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Biological Sciences (including Preliminary Year)

Cardiff University
4 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available

Program description

Biological Sciences (including Preliminary Year)

Our Biological Sciences degree with Preliminary Year is a four-year course. The Preliminary Year covers key topics in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics and leads to a BSc in any of the subjects offered by the School of Biosciences. The preliminary year is designed for students who don’t have a sufficient background in science, and it will provide you with the knowledge and understanding needed to thrive in the year one curriculum and beyond.

Our research-led Biological Sciences degree provides the greatest possible choice and flexibility, allowing you to choose modules across virtually the whole range of subjects on offer at the School.

We offer a wide choice of subjects across the biological sciences including: animal and plant biology; microbiology; genetics; systems biology; ecology; disease; behaviour; neuroscience; zoology; developmental and stem cell biology; and evolution. As part of our Ecology and Conservation module, we also run a range of subsidised field courses both within the UK and overseas, including River Ecology in Wales, Tropical Marine Ecology in Tobago, and Rainforest Biodiversity in Malaysia.

You can tailor the degree to your own interests as they develop, choosing to focus on one particular aspect of biology or opting to study a wider range of topics.

Your degree title remains flexible up until your final year, when you can either continue with BSc Biological Sciences, or switch to another of our BSc bioscience degrees. You can also choose to graduate with a more specialist degree title, including BSc Biological Sciences (Genetics) and BSc Biological Sciences (Zoology).

Your final degree title will depend on your module selection and your Personal Tutor will guide you through the options available to you.  You may also have the option of switching to our MBiol integrated Master's Degree, which forms an excellent basis for a future career in scientific research.

.Distinctive Features

  • Enjoy a flexible course structure that enables you to tailor your degree to match your interests and aspirations, including the option to spend a sandwich year on professional placement.
  • Develop your field research skills with one of our popular project-based field courses. Opt for one of our UK-based courses or choose to travel further afield to locations such as Tobago or Borneo.
  • Experience the excitement of learning in active research environment, with teaching staff who are leading researchers in their field.
  • Make use of the latest equipment, techniques and facilities in your project work.
  • The School of Biosciences offers access to a wide range of exciting training opportunities with a field centre in Borneo, and strong involvement in Cardiff University research institutes, including Sustainable Places, Water Research, Cancer Stem Cell Research, and Neuroscience and Mental Health.

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Admission requirements

AAB - ABB. A pass in the practical element of the Science A level is normally required. Please note Crtiical Thinking and General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year Preliminary

  • Cells and the Chemistry of Life
  • Genetics, Evolution and Diversity
  • Nutrition, Transport and Signalling
  • The Way the Body Works
  • Fundamental Aspects of Chemistry
  • Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Equilibria
  • Chemistry of Organic Compounds
  • Inorganic and Redox Chemistry
  • Preliminary Mathematics I
  • Preliminary Mathematics II

Year One

Core Modules

  • Skills for Science
  • Structure and Function of Living Organisms
  • Organisms and Environment
  • The Dynamic Cell
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Genetics and Evolution

Year Two

Optional Modules

  • Animal Diversity and Adaptation
  • Genetics and its Applications
  • Ecology and Conservation - Part A
  • Ecology and Conservation - Part B
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology of the Gene
  • Physiology
  • Concepts of Disease
  • Practical Anatomy
  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Fundamental Neuroscience

Year Three

Core Modules

  • Biosciences Final Year Project

Optional Modules

  • Plants for the Future: Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Ecosystems, Sustainability and Global Change
  • Evolution and Adaptation
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
  • Infection Biology and Epidemiology
  • Systems Biology and Modelling
  • The 'omics Revolution (Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics)
  • Advanced Cell Biology and Imaging
  • Genes to Genomes
  • Synthetic Biology and Protein Engineering
  • Current Topics in Development, Stem Cells and Repair
  • Contemporary Topics in Disease
  • Cancer: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutics
  • Advanced Musculoskeletal Biology and Tissue Engineering
  • Advances in Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Neurobiology of Brain Disorders
  • Systems Neuroscience

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.

Tuition fees

The full tuition fees for UK & EU Students is £9,000.The tuition fees for Students from outside the EU is £21,950


What skills will I practise and develop?

Throughout the course, you will develop scientific competencies as well as key transferable skills that will be invaluable whatever your future career choice. These include:

  • Independent learning and self-directed study;
  • Collating, organising and analysing information to create logical and persuasive arguments;
  • Analytical thinking and problem solving;
  • Communicating complex ideas in a clear, effective way (using all media);
  • Working effectively in a team and as an individual;
  • IT competency, including presentation, graphics and statistics packages;
  • Performing and interpreting statistical analyses of data;
  • Effective time management and organisational skills.

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you should be able to:

  • Critically analyse, synthesise and summarise information from a variety of sources;
  • Discuss the relationships between structure/formation and function/regulation of molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organisms and populations;
  • Effectively communicate scientific, and other, information to a variety of audiences, including the general public, using a range of formats and approaches;
  • Discuss current issues of research, investigation and/or debate;
  • Synthesise an argument or point of view, based on solid data and evidence;
  • Determine the validity and rigour of statistical outcomes;
  • Build on knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of intellectual property (IP) within a research environment;
  • Work effectively within a group-based environment, both as a leader and a member of a team;
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for independent lifelong learning (for example working independently, time management, organisational, enterprise and knowledge transfer skills);
  • Identify, and work towards, targets for personal, academic, professional and career development;
  • Demonstrate leadership and planning skills for setting, and meeting, achievable goals within the workplace.

Continuing studies

Many also choose to further their studies by pursuing a master’s degree or PhD.

Career opportunities

Career Prospects

In 2016/17, 93% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported that they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

A significant proportion of our BSc Biological Sciences graduates go on to study PhD or master’s degrees. Many others enjoy successful careers in science-related fields such as

  • Research and development
  • Conservation
  • Environmental management
  • Scientific research
  • Medical or scientific publishing
  • Agro-industry and wildlife management, amongst many others.

Our graduates also have many transferable skills that are attractive to a wide range of employers in more general areas of industry, commerce, public service, administration and management. Finally, a degree in the Biological Sciences can act as a stepping stone to further training in professional areas including

  • Teaching
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary science, and accounting.

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. As part of the Russell Group, our students benefit from our outstanding research quality and reputation, while...

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Contact info

Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

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