Jump to body content. Jump to course search.
Undergraduate Courses 2017
Applying through clearing?
Clearing applicants and others planning to start in 2016 should view Biology with a Year Abroad for 2016 entry.

Biology with a Year Abroad - BSc (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

Biology influences our everyday lives, and is at the forefront of social change, for example, stem-cell research, the use of genetically-modified organisms, humanity’s effect on the environment, and sustainable energy and food production.

Studying Biology, you investigate, describe and analyse the structures and functions of living organisms together with how they interact with the environment.

This BSc programme provides a broad survey of the various biological disciplines, including anthropology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, infection and immunity, microbiology, and the physiology of animals and plants.

The 'Year Abroad' between Stages 2 and 3, offers you the opportunity to study at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (taught in English) or at a university in the USA.

Opportunities are also available to work in one of our research labs during the summer vacation after your second year. The Stacey Fund provides funding for 20 to 30 eight-week Summer Studentships annually. These optional projects offer an ideal opportunity to gain further hands-on research experience.

Our related programme Biology with a Sandwich Year offers you the opportunity to spend a year working in the UK or abroad.

The School of Biosciences

Biosciences at Kent is rated one of the top schools in the country by its students. The School also has a reputation for innovation. Two of our academics have recently won National Teaching Fellowship Awards; for work on the School's communication projects and introducing novel ways of using IT in lectures which enables the teaching to be captured and easily reviewed later. The facilities within the School are excellent and include a recent £1 million refurbishment of the teaching laboratories.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2015, 96% of students in the School of Biosciences were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Furthermore, at a subject level, the School of Biosciences is ranked in the top 20% in The Guardian University Guide 2016, and in the top 25% in The Complete University Guide 2016.

Course structure

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.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

BI300 - Introduction to Biochemistry (15 credits)

This module provides an introduction to biomolecules in living systems. It contrasts the simplicity of the basic building blocks (amino acids, sugars, fatty acids and nucleotides) with the enormous variety and adaptability of the different macromolecules they form (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids). It highlights the nature of the molecular structure of the macromolecules and their interactions within the cellular environment.



Lectures:



Introduction. What is Biochemistry? The chemical elements of living matter. The central role of carbon and the special properties of water. The underlying principle in the use of monomers to construct macromolecules. The nature of weak interactions in an aqueous environment.

Nucleic Acids. Types - DNA and RNA. Chemical structure, properties of phosphodiester linkage, primary structure. Nucleic Acids. Secondary structure - Watson Crick DNA model, A and Z DNA. Tertiary structure - circular DNA, supercoiling. Stability of nucleic acids - sugar phosphate chain, base pairing, base stacking. Biological functions of Nucleic Acids.

Proteins. Amino acids - structure, classification, properties. Peptides and peptide bond. Secondary structure. Structural proteins. Tertiary structure - role in function. Factors determining secondary and tertiary structure. Quaternary structure. Protein Function - Myoglobin versus Haemoglobin. Haemoglobin variants. Subcellular fractionation. Protein isolation and purification.

Carbohydrates. Monosaccharides, stereoisomers, conformation, derivatives. Disaccharides, glycosidic bond stability and formation (a and ß). Polysaccharides. Storage (e.g. starch, glycogen), structural (e.g. cellulose, chitin, glycosaminoglycans bacterial cell walls). Glycoproteins.

Lipids: lipids, fatty acids, triacylglycerols, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, glycosphingolipids, steroids, waxes. Membranes: lipid bilayers, hydrophobic effect, fluid-mosaic model, membrane-bound proteins. Membrane transport systems: passive transport, ionophores, active transport, double-membrane systems, porin.

General techniques in biomolecular science: spectroscopy of small molecules, chromatography and electrophoresis.



Practicals:



1. Preparation and identification of nucleic acids.

2. Analysis of the sugar composition of honey and TLC separation of lipids.

3. Chromatographic separation of proteins

4. Assessed practical.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI301 - Enzymes and Introduction to Metabolism (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI302 - Molecular and Cellular Biology I (15 credits)

This module introduces you to themes and experimental techniques in molecular biology, genetics and eukaryotic cell biology. It covers basic cell structure, the principles of the cell cycle and cell division, the control of living processes by genetic mechanisms, and techniques for genetic manipulation such as gene cloning, and investigating cell biology e.g. microscopy.



Lectures:



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.



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 including recombinant protein expression, trangenics/knockouts, RNAi, genome projects, DNA typing, microarray and '…omics' studies (genome, proteome, interactome, metabolome etc).



Practical: PCR amplification of DNA and gel analysis



Tests: 1 multiple choice test

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI307 - Human Physiology and Disease (15 credits)

This module considers the anatomy and function of normal tissues, organs and systems. We look at the manifestation of the various conditions at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient, and also discuss diagnosis, available prognostic indicators and treatments.



Lectures:



This module will consider the anatomy and function of a range of normal tissues, organs and systems and then describe their major pathophysiological conditions. It will consider the etiology of the condition, its biochemistry and its manifestation at the level of cells, tissues and the whole patient.



Lecture content:



Cells and tissues, membrane dynamics, cell communication and homeostasis (3); Introduction to the nervous system (2); The immune system and inflammation (3); Blood cells and clotting (1); The cardiovascular system (3); the respiratory system (3); The digestive system, liver and pancreas (3) and the Urinary system (4).

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI308 - Skills for Bioscientists (15 credits)

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.



Topics covered in lectures/workshops:



How biosciences is taught at UKC - lectures, supervisions, problem solving classes, practicals. Effective study and listening skills, note taking and use of the library. Support networks.

General principles of analytical biochemistry - quantitative/qualitative analysis, making and recording measurements. The quality of data - random and systematic error, precision, accuracy, sensitivity and specificity.

The manipulation and presentation of data - SI units, prefixes and standard form

Molarities and dilutions -concentration (molarity) and amounts (moles), dilutions.

Acids, bases and buffers in aqueous solutions - Definition of pH, acid and bases (including a revision of logarithms). Acid-base titrations. Buffer mixtures, buffering capacity and the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.Dissociation of polyprotic, weak acids. Biochemical relevance of pH e.g. pH dependant ionisation of amino acids.

Spectroscopy - The range of electromagnetic radiation. Absorption and emission of radiation. Molecular absorptiometry - the use of the Beer-Lambert relationship for quantitative measurements using absolute or comparative methods (molar and specific extinction coefficients).

Reaction Kinetics. Reactions and rates of change: Factors affecting the rate of a reaction. Zero, first and second order reactions. Rate constants and rate equations (including integration). Worked examples of rates of reactions.



Statistics Descriptive statistics: definition of statistics, sampling, measurement scales, data hierarchy, summarising data, averaging, mean, mode, median, quantiles, graphical methods, displaying proportions, charts and chart junk. Parametrising distributions: coefficient of variation, normal distribution, properties of the normal curve, skewness and kurtosis, accuracy and precision.

Probability: definition, events, exclusivity and conditional probability, throwing dice and tossing coins, independent and dependent events, permutations, multiplicative rule, binomial distribution, unequal probabilities, Pascal's triangle, factorials and combinations.

Hypothesis testing: null hypothesis, p-value, normal curve, z-score and t-score, t values and confidence interval, t-tables, comparing two samples, degrees of freedom, t-tests for same and different sample sizes, paired samples, difference between means.

Correlation and covariance: two-dimensional distributions, scatter diagram, degree and limits of correlation, spurious correlation, correlation and causality, time correlation, normalising the covariance, covariance in spreadsheet calculations.

Regression: the regression line, slope and intercept parameters, regression in spreadsheet calculations, history of regression, assumptions in regression, effect of outliers, how not to use statistics.





Practicals:



1. Microscopy: introduction to the laboratories and basic microscopy

2. Molarities and Dilutions: (a) preparation of solutions and (b) determination of accuracy.

3. pH and buffers: (a) preparation of solutions and (b) determination of accuracy.

4. Spectrophotometry: protein estimation by the Biuret method

5. Microbial growth: measurement of microbial populations and growth

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI321 - Biological Chemistry A (15 credits)

The principles of chemistry are an essential foundation for biochemistry. Building up from the atomic level, this module introduces periodicity, functional groups, compounds and chemical bonding, molecular forces, molecular shape and isomerism, and chemical reactions and equilibria, enabling you to understand the importance of organic chemistry in a biological context.



Phase A: 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. Workshop (vi) is for revision before the assessment test.



Phase B: Autumn Term (9 lectures, 1 x 2 hr Workshop)



Chemical and biochemical thermodynamics (6 lectures, 1 workshop). 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 (3 lectures): bonding, valence, hybridisation as well as biological applied thermodynamic process (biomolecular association/dissociation).

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI323 - Biodiversity (15 credits)

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.



Lectures/Workshops:



The classification of the living world; hierarchical system of Linnaeus based on similarity. Relationships between living organisms, the kingdoms and domains.

Prokaryotes and basal eukaryotes: classification of the basal kingdoms and the relationship between them. Diversity of Bacteria and Archaea and “protists”.

Fungi: characteristics of the major groups, classification and ecological importance.

Plants: classification and relationships including evolution from algae; the relative success of each major group.

Plants: basic plant physiology and anatomy, overview of photosynthesis.

Animals: characterisation based on body plans.

Invertebrates: an outline classification of some major phyla. Evolutionary and developmental trends within invertebrates.

Vertebrates: classification and interrelationships of the groups, fundamental body plans.



Practicals



Microbial ecology practical

Plant structure and function practical

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI324 - Genetics and Evolution (15 credits)

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



Lectures/Workshops:



Genetics

An introduction to the genetics of a variety of organisms including Mendelian inheritance (monohybrid and dihybrid) and exceptions to the predicted outcomes due to incomplete dominance, co-dominance, lethal alleles, epistasis and genetic linkage, the chromosomal basis of inheritance, organelle based inheritance and epistasis. The inheritance of human genetic disease and its investigation by human pedigree analysis will also be introduced. Bacterial genetics.



Evolution

The nature of mutation, including molecular mechanisms leading to the mutation of DNA, and the role of both mutation and horizontal gene transfer in evolution. Historical views on evolution, Darwin’s observations, the fossil record to modern techniques. Microevolution, population genetics and analysis of the distribution of genes within populations and mechanisms of gene flow, genetic drift, selection and speciation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

BI501 - Gene Expression and Its Control (15 credits)

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.



Lectures:

A. The genome - Human genome, human chromosomes, mapping and cloning human genes, DNA testing and disease diagnosis, genome organisation, analysing genomes.

B. The gene - Gene organisation. Gene evolution. Gene transcription in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: RNA polymerases, promoters, regulatory sequences. mRNA processing in eukaryotes: intron splicing, the spliceosome, turnover pathways, catalytic RNA. mRNA translation: tRNA, the ribosome, mechanism (initiation, elongation, termination).

C. Gene regulation - Transcriptional regulation in prokaryotes: operons. Transcriptional regulation in eukaryotes: simple vs complex systems, promoters and enhancers. Post-transcriptional regulation: mRNA processing and turnover, translational control, non-coding RNAs. Epigenetic control.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI503 - Cell Biology (15 credits)

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.



Lectures:



Cell motility and the cytoskeleton. - types of cell movements. Actin-based mechanisms - actin/myosin systems in muscle and other cells in higher eukaryotes and the discovery of corresponding microbial systems. - microtubules and their role in intracellular transport: microtubule-based motors, dynein and kinesin. ATP and GTP driven processes - the family of intermediate-sized filaments and human cytoskeletal-based disorders. Concepts of the evolution of intermediate filaments between microbes and man.



Regulation of the mitotic cell cycle and the dynamic structure of the nucleus. – the

interphase nucleus - chromatin, nucleolus, nuclear envelope structure, biogenesis of ribosomes, genetic approaches to analysis of regulation of mitosis, definition of yeast cdc genes;

comparison with biochemical approaches. Regulation of progression from G1 S G2 M.

Cycle exit to G0 and return. Chromatin structure and its regulation through the cycle, Dynamics of the nuclear envelope and chromosome/chromatid separation.



Growth factor, signalling and apoptosis. Stem cells. Intercellular junctions and the extra cellular matrix.



Overview of membrane traffic in eukaryotic cells. - relationship of endocytotic and

exocytotic pathways, compartments and sorting. Biogenesis of proteins destined for organelles or for secretion.- experimental approaches – yeast and bacterial sec genes vs biochemical dissection of mammalian secretory tissue, signal sequences targeting proteins to different organelles, folding and post-translational modification of proteins in the secretory pathway, eukaryotic secretory pathway – biochemical and genetic dissection of compartments, transport mechanisms and targeting. Protein turnover (e.g. ubiquitin and proteasomes).



Practicals: Actomyosin contraction in myofibrils using phase microscopy.

Supervisions: Reading and précis of a scientific paper in cell and molecular biology. Presentation of its chief findings and impact

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI505 - Infection and Immunity (15 credits)

This module (Spring Term only) will provide you with (a) an understanding of the features and functions of the immune cells and soluble proteins used in the defence of the body against invading microorganisms (weeks 13 to 17) and (b) the principles of epidemiology and the features of the major diseases of infectious origin that colonise the blood and tissues of the human body (weeks 18 to 22). In weeks 23 and 24 there are feedback and revision lectures and a practical lab session. The lecture list is shown below:-



Lectures: (twice a week during Spring Term)



Week 13 Intro to course and online questionnaire, Innate Immunity

Week 14 Complement, Adaptive Immunity

Week 15 T cell mediated Immunity, Antibody structures and functions

Week 16 Antibody Diversity, Antigen Processing and presentation

Week 17 Cell communication, Immunopathology

Week 18 Epidemiology and Virology

Week 19 Parasite infections, Fungal Infections

Week 20 Skin Infections, Respiratory Tract Infections

Week 21 UTIs, STDs

Week 22 CNS infections, GI Infections

Week 23 Feedback on assessment 1, Immunology Revision Session

Week 24 Medical microbiology Revision Session



Assessment 1 Two Immunology Questions (set in week 16).

Assessment 2 Medical Microbiology Practical (in week 23/24)





Assessment 1 (Answering two immunological questions) week 16 (25%):

This assessment will be on two questions of immunological importance. By answering the questions set, students can learn in more depth about particular immune processes and their interaction with particular pathogenic micro-organisms.



Assessment 2 (Practical) week 23/24 (20%):

This practical involves the visual and biochemical identification of a range of microorganisms and cultures and the answering of questions leading from this practical work.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI513 - Physiology (15 credits)

This module develops a more detailed understanding of particular physiological systems and relates this to relevant disease processes and their detection. The role of research and laboratory methods in understanding human disease is also introduced at this stage.



Lecture Overview



Reproductive System: Male and female reproductive systems; Endocrine control of reproduction: Fertilisation; Early embryogenesis; Pregnancy and Parturition; Reproductive disorders



Muscle: Muscle types: skeletal, smooth and cardiac; Structure of muscle; Molecular basis of contraction; Regulation of contraction including neural control; Energy requirements of muscle; Types of movement: reflex, voluntary, rhythmic; Muscle disorders.



Nervous System Cells of the nervous system: neurons and glia; Electrical properties of neurons: action potential generation and conduction; Synaptic structure and function: transmitters and receptors. Structural organization of the central nervous system (CNS) and function of individual regions; Organization and function of the peripheral nervous system (PNS): somatic motor, autonomic (sympathetic and parasympathetic) and sensory; Sensory systems: vision, hearing, taste, smell, pain. Disorders of the nervous system

Endocrine System: Endocrine glands; Classes of hormones; Mechanisms of hormone action; Regulation of hormone release; Endocrine disorders.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI532 - Skills For Bioscientists 2 (15 credits)

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:

Immunochemistry. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production, immuno-chromatography, ELISA and RIA.

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI546 - Animal Form and Function (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI547 - Plant Physiology and Adaptation (15 credits)

This module provides a general grounding in plant biology, including form and function, photosynthesis, phytohormones, and adaptation to the environment.

• Regulation of the cell cycle; cell division; plant cell wall structure and biogenesis; plant cell plastids (plant cell specific organelle)- biogenesis and function

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

• Adaptation of photosynthesis to the environment. Carbon allocation of photoassimilate and its regulation.

• Plant hormones and signalling, the role of auxin, phototropism, gravitropism, photoperiodism, flowering

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI548 - Microbial Physiology and Genetics I (15 credits)

This module includes a review of the structure and biosynthesis of bacterial and fungal cells, their key metabolic processes and their quest for food. You also study microbial growth, genome organisation and the structure and mechanisms of DNA?transfer.



Lectures:



Introduction: The ecological, medical, scientific and commercial importance of bacteria. Bacterial evolution and taxonomy. (2 lectures)



Microbial biodiversity at the structural level: Composition of the average bacterial cell, basic bacterial cell structure in comparison to a model eukaryotic cell (yeast). Gram positive and gram negative. Archea. Organisation of DNA. Membranes and the transport of small molecules into and out of the cell. Peptidoglycan and Lps and their importance in pathogenesis. The location and function of proteins. Capsule, flagella and adhesins. (7 lectures)



Introduction to growth, fuelling and biosynthesis: Division by binary fission, including growth equations. Growth in batch and chemostat cultures; liquid vs. solid media. Nutritional and non-nutritional factors affecting growth (temperature, osmolarity, pH and antibiotics). Physiological state and balanced growth. Adaptation to extreme conditions. (3 lectures)



Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level: The diversity in bacterial metabolism (nutrient sources (particularly carbon and nitrogen)), photosynthesis, aerobic and anaerobic growth and alternative terminal electron acceptors. Fermentation. The inverse relationship between growth factor requirements and biochemical complexity. The ecological significance of bacteria. (3 lectures)



Synthesis, localisation and assembly of macromolecular structures: DNA replication and transcription. Translational and protein localisation, assembly of flagella and adhesins. Membranes, including Lps. Peptidoglycan. Antibiotics that inhibit peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Capsules. (4 lectures + Practical)



Signalling and physiological control: Introduction to bacterial genetics. The regulation of gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level in response to a model factor (iron availability – the Fur/RyhB regulon). Chemotaxis. (3 lectures)



Practicals:



“Antibiotics” the students investigate the effects of bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal antibiotics on bacterial growth. They are required to answer questions about the practical results as well as associated data addressing the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.



“Characterisation and identification practical” The students assess/measure factors using chromogenic / visual readouts (ideally qualitative and quantitative), relating to metabolism and virulence (e.g. Casein, Gelatine and Urea hydrolysis, fermentation of variety of carbon (carbohydrate sources), starch hydrolysis and agglutination tests with yeast. The students would collate the information together and identify / characterise the isolates (given as ABCD) and explain how they may differ in the niches they occupy.



Workshop:



“Growth and viable counts” in which the students are given numerical data + growth equations and have to define factors such as (i) dilutions needed to give specific cell numbers, (ii) generations of growth to achieve specific cells numbers (iii) growth rate/doubling time.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more


Year abroad

The Year Abroad programme offers you the opportunity to study at a university in Malaysia (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, where teaching is in English) or the USA between stages 2 and 3. Taking a Year Abroad is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and become a more independent person. The courses you take when abroad will complement your studies here and provide a wider learning experience.

Progression: To progress to stage 2 you must achieve an overall average of 65% in Stage 1 unless you applied before July and met the conditions of the entry offer made. If the 65% requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent 3-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 year abroad option for this programme.

Possible modules may include:

Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

BI600 - Biology Project (30 credits)

Early in the Autumn term, projects are assigned to students, where possible in accordance with student choice. Students then meet individually or in small groups with their project supervisor to discuss the objectives of the project and obtain guidance on reading to ensure a good background before embarking on the project work.



The main project activities take place in the Spring term. Formal meetings may be arranged at the discretion of the student and supervisor. Students are expected to dedicate 300 hours to their project work. Non-laboratory students are strongly encouraged to meet with the supervisor at least once a week to discuss progress and ideas and to resolve problems. 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 reads a draft of the report, provided it is handed in by an agreed time, and provides feedback on content and style.



Organisation and Content:



Projects are designed by individual members of staff in keeping with their research interests and fall into one of five categories:



1. Laboratory: wet or dry practical research undertaken in the teaching laboratories, followed by preparation of a written report. To be guaranteed the opportunity to undertake a laboratory project, students must have achieved and average of at least 55% in the second year.

2. Dissertation: library-based research leading to production of a report in the style of a scientific review

3. Business: development of a biotechnology business plan

4. Communication: similar to dissertation projects but with an emphasis on presenting the scientific topic to a general, non-scientist audience

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI610 - The Cell Cycle (15 credits)

The precise regulation of the cell cycle is essential for all life. In this module you explore how the current understanding of cellular reproduction emerged, with initial lectures describing the important breakthroughs in cell cycle research. You go on to study the key events that occur and how they are regulated by mechanisms conserved from yeast to man.



Key topics that will be discussed include,



• Mitotic kinases (including Cdks, Polo, aurora).

• Microtubule reorganisation (including spindle formation and regulation).

• Actin reorganisation (including regulation of cell growth, endocytosis, and cell division)

• Checkpoints (including Spindle assembly checkpoint, DNA damage checkpoint).

• Apoptosis.

• Mitotic progression.

• Cytokinesis.

• Regulation of DNA replication.

• Cancer and the cell cycle.

• Cell cycle related pathologies.



The final lectures will then introduce the students to how generating computer models of the cell cycle are playing a crucial role in defining novel avenues for research into therapies for cell cycle related diseases.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI628 - Microbial Physiology and Genetics II (15 credits)

Building upon the second year course Microbial Physiology and Genetics 1, this advanced level course focuses on how physiological homeostasis is maintained in the bacterial cell in response to environmental stresses.



Lectures:

Introduction: Outline of how physiological homeostasis and adaptation is achieved in the bacterial cell.



Experimental approaches used to study microbial physiology and genetics: "Classical" and "reverse" genetics as applied to the study of bacteria. The use of reporter fusions. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of gene expression. Deep sequencing and metagenomics. Protein-nucleic acid interactions.



Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in bacteria: Transcription and translation in bacteria and the diverse mechanisms by which they are controlled. Phase variation and quorum sensing as modes of gene regulation.



Complex signalling and physiological control: Selected examples of physiological control in microorganisms, including the Sigma E envelope stress response pathway, regulation in response to nitrogen availability and nitric oxide stress, sensing, and detoxification mechanisms.



Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level: Diversity of respiratory adaptations. Light harvesting: purple bacteria & cyanobacteria. Photosynthetic electron transport in purple bacteria & cyanobacteria.



Practical: Practical on E. coli demonstrating how the envelope stress response factor Sigma E and it's sRNA-controlled target regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level using lacZ reporter fusions.



Symposium: Group presentation of a research paper relating to topic areas in "Complex signalling and physiological control" or "Microbial biodiversity at the physiological and biochemical level"

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI626 - Integrated Endocrinology and Metabolism (15 credits)

This module focuses on the endocrine system, one of the two great control systems of the body. In conjunction with the nervous system, these two regulatory systems are responsible for monitoring changes in an animal’s internal and external environments and directing the body to make any necessary adjustments to its activities so that it adapts itself to these environmental changes.



Lectures:



I. Principles of Endocrinology:

Overview of the endocrine system and its role in conjunction with the nervous system in the maintenance of homeostasis.

The hypothalamic-pituitary axis and feedback mechanisms.

Diagnostic testing, monitoring and management of disease.



II. Function, Regulation and Disorders of the following systems:

The thyroid gland.

The parathyroid glands.

The adrenal glands.

The kidney, renal hormones and monitoring kidney function.

Bone and vitamin D.

Reproductive Endocrinology.

Pancreatic hormones and diabetes.



Workshops:



Case Study Workshops

Case studies will be presented to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of biochemical data related to endocrine malfunction.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI642 - Cancer Biology (15 credits)

This module will develop further understanding of the molecular basis of cancer, and will explore how this knowledge may be used to develop new therapeutic strategies to tackle the disease in its variety of forms. Topics to be covered include the regulation of gene expression, the role of growth factor signalling and oncogenes/tumour suppressor genes in disease progression; the cell cycle and apoptosis; cancer stem cells and differentiation; chemo-resistance and metastasis; DNA structure and stability; tumour immunology; targeted cancer therapies and clinical trial design.



Topics:

A. The Molecular Biology of Cancer: Regulation of gene expression; Growth factor signalling and oncogenes; Growth inhibition and tumour suppressor genes; the Cell Cycle and apoptosis.

B. Cancer stem cells and differentiation; chemo-resistance and metastasis.

C. Tumour immunology; targeted cancer therapies and clinical trial design.

D. DNA structure and stability: mutations versus repair.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI643 - Neuroscience (15 credits)

The module is divided into three roughly equal sized units, each dealing with a specific aspect of neurobiology. Throughout, both the normal system and diseases and disorders that arise as a consequence of abnormalities will be covered.



Unit 1: Development of the Nervous System



Looks at how the complex and intricately wired nervous system develops from a simple sheet of neuroepithelial cells by addressing the cellular and molecular basis of:

Neurulation (formation of the brain and spinal cord)

Nerve cell proliferation (Neurogenesis)

Differentiation and survival of nerve cells

Axon growth and guidance

Synapse formation (Synaptogenesis)



Unit 2: Signalling at the Synapse



Considers the molecules and mechanisms involved in transmission of signals between nerve cells:

Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators

Molecular mechanisms of transmitter release

Neurotransmitter receptors and transporters



Unit 3: The Brain and Behaviour



Explores how the nervous system controls a variety of behaviours including:

Learning and memory

Sleep and dreaming

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI622 - Advanced Immunology (15 credits)

Since the discovery of HIV, great progress has been made in our understanding of the immune system. This module looks at topical aspects of this subject, with emphasis on the regulation of the immune response and dysfunctional immune systems in disease states.



Lectures:



Introduction to the immune systems of the body



Antigen processing and presentation:

Role of antigen presenting cells especially dendritic cells; processing and presentation of endogenous and exogenous antigens and virus evasion; immunotherapies



Transplantation immunology:

Basis of tolerance and graft rejection; clinical aspects of transplant rejection; general and specific immunosuppressive therapies



Autoimmunity:

The induction of tolerance to self; causes leading to autoimmunity; role of antibody; clinical examples of autoimmune disease



Hypersensitivity:

Type I (IgE-mediated); type II (antibody-mediated cytotoxic); type III (immune-complex mediated) and type IV hypersensitivity; clinical manifestations and therapies for hypersensitivity, the hygiene hypothesis, clinical examples of diseases



Role of cytokines in the immune system:

Properties of cytokines; cytokine receptors; cytokine-related diseases including inherited immunodeficiencies; the therapeutic applications of cytokines and their receptors



Cell migration and inflammation:

Lymphocyte recirculation; role of adhesion molecules; neutrophil and lymphocyte extravasation; the inflammatory process; chronic inflammatory diseases



Tumour immunology:

Tumour-specific and -associated antigens; immune response to tumours; tumour evasion of immune responses; cancer immunotherapy



Autophagy; The Microbiome



Feedback session on Assessments 1 and 2 (Spring Term)

Revision session (Spring Term)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI604 - Biological Membranes (15 credits)

Cells and subcellular compartments are separated from the external milieu by lipid membranes with protein molecules inserted into the lipid layer. The structure and function of these two components are diverse, ranging from regulatory functions to maintaining the structure of the cell.



Topics:



Review of the fluid mosaic model for membrane organisation:

Experimental evidence for fluidity – lateral/rotational/flip-flop.



Membrane proteins:

Types: integral vs peripheral, and their experimental definition. Asymmetry and sidedness.

Bitopic and mono-topic, general review of synthetic mechanisms (signal sequences etc.) for bitopic protein synthesis.



Structures of channel and carrier proteins and some mechanisms and diseases.

Monotopic membrane proteins: exposed on one side of the membrane e.g. squalene-hopene cyclase, ras, fatty acylated proteins, GPI-linked (sticky fingers and greasy feet).

Peripheral membrane proteins. Interaction with the lipid bilayer via pleckstrin homology and other domains.

Generation of bitopic and monotopic proteins by differential exon usage in a single gene, e.g. NCAM.



Membrane lipids:

Types: phospholipids, sphingolipids and sterols; in vivo distributions.

Formation of bilayers: evidence for bilayer structures.

Sidedness and asymmetry of lipids: dynamics, and phases

Rafts and caveolae: structural evidence and relation to signalling.

Pointers to membrane lipid metabolism: phospholipases and signalling; metabolic defects and Tay-Sachs disease.



The in vivo structure of a mammalian plasma membrane:

The red cell membrane: observation of the requirements of such a membrane and how those requirements are not met in certain disease states (spherocytosis, elliptocytosis and pyropiokilocytosis). The putative CO2 metabolon. Structure of the red cell membrane and its associated cytoskeleton: the spectrin/ankyrin/actin system.



The membrane skeleton as a mechanism for restricting the mobility of membrane proteins in the plane of a membrane: relationship to non-erythroid cells, examples including cardiomyocyte membrane cytoskeleton and long QT syndrome resulting from ankyrin defects.



Practicals:

An exploration of the red cell membrane focusing on the anion transporter. The practical will include computer analysis of the sequence of the anion transporter to predict its structure in relation to experimental data from the practical.



Workshop: exam preparation.



Supervisions: problem solving based on past exam papers.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI606 - Pathogens & Pathogenicity (15 credits)

You study the molecular basis for microbial pathogenesis in relation to bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Topics include host-pathogen interactions, therapeutic strategies, vaccination and the role of viruses in the development of cancer.



Lectures:



Bacterial pathogens



Microbial pathogenicity: variations on a common theme.

Methodology of studying bacterial pathogenesis.

Virulence factors including toxins and adhesins.

Mechanisms of Pathogenesis.

Applications of virulence factors in the treatment and prevention of disease.



Viral pathogens



Viruses and Human Disease - transmission and spread, overview of important human virus infections, mechanisms of transmission (Aerosol, Oro-fecal, Sexual etc.), epidemiology - patterns of endemic and epidemic disease.



Mechanisms of Pathogenesis - spread in the body, disease mechanisms, mechanisms of cell killing (Herpes simplex and Polio), immunopathology and auto-immune disease.



Virus infection – long term consequences for the host, escape through mutation and natural selection, disabling the immune system, avoidance mechanisms.



Viruses and Cancer - mechanisms of virus transformation (EBV, Retroviruses & Papilloma), viruses and human cancer (Cervical carcinoma, Hepatocellular Carcinoma & Burkitt Lymphoma).



Human fungal pathogens



Fungi and Human Disease - overview of major human fungal infections, clinical picture, diagnosis and mechanisms of transmission, epidemiological aspects of fungal infections.



Mechanisms of Pathogenesis - adherence, invasion of eukaryotic cells, morphogenesis, virulence factors: Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum.



Whole genome analysis of fungal pathogens



Host resistance to infection and antifungal chemotherapy - host defense mechanisms to fungal infections, role of the humoral and cellular immune response, antifungal chemotherapy: azoles, polyenes, echinocandines and antimetabolites, future developments for the treatment of fungal infections.



Eukaryotic pathogens (parasites)



Parasites and pathogenicity, transmission and diversity.



Definitions on parasitic lifestyle.



Investigations on worldwide parasitic outbreaks (e.g. malaria, trypanosomiasis, cryptosporidiosis) and their socio-economical effects.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI602 - Cell Signalling (15 credits)

This module begins by overviewing the principles of cell signalling and the diverse mechanisms used by cells to communicate, considering the main modes of cell-cell communication (adhesion and gap junctions; ligand-receptor complexes), the major classes of signalling molecules (hormones, neurotransmitters and growth factors) and the receptor types upon which they act. It then focuses on nuclear, G-protein coupled, and enzyme linked receptors covering in molecular detail these receptors and their associated signal transduction pathways.

Nuclear receptors: cellular location and molecular organisation of receptors, structure-function-activity relationships, receptors as sequence-specific DNA binding proteins.

G protein coupled receptors: receptors coupled to heterotrimeric G-proteins, guanine binding proteins, effectors (e.g. adenylate cyclase, phospholipase C), second messengers (e.g. cAMP, IP3, DAG), protein kinases and phosphatases.

Receptor tyrosine kinases e.g. epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF) family and insulin receptor, and their varied roles in cellular metabolism, cell behaviour, development and disease.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI644 - Biology of Ageing (15 credits)

The module overviews the importance of studying ageing, the organisms and methods used to do so. It considers how organisms age, together with providing a detailed understanding of the processes and molecular mechanisms that govern ageing.



Introduction

Importance and principles of ageing research

Why do organisms age and theories of ageing: e.g. Damage theory, telomeres, genetics and trade off theories.

How ageing and lifespan is measured.

Overview of processes and pathways controlling ageing.



Methods in ageing research

Model Organisms: Benefits and problems associated with studying ageing in model organisms, including: yeast, worms, flies, mice, primates.

Systems approaches to studying ageing: e.g. high throughput DNA/RNA sequencing, high throughput proteomics and, metabolomics. Pros and cons of these methods, what we have learned from them?



Signalling pathways that control ageing

Insulin signalling pathway and Target of Rapamycin (ToR) pathway.

Organisation of pathways and the molecules involved, how they were discovered to be implicated in lifespan and ageing, ways of modelling and studying their molecular detail in animals e.g. genetic/ epistasis analysis.

The processes downstream of these pathways that allow them to control lifespan/ageing e.g. stress resistance, autophagy, reduced translation, enhanced immunity etc.

Cross-talk between pathways.

Dietary restriction, lifespan and ageing.

How dietary restriction works in different organisms, what signalling pathways and processes it affects.



Diseases of ageing

What these are e.g. Alzheimer's, Huntington's.

Overview of 'normal ageing' associated processes e.g. muscle weakening.

How they can be studied in model organisms and the importance of ageing research for treating these disorders.



Ethics of ageing research

Pros and cons of studying ageing with a goal of extending human lifespan e.g. insurance, health system, social, psychological implications.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

DI501 - Climate Change and Conservation (15 credits)

This module will inform students how climate has influenced the diversity of life on Earth, from past to present, and its likely future impacts. We will begin with a summary of the physical science basis of contemporary climate change and the role that anthropogenic factors have played since the commencement of the industrial era. We will then explore the biological and ecological impacts of climate change on individual organisms, populations and communities, with particular emphasis given to understanding how species are responding. The module will then explore how conservation biologists are using particular interventions to ameliorate the most harmful and destabilising effects of climate change. From a more general perspective, the social, economic and political ways in which climate change can be mitigated will be assessed

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits)

Genetics forms the basis of the diversity of life on earth, and is fundamental to biodiversity, speciation, evolutionary ecology, and has become recognized to be vital to the successful restoration of endangered species. An understanding of the evolutionary processes that foster biodiversity and genetic diversity is essential for modern conservation biologists, across timescales ranging from a few generations to millions of years. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of genetic processes and evolutionary mechanisms within the context of conservation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

SE561 - Biology and Human Identity (15 credits)

The module is designed as a bridging module between more biological elements of the BSc programme and the more socio-cultural anthropology courses students take as part of that programme. Being largely a broad survey of human evolutionary biology and identity, it will serve to introduce the more biological students to arguments and materials that will place their biological understanding within a broader framework of ideas about what makes people who and what they are and encourage them to explore the socio-cultural aspects of biological science. For the more socio-cultural BA students the module provides an opportunity to consolidate biological understanding from the Foundations of Biological Anthropology module and learn how to assess the assumptions and limitations of biology in the understanding of human behaviour. We will cover topics such as the human fossil record, human variation, what makes us human and ecological adaptation. By the end of the module the student should have knowledge of the basic principles of biological anthropology, an understanding of human identity, and be able to relate those ideas to wider concepts in biology. The student will be given an overview of the hominin fossil record and its interpretation, and receive in depth study of the different biological and social aspects that define us as human and the evolution of human life histories. The student will be introduced to the genetic and phenotypic variation of the modern human species, how humans have adapted to particular environments, and the importance diet played in human evolution. The student will also acquire some of the practical skills of data collection currently used by biological anthropologists.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

SE582 - Comparative Perspectives in Primate Biology (15 credits)

This module will provide the fundamental theoretical and comparative perspective that lies at heart of biology, with a particular focus on the order Primates. Particular attention will be paid to the evolutionary history of the primates and comparative primate (skeletal) anatomy, both placed in an evolutionary ecological context (e.g. a consideration of dentition in relation to diet and feeding; post-cranial anatomy in relation to locomotion and phylogenetic trends). Extensive use of casts of primate skeletal material will provide hands-on ‘experiential’ learning. The module will provide a detailed treatment of natural and sexual selection as key components of evolutionary theory that shape the adaptations of organisms, and the way adaptations are used to make sense of the diversity of organisms with particular reference to the primates. It complements, and is complemented by, SE580 Primate Behaviour and Ecology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB612 - New Enterprise Startup (15 credits)

The curriculum is based on the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (National Standards-setting body for small business) Standards for Business Start-up, but has been expanded to include contemporary issues such as Intellectual Property and recent legislation. It will include the following areas of study:

• Why firms become insolvent – economic financial and operational reasons for business failure, risks & liabilities, skills requirements for business ownership, self-development planning, sources of advice and support for businesses

• The new business planning process and format, developing & evaluating the business idea, producing a business plan for potential lenders.

• Financial aspects – budgetary planning & control, cash-flow and working capital, understanding financial accounting and key financial documents, break-even analysis, credit control and debt recovery, understanding PAYE & VAT.

• Market research, competition and barriers to market entry, identifying customers, market segmentation, planning the sales & marketing processes, customer perceptions & customer care, developing quality standards for the business

• Legal issues: reporting requirements, UK & EU law relevant to small businesses, business formats & trading status and their respective risks and liabilities, insurance, insolvency; patents, copyrights and IPR.

• Planning & employing staff, planning and obtaining premises, physical & financial resources; phased implementation of the business plan.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI620 - Virology (15 credits)

This module surveys the full replication cycle of a broad range of viral families, including newly emerging infectious diseases. The module includes interactive discussions on a number of recent scientific publications that highlight the relevant and important issues in the field of virology today.



Part A: survey of viral families and their properties

Virus families and taxonomy

Viral structure

Viral genomics

Virus replication (overview)

Virus transmission

Viral diseases and host interactions

Anti-viral therapeutics and vaccination



Part B: detailed examination of the different mechanisms of viral replication

Entry

Protein synthesis

Genome replication

Assembly

Budding

Transmission



Part C: fundamental methods in virus research

Key historical methods

Current standard techniques

Novel methods



Part D: virology research design

Grant writing

Oral presentation

Research review and evaluation

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI638 - Bioinformatics and Genomics (15 credits)

The past decade has seen significant advances in our ability to obtain biological data, be it protein structures or genome sequences. The bioinformatics element of this module will focus on modelling the structure, interactions and function of proteins. The genomics element will introduce the basic concepts of genome sequencing and what we have learnt from the sequencing of over 1000 different organisms. Finally the module will combine both elements to use protein modelling to identify how genetic variants (e.g. mutations) lead to disease. The lectures will teach the theory and the computer workshops will introduce some of the many web servers available to perform bioinformatics analyses.



Topics:



A. Bioinformatics Data sources & Sequence analysis:

Databases and data availability. Using sequence data for analysis – sequence searching methods, multiple sequence alignments, residue conservation, Phylogenetics, Protein domains and families (e.g. Pfam, Interpro).



B. Protein Bioinformatics Methods

Protein structure and function prediction. Prediction of binding sites/interfaces with small ligands and with other proteins. Bioinformatics analyses using protein data.



C. Genomics

An introduction to DNA analysis methods moving onto omics approaches, primarily focussing on the data available from DNA sequencing – how it can be used to compare genomes (comparative and functional genomics). Metagenomics and transcriptomics will also be covered.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

BI639 - Frontiers in Oncology (15 credits)

BI639 Frontiers in Oncology

This module introduces the basic principles of cancer biology and cancer therapy. It will explain the characteristics of cancer and why the development of more effective anti-cancer therapies is so extremely challenging. The module includes interactive discussions on a number of recent scientific publications that highlight the relevant and important issues at the frontiers of cancer research today.



Part A: survey of the leading issues in oncology

origin of cancer

cancer biology

cancer therapies



Part B: fundamental methods applied in oncological research

Key historical methods

Current standard techniques

Novel methods



Part C: oncology research design

Grant writing

Oral presentation

Research review and evaluation

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

Teaching & 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.

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 raised and engage in critical assessment of the subject material covered
  • provide a broad and balanced foundation of the science that underpins general biology and methodology in a modern society. This includes a detailed knowledge of the biological techniques and methods of assay, analysis and examination used by biologists, together with the biomolecular and organismal knowledge required to understand life at all levels of complexity
  • provide a stimulating, research-active environment in which students are supported and motivated to achieve their academic and personal potential
  • educate students in the theoretical and practical aspects of biology
  • facilitate learning through a variety of teaching and assessment methods
  • give students the ability to undertake an independent research project
  • prepare students 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
  • allow students to study biology at a university abroad
  • experience and gain knowledge of the scientific working practices and culture of another country
  • 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: 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, how their properties suit them for their biological function, and how they could be investigated experimentally
  • 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.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • 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
  • analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically, including published research or reports
  • obtain and integrate several lines of subject-specific 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
  • to 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 plan, execute and assess the results from experiments
  • to identify the best method for presenting and reporting on biological investigations using written, data manipulation/presentation and computer skills
  • to be aware of the employment opportunities for biology graduates who have experience of a year abroad.

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 and negotiating skills
  • evaluating performance as an individual and a team member, and evaluating the performance of others
  • receiving and responding to a variety of sources of information: textual, numerical, verbal and graphical
  • communicating about their subject appropriately to a variety of audiences using a range of 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
  • the ability to work independently, 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
  • be able to work and  communicate effectively within a different cultural setting.

Careers

Our students are in high demand after graduation. Our emphasis on laboratory skills and the teaching of biology at a molecular level allows students to successfully compete for graduate training positions and research-based employment. Also, the analytical and problem solving skills we teach are attractive to a wide range of careers outside of science and the Year Abroad option will further enhance your career prospects by broadening your knowledge and experience base.

Recently, our graduates have gone into jobs in lab-based research, government agencies, teaching, scientific publishing, marketing and information technology. Typically, about 30% of our biology graduates take a higher degree after graduation, either a one-year MSc or a three/four year PhD.

For more information on the services Kent provides you to improve your career prospects visit www.kent.ac.uk/employability.

Professional recognition

Our Biology degree programme is recognised by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including Biology or Human Biology grade B

GCSE

Mathematics grade C

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent 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.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The university will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis. Typical offers when made are Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including Biology 5 at HL or 6 at SL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Our funding opportunities for 2017 entry have not been finalised. However, details of our proposed funding opportunities for 2016 entry can be found on our funding page.  

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. Details of the scholarship for 2017 entry have not yet been finalised. However, for 2016 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages. Please review the eligibility criteria on that page. 

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources

Read our student profiles

Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Fees

The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.

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.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

Key Information Sets


The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

Publishing Office - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000