Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with integrated placement year (additional optional MBiol masters year available)
  • Course options
    Optional placement year
  • UCAS code(s)
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A Level
    BBB to BCC including Biology (depending on EPQ, Core Maths or Contextual offer)
  • BTEC
    Are welcome with the relevant A Level subjects, please see below for further details
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma
    31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 must include Biology)
  • GCSEs
    Five GCSEs all at grade C/4 and must include Mathematics and English Language
More information
Apply via UCAS

Key dates

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Biological Sciences BSc at Aston University

Meet Homayra who chose to study at Aston because of our Royal Society of Biology accreditation and practical course focus.

Top 20 in the UK for students satisfied with teaching (Biosciences, The Guardian University League Table, 2020)

93.8% of BSc Biological Science students at Aston were satisfied with the Teaching on their course (NSS, 2019)

Top 10 in the UK for graduate prospects (Biological Sciences, Complete University Guide, 2020)

Enhance and develop your specialist research and laboratory skills with our optional MBiol masters year, which allows you to undertake a 6 month final year project in a research laboratory

Course summary

Gain an in-depth knowledge of this dynamic field with our Royal Society of Biology (RSB) accredited* Biological Sciences course. You’ll study from a broad curriculum as well having the opportunity to select modules of your interest. Our exciting placement year gives real-world experience and our optional MBiol masters year will further enhance your research skills.

Entry requirements and fees: 2020

Duration: 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with integrated placement year

An additional MBiol integrated masters year is available for students who achieve 60% or above in their second year and wish to transfer. For those that do move to our MBiol, the course will be 4 years full-time, or 5 years full-time if optional placement year is taken.

Start date: September

UCAS Code: C112

For 2020 entry:

  • UK / EU students: £9,250 per year
  • International students: £18,900* per year

Explore the costs involved in university and the financial support that may be available to you.

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

Admissions Review Process: All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with lower predicted grades if the application is of a high standard which includes a strong personal statement and academic reference. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated below. Whilst we normally look for evidence of recent study (which we define as the past 3 years), we also welcome applications from mature students who have achieved grades up to 10 years old, which will be considered on a case by case scenario. You will be required to make a full UCAS application which lists your education and work history up to the time of application along with sufficient references. Find out more about our admissions policy.

Applicant Visit Days: Students who receive an offer will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and Aston University.


Typical offers

GCSEs: Five GCSEs which must include Maths and English Language all at grade C/4. Please note we do not accept Key skills or Functional skills in place of these.

A Levels:

  • BBB in three A level subjects including Biology.
  • BBC in three A level subjects including Biology and B in either Core Maths or Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
  • BCC in three A level subjects including Biology for our contextual offer scheme.

Excluded Subjects: We welcome the following subjects as an additional A level, but not as one of the core three A levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies.

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits and only your latest grades will be accepted. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC: We welcome BTEC qualifications in any subject which are taken with the relevant A Level subjects as listed below. Contextual offer applicants need to achieve a grade C as listed below.

BTEC qualification name BTEC grades required A Level requirements
Extended Diploma (QCF/National) Distinction, Distinction, Distinction (DDD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grade B in A-Level Biology

Diploma (QCF)

National Diploma

Distinction, Distinction (DD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grade B in A-Level Biology

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology
90 Credit Diploma (QCF) Distinction, Distinction (DD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology
National Foundation Diploma Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A levels of which one must be Biology

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 31 points overall and must include grades 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects which must include Biology. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language.

Access to Higher Education: We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement. Subjects Accepted: Applied Science, Biology combined with Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Biosciences, Combined Sciences, Health Sciences, Health Sciences Professions, Life Sciences and Sciences.

Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University):  For students with good A level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing the Foundation Programme in Science at Aston University.


International students

International qualifications: Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme. International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.


Alternative qualifications

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Degree: We consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a degree in a related field elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails at another recognised university. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. It is also expected that you have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

External Foundation Programmes from another University: We consider external foundation programmes for entry into our year 1 programmes on a case-by-case basis. We will always require applicants to have met the following criteria prior to application:

  • 5 GCSE’s at grade C/4 or above including Maths and English.
  • CCC at A-Level

If you meet the above pre-requisite qualifications, we will be required to review the programme specification of your foundation programme. After we have reviewed the programme specification a decision will be made. Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme.

Professional accreditation

*Please that we are currently seeking re-accreditation for our most recent course structure update (correct as of December 2019).

Our BSc Biological Sciences course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology* (RSB). RSB accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, preparing 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.

Students who achieve a minimum of 60% in their second year will be given the option to transfer onto our integrated masters MBiol programme. Our MBiol Biological Sciences course holds Advanced Degree Accreditation by the RSB*. This advanced accreditation recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The criteria require evidence that graduates from the course meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience. 

Course outline and what you will study

Course outline

The umbrella of Biological Sciences encompasses multiple areas of scientific study including living organisms, life cycles, adaptations and environment.

Biology as a whole can be studied at several levels through multiple angles. From molecular interactions at a sub-cellular level to cellular interactions at a tissue level, and even interactions of whole organisms. It encompasses numerous academic fields that can be regarded as individual disciplines, such as genetics.

Our Biological Sciences degree incorporates a wealth of topics, allowing you to delve into your passions. At Aston, you’ll study modules ranging from microbiology and biochemistry to biotechnology and physiology.

During your first two years as a Biological Sciences BSc student, you will follow a broad and structured curriculum. Allowing you to develop a thorough understanding and awareness of the subject as a whole. Your final year will allow you to choose specific modules of your interest as well as producing an individual original research project.

Optional MBiol year

If you achieve a mark of at least 60% in your second year, you will be given the opportunity to transfer onto the MBiol programme, should you wish to. The purpose of the MBiol course is to produce graduates with the knowledge, understanding and skills to undertake a career in research particularly in the area of human health and disease. The highlight is a 6 month final year project in a research laboratory, where you can work alongside post-graduates and post-doctoral fellows.

What you will study

Year 1: In your first year you will be introduced to a range of key bioscience topics that will be the fundamental building blocks for your biological sciences education. You’ll gain knowledge of the structure, function, synthesis and degradation of biomolecules, discover how genetic material is stored and inherited and learn to describe the structures and key components of cells. You will also start to undertake laboratory work, learning how to work safely and complete reports.


  • Biomolecules
  • Cells to Systems
  • Microbiology and Genetics
  • Metabolic Physiology for Biology.

Year 2: During the second year you will build on and learn to integrate the knowledge gained in your first year, as well as discovering exciting new topics. You will develop the skills to apply fundamental biological concepts to experimental and real world problems and learn to select appropriate experimental approaches and test hypotheses.


  • Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Mechanisms of Pathology
  • Human Disease
  • Cell Signalling and Physiology.

Placement year (optional): The optional placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in a real world context of a working environment alongside professionals. You will gain experience by taking a placement in the UK or abroad in a wide variety of settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories or non-laboratory settings.

Final year BSc/ penultimate year MBiol: The final year of your studies will provide you with the skills required to complete a substantial original research project. You’ll learn how to critically review scientific literature, create and test hypotheses using appropriate methodologies and how to critically reflect on their own research. You will also have the opportunity to apply your previously acquired knowledge to a range of advanced topics, selecting those that most suit your future career aspirations.


  • Research Project Preparation
  • Research Project
  • Professional Development for Biological Scientists.

In addition you will complete three of the following modules:

  • Bench to Bedside
  • Biology of Ageing
  • Cancer Biology
  • Immunology & Inflammation
  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Metabolic Disease
  • Molecular and Applied Microbiology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology

Final year MBiol (if chosen): The highlight of your MBiol programme will be the completion of a substantial a six-month research project, where you will get the opportunity to work alongside post-graduates and post-doctoral fellows. You will also study advanced masters level modules in a range of specialist areas.


  • Advanced Lab Skills with Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Laboratory Competence Training
  • MBiol Key Skills
  • MBiol Laboratory Research Project.

In addition you will complete one/two* of the following modules:

  • Professional Development and Research Communication
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Applied Biotechnology
  • Stem Cell Biology and Cellular Differentiation
  • Tissue Regeneration.
  • Ageing and Regenerative Medicine

*Modules available are worth 15 or 30 credits, students are required to complete 30 credits worth of elective modules during this year.

Placement year

The best way to prepare you for your future career is to gain experience in the real world of work. That's why our course offers you the option to complete an integrated placement year, taken between the second and final years of your degree.

Designed to make you stand out in the graduate crowd, you can undertake placements in laboratory settings such as hospital, industrial or research laboratories, as well as non-laboratory settings.

Our students have completed placements in setting such as:

  • Clinical trial companies
  • Research institutes
  • Breweries
  • The food industry
  • Pharmaceutical companies (e.g. AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Medical sales
  • Biotechnology companies.
Learning, teaching, assessment and staff

Throughout your time at Aston, you will encounter a variety of learning opportunities, like:

  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Interactive workshops and tutorials
  • Group work
  • Self-study courses.

You will be continuously assessed throughout the course with wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes, such as:

  • Examinations (unseen essay, short answer or multiple choice questions)
  • Essays
  • Practical reports (group or individual)
  • Presentations
  • Laboratory reports 
  • Project work
  • Computer based assessment
  • Peer assessments.


Aston offers an incredible mix of top quality teaching with world class research. As a biological sciences student, you will be taught by experts in their field of biosciences about topics they have a passion for. This passion comes across in the teaching and enables us to highlight the real-world applications of the knowledge you are gaining.

There is huge breadth of academic research undertaken across Aston which is integrated into our courses. It’s this integration that gives you a distinct advantage in your studies by ensuring you have access to the latest trends, thinking, issues and research.

Programme Director: Dr Russell Collighan

Admissions Tutor: Dr James Brown


Your future career prospects

Our graduates enter a wide range of professional careers, including research, health, welfare and the biological industries in roles such as laboratory technician and research assistant.

In addition to scientific positions, some graduates enter general management and personnel work as well as product development and marketing, while others move into teaching, continue with postgraduate study or further research.

Recent destinations include:

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Asterand Bioscience
  • Aston University
  • Berwick Partners
  • IVC Brunel Healthcare
  • National Milk Laboratories
  • NHS Trusts
  • The Binding Site
  • Secondary Schools
  • University of Warwick.

Personal development 

Our course helps you develop the knowledge and skills needed to maximise your career prospects. This course will enable you to develop key skills including: 

  • Fundamental laboratory techniques
  • Record keeping
  • Project development
  • Management
  • Critical analysis
  • Communication (written/oral)
  • Presentation
  • Team working
  • Report development
  • IT
  • Problem solving
  • Debating.

You will benefit from:

  • Extensive and well equipped laboratories, with up-to-date equipment and projection facilities for demonstration purposes;
  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment;
  • A large computer laboratory;
  • A virtual learning environment used for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.
  • Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form;
  • A newly refurbished and extended Aston University Library. The Library is open 7 days a week all year round, and at key times of the academic year, it is open 24 hours a day on 6 days a week.
Contact us
How did the quality of teaching and student support enhance your time at Aston?

The lecturers always made me feel welcome to ask for help when I needed it, giving me confidence in my own work and abilities.

How do you feel your placement prepared you for your future career?

As I wish to pursue a career in scientific communication, my degree has equipped me with the skills to understand and explain scientific concepts. In addition, I have gained a wealth of transferable skills through planning, organising and carrying out experiments. The nature of scientific research with its ups and downs has taught me perseverance and dedication, which is imperative in any job role.

How did the quality of teaching and student support enhance your time at Aston?

I couldn't fault my course, staff were helpful and the opportunity to do a lab-based project in final year really enhanced my learning and made me more employable.

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