C107 Biosciences MBiol Undergraduate 2018
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Telephone||+44 (0)191 334 1200|
The first year covers fundamental aspects of biology including evolution, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, and an overview of the diversity of organisms. The module-linked tutorial system provides support for taught material and an introduction to essential scientific and transferable skills.
The level 1 course includes an integrated scientific skills module designed to support learning in the other modules. In addition, an optional module provides an introduction to all aspects of current research in the biosciences.
In the second year, students follow either a biological sciences or biomedical sciences route. Those who register for a degree in Biological Sciences or are following the biological sciences route in MBiol Biosciences access a wide range of module choices Those registered for Biomedical Science or following the biomedical science route in MBiol Biosciences, follow a more focussed route on the science of human disease.
Those following the Biological Sciences route in MBiol Biosciences can choose six modules (120 credits) from a wide range of module themes, which have previously included:
- Developmental Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell structure and Function
- Cell Signalling
- Applied Physiology
- Plant and Algal Physiology
- Medical Microbiology
Those following the Biomedical Science in MBiol Biosciences take a compulsory set of six modules (120 credits) which have previously included:
- Clinical Genetics and Biochemistry
- Cell and Tissue Pathology
- Medical Microbiology
- Human Physiology.
Similar to year three of C103 or B940, except for the replacement of the year three Project by an additional taught module, selected from available options.
The fourth year of the MBiol course will contain a taught module on the principles and research practice in the biosciences, an additional field course or practical laboratory workshop and an 80-credit Research Project. This major Research Project is a key component of the MBiol course. Staff in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences will offer suitable projects over a wide range of topics in modern biological and biomedical sciences. The projects will address the requirements of potential employers, as well as providing an opportunity for the student to carry out work at the cutting-edge of biosciences research. The Research Project will be written up as a Masters Dissertation.
To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.
Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.
Course Learning and Teaching
The main method of programme delivery in the first three years of study is lectures, supplemented by practical classes and workshops. Lectures represent the largest proportion of the allocated contact hours, and allow the effective delivery of large amounts of knowledge, which forms the factual basis of a science subject.
At level 1 the emphasis is on core knowledge across the broad spectrum of the sub-disciplines of biological and biomedical sciences. At levels 2 and 3, there are more specialised modules enabling students to focus on a particular sub-discipline, with elements of choice in the programme. There is an increasing emphasis as the lecture programme progresses on showing that biosciences is based on experimental evidence gained through research, so that at level 3 lecturing is research-led by being based on staff research interests. The proportion of the programme delivered through lectures is less at level 3 than in preceding years, to allow a greater emphasis on students' own research activities. The lectures are supplemented by timetabled surgery sessions, which are used for revision and problem solving. Lecturing staff answer specific questions about the material they have taught through email, and by personal meetings when necessary; the School has an "open-office" policy for responding to such queries. Typically, taught modules contain 35 one hour lectures, 2 workshops, and 1 surgery session. Students take 5 compulsory taught modules at level 1, 6 taught modules at level 2, and 4 taught modules at level 3, with two modules aligned to major pieces of research work. In the final fourth year, there is a single taught masters-level module on research skills, and five module equivalents based on research work.
Practical classes are a major component of contact hours in taught modules, and are an essential part of training in an experimental science like biosciences. Level 1 practical classes are used to train students in the basic techniques required for experimental work in the full range of biological sciences, whereas students specialise in specific techniques and areas of experimental work through module choice at level 2. The practical classes are supplemented by workshops in which data handling techniques are taught. At both levels 1 and 2, the load of practical classes overall is 1-2 three hour sessions per week. There are no, or almost no practical classes in taught modules at level 3, since the students carry out two research modules at this level . The first is a field course or laboratory-based extended workshop, both of which offer approximately two working weeks' contact between students and staff. The second is a literature review, with a topic chosen from current areas of interest in biological sciences. This involves approx. 6-8h non-timetabled contact with a supervisor. The fourth year of study will include an additional field course or workshop, and an extended research module extending across the majority of the year. This will involve the student in a large amount of on-timetabled contact time with supervisory staff, typically involving weekly meetings during the project period, and working in close collaboration with research being carried out in the School.
The philosophy is to have a directed programme of teaching and learning at levels 1 and 2, within which the student is expected to develop self-guided and motivated learning, leading to a much greater emphasis on independent learning at level 3, developing to a masters-level of research in level 4. Academic support is provided by a dual system of tutorial classes and academic advisers. Each taught module at levels 1 and 2 contains 2 tutorial classes, which are used to deliver specific content related to academic support, via small group interaction between academic staff and students. There is an emphasis on discussion and enhancement of the learning experience. Academic adviser sessions are used to deal with specific issues relevant to the student at a personal level, such as feedback on exam performance. Combined with project supervision, the tutorial/academic adviser system offers students at least fortnightly sessions with a tutor or academic adviser throughout their academic career.
Subject requirements, level and grade
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors
- Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology at A-level or equivalent, plus another science subject at A-level or equivalent is required. Psychology, Maths and Geography are all considered sciences for the purposes of admissions. Although PE is accepted as a third A-level, it is not a science for the purpose of admissions
- There is no advantage in applying for both MBiol and BSc degrees; students can seek to transfer between these degrees at the end of level 2
- Continuation on the MBiol degree programme after level 2 is dependent on achieving satisfactory performance at level 2, according to University regulations; failure to achieve this standard will result in an automatic transfer to a three year BSc programme
- We do not accept two AS-levels in place of one A-level
- We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
- Typical IB score 37 to include 666 in higher level subjects. Higher level grade 6 Biology or Chemistry and another science Higher Level subject are required
- We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2017 entry in the summer of 2016 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2017 entry before 1 September 2016
- If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A-levels with an English examination board.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£23,100.00 per year|
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Department of Biosciences
A degree in bioscience from Durham will give you an excellent start to your working life.
Not only will you receive an outstanding education in bioscience, you will also gain valuable transferrable skills to prepare you for future challenges, enhance your personal development, and improve your employment prospects. Durham bioscience graduates readily find employment in a range of careers, including further higher education such as university postgraduate research, medicine, teaching; the NHS sector; industrial research and development and biotechnology within the private sector; management; accountancy; conservation; ecological and environmental services; broadcast and print science journalism; environmental and biological patent law; the civil service; and the armed services. Graduates of the Biomedical Sciences degree also enter the NHS as trainee clinical scientists.
Of thse students who graduated in 2015:
- 91% are in paid employment or further study 6 months after graduation
Of those in employment:
- 85% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £21,889
(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here: www.hesa.ac.uk/support/definitions/destinations)
Approximately 30% of graduates progress onto higher level study following their degree in Biological Sciences. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a taught or research Masters at Durham, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College, Warwick and King's College, London. PhD study is popular and graduates regularly compete successfully for funded places at Durham, York, Manchester, Exeter, Imperial College, Cambridge, University College London and Oxford. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, journalism, finance and teaching to name but a few. Some students pursue careers in medicine and have competed successfully for a place on medicine degree courses at UK universities, including Durham, Southampton, Warwick, and Nottingham.
Employment development opportunities
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre collaborates closely with the Biological Sciences Department. The link Careers Adviser delivers presentations to each year group on a range of areas including options with the subject, career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study. Additional CV drop in clinics are offered in the department where students can have 1 to 1 help and advice from the link Careers Adviser.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.
Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays
Discover Durham Tours
Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.
Overseas Visit Schedule
Department of Biosciences
The science of the twenty-first-century.
Bioscience is the fundamental science of life and recent key developments make the twenty-first century the most exciting era in which important biological challenges will be met and resolved. Our bioscientists have developed new technologies for human healthcare and are tackling challenges that include climate change, biodiversity conservation and feeding an increasing human population.
The Department of Biosciences has excellent facilities for both teaching and research, offering high quality undergraduate courses and a supportive environment for our staff and students. Many of our graduates go on to postgraduate study at universities across the UK and overseas and will take up graduate entry to Medicine courses whilst others work in the biosciences sector, the NHS or pharmaceutical industry.
- Ranked 8th in the UK for World-leading research impact (REF 2014).
- 92% of our Biological and Biomedical Science students said that they found their course intellectually stimulating in the National Students Survey 2016 (sector-wide average 89%).
- Ranked 5th in The Complete University Guide 2016.
We have custom-designed buildings, equipped with modern teaching aids that create a stimulating learning environment. During their Research Projects undergraduates have access to the latest technology for electron and confocal laser scanning microscopy, transgenic studies, DNA analysis and proteomics, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological field sampling and computer modelling. We are close to extensive woodlands and a botanic garden, which provide additional teaching resources and opportunities for fieldwork.