Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Natural Sciences specialising in Mathematical Bioscience (BSc)

BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences specialising in Mathematical Bioscience

Use mathematical techniques to understand the dynamics of the natural world

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

A*AA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£22,080 per year (2020/21)

Visit us

Join us on campus or online and find out what studying at York is really like.

Find out more

Mathematics is changing our approach to biological and environmental problems. Apply your passion for mathematics to the pressing ecological and environmental issues of our times.

You'll build highly sought after technical skills and use quantitative methods to understand the dynamics of the natural world, with a focus on ecology, conservation and the environment. You'll engage with global problems from natural resource management and shrinking biodiversity, to climate change, contamination risks and urban pollution and its impact on health and wellbeing.

You'll benefit from the established interdisciplinary connections between the Departments of Biology and Mathematics. Our teaching is informed by highly regarded international research, such as our £3.5m study to measure the pollution levels in our cities with high-tech tools, including miniaturised sensing devices, robotics and mobile phones.

All our Natural Sciences BSc degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Mathematical Bioscience pathway, enter the subject option code "MatBio". We will ask you to confirm your pathway if you are invited to interview.

Course content

Natural Sciences specialising in Mathematical Bioscience will give you a grounding in core topics from across the natural sciences and mathematics alongside a range of advanced topics. You'll take modules totalling 360 credits across three years, covering:

  • genetics, ecology, evolution, physiology and environmental science fundamentals
  • mathematical physics, applied mathematics, statistics and numerical and computational mathematics
  • the essential definitions of a range of mathematical and statistical theories
  • the application of appropriate techniques to solve a variety of problems focusing on ecological and environmental scenarios.

You will also gain experience with computer packages for symbolic manipulation of mathematical expressions, implementation of algorithms, numerical evaluation of mathematical and statistical functions and processes, and representation and manipulation of large ecological and environmental datasets.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

Year 1 emphasises core material in biology and mathematics to prepare you for more advanced study.

Core modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year you will explore your specialised subjects in greater depth.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose either:


Year 3

In your final year you will choose between the Statistics route and the Applied route to refine the focus of your specialisation.

Applied route

Core modules
Option modules

Choose either:


Choose two Biology modules from:

Statistics route

Core module
Option modules

Chose Mathematics modules totalling 40 credits from:

Chose two Biology modules from:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

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.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Confidently identify mathematical problems that can be analysed or resolved by standard mathematical techniques, and be able to apply those techniques successfully
  • Identify and apply relevant mathematical, numerical or statistical tools, techniques and methodologies to solve real world mathematical modelling problems in a biological, ecological or environmental sciences context
  • Demonstrate breadth and depth of understanding of the fundamentals of genetics, ecology, evolution and the of theoretical basis for ecological science, including a critical understanding of the relevant scientific literature
  • Identify and critically evaluate analytical and quantitative techniques and methods through knowledge and first-hand practical experience in laboratories and the field, including the creation of comprehensive laboratory and field reports 
  • Work individually and in groups to solve modelling problems rooted in the biological and environmental sciences by applying logical reasoning, lateral thinking, and mathematical and numerical methodology to develop and implement safe, ethical and socially responsible solutions that benefit humankind
  • Communicate, in a variety of media, the importance of mathematical, biological or ecological issues to an inter-disciplinary and specialist audience with arguments that are backed up by rigorous data analysis and robust mathematical modelling techniques
"Studying Mathematical Bioscience at York was the best decision I ever made. The lecturers in both departments provide interesting content, teaching is in lots of different formats (from seminars, practicals and tutorials, to learning about animal behaviour by feeding ducks!) and even in the first year information studied in Biology will cross over to Maths lectures and vice versa."
Hannah, Mathematical Bioscience (Year 1)

Interdisciplinary programmes

Natural Sciences offers a range of well-structured pathways built upon the natural synergies that exist across scientific disciplines.

Natural Sciences Hour

Our weekly Natural Sciences Hour brings students together to hear from researchers and employers and to build transferable skills.

Research facilities

Study in world-leading research institutes and hi-tech learning spaces dedicated to interdisciplinary science.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £22,080

Additional costs

You may be asked to provide your own lab coat, they usually cost around £20. Text books and course books are all available in the library or online. We do recommend books you might find useful, but it is not compulsory for you to buy them.​ ​Your first year textbooks for Biology will be provided to you at no additional cost.

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

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.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Living costs

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

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 format

The interdisciplinary nature of the Natural Sciences programme means that you will experience a wide variety of approaches to teaching, from formal lectures and practical experiments in the lab to small group tutorials and close, supportive mentoring, as well as Virtual Learning Environments. Many aspects of this course will have strong element of experimental and practical studies.

You'll receive lectures from leading figures in the field, along with smaller group sessions. In tutorials and seminars you will be encouraged to debate and discuss the lecture material, drawing out important principles, highlighting connections between ideas and applying methods to example problems.

Natural Sciences teaching groups

You will share lectures and seminars with students from other departments, but your tutorials and some smaller seminar groups will be with other Natural Sciences students only, and these will help you understand the material in an interdisciplinary context.

Hands on experimental experience

For the natural scientist, conducting rigorous experiments and understanding the experimental method underpins the very nature of scientific inquiry and discovery.

Laborarory work may be done in groups or pairs, or sometimes individually, but always with the support of experienced mentors. Sometimes laboratory work will be interwoven with lectures and tutorials, sometimes it may be a stand-alone module. The importance of experimentation to the learning process is recognised by the fact that Projects form the pinnacle of every natural scientist’s time at York: every Natural Sciences programme includes a major project during the final year.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars384 hours456 hours408 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio on Campus West, but your teaching will be spread across our departments and locations will vary. Teaching locations for this course include: Alcuin, Derwent, James and Vanbrugh College; the Department of Biology; the Physics and Electronic Engineering building; and the Spring Lane building.

About our campus

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.

Assessment and feedback

A variety of assessment techniques will be used for different elements of the course and at different times during your degree. These include:

  • examinations
  • course assignments and weekly problems
  • laboratory assessment
  • presentations
  • project reports

Assessment of your final year project includes a short oral examination known as a viva, in which you will talk about your project with a panel of examiners.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams87%84%48%
Practical exams3%3%3%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

A lecturer writing equations on a blackboard.
Students doing group work.
"We have all really benefitted as well from the small NatSci cohort and everyone becomes really close over the first year. I am really excited for my second year modules!"
Hannah, Mathematical Bioscience (Year 1)

Careers and skills

A Natural Sciences degree is a versatile course that will provide you with the skills and experience to succeed in a wide range of careers, including the public sector, industry and academic research.

Career opportunities

  • Industrial researcher for a chemical engineering company
  • Management consultant
  • Civil servant in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Project manager in the aerospace industry
  • Process technologist at an integrated circuit manufacturer
  • Financial quantitative analyst for an investment bank

Transferable skills

  • Evaluation of complex or incomplete data
  • Fact-based decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Team work
  • Time-management

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

A*AA including Mathematics and either Biology or Further Mathematics

International Baccalaureate 37 points, including Mathematics and at least grade 6 or above in Higher-Level Biology or Higher-level Further Mathematics

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in Listening, 21 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 21 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our 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 IELTS 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.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Applications from mature students are welcomed.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

School of Natural Sciences

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.