A Level Requirements
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Full time 4 Year(s)
Explore the science of life with our flexible degree which provides a wide range of dynamic modules that allows you to tailor your studies to suit your interests.
This programme equips you with the real-world skills required to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our planet, whether it’s researching underlying scientific principles, the development of new treatments for disease, or helping to protect endangered species. You will learn from internationally renowned researchers in our state-of-the-art laboratories, which offers excellent facilities for practical work. You will study a series of topics such as genetics, biomedicine and evolution.
Your first year provides a wide range of introductory level modules. You can choose to follow linked themes of modules throughout the year, or mix and-match to suit your own requirements. Examples of what you can study range from atoms and molecules to biodiversity; from biotechnology to global health and disease; and from spectroscopy to zoology.
Second and third years offer specialisation, allowing you to shape your own degree from a series of in-depth theory and practical skills spanning the whole breadth of bioscience.
Your fourth year will reinforce your learning with a variety of Masters level modules. You will also have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and practical skills in an extended research project.
We also offer a three year BSc Hons Biological Sciences Study Abroad where you spend Year 2 at one of our partner universities in America, Canada or Australasia. It’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons and gain a valuable experience of a different social and academic environment.
A Level AAA
Required Subjects A level grade AA in two sciences from the following; Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
GCSE Mathematics grade B, English Language grade C
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 36 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including two science subjects at HL grade 6
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction to include sufficient science. We require Distinctions in majority of relevant science units. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
Access to HE Diploma 36 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 9 Level 3 credits at Merit in a science related subject. We require majority of Distinctions in science subjects. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
In this module students will be introduced to the basic principles of experimental research design. We familiarise students with the principals underpinning the statistical analysis of quantitative data using examples from experimental studies in practice. We also offer students the opportunity to use basic statistics to analyse experimental data using statistical software (IBM SPSS). These practical sessions give students an opportunity to acquire data analysis skills. We cover the logic behind generating and testing hypotheses in experimental design and provide students with guidance on how to critically appraise published experimental research. Students will gain an appreciation of the importance of experimental design in the study of human health; develop team-working skills; develop skills in self-directed learning using a virtual learning environment; experience the use of statistical software for performing statistical calculations; develop an ability to summarise and critique information from different sources in a coherent manner along with an understanding of how to report statistical results.
This module introduces and provides training in the general skills necessary for the study of bioscience. These include use and care of laboratory equipment such as microscopes, spectrophotometers, micropipettes and centrifuges. It will also teach liquid-handling skills, and to calculate concentrations, volumes and dilution of solutions, particularly the importance and use of the mole concept. MS Excel will be used to generate statistics and to plot curves.
The other main area covered is that of scientific reading and writing. You will learn to recognize good and bad sentences, use correct paragraph structure, to search for, acquire and know how to read scientific literature, and to avoid plagiarism. Finally students will learn the various forms in which science is communicated and the ways public understanding of scientific findings can be distorted.
At the end of this module you will be able to record scientific investigation, collect data, present results, place them in the context of existing scientific literature and write a short scientific report.
In this module, the anatomy of the human body is explored. The module begins with an overview of the components of the eleven systems of the human body. The various types of body tissue are examined and their structure-function relationships investigated. Several body systems are explored in detail for example skeletal system, urinary system, integumentary (skin) system and muscular system. Finally, vision and hearing are discussed.
In the laboratory, students will investigate blood, with emphasis on staining techniques used in order to identify types of white blood cells. In workshops, posters are prepared and PowerPoint presentations used to consolidate understanding of lecture material. A laboratory revision session is provided which enables examination of a range of tissues and organs, designed to aid revision of the major topics covered in this module.
This module aims to introduce Biomedical Science students to laboratory-based investigations of human health and disease.
The basic principles of Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology and Transfusion Science are investigated. Laboratory practical work enables students to investigate Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology and Clinical Biochemistry.
Students will develop an understanding of how common diseases such as cancer, chronic heart disease and diabetes mellitus develop. Finally, hospital-acquired infection will be explored. Understanding of several topics on this module will be consolidated during a case study workshop.
This module examines how biomedicine links into society. It initially looks at the historical developments of biomedicine, and key changes that have occurred often as a result of a dramatic change to society such as war. Students look at how ethics in particular have developed and how thinking and ultimately legislation has evolved in relation to unethical practice. Key ethical principles are explored in relation to both the treatment of humans and animals. To help understand the role of biomedicine in society the module examines the role of animals in experimentation, the ethics associated with running clinical trials with humans, issues related to contraception and the role the media plays in how society makes sense of developments in health care.
The module has a main weekly lecture but much learning and consolidation of knowledge occurs in smaller seminar groups where students are given the opportunity to share their learning through presentations and debates.
Biotechnology is one of the fastest moving fields in the biosciences. Genetic engineering techniques have allowed the manipulation of microorganisms, plants and animals to produce commercially important compounds, or to have improved characteristics. This module examines the techniques that are used in genetic manipulation and looks at examples of how the technology has been applied. The practical outcomes of genome sequencing projects and the way in which knowledge of the human genome can be applied to medicine and forensics are also considered. Practical classes and workshops allow students to perform some of the key techniques for themselves.
This module is an introduction to the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The first five lectures of the module will examine the main components of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the way eukaryotic cells are organized into tissues. The techniques used to study cells will also be reviewed. The next two lectures will look in detail at the structure and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts and the chemiosmotic theory. This will be followed by a lecture on the way cells are organised into tissues. The final four lectures will cover reproduction in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the eukaryotic cell cycle. The lectures are supplemented by two practical sessions, the first on light microscopic technique and the second covering organelle isolation
This module will explore the theoretical basis for many methods routinely used in the medicine for diagnosis of immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal tract diseases and endocrine disorders. The module will also enable investigation of methods employed to assess kidney function, haemostasis and drug use.
During workshops, case studies will be used in order to apply new knowledge to real life examples and a practical session will give students the opportunity to carry out an ELISA experiment.
This module examines the way in which genetic information, encoded by the DNA of the cell, is replicated and passed on to each new generation of cells and whole individuals. The ways in which genes affect the characteristics of a cell or organism are explored at the molecular level. The fundamentals of these processes are very similar in all organisms but the unique features of eukaryotes and prokaryotes are highlighted. We will also examine the consequences of mutation and look at some examples of diseases and conditions caused by defective genes and alterations in chromosome number or structure.
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the mechanisms cells use to communicate with one another.
The structure and functions of several endocrine (hormone-producing) glands are investigated in lectures and workshops, such as the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. The hormonal control of human reproduction is explained, followed by investigating the topic of fertilisation. Early embryogenesis is compared in a variety of organisms, supported by a laboratory session which enables a comparison of early embryogenesis in starfish, frog and chick. Finally, human pregnancy, development and fertility are examined with emphasis upon causes and treatment of infertility.
Physiology is the study of how the body works, and is largely concerned with homeostasis – i.e. how body function is maintained at a relatively constant level in different environments and circumstances. This course considers the physiology of the brain and the nervous system; the heart and the circulatory system; the external respiratory system (lungs, together with transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood) and the gastrointestinal system. There is also some limited information on the pathophysiology of relevant human diseases. Other aspects of human physiology, involving different tissue and organ systems, are covered elsewhere.
There is a workshop on neurophysiology (the Nernst equation), and practical classes that demonstrate the effects of exercise on blood pressure, the ABO blood grouping system, and the effects of pH on the activity of some key enzymes involved in digestion.
This module introduces students to the world of microbiology. They will receive tuition from lecturers working on the cutting edge of microbiological research.
Topics related to viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists will be covered. Hands on practical sessions will help students to understand the dynamics of bacterial growth, how to culture and count microbes, antibiotic resistance assays and identification of bacteria.
Students will start to understand the mechanisms that bacteria use to cause human disease. Several fungi will be examined and students will learn how fungi are exploited in industry. Finally students are introduces to the protists; examine beautiful ciliates and flagellates and watch predatory protozoa in action.
Covering a wide range of infectious organisms from viruses to worms, this module provides a comprehensive introduction to infection and immune responses of the host. The biology of the infecting organisms and the host’s immune response will both be examined as these are vital components in understanding the nature of the different types of infection.
Selected infections will be studied in detail in lectures and practicals and used as paradigms to illustrate principles of the host/pathogen interaction.
In this module, students will explore the chemistry of some of the most important molecules to life, including water, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. The module begins with an overview of basic chemistry for example atomic structure, bonding, pH and molecular shape. It looks at the properties of water and how these enable water to support life. The structure and bonding within nucleic acids, proteins and carbohydrates are explored with emphasis upon how this is related to function within a cell. Finally, the structure and functions of lipids are described, with emphasis upon the role of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates in biological membranes.
Workshops on this module enable use of RasMol molecular modelling software, making molecular models and problem-based learning.
The purpose of this module is to expand upon the introduction to proteins given in BIOL111. Our approach is to use specific examples to demonstrate different aspects of protein structure, and to illustrate the way that the different properties of individual amino acids contribute to the function of the proteins they make up. The course is split into two linked themes. Firstly, an introduction to the major structural features of proteins is given, with an emphasis on how protein structure relates to function. Secondly, an introduction to enzyme biochemistry is presented. We consider how enzymes catalyse biochemical reactions, how their activities can be described quantitatively, and how enzymes are regulated within the cell.
This module aims to provide a foundation in the core techniques utilised in protein purification.
Each week the lectures and practicals lead students through the variety of techniques used to purify proteins. The lectures provide students with an understanding of the biochemical methods commonly used and their significance within a protein purification strategy. Practicals will be tightly linked to the lectures, with students being required to follow a purification strategy over the course of the module. Starting with a mixture of proteins, students are set the task of purifying one of the proteins on the basis of their biochemical properties.
This module has four core topics that direct students through the purification process. They are:
This module is an introduction to cellular biochemistry focusing on the core pathways of intermediary metabolism which are central to cellular function. Specifically, it focuses on two related and key areas of biochemistry. The first is enzymology; how do proteins function as biological catalysts and how are chemical reactions controlled within a cell? Students will investigate how the many chemical reactions which participate in metabolism are accurately regulated and organised.
The second is cellular metabolism; particularly, how do cells obtain energy from their surroundings to maintain their complex order?
The module will cover several seminal and Nobel Prize winning research topics including a detailed look at the key reactions of the citric acid cycle and the coupling of electron transport, proton pumping and ATP synthesis. The concepts and areas of biochemistry covered will be further illustrated by reference to the pathological state and human diseases which result from specific malfunctions in biochemical pathways and reactions.
This module explores the interactions that take place both within and between cells and which allow them to perform their function in the whole organism. Students will consider five key topics within cell biology:
This laboratory-based module provides both a theoretical and experimental basis for further studies and research in cell biology. It will enable students to gain experience in a range of laboratory techniques including: handling mammalian cells, cell signalling, identification of subcellular molecular localisation by immunofluorescent microscopy, and cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry.
The module is delivered through mixed media platforms such as lectures and videos, with consolidation of the practicals in a final overarching data analysis workshop. Students will be able to apply these skills to design and carry out experiments for their own subsequent research projects.
This module introduces advanced techniques of eukaryotic recombinant DNA technology, DNA sequencing, genomics and functional genomics. Bioinformatics, the computer-based analysis of data that result from genome sequencing and the genomic approaches to understanding gene function and expression are introduced and developed in the workshops. The module practicals provide hands-on experience of quantitative gene expression analysis employing widely used state of the art PCR (polymerase chain reaction) based technology. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of these techniques, which will provide the basis for the informed reading and comprehension of primary experimental biological research literature required for subsequent undergraduate research projects. These technologies underpin an increasing proportion of modern biological research, particularly in the Biomedical disciplines and form the basis for rapidly developing applications in the field of personalised medicine.
This module takes a molecular approach to understanding heredity and gene function in organisms ranging from bacteria to man. It begins by reviewing genome diversity and how genomes are replicated accurately, comparing and contrasting replication processes in bacteria and man. The module discusses in detail molecular mechanisms, particularly those that ensure information encoded in the genome is transcribed and translated appropriately to produce cellular proteins.
Students will focus on the importance of maintaining genome stability and damaging effects of mutations in the genome on human health. Examples are drawn from a range of inherited genetic diseases such as phenylketonuria and sickle cell anaemia, paying particular focus to how mutations in key genes are driving cancer development.
Teaching is delivered by a series of lectures supported by varied practical work, workshops, guided reading and online resources. Laboratory practicals include investigating how exposure of bacteria to ultraviolet light induces mutations – providing a model for understanding how skin cancer may develop as a consequence of excessive sun exposure.
This course examines the relationship between microbe and host; with particular focus on bacterial and viral pathogens. The diversity of structure, function and metabolism of bacteria, in relation to their role as a cause of disease, is explored and practical skills in bacteriology are introduced. Morphology and reproductive strategies of viruses are examined and methods for controlling viral infections by vaccination or anti-viral therapies are described. The course introduces principles of clinical microbiology by focusing on epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment of infection and host immune defences. The theme is one of "emergence" illustrating how some new infections have come to be a problem in health care and the importance of protective commensal microbes. The laboratory classes focus on diagnostic processes and illustrate the contribution which the microbiology laboratory can make to clinical decision making and epidemiology. This course also deals with the way in which pathogens (mainly bacteria) survive, and sometimes grow, in the environment and the implications this has for health in the community. The course is given in collaboration with health service consultants and workers from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror the last thing we consider is that we are only 10% human due to our body comprising ten times more bacterial cells than human cells! There is no mistaking the importance of our bacterial communities in maintaining our proper functioning, eg digesting food, but microbes also cause disease and it is this that normally attracts media attention.
The ‘good vs bad’ nature of microbes is covered in the module Medical Microbiology (the pre-requisite to this module) together with methods for controlling exposure to pathogens; particularly in a hospital setting. But what about the household setting? How dangerous are the microbes living on your household surfaces (including your toothbrush!)? Do disinfectants really kill 99.9% of germs (as stated by all manufacturers)? These questions, and others, are addressed in this module whilst students learn the essential practical techniques necessary to work in both industrial and hospital laboratories. The module also explores the use of microbes as artistic media in the up and coming field of BioArt.
What next after your degree? What kind of work will you enjoy and find fulfilling? What available careers are there which will suit you and how can you gain entry?
This module will help students to analyse their own preferences, skills, values and career aspirations. They will learn about career opportunities and labour market trends, and they will research employment and training opportunities for graduates and specifically for those with their degree specialism. Students will consolidate and further develop the key skills which employers are looking for such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and researching and presentation skills. Students will also develop a career plan and enhance their job search and application skills. This includes understanding and interpreting job adverts, writing CVs, understanding assessment centres and developing interview skills. The module includes contact with and presentations by a range of employers to raise awareness of employer needs and trends.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
For 50 years, thanks to evolutionary theory, we’ve known why we are fated to age and die, but our understanding of the mechanisms has been a lengthy evolution in itself. Only relatively recently, with the use of modern molecular biology tools, do we begin to understand the mechanistic basis of the ageing process, from early notions about rates of living to current ideas about modular yet interacting mechanisms including autophagy, protein synthesis, nutrient sensing, insulin-like signalling and disease resistance. Even now we do not clearly know what makes us age. Ageing is perhaps the most multidisciplinary area of study and is certainly one of the last great mysteries in biology.
This module introduces the area and the methodologies with which ageing is studied. Teaching is through lectures, workshops, practical work, individual and group-based coursework and private study.
In this module students are given an overview of the cellular and molecular processes that underpin the development of cancer. This will enable students to discuss the various factors that can affect cancer susceptibility. Students will look at the approaches taken to treat cancer, including some of the new generation of molecularly-targeted cancer therapies.
This module looks at the fundamental mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and differentiation and how the cell cycle is central to the development and maintenance of cells and tissues including the role of stem cells. It covers the mechanisms by which cells become terminally differentiated to perform specialised functions and how this process depends on coordinated regulation of the cell cycle, gene expression and apoptosis. The cell cycle’s role in the regulation and differentiation of both somatic and stem cells will be covered. Students will examine the roles of embryonic stem cells in development, and the roles of adult stem cells in the maintenance of various tissues in the adult organism. The module will look at both established and recently developed stem cell technologies. This includes adult, embryonic, cloned embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell technologies. The pros and cons of autogenic and allogenic therapies will be discussed. The results of the latest clinical trials and the ethics of the different stem cell technologies will also be covered.
The ability of cells to communicate with one another using signalling pathways is of fundamental importance in multicellular organisms such as mammals. Cell signalling enables the transmission of information that is required for the correct co-ordination of metabolism, growth and development.
This module revises the basic principles of cellular communication, exploring the molecular basis of signalling in detail by using key signalling pathways as examples. The combination of Lectures and Workshops allows students to evaluate influential scientific discoveries, whilst Laboratory practicals provide the opportunity to put theory into practice.
This module explores some of the key roles played by ion channels and calcium ions in the communication that takes place within and between cells. The module is split into two linked themes. Firstly, an introduction to the diversity of ion channel families and their biological functions including the many different cellular processes throughout the life history of cells that are regulated by calcium ions as signals. Secondly, an investigation of the importance of ion channels and calcium signalling in animals, and human physiology in particular, using examples of diseases that are caused when ion channels malfunction (e.g. myotonia, malignant hyperthermia, sudden heart arrest caused by long QT syndrome.) or calcium signalling is disrupted (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, polycystic kidney disease, pancreatitis). Students also gain hands-on experience of the techniques used to study ion channels and calcium signalling in cells.
Every day our body does something remarkable, but we are completely unaware of it most of the time: our immune system is constantly protecting us from pathogens in our environment as well as threats from within. This highly evolved, interdependent collection of organs, cells and chemical messengers is continually scanning our tissues for any unwanted intruders or abnormal cells. When we get ill, with a cold for example, full mobilisation of our immune system sends armies of cells and molecules to fight the problem in what can sometimes literally be a fight to the death. Fortunately for us, our immune system wins the battle almost every time!
In this module we examine the various components of the immune system – the organs, cells, and messengers, and how they function in health and illness. We look at particular threats such as allergies, infectious diseases and cancer, providing students with a good understanding of how this vital component of our bodies keeps us well.
Microbiology for the biomedical scientist comprises screening samples to identify and assess microbiological pathogens that cause disease and, enable front line medical staff to choose the correct therapy for successful eradication of the infection. Increasing numbers of these infections are community acquired and many are contracted from, or in, the environment. The environment therefore plays an increasing role in the life cycle and ecology of many pathogens. This in turn, is having an increasing impact on human health and national health services. The increase is a combination of changing environmental conditions (such as land use changes, global warming) and an ever evolving microbial community, most of which do not harm but a few can cause mild to fatal diseases when the opportunity arises. Also cycling in the environment are obligate pathogens which will cause infections if contracted. Furthermore, there are new diseases emerging (e.g. Ebola) and others thought to have been controlled are now re-emerging such as cholera. Using specific microbial pathogens as examples, this module examines the factors and interactions that allow microbial infections to be transmitted from the environment to humans and how their life cycle plays an important role in their emergence, persistence, transmission and infection. It also examines antibiotic resistance: how it has emerged, the different types of resistance, its management and the complications that it imposes on the treatment of these diseases. After attending this module you will still be able to go out into the natural environment but, as a result, you may be a little more cautious.
1. Exam: 2 hour paper with two questions in sections A and B and you are required to answer one question from each.
2. Coursework is an extended essay of 2000 words based on the lectures and field trip. The title will be announced in the first lecture.
Research and practice in biomedicine continues to evolve more rapidly than at any other time in history, raising fascinating but complex moral and ethical challenges for those studying and working in the field. Understanding ethics in biomedicine and the relationship between science and society has become an essential element in biomedical degree training.
This module builds on the Biomedicine and Society module, aiming to help students develop a deeper understanding of key ethical principles used in biomedicine and some major cultural, social and political influences that define research agendas and fuel ethical debates in the public perception of biomedicine.
The module takes on a seminar format structured around three core themes:
How is DNA, the fundamental building block of life, organised and expressed in different types of organisms such as bacteria and humans? Lectures comparing eukaryotic and prokaryotic gene organisation and expression, chromatin structure and DNA repair will seek to answer this question. In addition, you will study the application of genetics to science and technology during practical and workshop sessions, providing you with the opportunity to develop group and independent working skills whilst reinforcing theoretic concepts.
This module aims to provide an understanding of the organisation of the human genome, how disease genes are mapped and how mutations are identified leading to the development of diagnostic tests. The impacts of massively parallel next generation DNA sequencing, microarrays and SNP genotyping on gene discovery and disease diagnosis are examined. The application of modern genetic techniques to identifying susceptibility genes for complex, multifactorial traits will also be studied. A range of diseases will be examined in detail both in lectures and in case study workshop sessions. The final lecture looks at gene therapy and considers the future for treatment of genetic disorders. The practical session aims to give students an opportunity to study their own DNA in a forensics scenario, using techniques that are widely applicable in modern molecular genetics.
Students will be introduced to the importance of molecular, metabolic and cellular interactions within parasitic protists, and between a range of parasitic protists and their hosts.
The course will provide students with an understanding of how the life cycle strategies used by protists enable them to gain access to, and survive within, the host as well as the impact that protist parasites have on human health. Practicals will provide an opportunity for students to apply immunological skills to investigate the host-parasite interaction.
Nervous system function, from formation in the embryo to sensory systems and the neural control of complex behaviours, is the focus of this module. The emphasis is on model systems and the use of genetic tools to elucidate developmental pathways and neural circuits. Practical exercises are used to illustrate some of the functions of nervous systems and how these can be manipulated by genetic intervention.
Students are encouraged to access and evaluate information from a variety of sources and to communicate the principles in a way that is well-organised, topical, and recognises the limits of current hypotheses. On completion of the module, students will be equipped with practical techniques including data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Understanding how life works depends to a great extent on understanding how proteins work. Thanks to the Human Genome Project, we now have a catalogue of all the proteins that are encoded in the human genome. This might be thought of as life’s toolbox. The next questions are: how do those tools work; how do they interact with each other; and how have they evolved over the billions of years of evolutionary time that have led to us? This module introduces modern techniques for the study of protein structure, function and evolution.
Lectures cover: structural-functional relationships in proteins; methods for detecting the action of Darwinian selection in protein evolution; methods for reconstructing the evolutionary events that have led to present-day proteins; and, the new lab techniques that are allowing us to study protein function on a large scale. In the practical sessions, you will gain hands on experience of molecular phylogenetics – the main tool for studying evolution at the molecular level – as it is applied to proteins. Assessment is by an exam and a coursework essay on a protein of your choice, giving you a chance to apply your new knowledge of protein biochemistry to any of your own areas of interest in biology.
This module is presented by academics with many years’ experience working on international tropical disease research. In the era of increasing international travel and trade, and considering the potential effects of climate change, parasites and pathogens that cause tropical diseases are an increasingly important group of organisms globally. These pathogens include viruses, bacteria, protists, worms and arthropods of various kinds.
Students will focus on the biology of the major pathogens including their life cycles, transmission mechanisms, pathology, diagnosis, treatment and control. There will be an emphasis on insect transmitted diseases such as malaria, dengue and neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis. Students will discuss international public health, and specific factors that prevent successful control within economically deprived communities.
Molecular approaches will not be covered in detail. Case study workshops will look at disease outbreaks, and practical sessions will explore and develop concepts from lectures and demonstrate some practical techniques that can be used to facilitate research into tropical diseases.
This module puts biomedicine in context and considers how it both shapes, and is shaped by, social, political and economic factors. The module explores a range of issues in biomedical research, for example, global health inequalities, gender relations, human and non-human animal experimentation, and the role of multinational companies. The module introduces a range of methods and approaches offered in the social sciences to understand the place of biomedicine in society.
Conservation of biodiversity is a major goal of humanity, yet justifications for conservation are multifaceted and their relative importance varies among people and societies. Conservation objectives may also come into conflict with economic activity and development. While providing a grounding in the science of biological conservation, this module will help you to address some of the key current challenges in conservation biology, where conservation objectives may trade-off against other human objectives. The module looks at the emerging understanding of the complex relationships between biodiversity conservation, the health of ecosystems and human well being.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to key issues surrounding the loss of agricultural and horticultural produce to a range of pests and diseases, and the approaches that can be used to minimise these losses. This understanding will be underpinned by providing detailed knowledge of natural plant defence mechanisms and of the biology and ecology of plant-pathogen and plant-insect interactions, and how these can be exploited to assist in crop protection.
This module introduces the concept of protein misfolding disorders, and expands this through consideration of two major neurodegenerative diseases; Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The role of oxidative stress and proteases in neurodegenerative diseases is covered in detail, before examining the role of lipids in various brain disorders. The module also considers how animal models can be used to study both normal brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
This module introduces principles involved in the discovery and development of a new drug from initial concept to the identification of a candidate compound to first use in man. This knowledge is extended by learning how the pharmaceutical industry and small biotech companies use contemporary scientific advances to identify drug targets and develop new drugs. How new drug entities are tested, developed and ultimately reach the market is examined using ‘real life’ examples in the form of case studies.
Food security is achieved when all people have access to an adequate supply of safe and nutritious food. Currently there are around one billion people who are inadequately fed and this number is likely to double in the next 30 years. In this module you will look at the food system and the range of issues that ultimately determine who eats what. It addresses issues contributing to variation in food availability, the access that people have to food and the different ways in which food is utilised, and you will examine ways in which crops accumulate biomass and undergo reproductive development. You will consider why crop plants are so sensitive to biotic and abiotic stress and why there is so much concern about the effects of climate change on food availability and food prices. The impact of the food production system on the environment is considered along with the tensions arising from our quest for both food security and energy security. Factors impacting food safety and quality are discussed. The approach to the study of these issues is interdisciplinary in nature. The course takes an international perspective on GFS (Global Food Security)
In this module you will learn how habitats can be managed for nature conservation through manipulation of species, communities and ecosystems. This includes guidance in the construction of conservation management plans, in which conservation aims are specified, threats identified, and management actions defined, taking into account the dynamic nature of ecosystems and conflicts of interest in land use.
This module introduces you to the principles of lake ecology, an area with an acknowledged national lack of expertise. The module presents a holistic approach to the drivers and internal interactions that control water quality in lakes. You will learn basic ecological principles, elucidated using lake ecology, introduce application of state-of-the-art techniques and provide essential background information for anyone dealing with EU Directives such as the Water Framework Directive in the future.
This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding of a range of pathogens and their impact on human health, and to understand how the human body responds to these challenges. Students are also introduced to the new challenges faced by healthcare systems including emerging/re-emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance and so develop an awareness of the challenges and realities of controlling infectious diseases. Students also develop an appreciation of the role of epidemiological and mathematical modelling in predicting and controlling pathogenic organisms.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a broad understanding of the different types of model systems used in research on human diseases, an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of each model, and an awareness of some major discoveries that have been made using these disease models.
This module provides insight into the underlying molecular events in the development of cancer, how cancers spread through the body and explain how an understanding of the molecular basis of cancer has led to the development of novel cancer treatments. Workshops allow students to study the aetiology and progression of one particular type of cancer in depth, and also to understand how cancer is studied in practice.
This module allows students to further develop their research skills by joining one of the University’s research teams to carry out an extended project (40-50 days spent in the lab). A wide range of different projects are on offer in areas including cancer, parasitology, neurodegenerative disease and aging, allowing students to explore the area of biomedical research that particularly interests them. On successful completion of this module students will have gained technical and project management skills, as well as having experience of carrying out primary scientific research and academic writing.
This module introduces you to the interactions between microorganisms and naturally occurring organic matter and how this relates to the degradation and persistence of environmental pollutants. The mechanisms of organic matter decomposition and pollutant degradation will be discussed in detail, with particular emphasis being placed on environmental systems, particularly that of soil. You will also look at the application of these processes in biological treatment of chemically contaminated ecosystems, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the processes, using case studies.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to key issues surrounding the ability of the soil to produce crops, and the agricultural / economic consequences of failing to manage this resource properly. Most agricultural production is dependent on the soil not only to anchor plants, but to supply their hydraulic and nutritional needs. Furthermore, the rhizosphere (soil adjacent to the root surface) is a biological hotspot comprising micro-organisms that can directly or indirectly assist crop nutrient acquisition (rhizobia, mycorrhizae and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria) or cause disease. Increasingly, the soil is being recognised as a global resource to aid carbon sequestration (even in agricultural systems) and/or act as repository for waste derived from other industries.
This week long intensive course introduces the basics of vegetation surveys. This begins with vegetation identification and phase 1 surveys and moves on to focus on the national vegetation classification (NVC) survey and using the NVC in a variety of habitats. The module involves fieldwork in a range of different habitats to provide practical experience of vegetation surveying and data handling. By the end of the module you will have learnt the basics of vegetation identification, phase 1 surveys and application of the NVC.
In this module you will look at a range of taxonomically-based field skills that will combine identification,sampling and other methods used to quantitatively monitor or assess populations. Components will include sessions on birds, mammals and invertebrates.
This module provides you with knowledge of population processes within wildlife ecology, taking a step-by-step approach to understanding wildlife population ecology, from the basics up to more complex interactions between species. The practical element of the module includes field, laboratory and modelling assignments. After taking this module, you will appreciate the factors that contribute to population change, be able to construct life tables from birth and death data, and be able to apply quantitative models of population ecology to applied situations. Knowledge of these processes is vital for people working in the fields of conservation or management of natural resources, such as harvesting of fish stocks, infectious disease control, and pest management, examples of which are scattered throughout the module. The module will demonstrate how population processes influence the behaviour of individual animals, populations of individuals, and communities of populations, so showing the importance of wildlife population ecology at all levels.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Our programmes maintain an excellent record for graduate prospects. A degree in biological sciences opens up a wealth of opportunities in careers ranging from Biotechnologist, Microbiologist, Molecular Geneticist, Forensic Scientist, Pharmaceutical Scientist, Food Technologist, Material Technologist, in addition to careers in research.
In addition to developing your subject knowledge, a degree at Lancaster will equip you with a range of computing, intellectual, practical, numerical and interpersonal skills. The abilities gained on the programme will increase your appeal to employers in a wide variety of sectors, and our careers service offers help and advice for all of our graduates for as long you need it.
If you wish to enhance your career prospects by extending your study to postgraduate level, you may wish to undertake a PhD at our brand new Graduate School where you can join our vibrant community of PhD students and make a direct contribution to the world-class research output, whilst developing the skills that you need to enjoy a rewarding career in your chosen field.
We offer a variety of extra-curricular activities and volunteering opportunities that enable you to explore your interests and enhance your CV. Our weekly careers bulletin and careers blogs are written by student volunteers, and inform you of careers events. The Students’ Union-run Green Lancaster programme offers placements with external organisations, allowing students to gain volunteering experience at weekends by working in the local community, taking part in a wide range of activities and developing their practical skills.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2018/19 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2017 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
It is recommended, but not compulsory, that students join the Biochemical Society. The cost for this will be approximately £20. Biological Sciences students have the option to attend the LEC field trip and students will need to pay for travel costs.
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework