The Department of Biology at York accepted its first undergraduates in 1965 and moved to its present buildings in 1968. Over the years it has grown enormously, with the opening of the £21.6M Biosciences building in 2003, part of which houses our innovative Technology Facility together with the York Structural Biology Laboratory (YSBL). An extension of the former Centre for Immunology and Infection, now York Biomedical Research Institute, opened in 2010 and our most recent expansion is a new teaching block to house the Biomedical Sciences degree and School for Natural Sciences. 

We research and teach across the whole spectrum of biological sciences – from molecular analysis of human diseases to understanding the global environment. This wide range facilitates an array of novel research collaborations within the Department and externally, and gives our teaching breadth, depth and immediacy. The current edition of the Biology Report containing information on various aspects of the Department, as well as details of staff research and teaching can be downloaded here: Biology Report 2014 (PDF , 14,650kb).‌

Teaching and Research

Our status as one of the UK’s elite university biological sciences departments is supported by established metrics that relate to both research and teaching. In Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, Biology at York was placed in the top ten in the UK overall and first for impact outside academia with our research having major influence on environmental policy, industry and health. In teaching, we retain a position in the top ten biological sciences programmes in the UK according to The Times and Sunday Times. These results, together with those of the REF, place the Department in a leading position in the UK offering excellence in teaching inspired by world class research with impact.


We have major interdisciplinary collaborations with the Department of Chemistry (YSBL is located in Biology), with the Hull York Medical School (with which we have established the CII and the new Biomedical Sciences programme), and with other departments on campus to establish the Biological Physical Sciences Institute (BPSI), the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA), the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI),  and the Centre for Human Palaeoecology & Evolutionary Origins (PALAEO).

York Biology is an exciting place to work, whether as a researcher or student. We welcome staff and students from around the UK and across the world and celebrate excellence, breadth and diversity across the whole spectrum of modern biology, from ecology to biomedicine.

Professor Jennifer Potts

Head of Department

Awards and Accolades






Associated Centres and Units