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Biology BSc Honours

  • UCAS code: C100
  • Full time
  • 3 years

Our modern Biology BSc Honours degree gives you the freedom to study a broad spectrum of the natural world around us.

You are currently viewing course information for entry year: 2024-25

Next start date:

  • September 2024

Fees (per year)

  • Home: £9250
  • International: £26400

Entry requirements and offers

  • A-Level: ABB
  • IB: 32 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21

Course overview

Newcastle is blessed with a host of amazing habitats. With the Northumberland countryside on our doorstep, you'll enjoy a unique learning experience at Newcastle University.

You'll develop a comprehensive understanding of all forms of life, from cells and molecules to organisms and ecosystems. You'll learn the theory in modern labs on-campus. You'll then test theory out in the field. You'll have many opportunities to attend residential and field courses.

You'll also have the opportunity to specialise in topics such as biotechnology, microbiology and ecological survey techniques.

You'll put your skills into action through:

  • lab-based classes
  • day excursions
  • residential field courses

BSc or MBiol?

Some of our degrees are offered at two levels:

  • three-year Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • four-year Master of Biology (MBiol)

Our MBiol degrees involve an additional year of advanced study at master’s level, during which you will gain significant research experience to increase your employability.


Your course and study experience - disclaimers and terms and conditions  
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.

View our Academic experience page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2023-24.

See our terms and conditions and student complaints information, which gives details of circumstances that may lead to changes to programmes, modules or University services.

Quality and ranking

Professional accreditation and recognition

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body.

Modules and learning


The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

The first year of this degree is shared with other Biology-related degrees in the School. You can transfer to one of our other Biology and Zoology degrees before the second year should your interests change (subject to achieving the appropriate grades).

You'll develop a strong foundation in the subject and get stuck into practical work straight away.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Genetics and Evolution 20
Diversity of Life: Form and Function 20
Ecology and Conservation 20
Cells and Biomolecules 20
Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences 20
Optional Modules Credits
Crop Pests 10
Animal Health 10
Introduction to Animal Physiology 10
Natural Science Research Impact 10
UK Wildlife 10
The Marine Environment 20
Marine Microbiology and Primary Producers 20

In Stage 2, you'll continue to build upon your skills, delving deeper into the field. You'll also have the option to embark on a residential field course or an intensive practical lab course. 


Compulsory Modules Credits
Experimental Design and Statistics 10

You must also take one of the following compulsory modules (shown in the optional list below):


Optional Modules Credits
Career Development for second year students 20
Animal Parasitology 10
Field Identification Skills 10
Animal Behaviour 10
Pollution of Air, Water & Soil 10
Microbial Biochemistry 20
Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation 20
Biotechnology: Principles and Practice 20
Animal Function (Physiology and Development) 20
Plant Biology 20
Evolutionary Biology 20
Insect Biology and Origins 20
Field-based Ecology: designing experiments, and residential field course 20
Vertebrate Biology 20
Tropical Marine Ecology 20
Applied Marine Biology 20
Biological Psychology: Sex, Drugs, Rhythms and Blues 10

You'll work independently on an extensive project with a choice between a Biological Literature Review, a Biological Research Project and a Biological Information Project.

You will have a choice of specialist topics such as:

  • molecular biology, genomics and biotechnology
  • biological computer modelling
  • biodiversity and conservation

These specialist topics are linked to our research expertise.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Research Project 40

You must also take one of the following compulsory modules (shown in the optional list below):



Optional Modules Credits
Advanced Career Development module 20
Biodiversity Science and Management 20
Current Research in Ecology 20
Biotechnology: Applications 20
Biological Modelling 20
Physiological Zoology 20
Microbial Genomics 20
Advances in Plant Science Research 20
Current Research in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology 20
Africa Field Course: Conservation and Ecology 20
Advanced Marine Research Topics I 20

Module Overview - Biodiversity Science and Management

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

You'll be taught via a combination of methods, including lectures and interactive online classes.

Our field and lab-based modules provide you with an exceptional basis to build practical experiences. These enhance the scientific skills expected of a biology graduate.

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assessments

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Coursework

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Group work

  • Practical sessions

  • Presentations

  • Projects

  • Reports

  • Seminar tasks/exercises

Skills and experience

Research skills

Your teaching is research-led. This means your learning will be strongly informed by the latest research findings by the school. You'll be taught by experts at the forefront of their respective fields in:

  • microbial biotechnology
  • plant biology
  • animal physiology and behaviour
  • biodiversity and conservation
  • biological computer modelling

Hands-on experience

This is a highly practical course. You'll spend time in the lab and off-campus on field trips.

You'll have access to modern laboratories on-campus and take advantage of our fantastic outstations.

This includes:

  • the University Farms
  • Dove Marine Laboratory
  • Great North Museum biological collections

Field trip destinations include:

  • the Northumbrian countryside
  • Crete
  • the Farne Islands
  • South Africa
  • Thailand

Lab-based modules introduce you to key research techniques. Modules include:

  • bioprospecting
  • cellular biochemistry
  • molecular evolution and systematics

Several modules are focused on fieldwork, such as Field Identification Skills and Mammal Surveying Skills.

Business skills

You'll have the opportunity to complete a work placement between stages 2 and 3, as well as taking part in University-wide expeditions on an extra-curricular basis.


Study abroad

Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.

You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.

If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year. 

Find out more about study abroad

Work placement

Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Your degree title will show you have achieved the placement year.  Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements.

Facilities and environment


As a Biology and Zoology student, you'll be based in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at our city-centre campus.

During your studies, you'll have access to two commercial farms near Newcastle. These are used as demonstration facilities as well as a field station with a glasshouse and dedicated teaching facilities.

You'll have the opportunity to access purpose-built laboratories. You can also visit the Great North Museum, where there's a range of important biological collections.


As a new student, you'll receive a tablet, so you can download online learning resources and help to make our campus more sustainable.

You'll have the support of an academic staff member as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have when starting university. 

You will have access to a dedicated School of Natural and Environmental Advisor who is there to signpost, advise, and guide you on your wellbeing, should you need it.

There's also a staff-student committee, to allow you to have a say in how your degree works.

Your future

Recent graduates have taken roles such as:

  • researcher
  • environmental monitoring officer
  • science explainer at Newcastle's Centre for Life
  • science writer, within organisations such as RSPB, WWT, and Natural England

Many students also go on to further education, pursuing master's degrees, PHDs, postgraduate teaching qualifications, and medicine and law courses. 

Having developed a broad range of transferable skills, you'll also have career prospects in industries as diverse as banking and retail management, media production, and adventure tourism. 

Industry links

The faculty has built strong links with leading organisations, including:

  • National Trust
  • Natural History Society of Northumbria
  • WWT
  • National Parks Authority

These links will provide opportunities to secure work placements, internships, and volunteer roles, as well as building up an invaluable network of contacts in the sector. 

Enterprising students

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Careers support

Our Enterprise Challenge gives students the opportunity to work with industry on a project that tackles real-world issues. Watch the above video to find out more.

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements and offers below apply to 2024 entry.

International Baccalaureate

Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications

Contextual Offers

Through one of our contextual routes, you could receive an offer of up to three grades lower than the typical requirements.

What is a contextual offer? Find out more and if you’re eligible for this or our PARTNERS Programme supported entry route.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2024 entry (per year)

Qualification: BSc Honours

Home students

full time 3 years

Tuition fees (per year)


International students

full time 3 years

Tuition fees (per year)


Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.


Find out more about:

Open days and events

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

Get in touch

By phone

Call us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333 and press option 1. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm.

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You'll find our NCL chatbot in the bottom right of this page.


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