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TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a Subject > University Courses > Biology Degree

Academic Requirements

Academic Requirements vary between institutions, but as a guide Chemistry is a desirable subject almost everywhere, however Maths and Physics (and occasionally Geography and Psychology) are often accepted as sciences. Biology is of course essential.

Grade requirements vary from A*AA at Oxford and Cambridge, to AAB or ABB at most other 'Top twenty' universities such as Warwick, York, Durham and Bristol, with Universities outside the Top 20 often still requiring 250+ points but this being expressed in terms of points, not grades.

Life as a Biological Sciences Student

Your life studying Biological Sciences will vary a great deal depending on the path you choose within that course. Most universities will have a common first year (i.e. students wishing to study cell biology, epidemiology, ecology, behaviour and physiology would all study the same core subjects in the first year). This ensures that everybody is up to speed to begin with, and that you actually make an educated choice about what to do with your life! A surprising number of people fall in love with whatever their Biology teacher at school enjoyed best purely because their enthusiasm was contagious - at uni things may be very different.

Most courses will contain a considerable number of lectures in first year, and accompanying practical work. This will likely include lab work for cellular biology, genetics and epidemiology and field work for more 'outdoorsy subjects' like ecology or environmental change. In 2nd and 3rd year as you specialise in your chosen field you may abandon lab work entirely, or begin to work there 9-5.

You will almost always be required to undertake a final research project. At some universities this will be a group effort based upon a professors research, in which you conduct the same experiments and pool results. At others you will pick some individual projects from a list and be assigned them by ballot. If you're very lucky (e.g. at Oxford) then you can write your own project title and find somebody to supervise you.

Try to consider factors when choosing a course such as how much lab work you want to do; the size and quality of the labs; the number of essays or sets of problems you are expected to complete; and the freedom you will have to choose your own research. Also look at the number of Option Modules you can choose from.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Universities for Biology? There is no easy answer to this as 'best' is subjective and what is right for others may not be right for you. Biology courses vary immensely as it is such a wide discipline so it is strongly recommended you pick a course that suits your individual interests and a University that has strengths in your preferred area(s)

Generally speaking, unis that are considered 'good' for Biology include:

Oxford Cambridge York Imperial UCL Durham Manchester (Life Sciences Faculty) Bristol Bath (especially for molecular)

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