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What makes an Integrated Masters in Human Biology at Worcester special?

We are living through 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.

At Worcester, we have adopted a practical approach to learning, with brand new laboratories equipped with the latest technologies, so you can get hands-on with the topics that interest you the most.

During the fourth (masters) year you will undertake a very research oriented programme which will take full advantage of the academic and commercial research expertise in Human Biology within the department.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Study for a four year Integrated Masters degree in Human Biology in a friendly and supportive environment with a strong emphasis on practical work
  • Staff are active in biomedical research, leading to informed and up-to-date teaching.
  • Gain extensive practical experience by working with our experts in new and refurbished laboratories using a range of specialist equipment
  • Obtain a valuable postgraduate qualification and enhance your chances when applying for scientific jobs or a PhD degree
  • The option to exit after three years and be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Human 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 information

The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ.

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 the UCAS website.

If you are an international student who does not have the relevant entry requirements for direct entry onto this course, our pathway courses at University of Worcester International College could be the right option for you and enable you to still graduate with this degree. To find out more visit the Science and Health & Social Science pathways page.

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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

Mandatory

  • Cell Biology
  • Health and Disease
  • Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology

Optional

  • Introduction to Biological Chemistry and Genetics
  • Optional language modules

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Human Genetics
  • Systems Physiology I (cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal physiology)
  • Project and Career Development

Optional

  • Work Experience
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Agents And Allergens
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Medical Forensic Science
  • Integrated Human Metabolism
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Optional language modules

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Independent Study
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Systems Physiology II (neurophysiology and neuroendocrine physiology)

Optional

  • Work Experience
  • Animal Movement
  • Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Biological Indicators for Crime Reporting
  • The Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Research Methods and Research Project
  • Pharmacology
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Extension Module
  • Parasitology

Year 4

Mandatory

  • Research Methods
  • Applied and Commercial Research
  • Integrated Masters Thesis/Project in Human Biology

Human Biology at Worcester

In your first year you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the structure and functions of living organisms appropriate to the course. Subjects central to Human Biology such as Cell Biology and Physiology are delivered in double modules to allow for suitable development of the subject and for the delivery of important subject-specific and generic skills. In Years 2 and 3 the modules become more specialised. In Systems Physiology I, you will gain detailed understanding of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal systems. In Systems Physiology II, we cover neurophysiology and neuroendocrine physiology in detail.

In Year 3, you will undertake an independent study which is a double module, designed in Year 2. Past topics have included amplification of ancient human DNA, the antimicrobial effects of mouthwash against oral biofilms, relationship between caffeine consumption and memory retention, intake of essential fatty acids and cognition in young and aged individuals, and second to fourth digit ratio and correlations with aggression, memory retention and handedness.

Year 4 modules are common to a range of Biological Science Integrated masters courses but each subject specialisation will be achieved by students varying their selection of topics from within menus of material within each module. For example, a Human Biology student will undertake an appropriate research project which will differ from the choices available to a Plant Scienctist. Although there will be generic material, the individual skills delivered within the Applied and Commercial Research and Research Methods modules will also be tailored to deliver the individual needs of each Integrated Masters course.

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 current commercial and applied research expertise in our Charles Darwin Laboratories including the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.

View the Biology Programmes Overview.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

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 from other disciplines to produce a commercial research proposal which you will 'pitch' to customers. This module will also allow you to reflect on your role. Year 4 will also involve independent learning via a 60 credit dissertation.

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 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.

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 or third 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.

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 third and fourth years you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
  • 1 hour of group workshops
  • 1 hour of Study Skills (first year only)

Independent self-study

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 will substantially increase in year 4.

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.

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 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 the research and consultancy, and 93% of course lecturers in the Biological Sciences have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. 20% 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.

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
3 practical reports
6 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 poster presentation
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 Independent study report
1 poster presentation
2 presentations
6 examinations of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 on-line activity
1 essay
1 practical test
3 practical reports
1 scientific review article
1 summary and critical discussion of academic papers

Year 4
2 PDP 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

Feedback

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.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

dr-allain-bueno

Dr Allain Bueno

Dr Allain 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.

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.

dr-steven-j-coles

Dr Steven J Coles

Steve achieved a first class honours degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the West of England (UWE, 2005) before undertaking a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Neurochemistry) which he attained in 2008 (UWE). Following his studies, Steve joined the School of Medicine at Cardiff University as a post-doctoral research scientist (Department of Haematology), where his research focussed on tumour immunology and immunotherapy in a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Careers

Where could it take you?

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 position. There is an increasing need for graduates in the UK economy as skilled researchers for UK PLC. 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.

The Biological Sciences courses have 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 our students an advantage when seeking employment or continuing their studies through a higher degree. 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.

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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 2020/21 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2020/21 is £12,700 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 2020/21 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

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

You will also need a lab coat, which can be bought for around £13.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £105 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £169 per week (2020/21 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Human Biology MBiol (Integrate Masters) - CC11

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

CC11

Get in touch

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

Lorraine Weaver

Head of Biological Sciences

SSE Academic Support Unit