Of the Russell Group universities included in the 2021 National Student Survey
Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022
Our Ecology course examines how the Earth’s biological systems respond to environmental change, and why this is important at scales ranging from microorganisms to global climate shifts.
This course is ideal if you want an interdisciplinary approach to Ecology and you will have a wide range of options to tailor the course to your developing interests.
You’ll develop an understanding of the processes that occur within and between organisms, through to investigating global systems and the influences that drive changes in these settings. Ecology at York ranges from studying the fundamentals of evolution, to the structure of populations and communities, and applications in conservation and environmental biology. You will build a solid foundation in theoretical concepts, which you will supplement with valuable experience in the field, and we have a dedicated field course in each of the first three years of the programme. As an ecologist, your focus on understanding our ecosystems and the processes occurring in them will be vital in helping us to work towards sustainable and effective solutions around current and future global challenges, whether around climate change, feeding the world sustainably or tackling diseases.
Adding a year in industry or a year abroad are both an option with this course too, so you can benefit from the advantages that a year away can bring. The Department of Biology will provide you with the opportunity to learn in new, spacious and modern teaching laboratories which provide excellent facilities for practicals and small group project work, alongside our state-of-the-art computing facilities.
All of our undergraduate courses are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. As a graduate, you will meet in-part the academic and experience requirement for membership and chartered biologist (CBiol).
Department of Biology ranked first in the UK for research impact in the Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results
New investment in buildings housing teaching and state-of-the-art teaching laboratories
We were the first university Biology department in Britain to receive an Athena SWAN Gold Award, which recognises our continued commitment to gender equality
We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.
This is a flexible and modular course which offers you choices in what you can study. There is the option to spend an additional year in industry or a year abroad as part of this course. If you do not go away for a year, you will continue to progress through your studies within the University.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
We also offer this course with a year abroad.
You can also apply for a year in industry with a range of employers including pharmaceutical companies, medical research institutes, environmental organisations and professional services networks.
Stage 1 (the first year) consists of core modules which are designed to give you an excellent basis on which to build your future studies and develop your interests.
In a typical week you will have around 25 hours of contact time, typically six or seven lectures, two or three practicals, a skills workshop and a tutorial. You will also spend time on independent study, consolidating information from lectures and practicals and preparing work for tutorials.
You will take core modules, which may include:
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
You will take core modules, which may include:
You will take a selection of option modules, examples of which may include:
The Research Project is your chance to investigate a topic relevant to your interests from a wide range of projects across the Department.
You'll receive supervision from the project director and often work as part of a research group, giving hands-on experience of a real research environment. Over the course of the project, you will produce a written project report in the style of a scientific paper, and give a presentation on the topic.
You will take a selection of option modules, examples of which may include:
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a placement year - for example a year abroad or a year in industry - you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year
|UK (home)||International and EU|
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status
For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.
Text books and course books are all available in the library or online. We do recommend books you might find useful, reading lists are provided to you when you start your modules, but it is not compulsory for you to buy the books. You will have access to a course ebook at no additional cost.
Costs for students going abroad or into industry will vary depending on what sort of placement it is and what sort of financial assistance is available.
Field courses are an optional element of this course. If you undertake the field course within the Animal and Plant Biology module, the costs will be entirely met by the Department. The Department will also meet the costs of other field courses, apart from some transport and any required vaccinations which you will need to fund yourself. The costs of transport and vaccinations for these trips can vary.
|Textbooks||Included in course fees||£0|
|Field trips||Optional additional expense||£850|
|Year in industry||Optional additional expense||£0|
|Travel to non-UoY locations||Included in course fees||£0|
|Specialist clothing, uniforms, lab coats, laundry...||Included in course fees||£0|
|Printing, photocopying and dissertation binding||Optional additional expense||£0|
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
Teaching is delivered by academic scientists with additional contributions from clinical researchers. Throughout your course there will be strong links between your studies, scientific research and clinical applications. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. You may be taught by the following methods:
Cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities, and our friendly, approachable, and accessible staff are experts in their respective fields. Small-group teaching and tutorials for five students are an important part of our programmes. There is a very wide range of tutorials to choose from and they help develop your essay writing, problem solving and communication skills. Tutorials are an excellent way to engage in informal scientific discussions with a member of staff about topical issues.
You will attend lectures where we will deliver stimulating and thought-provoking perspectives on the major global challenges in biosciences of the 21st century.
Practicals are designed to help you to develop laboratory skills and to become familiar with a wide range of practical techniques, training you to use methods precisely and encouraging you to objectively assess the reliability of your results.
Workshops are also an important feature of our programme, and they provide an additional dimension to most modules. You will often collaborate in small groups in problem solving and other learning activities in our flexible learning workshops. You will design your own experiments and work together on the findings from the latest research papers, or investigate the application of new technologies to the global challenges in the field.
Several modules available within Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Biotechnology and Microbiology, and Molecular Cell Biology courses offer the chance to study outside undertaking field courses. We currently offer opportunities to study marine and coastal biology environments in Scotland, the colourful flora and fauna in Portugal, or experience equally stunning locations in Yorkshire.
Each term during the first two years, students take modules designed to develop more generic scientific and transferable skills. Some modules focus on specific scientific techniques, while others develop skills in problem solving, experimental design and data analysis.
We encourage you to develop important communication skills, including working in groups to plan and carry out experiments that investigate a scientific problem, and you will present your work as an oral presentation or poster.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||8-9 hours per week|
|Tutorials||1 hour per week|
|Workshops||4 hours per week|
|Practicals||3 hours per week|
These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.
In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.
Teaching and learning in the Department of Biology is based in a £23m state-of-the-art facility, which is equipped with laboratories, a flexible workshop and creative learning lounge, computer rooms, specialist tissue culture and fluorescence microscopy suites.
This course is based in the Department of Biology which is on Campus West. The majority of teaching takes place within Biology, with some additional teaching taking place at other locations on Campus West.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
You will be assessed via a mixture of closed exams and continuous assessment. Although you must perform to a satisfactory level, Stage 1 (which is your first year) does not count towards the final degree, which is determined by work in Stage 2 (25%), Stage 3 (37.5%) and Stage 4 (37.5%). If you undertake a year abroad or in industry this is marked by pass/fail.
Throughout your course we will provide you with feedback on your work and assignments, which will give you an indication of the progress you are making in your studies.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
This visit to Askham Bog, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve is part of the Year 3 Advanced Field Course module.
Our £23m dedicated, state-of-the-art facility hosts a range of teaching and learning spaces.
A degree in Biology provides an excellent basis for science or health-related careers, and for a wide range of other occupations and professions from management and finance, to journalism and teaching.
Studying Biology will develop your critical thinking and research skills, and prepare you to be competitive for entry into relevant postgraduate degree programmes.
Employment opportunities are diverse, ranging from biological and biomedical research and development, to careers in science communication, the health service, forensic science, environmental health and wildlife conservation. Our graduates are not confined to science-related careers, and a significant number enter jobs within finance, public and private sector management, social and health service work, the media and law.
AAB including Biology or Human Biology and a second science
We accept the following subjects as a second science: Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Further Mathematics, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology or Statistics.
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher. Must include Level 3 modules in Biology and a second science.|
|BTEC National Extended Diploma||BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD. We consider BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (2016 syllabus) with all 7 mandatory units plus 4-6 units from 8,9,10,11,12,13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23 and no more than 2 units from 15,16,21,22,24,25,26. We consider BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (2010 syllabus), please contact us for information on the units we accept.|
|Cambridge Pre-U||D3, D3, M2 including Biology and a second science or mathematics subject.|
|European Baccalaureate||80% overall, including 8.5 and 8 in Biology and a second science or mathematics subject.|
|International Baccalaureate||35 points including 6 in Higher Level Biology and 6 in another Higher Level science or mathematics subject. If English is not your first language then we would also require 5 in English B.|
|International foundation programme||Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.|
|Other qualifications||To secure a place as a mature student on this course you will need recent qualifications in Biology and another science at a sufficiently advanced level, together with evidence of some of the key skills needed for studying at degree level.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|Widening participation||If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS. More about widening participation.|
|Contextual offers||If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.|
|EPQ||If you achieve B or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.|
|Core Maths||If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS (Academic and Indicator)||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|Duolingo||110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C|
|LanguageCert International ESOL SELT||B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, with a minimum of 55 in each component|
|TOEFL||87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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