BSc (Hons) Biology (Including Foundation Year)

If you don’t have the right qualifications to start our BSc (Hons) Biology degree or if you want to gain more confidence in higher level work, you could opt to start your studies with a foundation year. You’ll start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge. 

If you are fascinated by the world around you and want to understand how life on earth evolves, adapts and interacts, then a Biology degree is for you. Biology is the science of life. It is the scientific study of living organisms and the environment, and investigates levels of biological organisation from molecules up to ecosystems.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, this well-established Biology degree is ideal if you want an all-round knowledge of biology. Subjects range from medical microbiology to primatology, from genetics to tropical field ecology. 

As well as studying the varied habitats accessible in south Wales, our students have the opportunity to learn scientific diving techniques and develop field research skills in the tropical forests and coral reefs of either Asia, Central or South America.

 

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
2022
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3W6M Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
2023
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3W6M Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

Foundation year: Biology Degree

  • Scientific Data Literacy
  • Key Skills and Professional Development
  • Foundation Biology
  • Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Physical Science

Year One: Biology Degree

  • Microorganisms and the Dynamic Cell (20 credits)
  • Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)
  • Biological Research Skills (20 credits)
  • Evolutionary Botany and Zoology (20 credits)
  • Principles of Ecology (20 credits)
  • Molecules, Membranes, and Cells (20 credits)

Year two: Biology Degree

  • Human Molecular Genetics (20 credits)
  • Frontiers in Biology (20 credits)
  • Environmental Modelling for Wildlife Management (20 credits)
  • Vertebrate Zoology (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Plus one of the following:

  • Ecological and Wildlife assessment (20 credits)
  • Ethology (20 credits)
  • Tropical Ecology and Conservation (20 credits)
  • Cellular Pathology and Disease Processes (20 credits)

Year Three: Biology Degree

  • Biology Research project (40 credits)
  • Humans and other primates (20 credits)

Then either:

Ecology option

  • Population and Community Ecology - 20 credits
  • Marine and Freshwater Biology - 20 credits
  • Global Ecological Change - 20 credits

Or:

Biomedical Option 

  • Global Challenges in Infectious Disease - 20 credits
  • Clinical and Molecular Immunology - 20 credits
  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology - 20 credits

Teaching

We teach using a combination of group activities, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, directed learning, online activities, UK and overseas field trips. The number of contact hours per week will vary depending on your module choice and year of study, but on average you can expect 10-12 contact hours over five days a week. You will also need to spend a significant amount of time each week on preparation for classes, background reading, revision, or working on assignments.

Our teaching is complemented by a range of subject experts who give guest lectures for various modules. There is also a Biology Speakers Series with a variety of external speakers which third year students have to attend, and other students are encouraged to.

See the latest applied sciences research at USW.

Assessment

A mixture of exams, portfolios, laboratory reports, practical skills (lab and field), presentations, group and individual assignments.

Accreditations

USW’s Biology degree has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

 

Field Trips

As well as studying the varied habitats accessible in south Wales, our students have the opportunity to learn scientific diving techniques and develop field research skills in the tropical forests and coral reefs of either Asia, Central or South America (additional costs apply).

The Biology course includes modules with significant fieldwork elements, which come with certain physical demands. If you have a disability that is likely to be affected by physical demands, please get in touch with the course leader Tracie McKinney as soon as possible. All applicants are encouraged to attend a University Applicant Day to discuss the field courses with our staff, including current additional costs and the nature of the activities that are undertaken. 

There may be additional costs associated with this course

Facilities

Our George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well equipped spaces.These join the Grade II listed Alfred Russell Wallace building which is also used for teaching.

You will benefit from several well-equipped laboratories for practical and project work. Our facilities include:

  • Microbiology laboratory capable of handling pathogens (category 2)
  • Molecular biology laboratory for DNA isolation and analysis
  • Projection microscopes in the microbiology and microscopy laboratories for group teaching
  • General biology laboratories for teaching, including a range of skeletons for vertebrate zoology
  • Computer rooms with specialist GIS software to support your learning

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

EE to include a relevant Science subject but exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

N/A

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant subject

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points from Higher Levels

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass Access to HE Diploma in Science with a minimum of 48 UCAS Tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C/Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course

 

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees


  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13800 

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees


  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees


  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment. Below we’ve listed what types of additional costs are associated with this course:

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit / Equipment *
Students undertaking courses that contain elements of outdoor fieldwork must wear appropriate outdoor clothing, which includes suitable wet weather gear, rugged boots/shoes and hat/gloves. The location and weather will determine the nature of clothing/footwear worn, and therefore the cost, and students will be informed of these requirements at the start of their studies. Please note that inappropriate clothing/footwear may prevent students from participating in an activity. The School of Applied Sciences subsidises the cost of compulsory fieldwork in the UK and overseas. Although kept to a minimum, some overseas compulsory fieldwork may have additional costs applied. Optional fieldwork modules are typically at the cost to the student. Generally, students will be expected to pay for their food unless specifically included within the field course. Students will need to supply suitable field notebooks in order to take observations/notes during field courses. Please note that some fieldwork may require visas and vaccinations, which are at the cost to the student and will vary depending on individual circumstances.
Field trip £2200 - £2500
Up to two and a half weeks in a tropical location including marine and terrestrial study sites. Recent study centres have included Mexico, Honduras and Borneo. £350 for scuba dive training as an additional option.
Placement *
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their major research project would be expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

There is high demand for science graduates and graduates of our biology degree have found employment in a range of fields, including research, education, health or conservation. Many biology undergraduates progress to a postgraduate biology degree or science degree, or teaching. You may also choose to progress to postgraduate research such as a Masters by Research or PhD.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.

Full-time