study, it is led by some of the UK’s foremost internationally-recognised, research active staff in the department of Ecology and Conservation on our Penryn Campus in Cornwall. The Centre hosts a large and thriving group of scientists who work at the cutting edge of research on evolutionarily informed organismal biology and run research projects across the globe, from Uganda to Australia. The programme utilises expertise in the Centre to provide you with the skills, concepts and experience to understand all aspects of modern evolutionary biology.

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.

Develop both practical skills and knowledge of theory in evolutionary ecology through lectures and laboratory work.

75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO1411 Genetics 15
BIO1425 Microbes 15
BIO1429 Evolution 15
BIO1430 Skills and Careers 15
BIO1431 Introduction to Human Sciences 15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP S1 BSc-MSci EB opt 2021-2
BIO1420 Physiology 15
BIO1426 Ecology and Conservation 15
BIO1427 Zoology 30

Apply your knowledge to examine the basis for evolutionary change, including consideration of both the ecological and genetic mechanisms driving adaptive evolution. Take a field course to gain an understanding of evolution in the wild.

90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules.

a It is compulsory to take a field course in the second year. BIO2454 Bio Penryn 2nd Year Field Course represents your Field Course module, with more information about destination and specific activities available from the department. If you are unable to go on a field course, you will be required to take BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course instead; BIO2450 is only available if you are not going on the field course.

b You may take either BIO2431 or BIO2437 (you cannot choose more than one module from this group).

 

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO2414 Evolutionary Ecology 15
BIO2426 Analysis of Biological Data 15
BIO2427 Animal Ecophysiology 15
BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology 15
BIO2446 Molecular Ecology 15
BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course [See note a above]15
BIO2454 Bio Penryn 2nd Year Field Course [See note a above]15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP S2 BSc-MSci EB opt 2021-2
BIO2407 Population and Community Ecology 15
BIO2423 Wildlife Disease 15
BIO2428 Development of Behaviour 15
BIO2439 Biology of Birds 15
BIO2451 Evolution of Human Societies 15
ECM2911 Mathematics of the Environment 15
LES2002 Workplace Learning 15
BioP BIO2431-BIO2437 [See note b above]
BIO2431 The Biology of Mammals 15
BIO2437 Biology of Aquatic Vertebrates 15

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

with Professional Placement

120 credits of compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
LES3002 Professional Placement 120

with Study Abroad

120 credits of compulsory modules.

For your year abroad you will agree a suite of modules in your host institution with the College Study Abroad Coordinator. Details of individual modules that may be taken whilst abroad can be found by accessing the partner institution’s website via http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studyabroad/outbound/research/where/.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO3137 One Year Study Abroad 120

Specialise in your area of interest. Interact closely with an expert member of academic staff and carry out a detailed independent research project on evolutionary biology in the wild or a laboratory. You will also take part in an international field trip*.

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

75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules

c It is compulsory to take a field course in the final year. BIO3441 Bio Penryn 3rd Year Field Course represents your Field Course module, with more information about destination and specific activities available from the department. If you are unable to take a field course, you will be required to take BIO3440 Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course plus either BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology or 15 other credits. BIO3440 and BIO3407 are only available if you are not going on the field course

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO3136 Research Project 40
LES3001 Preparing to Graduate 5
BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology [See note c above]15
BIO3440 Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course [See note c above]15
BIO3441 Penryn 3rd Year Field Course [See note c above]30

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP SF BSc-S3 MSci EB opt 2021-2
BIO3131 Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15
BIO3135 Human Behavioural Ecology 15
BIO3400 Living in Groups 15
BIO3401 Coevolutionary Interactions 15
BIO3409 Symbiosis in Marine Systems 15
BIO3410 Sensory Ecology 15
BIO3411 Science in Society 15
BIO3413 Animal Life Histories 15
BIO3415 Ecological Responses to Climate Change 15
BIO3420 Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease 15
BIO3421 Animal Migration 15
BIO3422 Animal Cognition 15
BIO3426 Primate Biology and Conservation 15
BIO3428 The Complexity of Human Societies 15
BIO3434 Major Transitions in Evolutionary History 15
CSC4011M Living with Environmental Change 15
CSC4013M Frontiers of Global Health 15
MTH3045 Mathematics for Environment and Sustainability 15

Course variants

UCAS code: C186

Why choose a professional placement year?

During your placement year you will gain valuable experience, apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability.

Work placements allow you to develop your career focus and are extremely valued by employers.

Where can I do my placement?

On this four-year variant of the BSc Evolutionary Biology degree you will spend your third year on a self-organised work placement with an organisation relevant 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:

  • Aigas Field Centre
  • CEFAS
  • Field Studies Council
  • JBA Consulting
  • Living DNA
  • Newquay Zoo
  • Paignton Zoos
  • RSPB
  • Wildfowl and Wetland Trust

What support is available during my placement?

Your 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. During your placement you will have regular contact with the module convenor to identify what support you might need.

Is the placement 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.

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.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above. You must achieve an average mark of at least 60% in Year 1 to progress to the Professional Placement year.

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 and we provide you with help and support with your applications.

UCAS code: C183

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 Evolutionary Biology 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 Study Abroad website.

Fees

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.

Fieldwork

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.

Scholarships

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

Fieldwork

We pride ourselves in offering an extensive range of field courses across our Biosciences degrees with exciting local, national and international destinations.

These field courses not only allow you to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world situations in superb locations, but also provide a fantastic opportunity to forge lasting relationships with fellow students and academics.

The residential field courses are an opportunity to apply your field skills first-hand in environments studied by our world-leading Ecological researchers. They are designed to complement your degree and highlight conservation issues at the forefront of the subject for terrestrial and marine species and habitats.

» Read more about our field courses

Please note, whilst a compulsory field course is included in the tuition fee, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. Field course destinations are subject to change.

The biggest highlight on this programme has been the field course! Being able to experience the most diverse country in the world with leading researchers gave me a real insight into such a biodiverse ecosystem. It has really opened my eyes to the potential opportunities that are available with this degree and that makes life after university very exciting.

Sasha

BSc Evolutionary Biology

Learning and teaching

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.

We have very close links with a wide range of conservation organisations in the UK and overseas, such as the British Trust for Ornithology, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society. These links mean you will benefit from frequent guest lectures, placement opportunities and project work.

Assessment

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.

Taking modules outside of your programme

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a foreign language

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 you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre will be offering modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level.

If you achieve at least 60 credits in a language via our Foreign Language Centre you may be able to have the words ‘with proficiency in’ and the language added to your degree title.

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

Proficiency in Law

Students on this course are now able to add ‘with proficiency in Law’ to their degree title, by gaining a strand of additional legal knowledge and skills that adds value to their degree.

The ‘With proficiency in Law’ modules being offered to non-law students provide a theoretical and technical basis for understanding the regulatory and legal frameworks that you might encounter within your main field of study. These modules lend themselves strongly to students wishing to develop their skillset to work across the environment and sustainability sector and in wider business.

If you accrue at least 60 credits in elective law modules you will have ‘with proficiency in Law’ added to your degree title.

Academic support

  • Personal Tutor: You will have a Personal Tutor available for advice and support throughout your studies.
  • Study skills: Help with essay writing, research skills, time management, presentations and more.

Peer mentoring

  • All first-years will have the opportunity to join dynamic weekly groups, hosted by both second-year and PhD Biosciences students in Cornwall, which span a range of key areas, such as
    • Social and pastoral care
    • Key skills
    • Employability
    • Discipline specific support
  • These groups allow you to benefit from advice from your more experienced peers, helping ease your transition into university life.
  • The subject of the inaugural meeting is decided by the group leader, but you can then suggest subsequent session topics, so sessions are tailored to your direct needs.
  • Social media groups, such as on Facebook and Google, are also used for continued group discussions and communication outside of the weekly meetings.
  • There are direct links between session content and modules, which immediately follow lectures where possible.

Facilities

Our facilities include:

  • Teaching laboratories
  • Computing suites
  • Field equipment for research projects
  • Library and online resources

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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The Biosciences staff at the Penryn Campus are extremely helpful and always willing to go above and beyond to make sure we have the correct support. Generally any issues we have can be sorted and the lecturers care about (and can recognise) every individual student. I feel honoured to have studied under such leading scientists.

Biosciences undergraduate student, Penryn Campus

Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

A degree in Biosciences will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. Many of our students continue their studies in the subject by following a further degree and research in their chosen area.

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

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

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Conservation professionals
  • Biological scientists
  • Environment professionals
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Welfare and housing associate professionals
  • Web design professionals
  • Public relations professionals
  • Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
  • Archivists and curators

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • AECOM
  • Cornwall Science Community
  • Darwin Ecology
  • Ecology Solutions
  • Fishtek Consulting
  • Harris Lamb Property Consultants
  • Natural England
  • Society for the Protection of Turtles
  • UKSTEM Ltd
  • World Wildlife Fund

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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