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What makes an Integrated Masters in Biology at Worcester special?

Biology is one of the most actively changing subjects in the sciences, with biologists constantly seeking solutions to the many challenges that shape our world. You will engage with the subject at every level, from the molecular level through whole organisms and beyond to their relationships with each other and the wider environment.

The course deals with many different groups of organisms in terms of their structure, development, physiology, metabolism and ecology. It also explains how a range of new techniques, such as the sequencing of the entire genomes of an increasing number of species, have added enormously to knowledge so that modern biologists can address questions that were unanswerable in the past.

A key strength of the course is the clear link between this new information and established knowledge. For example, the new 'genomics' material is taught in association with Mendelian genetics and modern 'bioinformatics' methods are used to show how evolution can be followed by examining DNA and amino acid sequences from different species.

If you choose the Animal Biology pathway, you will have the opportunity to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom and the natural world. You'll learn about the fundamentals of biology, from the functioning of a single cell right up to the processes that control reproduction and survival in complex organisms.

Taking a broad approach to the subject is the strong feature of our Biological Science pathway. You will study all areas of Biology from DNA to physiology, from cells to ecosystems, from genetics to conservation. In this you will have the opportunity to undertake unique research opportunities in a field based on your area of interest. You’ll also get to explore the latest discoveries and their relationship with established biological principles.

Following the Human Biology pathway provides you with insights into an age of unprecedented scientific discovery, with the mapping of the human genome and the potential of stem cell research revolutionising our understanding of how our bodies work.

Opting to follow the Biochemistry pathway will enable you to explore the molecular machinery that lies at the heart of the cell and drives all living organisms. There is emphasis on human health, from the processes that cause cancer to the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

In the fourth (masters) year, you will undertake a research-oriented programme which will take full advantage of the academic and commercial research expertise in the Biology team. You'll learn more about the latest technologies that drive Biology research and the importance of its application to solve problems in the industry.

Applied and Commercial Research is a unique aspect of our Integrated Masters programme compared with other institutions. It will offer students valuable insights into applied and commercial rather than just pure research. Most of this module will take advantage of commercial and applied research expertise in our Charles Darwin Laboratories.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Opportunity to explore a range of biological science topics and flexibility to focus on Animal Biology, Biological Science, Biochemistry or Human Biology.
  • Study on a four year Integrated Masters undergraduate degree in a friendly and supportive environment.
  • Gain extensive practical experience and knowledge by working with academic and technical experts in new and refurbished laboratories using a range of specialist equipment.
  • Obtain a valuable undergraduate Masters qualification and enhance your chances when applying for scientific jobs or a PhD degree.
  • Opportunity to undertake an optional international field trip on Biological Science and Animal Biology pathways (additional costs apply).
  • Links with local Wildlife Trusts and other environmental and conservations agencies, Sea Life Centres and Safari parks.
  • Volunteer as part of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Eco Campus initiative.
  • Excellent partnerships with many UK and international research institutions, including The Karolinska Institute - home of the Nobel Prize
  • New laboratories and extensive specialist equipment - an inspiring environment for you to develop your ideas
  • Accreditation with the Royal Society of Biology being sought
Diagram showing the Biology MBiol course structure

What makes the course at the University of Worcester special?

MBiol Biology at University of Worcester offers you a unique opportunity to gain core knowledge in a range of biological subjects before deciding which area you wish to specialise in.

You will study core biology in your first year of study, then decide whether to study modules in the Animal Biology/Biological Science or Human Biology/Biochemistry pathway groups alongside core knowledge in your second year.

You will then choose whether to study more advanced modules in Animal Biology, Biological Science, Biochemistry or Human Biology in your third year, and will graduate with MBiol Biology annotated with your area of speciality, for instance MBiol Biology (Animal Biology).

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Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

96-104
UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

  • 96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A level Biology and A level in another science, maths or statistics.
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A level Biology
  • Other qualifications will be taken into account when considering your application, typical BTEC entry would be DMM.

Other qualifications, such as BTEC in Applied Science or equivalent, and Access to Higher Education (with at least 15 credits of Biological Sciences gained), will also be considered.

Other information

If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from www.ucas.com

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

All pathways

Mandatory

  • Biological Diversity
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • Comparative Physiology
  • Health and Disease

Year 2

Animal Biology/Biological Science Pathways

Mandatory

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Surveying Species & Habitats
  • Molecular Genetics & Conservation
  • Plant Biology
  • Project & Career Development

Optional

Choose 1 from:

  • Microbiology
  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Work Experience
  • Language Option

Biochemistry/Human Biology Pathways

Mandatory

  • Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Systems Physiology 1
  • Project & Career Development

Optional

Choose 1 from:

  • Microbiology
  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Work Experience
  • Language Option

Year 3

MBiol Biology (Animal Biology)

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Welfare & Ethics for Biologists
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Current Topics in Zoology & Conservation

Optional

Choose 1 from:

  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • International field trip
  • Parasitology

MBiol Biology (Biochemistry)

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • Metabolic Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Clinical Biochemistry

Optional

Choose 2 from:

  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Parasitology
  • Systems Physiology 2

and choose 1 from:

  • Pharmacology
  • Extension Module
  • Systems Physiology 2

MBiol Biology (Biological Science)

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Plant Development & Physiology

Optional

Choose 1 from:

  • Mammalian Reproduction International field trip
  • Parasitology

and choose 2 from:

  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Pharmacology
  • Extension Module

MBiol Biology (Human Biology)

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Systems Physiology 2
  • Biochemistry of Cancer

Optional

Choose 1 from:

  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Parasitology

and choose 1 from:

  • Pharmacology
  • Extension Module

Year 4

All pathways

Mandatory

  • Research Methods
  • Applied Commercial Research
  • Dissertation in Biology (pathway specific)
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent research project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of 'hands on' practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful. In year 4 you will interact with other students to produce a commercial research proposal which you will 'pitch' to customers. Year 4 will also involve independent learning via a 60 credit dissertation.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme.  Year 4 will involve much more independent work and group work and the chance to engage in a substantial piece of research.

Location of teaching

Most teaching will be at the University of Worcester.  However, students may have work experience in different organisations, or may be involved in field or lab work outside the University.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically, class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 to 6 hours of lectures
  • 2 to 4 hours of interactive workshops or seminars
  • Around 8 hours of laboratory or field-based practical

Class sizes will vary depending on the module from over 100 in Cell Biology theory sessions (though practical sessions are smaller and have significant staff support) to smaller numbers of around 20 for some of the final year modules.

Independent self-study

For all of the pathways:

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 27 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve going over your lecture notes and reading around the topic in order to reinforce the content, completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Duration

4 years full-time

Timetables

Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that whilst we try to be as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week; and some classes can be scheduled in the evenings.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions.  Research assistants and post-doctoral researchers will support pure and applied research in year 4.  Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Teaching is informed by our research, and (as at December 2020) 93 per cent of course lecturers in the Biological Sciences have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Twenty per cent also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate. We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.  

Assessment methods include practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • 4 practical reports
  • 3 practical files
  • 6 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours’ duration
  • 1 practical test
  • 1 presentation
  • 1 poster

Year 2

  • 2 practical reports
  • 5 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours’ duration
  • 2 poster presentations
  • 1 presentation
  • 1 practical test
  • 1 practical handbook
  • 1 bioinformatics handbook
  • 1 data exercise
  • 1 lay summary
  • 1 literature portfolio
  • 1 research proposal
  • 1 CV and practice job interview

Year 3

  • 1 Research Project dissertation
  • 2 poster presentation
  • 2 presentations
  • 4 examinations of 1.5 or 2 hours’ duration
  • 1 on-line activity
  • 1 essay
  • 1 practical test
  • 2 practical reports
  • 1 scientific review article
  • 1 summary and critical discussion of academic papers

Year 4

  • 2 Personal Development action plans
  • 1 grant application
  • 1 lab notebook
  • 1 group action plan
  • 1 group business pitch
  • 1 reflective account
  • 1 interim dissertation viva
  • 1 dissertation report
  • 1 poster presentation

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Here are a few members of the department who currently teach on this course:

Peter

Professor Peter Seville

In 2019, Peter joined University of Worcester as Professor and Head of the School of Science and the Environment, where he manages staff delivering a range of courses including Biology, Biomedical Science, Forensic and Applied Biology and Medical Science.  In this role Peter is also supporting the establishment of a new Medical School at the University.

Peter's interests and experiences cover a diverse range, including: human health in his role as a pharmacist; animal health through his education in veterinary pharmacy; pharmaceutical science particularly the aerosolisation of medicines into the lung arising from his research; and law both in his role as a Justice of the Peace and as the law relates to health care.

mike wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler is Head of Biological Sciences.

Mike joined the University of Worcester in 2010 after researching in the area of plant molecular genetics. Mike developed a strong background in the biology of cell signalling in plants, with specific research into the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in poppy and the control of polarity in pollen tubes of tobacco. He is currently investigating the function of a large family of secreted proteins likely to be involved in cell-cell communication in the model plants, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens.

In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern. Mike is also currently involved in a scheme to improve winter feeding for farmland birds at Lakeside campus in partnership with the local RSPB group.

Mike is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.

dr-allain-bueno

Dr Allain Bueno

Dr Allain Bueno is Course Leader and Admissions Tutor for the BSc Medical Sciences course

Dr Bueno joined the University of Worcester in January 2012, after 4 years of Post-doctoral experience at the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition in London, working with Prof Michael Angus Crawford, one of the pioneers in fatty acid metabolism and brain composition.

Dr Bueno investigated in his PhD the effects of dietary fats on adipose tissue metabolism, and how different types of fat can influence disorders such as inflammation and diabetes. In his MPhil Dr Bueno investigated the impact of surgical removal of fat pads on metabolic adaptations in obesity induced by diet and by neurochemical malfunctioning.

Dr Bueno graduated as a Biomedical Scientist – Medical Modality – from Paulista School of Medicine, Sao Paulo Federal University in Brazil. He has extensive experience in clinical sciences, having worked and taught in a leading Tertiary Referral Hospital. His current area of research includes the biochemistry of dietary fats and their role in oxidative stress, brain metabolism and function.

Dr Bueno is a Scientific Advisor of the Food Standards Agency.

 

ray-camilleri

Dr Ray Camilleri

Ray joined the academic staff at the University of Worcester in September 2017 as a Senior Lecturer, Course Leader and Admissions Tutor of our biomedical course.

He is also a member of the Worcester Biomedical Research Group and Health, Life and Environment Research Ethics Committee.

Ray’s research has been focused on the genetic and phenotypic links between von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

 

dr-amy-cherry

Dr Amy Cherry

Dr Amy Cherry joined the University of Worcester following postdoctoral positions at the National Institute of Medical Research and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Her research focuses on understanding how proteins work at the molecular level and on how one can use knowledge of protein structure to tackle disease.

dr-steven-j-coles

Dr Steven J Coles

Steve joined the University of Worcester in 2013, following 5 years post-doctoral experience at Cardiff University, School of Medicine (Section of Haematology), working with Professors Tonks and Darley. During his time at Cardiff, Steve investigated the role of the immune checkpoint molecule, CD200, in a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Since joining us, Steve has introduced several new modules to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences curriculum that align with his expertise, including: Immunology and  Biochemistry of Cancer.

Steve has also helped to establish and lead the Worcester Biomedical Research Group, where the research focusses on Cancer, Neurodegeneration and Cardiovascular Disease.

dr-rob-herbert

Dr Rob Herbert

Dr Rob Herbert is the Programme Leader for Biological Sciences

dr-kate-ashbrook

Dr Kate Ashbrook

Kate's background includes four years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Bath and a period as a field researcher for the Canadian Wildlife Service where she contributed to long-term monitoring of a seabird colony in Nunavut, Canada.

Her research interests focus on using modelling to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and inform conservation management.

Careers

Where could it take you?

On our MBiol Biology course, the first three years will follow the same modules as students on the BSc Biology course. These offer excellent practical hands-on experience in these areas.

Our MBiol Biology degree prepares you for a number of degree paths including scientific researcher within government, industry or medical institutions, nature conservation, a range of public sector work and a teaching career.

It is becoming increasing difficult for graduates to obtain PhD positions with only a BSc (Hons) degree. Graduates with an Integrated Masters degree would have significant additional research expertise that would enable them to progress straight to an MPhil/PhD course. There is an increasing need for graduates in the UK economy as skilled researchers. Such graduates have much to offer within the general area of applied biological research but also, critically, to drive forward the innovation that is vital for the UK economy.

Our Biology degree has a strong applied component. We have retained a great deal of practical and field work, both of which have been greatly reduced in many universities; these give you an advantage when seeking employment or continuing your studies through a higher degree. The skills achieved are recorded throughout the course in a Technical Skills Passport which allows employers to see the wide range of skills developed. This has suited students well for careers in the laboratory or the field. Some are engaged in research or education and some undertake medical qualifications or complete higher degrees.

There are many opportunities to extend your experience and enhance your CV by carrying out voluntary work. Staff members in the Institute have links with several Wild Life Trusts (including Worcestershire Wildlife Trust) and other environmental and conservation agencies, Sea Life Centres, Safari Parks etc. and can help organise voluntary work (which can feed into Research Projects in the final year of study). There has also been the possibility for students to gain experience by volunteering to work within the Environmental Sustainability Eco Campus initiative.

Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £13,100 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2021/22 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module, £2,313 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

The courses involves day-to-day costs for printing, stationery, books etc. A lab coat (which can be bought for about £13) is also required and a scientific calculator is useful.

Any mandatory field trips are paid for by the University but optional residential trips such as the International Biology field trip incur additional costs.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Biology MBiol (Integrated Masters) - C1C1

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

UCAS Code

C1C1

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Professor Peter Seville

Head of School