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Studying biology degree guide

Biology is the study of living organisms like plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms (e.g., bacteria). A degree in biology will cover lots of subject areas, like human biology, microbiology and biochemistry.

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
03 Nov 2022

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An understanding of biology can open up a variety of fascinating job choices in fields like medical research, food production and nature preservation. These areas are essential and relevant within today’s society.

What do you need to get on a biology degree? 

Average entry requirements for biology are:

  • UCAS points: 136 
  • A-levels: AAB
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAB
  • BTEC Nationals: DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 34 

Please be aware that these are average entry requirements and may change depending on the course and institution you select. Always confirm this for the particular university/course you're interested in.

For most biology courses you’ll need an A-level in biology and often a second science and/or maths.

What biology degrees can you study? 

Degrees in biology include:

  • BSc Biological Sciences 
  • MSci Biological Sciences (four-year undergraduate course) 
  • BSc Biological Sciences with Biomedicine 
  • BSc Biochemistry
  • BSc Biology
  • BSc Biomedicine

What topics does a biology degree cover? 

Common modules for biology include:

  • Ecology 
  • Life sciences 
  • Plant structure and function
  • Evolution
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Cell biology
  • Ecology of animals

What do you learn studying a biology degree? 

Studying a biology degree will help you gain industry-specific skills like:

  • Biological research and analysis
  • Knowledge of the immune system
  • Knowledge of diseases
  • Knowledge of ecosystems
  • Knowledge of genetics

More general, transferable skills you’ll pick up include:

  • Data handling
  • Research skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Presentation skills 

What professional accreditations can you get with a biology degree?

Most biology degrees are accredited by the Royal Society for Biology (RSB), which includes a year membership for free after graduation.

What can you do with a biology degree?

As a biology graduate you should be able to find jobs in a range of fields, like:

  • Research 
  • Academia 
  • Healthcare 
  • Data analysis
  • Pharmaceuticals 

Where to study biology?

How long is a biology course degree? 

A biology degree usually takes three years to study. However, many unis will give the option of a sandwich year (a year spent working in the industry), which will increase your course to four years. 

How will you be assessed? 

Biology courses usually involve assessment through:

  • Coursework
  • Short tests and examinations
  • Laboratory reports
  • Essays
  • Literature reviews
  • Presentations
  • Final year research project 

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Your options for further study include:

  • MSc Biomedical Science
  • MSc Plant Sciences
  • MSc Medical Sciences
  • MSc Environmental and Biochemical Toxicology

What alternatives are there to a biology degree?

Not sure if a biology degree is right for you? Check out these related subjects:

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