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Undergraduate Study

MSci Human Sciences - 2024 entry

Please note: The below is for 2024 entries. Click here for 2025 entries.
UCAS code BCL3
Duration 4 years
Entry year 2024
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Ecology and Conservation

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

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: AAB
IB: 34/665

Contextual offers

A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555


  • A truly interdisciplinary programme that examines humans and human societies from the perspectives of both the natural and the social sciences.
  • Novel methods of interactive teaching will be applied throughout the degree including hands-on enquiries using databases, maps and GIS tools; lecture materials that are global in scope; and practical work, building from a local focus in Year 1 to a global perspective by the final year.
  • Delivered jointly by the departments of Ecology and Conservation; Geography; and Earth 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.
  • Final year provides an opportunity to work on an intensive research project in a specialised area aligned with one of our leading research groups.
  • You’ll also spend time on a two-week intensive field course to develop your scientific field research, debating and presentation skills further.

View 2025 Entry

Request a prospectus

Open Days and visiting us

How to apply


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences, Geography & Environmental Science

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

Top 10 in the world for Ecology

9th in the ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022

Top 30 in the world for Geography

QS World University Subject Rankings 2023

Graduate with an undergraduate Masters qualification

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


BSc Human Sciences

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level AAB A in a science subject*
IB 34/665 HL6 in a science subject*
BTEC DDD Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without A-level requirements: Applied Science; Health and Social Care; Sport and Exercise Science; Sport Science; Pharmaceutical Science. Applicants offering one of the above BTEC Extended Diplomas in lieu of the A-level Science will also require grade B or 5 in GCSE English Language and Mathematics.
GCSE C or 4 English Language and Mathematics
Access to HE 30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade To include 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in an acceptable Science subject area
T-Level T-Levels not accepted N/A
Contextual Offer

A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555

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; Nutrition and Food Science; Geography; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Marine Science; Physics; Psychology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths/Maths: Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations

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.

60 credits of compulsory modules, 60 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO1429 Evolution 15
BIO1431 Introduction to Human Sciences 15
BIO1430 Skills and Careers 15
GEO1413 The Geography of Cornwall 15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP S1 BSc HS opt 2021-2
BIO1411 Genetics 15
BIO1420 Physiology 15
BIO1426 Ecology and Conservation 15
LAW1016C A Legal Foundation for Environmental Protection 15
POC1026 Power, Inequality and Global Justice 15
HIC1306 World History: Globalisation 15

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.

60 credits of compulsory modules, 60 credits of optional modules.

a You may take GEO2449, GEO2453 or LES2002 (you cannot choose more than one module from this group).

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO2426 Analysis of Biological Data 15
BIO2428 Development of Behaviour 15
BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology 15
BIO2451 Evolution of Human Societies 15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP S2 BSc HS opt 2021-2
BIO2406 Biodiversity and Conservation 15
BIO2427 Animal Ecophysiology 15
BIO2446 Molecular Ecology 15
CSC2010M Oceans and Human Health 15
CSC2021 Health, Place and Wellbeing 15
GEO2442 The Politics of Climate Change and Energy 15
GEO2445 Rural Social Issues 15
GEO2454 Waste and Society 15
GEO2458 People and Nature 15
LAW2016C Environmental Regulation and Redress 15
GeoP Employability opt [See note a above]
GEO2449 Green Consultants 15
GEO2453 Social Innovation Consultants 15
LES2002 Workplace Learning 15

In your third year, you will undertake a research project with a member of academic staff. You’ll also undertake modules on The Complexity of Human Societies and Preparing to Graduate. Outside of these you will have freedom to choose among our third year modules, tailoring your degree to your specific interests. You can also elect to take part in a two-week residential overseas field course*.

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

60 credits of compulsory modules, 60 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO3136 Research Project 40
BIO3428 The Complexity of Human Societies 15
LES3001 Preparing to Graduate 5

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BioP S3/4 BSc HS opt 2021-2
BIO3135 Human Behavioural Ecology 15
BIO3411 Science in Society 15
BIO3422 Animal Cognition 15
BIO3426 Primate Biology and Conservation 15
BIO3431 Kenya Field Course 30
CSC4011M Living with Environmental Change 15
CSC4013M Frontiers of Global Health 15
GEO3437B Climate Change and Society 15
GEO3457 Geographies of Democracy 15
GEO3458 Marine and Coastal Sustainability 15
GEO3467 Human-Animal Interactions 15
LAW3016C Legal Response to Environmental Destruction 15
BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology 15
BIO3420 Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease 15
GeoP Employability opt [See note a above]
GEO2449 Green Consultants 15
GEO2453 Social Innovation Consultants 15
LES2002 Workplace Learning 15

In your final year, you will undertake an intensive research project focused on a specialised area aligned with one of our leading research groups. You will also undertake a literature review module and a statistics module, building essential high-level skills. The remainder of your time will be spent on a two-week intensive field course* in which your scientific field research, debating and presentation skills will be further developed.

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


120 credits of compulsory modules

b You must choose either LESM007 or BIOM4043

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIOM052 Academic Research Project 60
BioP LESM007 - BIOM4043 [See note b above]
LESM007 Global Challenges Field Course (MSci) 30
BIOM4043 Rewilding the United Kingdom 30
LESM003 Literature Review in the Life Sciences 15
LESM005 Applied Data Analysis 15


Tuition fees for 2024 entry

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


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, which 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
  • Fieldwork
  • 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 third and final years 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. Several members of our world-leading Human Behaviour and Cultural Evolution Group teach modules available to Human Sciences students.


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

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. To progress to Year 3 of the MSci you must have achieved at least 60% in Year 2, otherwise you will be required to transfer to the relevant three-year BSc programme.

Assessment methods will vary depending on your choice of optional modules; check individual module descriptions for details. Your third and final years will primarily be assessed through your dissertation projects.

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

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

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.


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.

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
  • Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Law
  • Leadership
  • Social Data Science

Find out more about proficiency options

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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 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.

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Biosciences, Geography and Environmental Sciences undergraduate programmes*. 

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Business and related research professionals
  • Conservation professionals
  • Biological scientists
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Property, housing and estate managers
  • Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
  • Secondary education teaching professionals
  • Data analysts
  • Estimators, valuers and assessors
  • Information technology professionals

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Darwin Ecology
  • Environment Agency
  • European Space Agency
  • Harris Lamb Property Consultants
  • Natural England
  • Society for the Protection of Turtles
  • UK Hydrographic Office
  • Unilever PLC
  • UKSTEM Ltd

Further study

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

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MPH/MRes/PhD Biological Sciences
  • MRes Ecosystem and Environmental Change
  • MRes Sustainable Development
  • MSc Applied Social Data Science
  • MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
  • MSc Environment and Human Health
  • MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
  • MSc International Business
  • MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies

*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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