Microbiology

Biology - BSc (Hons)
with a Sandwich Year

Our degrees are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology and are driven by our cutting-edge research to create an exciting and rewarding learning environment. At Kent you will gain the scientific knowledge and practical skills to enable you to work at the forefront of biological progress. Our modules will help you to understand the complexity and diversity of bacteria, viruses, plant and animal cells, and how to apply this knowledge to a wide variety of applications including genetic engineering for health or agricultural purposes, species conservation, and new sustainable technologies to protect the environment.

To ensure that you will have the best possible start in your future career, we will also help you to develop a wide range of communication and employability skills. Our subject specialists are here to provide expert advice on the different careers and placement opportunities available.

Overview

Our degree programme

In your first year, you are introduced to a broad survey of the various biological disciplines, including biochemistry, biodiversity, cell and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, human physiology, and field study work. You also take a skills course to gain more expertise in laboratory practical work, and the analysis and presentation of biological data.

In your second year, you develop your knowledge of gene regulation, cell biology, microbiology, animal and plant physiology, and human health and disease. The modules at this stage go into greater depth and subjects can include animal form and function, plant physiology and adaptation, gene expression, infection and immunity, microbial physiology and skills for bioscientists 2.

During the summer vacation after your second year, there are also opportunities to work in one of our research labs on an eight-week Summer Studentship. The School attracts a large research income (about £4.5 million per year) and is ranked 7th in the UK for research intensity (outperforming 19 of the 24 Russell Group universities).

In your final year, the range of optional modules increases to allow you to specialise in subjects that interest you, such as neuroscience, virology, immunology, bioinformatics, cell signaling, aging, cancer, primate biology or climate change and conservation. You also complete an eight-week research project, which may be laboratory, business, computing or communication based.

Sandwich year

Your 'Sandwich Year' is taken between your second and final years. It provides an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience in industry in the UK or abroad. During your placement you are paid by your employer and produce an independent research project.

Alternatively, you can study or work abroad as part of your degree on our Biology with a Year Abroad programme. You can also take our three-year Biology degree, without a year abroad or a sandwich year.

Study resources

We recently spent £2 million on our laboratories to ensure that you develop your practical skills in a world-class environment. We give you extensive practical training and you spend up to three days a week in the laboratory during your final year project.

Extra activities

You can join BioSoc, a student-run society. Previous activities have included research talks and social events.

We also encourage our students to attend outside conferences and events. In 2015, Kent students competed with 280 teams and won the gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree in the USA.

Professional networks

Our school collaborates with research groups in industry and academia throughout the UK and Europe. It also has excellent links with local employers, such as:

  • NHS
  • GSK
  • MedImmune
  • Eli Lilly
  • Lonza
  • Aesica Pharmaceuticals
  • Sekisui Diagnostics
  • Cairn Research
  • Public Health England.

Featured video

Flexible tariff

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBC including Biology or Human Biology grade B or Double Award Applied Science at grade BB including the practical endorsement of any science qualifications taken.

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Mathematics grade C

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to pass the Access to Higher Education Diploma with 36 level 3 credits at distinction and 9 at merit, and to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits in particular subjects at distinction or merit grade.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit in Applied Science or Biomedical Science. Please contact us for advice if you are taking a different BTEC subject. 

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL including Biology 5 at HL or 6 at SL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Skills for Bioscientists, Fundamentals of Human Biology and Life Sciences (plus 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).

Please contact the School for more information at study-bio@kent.ac.uk

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

You take all compulsory modules and then one optional module. If you choose Biological Chemistry A, the module you take will depend on your previous chemistry experience.

Compulsory modules currently include

This course will provide an introduction to biomolecules in living matter. The simplicity of the building blocks of macromolecules (amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and purine and pyrimidine bases) will be contrasted with the enormous variety and adaptability that is obtained with the different macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids). The nature of the electronic and molecular structure of macromolecules and the role of non-covalent interactions in an aqueous environment will be highlighted. The unit will be delivered though lectures, formative practicals and related feedback sessions to ensure students fully understand what is expected of them. Short tests (formative assessment) will be used throughout the unit to test students' knowledge and monitor that the right material has been extracted from the lectures.

Find out more about BIOS3000

This course aims to introduce the 'workers' present in all cells – enzymes, and their role in the chemical reactions that make life possible.

The fundamental characteristics of enzymes will be discussed – that they are types of protein that act as catalysts to speed up reactions, or make unlikely reactions more likely. Methods for analysis of enzymic reactions will be introduced (enzyme kinetics). Control of enzyme activity, and enzyme inhibition will be discussed.

Following on from this the pathways of intermediary metabolism will be introduced. Enzymes catalyse many biochemical transformations in living cells, of which some of the most fundamental are those which capture energy from nutrients. Energy capture by the breakdown (catabolism) of complex molecules and the corresponding formation of NADH, NADPH, FADH2 and ATP will be described. The central roles of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation in aerobic metabolism will be detailed. The pathways used in animals for catabolism and biosynthesis (anabolism) of some carbohydrates and fat will be covered, as well as their control. Finally how humans adapt their metabolism to survive starvation will be discussed.

Find out more about BIOS3010

This module addresses key themes and experimental techniques in molecular and cellular illustrated by examples from a range of microbes animals and plants . It covers basic cell structure, and organisation including organelles and their functions, cytoskeleton, cell cycle control and cell division. The control of all living processes by genetic mechanisms is introduced and an opportunity to handle and manipulate genetic material provided in the laboratory. Monitoring of students' knowledge and progress will be provided by a multi-choice test and the laboratory report, with feedback.

Functional Geography of Cells: Introduction to cell organisation, variety and cell membranes. Molecular traffic in cells. Organelles involved in energy and metabolism. Eukaryotic cell cycle. Chromosome structure & cell division. Meiosis and recombination. Cytoskeleton.

Molecular biology: The structure and function of genetic material. Chromosomes, chromatin structure, mutations, DNA replication, DNA repair and recombination, Basic mechanisms of transcription, mRNA processing and translation.

Techniques in molecular and cellular biology: Methods in cell Biology - light and electron microscopy; cell culture, fractionation and protein isolation/electrophoresis; antibodies, radiolabelling. Gene Cloning – vectors, enzymes, ligation, transformation, screening; hybridisation, probes and blots, PCR, DNA sequencing. Applications of recombinant DNA technology.

Laboratory: PCR amplification of DNA and gel analysis.

Find out more about BIOS3020

This module will consider the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the aetiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient. It may also cover the diagnosis and treatment of the disease condition.

Indicative topics will include:

Cells and tissues

Membrane dynamics

Cell communication and homeostasis

Introduction to the nervous system

The cardiovascular system

The respiratory system

The immune system and inflammation

Blood cells and clotting

The Urinary system

The digestive system, liver and pancreas

Find out more about BIOS3070

Subject-based and communication skills are relevant to all the bioscience courses. This module allows you to become familiar with practical skills, the analysis and presentation of biological data and introduces some basic mathematical and statistical skills as applied to biological problems. It also introduces you to the computer network and its applications and covers essential skills such as note-taking and essay writing.

Find out more about BIOS3080

The aim of this module is to introduce the diversity of life, evolution and development of body form in a wide variety of organisms, including prokaryotes, animals and plants.

Find out more about BIOS3230

This module is an introduction to Mendelian genetics, and it will also address human pedigrees, quantitative genetics, and mechanisms of evolution.

Find out more about BIOS3240

One-on-one meetings and small group tutorials focused on academic progression and the development of key skills to support the core curriculum and future study or employment. Students meet with their Academic Advisor individually or in small groups at intervals during the academic year. Individual meetings review academic progress, support career planning etc. Themed tutorials develop transferable skills; indicative topics are essay and report writing, presentation skills, sourcing information, critical analysis etc. The tutorials are informal involving student activity and discussion. Year group events deliver general information e.g. on University resources, 4-year programmes, module selection etc.

Find out more about BIOS4000

Optional modules may include

Students with A2 Chemistry (equivalent) on entry take Phases 2+3.

Biology students with A2 Chemistry (or equivalent) will obtain additional chemical concepts (Phase 3) as their chemistry qualification at A2 will already furnish them with concepts from Phase 1. All students will participate in the core section: Phase 2.

Phases 2+3 students will use the Phase 1 coursework test as a formative assessment to recognise their required chemical knowledgebase as obtained at A2 level. This provides an opportunity to identify students requiring additional support.

This module links to Biological Chemistry B with identically designed phases (1, 2 and 3) to maximise teaching efficiency across all programs in the School of Biosciences.

Phase 2: Autumn Term (9 lectures, 2 x 2 hr Workshop, 3 extra support lectures)

Chemical and biochemical thermodynamics. Topics covered are: (i) energetic and work, (ii) enthalpy, entropy and the laws of thermodynamics (iii) Gibbs free energy, equilibrium and spontaneous reactions, (iv) Chemical and biochemical equilibrium (including activity versus concentration and Le Chatelier's principle). The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications and practice of thermodynamics concepts.

Chemistry applied to biological concepts: bonding, valence, hybridisation as well as biological applied thermodynamic process (biomolecular association/dissociation).

Assessment feedback (1 session/lecture)

Phase 3: Spring Term (17 lectures, 2 x 2 hr workshop)

Fundamental organic chemistry with biological examples. Topics covered: (i) Introduction and basic functional chemistry, (ii) Isomerism and stereochemistry, (iii) Reaction mechanisms, (iv) Alkanes/alkyl halides/alkenes/alkynes, (v) Aromatic compounds, (vi) Heterocyclic compounds, (vii) Amines and alcohols (viii) Carbonyl compounds and carboxylic acids and (ix) Biological inorganic chemistry. The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications of reaction mechanisms and reaction schemes.

Find out more about BIOS3210

Students without A2 Chemistry (equivalent) on entry take Phases 1+2.

N.B. Students with A2 Chemistry or equivalent below grade C will follow Phases 1+2.

Phase 1: Autumn Term (5 lectures, 6 x 2 hr Workshops)

Basic chemical concepts for biology will be taught and applied through examples in a workshop atmosphere. The five workshop topics covered are: (i) Atoms and states of matter (ii) valence and bonding (iii) basic organic chemistry for biologists (iv) molecular shapes and isomerism in biology and (iv) chemical reactivity and chemical equations.

Assessment feedback of basic chemistry (1 session/lecture)

Phase 2: Autumn Term (9 lectures, 2 x 2 hr Workshop, 3 extra support lectures)

Chemical and biochemical thermodynamics. Topics covered are: (i) energetic and work, (ii) enthalpy, entropy and the laws of thermodynamics (iii) Gibbs free energy, equilibrium and spontaneous reactions, (iv) Chemical and biochemical equilibrium (including activity versus concentration and Le Chatelier's principle). The two hour workshop is designed to be delivered as small group sessions to cover the applications and practice of thermodynamics concepts.

Chemistry applied to biological concepts: bonding, valence, hybridisation as well as biological applied thermodynamic process (biomolecular association/dissociation).

Assessment feedback (1 session/lecture)

Find out more about BIOS3211

The broad aim of this module is to provide students with practical field experience in biodiversity monitoring and assessment methods. Specific aims are to introduce students to a range of basic field techniques and develop their skills in the collection, analysis and presentation of field data. The module provides an essential practical element of the Wildlife Conservation programme.

The module is spread over the term, allowing different groups of organisms to be examined as they become available for survey, and the dates may vary slightly from year to year. Groups of students will each undertake survey or monitoring projects under the supervision of a member of staff. Each project will assess the biodiversity of an appropriate taxonomic group (eg. birds, amphibians, reptiles, plants, etc.) in either a terrestrial or freshwater habitat. Students will be expected carry out a range of surveys, analyse the data and write-up their results.

Find out more about HECO3030

The module explores the geographic patterns of biological diversity around the world (biogeography), and the relationships between plants, animals and their environment (ecology). It begins with how the physiology and reproductive biology of plants has shaped the variety of habitats, ecosystems and biomes seen in the natural world today. Key concepts and theories concerning how these geographical patterns have been affected by complex historical and current factors will also be explored. The module continues with an introduction to ecological concepts that define how species are distributed within communities and across landscapes. It concludes with a discussion of how biogeographical and ecological principles inform global conservation strategies, and help us better understand how to manage threats to biodiversity from environmental change.

Find out more about WCON3111

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

The cell is the fundamental structural unit in living organisms. Eukaryotic cells are compartmentalized structures that like prokaryotic cells, must perform several vital functions such as energy production, cell division and DNA replication and also must respond to extracellular environmental cues. In multicellular organisms, certain cells have developed modified structures, allowing them to fulfil highly specialised roles. This module reviews the experimental approaches that have been taken to investigate the biology of the cell and highlights the similarities and differences between cells of complex multicellular organisms and microbial cells. Initially the functions of the cytoskeleton and certain cellular compartments, particularly the nucleus, are considered. Later in the unit, the mechanisms by which newly synthesised proteins are secreted or shuttled to their appropriate cellular compartments are examined.

Find out more about BIOS5030

This module will consider the anatomy and function of the immune system and immunopathology and then consider the diseases and microorganisms that affect the different organs and tissues of the human body. Indicative topics will include inflammation, innate and adaptive immunity to pathogens, immune defence mechanisms against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, antibody classes and functions, antigen processing and presentation, complement, the generation of antibody diversity, cell communication and immunopathology, including autoimmunity, hypersensitivity and transplant rejection. In the medical microbiology section of the module, indicative topics will include epidemiology, virology, parasitology, fungal infections, skin infections, GI tract infections, CNS infections, respiratory tract infections, UTI and STD infections.

Find out more about BIOS5050

This module will consider the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the aetiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient. It may also cover the diagnosis and treatment of the disease condition. Indicative topics will include the reproductive system; muscle; nervous system; and endocrine system.

Find out more about BIOS5130

One-on-one meetings and small group tutorials focused on academic progression and the development of key skills to support the core curriculum and future study or employment. Students meet with their Academic Advisor individually or in small groups at intervals during the academic year. Individual meetings review academic progress, support career planning etc. Themed tutorials develop transferable skills; indicative topics are essay and report writing, presentation skills, sourcing information, critical analysis etc. The tutorials are informal involving student activity and discussion. Year group events deliver general information e.g. on University resources, 4-year programmes, module selection etc.

Find out more about BIOS5300

A. Communication Skills in Biosciences: Essay writing, oral presentations, laboratory reports, the scientific literature and literature reviews. Working in groups.

B. Techniques in Biomolecular Science: Electrophoresis, Immunoblotting, Protein Determination, Activity Assays, Purification.

C. Computing for Biologists: Bioinformatics, phylogenetic trees, database searches for protein/DNA sequences.

D. Mini-project – introduction to research skills: Students will work in groups of eight to undertake directed experimental work (Group Project) before extending the project further through self-directed experiments working as a pair (Mini Project).

E. Careers: The programme will be delivered by the Careers Advisory Service and will review the types of careers available for bioscience students. The sessions will incorporate personal skills, careers for bioscience graduates, records of achievement, curriculum vitae preparation, vacation work, postgraduate study, interview skills and action planning.

Find out more about BIOS5320

You study the diversity of animal life throughout evolution, including elements of functional anatomy and physiology such as circulation and gaseous exchange, the digestive system, the nervous system and reproduction.

Topics:

A. Comparative physiology - in this section the diversity of different physiological systems will be studied including circulation, gaseous exchange, feeding and digestion, excretion, nervous tissue and the senses, reproduction and immunology.

B. Form and Function - in this section a diverse range of taxonomic groups and their characteristics will be studied to understand the relationship between structure and function. How these characteristics equip the animal to survive and succeed in its particular environment will be explored.

Find out more about BIOS5460

This module will cover the following areas:

* Plant specific features of cellular organisation and processes – cell wall synthesis, cell division, endoreduplication, plasmadesmata.

* Photosynthesis – mechanism and regulation of photosynthesis, photorespiration, C3, C4 and CAM.

* Plant hormones and signalling – e.g. auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins etc. and their roles in tropism, photoperiodism, and flowering.

* Adaptation and stress response – environmental stress, acclimatisation and adaptation.

Find out more about BIOS5470

The module deals with the molecular mechanisms underlying the ecological, medical, scientific and commercial importance of microorganisms (including prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms). This involves descriptions of how microbial genetic information is stored in DNA, how that information is decoded by the cell and how this flow of information is controlled in response to changes in environment. The Module also discusses microbial interaction with humans and the environment. Throughout the module, the mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be compared and contrasted and will touch on the latest tool development in microbiology.

Find out more about BIOS5480

Optional modules may include

The module deals with the molecular mechanisms of gene expression and its regulation in organisms ranging from viruses to man. This involves descriptions of how genetic information is stored in DNA and RNA, how that information is decoded by the cell and how this flow of information is controlled in response to changes in environment or developmental stage. Throughout, the mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be compared and contrasted and will touch on the latest developments in how we can analyse gene expression, and what these developments have revealed.

Find out more about BIOS5010

This module will introduce students to the importance of genome-wide DNA sequence analysis in a range of different fields of study including forensic science, medical diagnosis and historical research. They will acquire a full grounding in the basic biology of how sequence data is acquired and analysed, and engage with up-to-date methods of DNA sequence analysis in the practical sessions. At the broad level, the module will be structured around the following 4 themes:

What is a genome? This addresses genome content and structure, including both functional and non-functional elements of the genome such as the simple "junk" DNA repeats used for forensic identification.

Understanding genomic variation. This addresses the molecular causes of genomic variation between individuals – i.e. what makes us all unique – and the technical methodologies used to detect genomic variation.

What are the implications of being able to read DNA? This covers the extent to which we can infer phenotype from genomic sequence – e.g. how much you can tell about a person once their genome has been sequenced. Specific examples may be drawn from forensic science, medical diagnosis and historical analysis.

What are the implications of being able to write or edit DNA? This addresses nascent and future technology for genome editing – what can it achieve, what are the risks, what are the ethical issues?

Find out more about BIOS5490

Year in industry

Biology offers the possibility of taking a one-year placement away from the University between Stages 2 and 3. Sandwich placements provide an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience in industry in the UK or abroad. You are paid by your employer and also produce an independent research project.

On a sandwich placement you acquire additional skills and gain first-hand experience of a particular type of work, which will help to inform your career decisions at the end of your degree. Students have worked at companies including: GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Lonza, BASF, Eli Lilly and Bayer Crop Science.

Progression:

Finding a work placement is a competitive process and we advise that you achieve an overall average of 65% in Stage 1 to increase your likelihood of success. If you are unable to find a suitable placement, you will transfer onto the equivalent three-year programme which is identical except for the year spent away from the University.

Visit the School of Biosciences web pages for more information about the sandwich option, including comments from past students.

Compulsory modules currently include

A placement typically is a 9-12 month internship with a commercial or public sector or charity organisation which provides opportunities for the student to develop graduate level subject-specific and generic employability skills. Choice of placement by student will be guided and facilitated at UoK with the learning outcomes listed above in mind. It is requested by UoK that the student be closely guided in work (usually with a named supervisor) involving specialist training. Placements are expected to have a scientific research focus and incorporate a project element that may be written up as a scientific report, however, the specific type of work undertaken may vary significantly from placement to placement. The research project should occupy not less than thirty percent of the sandwich year.

Find out more about BIOS7970

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

Early in the Autumn term, projects are assigned to students by the project co-ordinator (a member of academic staff), where possible in accordance with student choice. Students then meet with their project supervisor to discuss the objectives of the project and obtain guidance on background reading. During the Autumn term students write a brief formative literature review on the project topic providing them with a good background before embarking on the project work. At the end of the formal project time, students are allowed time to complete the final project report, although they are encouraged to start writing as early as possible during the Spring term. The supervisor provides feedback on content and style of a draft of the report. In addition, students are expected to deliver their findings in presentation lasting 10 minutes with 5 minutes of questions.

The module introduces the student to cell cycle and teaches how its precise regulation is essential for all life. The course will introduce to the students the current understanding of cellular reproduction and how it emerged. The initial lectures will describe the important breakthroughs in cell cycle research in their historical and experimental context. The course will go on to give the students a detailed understanding of the key events that occur and how they are regulated by mechanisms conserved from yeast to man.

A synopsis of the curriculum

1. Outline of microbial physiology and genetics part II

2. Microbial taxonomy and phylogenetics

3. Microbial homeostasis - regulation of primary and secondary metabolism

4. Genomic regulation - Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression

5. Experimental approaches used to study microbial physiology, microbial genomes and gene expression

6. Microbial biochemistry

7. Microbial biodiversity and complex signalling in the environment

8. Application of microbes in biotechnology

Practical on bacterial transcriptional regulation using gene-expression reporter fusions

Group presentation of a research paper relating to topic areas on Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level."

This module will introduce the students to the diversity of eukaryotic organisms (mainly microbes in the six domains of the eukaryotic tree of life), theories on endosymbiotic events (chloroplasts & mitochondria), organellar adaptations and diversity, primary and secondary acquisition of other organelles, lateral gene transfer in eukaryotes, adaptations to extreme environments (from anoxia, to salinity and to parasitism), community evolution (microbiome) and the evolution of multi-cellularity.

Optional modules may include

The module begins byoverviewing the diverse mechanisms used by cells to communicate, consideringthe main modes of cell-cell communication, the major classes of signallingmolecules and the receptor types upon which they act. It then focuses onnuclear, G-protein coupled, and enzyme linked receptors covering in moleculardetail these receptors and their associated signal transduction pathways.

Cells and subcellular compartments are separated from theexternal milieu by lipid membranes with protein molecules inserted into thelipid layer. The aim of this module is to develop understanding of both the lipidand protein components of membranes as dynamic structures whose functions areintegrated in cellular processes.

This module will cover fourtopics: Eukaryotic pathogens (parasites); Bacterial pathogens; Viralpathogens; and Human fungal pathogens.

The module aims to develop understanding and analyticalskills in virology, based around interactive seminars wherein students willanalyse, present, and discuss the relevant research literature. The studentswill gain experience in scientific design, literature analysis, scientificcommunication, and the analysis of experimental data.

The aim of this Advanced Immunology module is to reviewtopical aspects of advanced immunology with emphasis on the regulation of theimmune response, and the role of dysfunctional immune systems in the aetiologyof a variety of disease states. Indicative topics include antigen processingand presentation, transplant rejection, autoimmunity, hypersensitivity, cellmigration homing and extravasation, cytokines, tumour immunology, mucosalimmunology and autophagy.

Bioinformatics Data sources & Sequence analysis:Databases and data availability. Using sequence data for analysis – sequencesearching methods, multiple sequence alignments, residue conservation, Proteindomains and families.  Protein Bioinformatics Methods: Protein structureand function prediction. Prediction of binding sites/interfaces with smallligands and with other proteins. Bioinformatics analyses using protein data.Genomics: An introduction to the analysis of genomic data, primarily focussingon the data available from genome sequencing – how it can be used to studygenetic variants and compare genomes (i.e. comparative and functionalgenomics).

This module will look at Cancer formation andprogression; underlying factors, cancer cell heterogeneity, uncontrolled celldivision, invasive growth/ metastasis formation; as well as the MolecularBiology of Cancer: (Proto-)Oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, cell cyclecontrol, cell death; and Cancer therapies.

The module deals with basic neuroanatomy and molecular and cellularneurobiology, such as transmission of signals within the nervous system andsensory perception. It explores more complex functions of the nervous system,e.g. behavioural and cognitive functions including learning, memory, emotionsand appetite control. Throughout the module both the normal nervous system anddisorders that arise as a consequence of abnormalities will be covered.

The module overviews the importance of studying ageing,the organisms and methods used to do so and considers how organisms agetogether with providing a detailed understanding of the processes and molecularmechanisms that govern ageing.

 "This module is designed to provide students across the university withaccess to knowledge

This module will provide the fundamentaltheoretical and comparative perspective that lies at heart of biology, with aparticular focus on the order Primates. Particular attention will be paid tothe evolutionary history of the primates and comparative primate (skeletal)anatomy, both placed in an evolutionary ecological context (e.g. aconsideration of dentition in relation to diet and feeding; post-cranialanatomy in relation to locomotion and phylogenetic trends). The module coverslatest discoveries and developments in these areas, engaging students withprimary literature. Extensive use of casts of primate skeletal material willprovide hands-on 'experiential' learning. The module will provide a detailedtreatment of natural and sexual selection as key components of evolutionarytheory that shape the adaptations of organisms, and the way adaptations areused to make sense of the diversity of organisms with particular reference tothe primates.

Humans are unique primates; anatomicallypeculiar and culturally complex, our 300,000 years on Earth have led us to be aspecies like no other. This module focuses on the scientific study of what itmeans to be human, from a combined biological and cultural perspective. Themodule traces the origins, and subsequent biological and cultural evolution, ofmodern humans (Homo sapiens) from the late Pleistocene through to the Holoceneand modern era, highlighting the concurrent development of diet, cognition,anatomy, behaviour and culture.

This module will informstudents how climate has influenced the diversity of life on Earth, from pastto present, and its likely future impacts. We will begin with a summary of thephysical science basis of contemporary climate change and the role thatanthropogenic factors have played since the commencement of the industrial era.We will then explore the biological and ecological impacts of climate change onindividual organisms, populations and communities, with particular emphasisgiven to understanding how species are responding. The module will then explorehow conservation biologists are using particular interventions to amelioratethe most harmful and destabilising effects of climate change. From a moregeneral perspective, the social, economic and political ways in which climatechange can be mitigated will be assessed.

Recent events have illustrated the importance of ensuringthat science is communicated effectively to non-scientific audiences. Thismodule considers best practice in science communication, making use of casestudies that illustrate its importance in developing an informed and empoweredpublic, while developing skills in different modes of communication thatenhance future employability.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £15400
  • International full-time £20500

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Teaching includes lectures, laboratory classes, workshops, problem-solving sessions and tutorials. You have an Academic Adviser who you meet with at regular intervals to discuss your progress, and most importantly, to identify ways in which you can improve your work further so that you reach your full potential.

Most modules are assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year exams. Exams take place at the end of the academic year and count for 50% or more of the module mark. Stage 1 assessments do not contribute to the final degree classification, but all stage 2 and 3 assessments do, meaning that your final degree award is an average of many different components. On average, 29% of your time is spent in an activity lead by an academic; the rest of your time is for independent study.

The Sandwich Year is assessed by a presentation and a written report and contributes 10% to the overall mark.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • instil a sense of enthusiasm for the application of different methods and disciplines to biology, confront the scientific, moral and ethical issues and engage in critical assessment of the subject material covered
  • provide a broad and balanced foundation of the science that underpins biology and methodology in a modern society including a detailed knowledge of the biological techniques and methods of assay, analysis and examination used by biologists and biomolecular and organismal knowledge required for understanding of life at all levels of complexity
  • provide a stimulating, research-active environment in which you are supported and motivated to achieve your academic and personal potential
  • educate you in the theoretical and practical aspects of biology
  • provide you with the ability to undertake an independent research project
  • prepare you for further study, or training, and employment in biology and non-biology based careers, by developing your transferable and cognitive skills
  • develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision making in complex and unpredictable circumstances
  • provide an opportunity to gain experience as a biologist working in a professional environment such as industry, hospital research laboratories and government research laboratories
  • develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the  structure and function in an organisation, via a sandwich year
  • provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the chemistry that underlies biochemical reactions and the techniques used to investigate them
  • the principles that determine the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules and be able to explain detailed examples of how structure enables function
  • the molecular basis of genetics and be able to explain some detailed examples
  • gene expression, with a detailed knowledge of specific examples, such as the structure, arrangement, expression, and regulation of genes and relevant experimental methods
  • a wide range of cells (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) and be able to explain critically how they develop and how their properties suit them for their biological function, and how they could be investigated experimentally
  • suitable experimental methods for the investigation of relevant areas of biochemistry, organismal biology, ecology and molecular biology
  • the chemical and thermodynamic principles underlying biological catalysis and the role of enzymes and other proteins in determining the function and fate of cells and organisms
  • the analysis of the impact of external influences on growth, development and reproduction, and explain reproductive strategies
  • the interactions of structure and metabolic function at cellular and organismal levels
  • the significance of internal and external influences on the integration of metabolism for survival and health
  • the methods and principles underlying taxonomy and classification
  • the principles and processes governing interactions of organisms and their environment
  • the way a professional biologist can contribute to the organisation in which they work.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • the ability to recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles. For example, the relationship between genes and proteins, or the nature of essential nutrients in microbes, cells, plants and animals
  • the ability to analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically, including published research or reports
  • obtain and integrate several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • apply subject knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems
  • recognise the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciate the need for ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • designing, planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, which may involve primary or secondary data such  as from a survey database. Data may be obtained through individual or group projects; obtaining, recording, collating and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and/or laboratory, working independently or in a group in a responsible, safe and ethical manner. For example, students must pay due attention to risk assessment, and procedures for obtaining informed consent
  • an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms, their molecular, cellular and physiological processes, their genetics and evolution, and the interrelationships between them and their environment
  • the ability to handle biological material and chemicals in a safe way, thus being able to assess any potential hazards associated with biological experimentation
  • perform risk assessments prior to the execution of an experimental protocol
  • to be able to use basic and advanced experimental equipment in executing the core practical techniques used by biologists
  • to find information on biological topics from a wide range of information sources and maintain an effective information retrieval strategy
  • to be able to plan, execute and assess the results
  • to identify the best method for presenting and reporting on biological investigations using written, data manipulation/presentation and computer skills
  • be aware of the employment opportunities for biology graduates.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members, negotiating skills
  • evaluating performance as an individual and a team member, and evaluating the performance of others
  • developing an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of science and of the validity of different points of view
  • receiving and responding to a variety of sources of information: textual, numerical, verbal and graphical
  • communicating to a variety of audiences using different formats and approaches
  • citing and referencing work in an appropriate manner
  • sample selection, recording and analysing data in the field and/or the laboratory, validity, accuracy, calibration, precision, replicability and uncertainty during collection
  • preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques, statistical programmes, spreadsheets and programs for presenting data visually
  • solving problems by a variety of methods including the use of computers
  • using the internet and other electronic sources critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • to be able to work independently using effective time management and organisation skills
  • identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • developing an adaptable, flexible, and effective approach to study and work
  • the ability to function effectively in a working environment.

Independent rankings

Biological Sciences at Kent was ranked 24th out of 103 institutions in The Complete University Guide 2021. It was also ranked 5th for graduate prospects.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • commercial, government and hospital laboratories
  • scientific publishing
  • science writing
  • event management
  • science communication.

Recent graduates have also worked in a wide range of non-scientific careers including teaching, marketing, sales, banking, accountancy, the police force and social work.

Help finding a job

The School of Biosciences runs employability events with talks from alumni outlining their career paths since graduation.

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with an excellent grounding in scientific knowledge and extensive laboratory experience. In addition, you also develop the key transferable skills sought by employers, such as:

  • excellent communication skills
  • work independently or as part of a team
  • the ability to solve problems and think analytically
  • time management.

You can also gain new skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Professional recognition

All of our Biology degrees are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), and our four-year Biology with a Sandwich Year programme has Advanced Accreditation. Students graduating from Society of Biology recognised courses are eligible for Associate Membership and are entitled to two years’ Associate Membership at half price.

Apply for Biology with a Sandwich Year - BSc (Hons)

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

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Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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