24 July 2014
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Biology degree

This is a fascinating subject, in one of the most actively changing and developing fields in the whole of science. The rapid and significant advances that biologists have made in this area has had a direct impact on the lives of all of us. This degree programme will equip candidates with both scientific skills and the all important transferable "graduate skills" (such as; data analysis, group work, writing and presentational skills, IT skills), which are highly valued by employers throughout the world.

Students will receive training that will cover the biology of not only humans but also plants and animals, right from their molecular biology to their ecophysiology in natural communities. Apart from gaining a better understanding of the science of modern biology, candidates will acquire an in-depth, subject-specific knowledge of living organisms and biological systems. Classes are taught through lectures, practicals and interactive exercises, as well as field trips and tutorials. Modules tend to become more specialised as the degree progresses and the number of compulsory modules can vary between years (depending on the university). Assessment is usually through a mixture of coursework, field trips, formal examination and continuous assessment.

Whatever your own interest is in biology and biomedicine, these courses will give you a choice of modular topics to choose from. Allowing you to enter a world of discovery that is the basis of life and providing you with a background that will serve you well in a range of future careers. As an academic qualification it is suitable for roles in environmental, medical laboratories, pharmaceutical, universities lab, chemical companies, clinical research.

A biology degree course will not only develop your subject knowledge, but also your practical and technical skills in this exciting field.

Biology degree course overview

Biology students are able to take a flexible approach to their studies. With courses being designed so that candidates  can, if they wish to, study purely biological modules or be able to work with students from other disciplines such as physics, geography, and medicine. Towards the end of course, most universities allow students to choose an individual project from a wide range of topics to suit their interests and career aspirations.

Fieldwork is an essential part of a biologist's training, with field courses and trips being organised to Africa, Europe and the USA. During these trips your subject based knowledge will be extended, with greater emphasis placed on the practical aspects of the course. All of this will help to develop your critical analytical skills and ability to carry out complex practical and field work exercises.

Typical modules and course content on a biology degree

  • Cell biology
  • The diversity of life
  • Introduction to genetics
  • Evolution
  • Cells to Organisms
  • Life on Earth: Ecology
  • Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Marine Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Immunology and Disease
  • The Evolution of Sex
  • Molecular Techniques
  • Clinical biochemistry
  • Bioethics
  • Environmental biology
  • Organismal Diversity
  • Ecology & Evolution
  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Plant Diversity
  • Fish Biology
  • Freshwater Ecosystems
  • Medical Genetics
  • Body systems
  • Biodiversity
  • Introductory chemistry

Students will learn about

  • The biological effect of human activities on the environment.
  • Scientific principles of human nutrition.
  • The biology, morphology and ecology of parasitic organisms.
  • Developing new medicines and vaccines.
  • Ensuring the safety of our food.
  • Protecting the planet’s biodiversity.
  • The challenge of regenerative medicine.
  • The fundamentals of biochemistry, genetics, physiology and whole-organism.

Skills you will learn on a biology degree course

  • The social, ethical and legal challenges that biological research can throw up.
  • How to collect and analyse masses of diverse data and then draw conclusions.
  • Practical laboratory-based skills.
  • Report writing.
  • Making presentations.
  • Business awareness.
  • Extended research projects.
  • Understanding complex biological and scientific data.
  • Analytical thinking.
  • Data acquisition and handling.
  • Team working.

Career prospects for biologists
Biology graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike. It is a qualification that employers value, and can take you into many occupations e.g. medical scientists, biotechnologists, teachers, ecologists, forensic scientists, genetic counsellors, neurobiologists, dietitians, agricultural scientists, conservationists, geneticists, veterinary scientists, marine biologists and many more. Graduates with a strong background in biology can build a rewarding career in sectors such as biomedicine, genetics, horticulture, and food and drink.

BIOLOGY PERSONAL STATEMENT

Below is a professionally written biology personal statement sample, you are advised not to copy it word for word, but to use it as a guide.

Biology personal statement example 1

"For me one of the best things about biology is that it is the study of life, and can provide us with answers and solutions to many of the challenges faced by the human race. Even though we know a lot about living things, we still don’t fully understand what makes them living and why they live.

I was also drawn to biology because i wanted to understand how things inside me and around me worked. At school i was fascinated by the scientific exploration of the vast and diverse world of living organisms, and wanted to learn more about how they all worked. I used to get very excited when I latched onto something new about the human body, and discovered how it really worked. These experiences only increased my interest in the natural world, and wetted my appetite to learn more. I became intrigued with the incredible variety of organisms that inhabit our planet, and wondered about their origin and how they have evolved. One of the most important points that stuck in my mind was how we as humans could reverse the destruction and erosion that threaten the world s most productive soils.

By studying biology at university I will not only be able to see the latest technical advances in this field, but also find answers to all the questions I have. As a bonus I would also have the opportunity to be involved in designing and executing experiments that can hopefully one day come up with solutions to pressing scientific problems. This final point is particularly fulfilling to me, as I get the chance to be involved in something real that can potentially benefit people in a practical way.

As an individual I possess excellent personal and communication skills, and have the ability to analyse data rigorously, make sound scientific judgements, and to use original thinking to tackle problems. I am capable of working independently, or interacting effectively as part of a team, and have the flexibility to work around the needs of experiments. When unsure of something, I am not afraid to ask questions and would never hesitate to query points or ask about things I have problems with understanding.

At college where I excelled at biology, we regularly went on field courses, which I found highly enjoyable. I earned a commendation from my teachers for the part I played in a project that studied the measurement of acidity, salinity, oxygen content and light in water, all within the context of looking at the relationship between aquatic life and water. During the project I regularly wrote up laboratory notebooks, prepared presentation materials and was involved in ensuring that all experiments and research were carried out in a safe working environment.

During my time away from academic study I continued to learn more about biology, by working briefly as a laboratory assistant at a pharmaceutical company. I was part of a enthusiastic team of researchers, whose backgrounds ranged from genetics, molecular biology and psychiatry to MR physics and computer science. I was required to carry out microbiological related tasks, including analytical procedures in order to provide accurate and reliable test results in accordance with specific written and verbal instructions and with due regard to Health, Safety and Quality standards.

With all the academic, social and work experience behind me, I now feel that I have required attitude, ability and confidence to apply for and enrol on a biology degree course.

I want to study in a place where I feel at home, that will provide me with what i want and will help me enhance my portfolio and future prospects. I feel that your university offers me everything that I am looking for in a institution and more. It has a high staff / student ratio, and gives students both a theoretical and practical hands on education. In conclusion I feel that to study biology at your university would be great for my career and for me personally."


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