also available in 2017
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Explore the science of life and broaden your horizons with our flexible Study Abroad degree where you can experience the society and culture of North America or Australasia.
This programme offers amazing overseas experiences whilst equipping 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.
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 year modules will be taught overseas at a partnering university. Specialisation will enable you to shape your own degree from a series of in-depth theory and practical skills spanning the whole breadth of bioscience, before completing your third year at Lancaster.
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 email@example.com
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 provides an introduction to the structure and function of aquatic food webs in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Emphasis is placed on the role of nutrients (bottom-up control) and predation (top-down control) on participating organisms in their freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments. Students will understand the importance of algae, whether planktonic or attached, in the primary productivity of aquatic ecosystems and how this is affected by nutrient concentration and composition. The way in which anthropogenic influences can alter the balance of aquatic food webs, and the subsequent problems which may arise, is discussed.
There will be practical sessions on areas such as algae, zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. Workshops will cover the analysis of data using excel, and the characteristics of lake trophic status in The Lake District.
Introducing the nature of biological diversity and the patterns of distribution of organisms on global, regional and ecosystem scales, students discover the underlying causes of the observed biodiversity patterns and the main current threat to biodiversity. The reasons why species become extinct is explored and then the reasons why species should be preserved. Students will be able to outline the criteria that can be used to identify species and areas of high conservation importance.
Fieldtrips take place on campus, where students will look at sampling techniques and biodiversity, and to sites of special conservation interest in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. There will also be an excursion to Blackpool Zoo.
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.
Introducing students to the development of evolutionary theory and the evidence for the evolutionary processes of natural and sexual selection, this module examines the evolutionary relationships of the major groups of organisms, and deals with speciation and human evolution.
Using specific examples of animal behaviour, we demonstrate how an understanding of natural and sexual selection can explain the diverse evolution of body structures, reproductive behaviours and life-history strategies.
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.
This module examines how the biosphere reacts to environmental change. It concentrates on the responses to changes such as increasing drought, global warming, ozone depletion, and air pollution. Emphasis is placed on understanding plants as the driving force for the effects of environment change on other organisms within terrestrial ecosystems. This will range from consideration of changes in complex natural ecosystems through to effects on humans, through changes in global food production. The module will also consider the direct effects of environmental change on human populations.
You will learn to describe the effects of global warming and pollution on plants and terrestrial ecosystems as well as the links between basic plant physiology and the consequences of environmental change. We also explore the direct and indirect effects of environmental change on human populations. You will take part in workshops that look at the effects of the environment on carbon fixation and water use, and human health and environment change.
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.
Epidemiology is the study of patterns of health, disease and illness associated factors at population level. It helps to identify risk factors for disease and optimal approaches for prevention and containment. This module will provide students with a basic understanding of epidemiology in a global setting. Following an introduction to some of the ‘big debates’ around global health inequalities and how the so-called ageing ‘time-bomb’ is shifting global patterns of health and illness, students will gain an understanding of how to design studies that measure and look for causes of disease as well as how to interpret epidemiological evidence. The module is structured around three core themes that have been designed to introduce you to some of the key topics and debates surrounding patterns of world disease and mortality.
These themes include:
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 will provide you with an understanding of how and why organisms are classified and named, and an appreciation of how identification keys are constructed and used. You will learn to construct simple classificatory and evolutionary trees, and to indicate their significance.
Evolutionary relationships will be evaluated using anatomical and other characteristics, and the distinctive features of major groups of animals will be outlined so that you are able to indicate the functional, evolutionary, and, in some cases, ecological and economic significance of them.
Practical sessions will enable you to take part in the identification of both invertebrate and vertebrate groups.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
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.
This module explores how and why animals behave in the way that they do, building on many of the major themes of the Evolution module to highlight the links between behaviour, ecology and evolution. The central aim will be to understand the fitness consequences of behaviour - by focusing on three of the most important topics in behavioural research (reproduction, sociality and communication), we will investigate how the behaviour of an individual has evolved to maximise its survival and reproductive success.
Students will gain an understanding of how and why we study animal behaviour, at the same time developing their appreciation of scientific best practice. Students will be encouraged to relate specific knowledge to broader issues in ecology and evolution, and to critically reflect on what animal behaviour can tell us about behaviour in our own species. Additionally, students will be able to describe what behaviour actually is and understand the major factors that influence how animals (including humans) behave. Students will also develop the level of knowledge necessary to discuss a wide diversity of animal behaviours in a broad range of species, and describe the major approaches to understanding behaviour and apply Tinbergen's four questions to behavioural processes. Students will gain an enhanced understanding in a range of areas, including the importance of both nature and nurture in the evolution of behaviour, the ecological pressures that shape behaviour, the importance of the fitness consequences of behaviour at the individual level and the concepts of kin selection and inclusive fitness
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.
In this module, students will be shown how, through manipulation of species, communities and ecosystems, habitats can be managed in a sustainable way that preserves and enhances their aesthetic, scientific, recreational, and often utilitarian, value. The creation of new habitats will be considered, as well as management of existing areas of conservation interest. The module is largely taught by external lecturers who are directly involved in the application of ecological principles to practical problems.
Students will develop the level of ability required to describe the nature of selected habitat types, as well as explaining a series of underlying ecological processes which necessitate management. Students will also be able to identify the techniques used for conservation management specific to a range of habitat types, in addition to reinforcing a range of transferrable skills, such as the ability to present scientific data clearly and concisely, in both written and oral format. Students will learn to work autonomously as well as being involved in group work.
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.
The aim of this module is to illustrate some of the ways in which plants achieve this and to provide an insight into the physiological mechanisms that underlie plant ecology. Students will explore how plants respond to specific environmental cues and the ways in which they are able to adapt to a variety of stressful environments. All of these processes will be viewed from both an agricultural and an ecological perspective. Students will also gain an understanding of the environmental constraints on plant growth and productivity and an appreciation of the degree of plasticity and adaptability that plants display. They will develop an appreciation of the importance of a detailed understanding of these plant traits if we are to achieve the increases in crop productivity (through management or breeding) that will be required for food security in the face of global climate change.
This module will equip students with the ability to describe a range of features related to the subject, including the range of plant photomorphogenic and photoperiodic responses to light and their ecological significance, the response of plants and communities to high temperature and salinity, the rationale behind the use of deficit irrigation to increase water use efficiency , plant adaptations for efficient extraction of nutrients from the soil, the way in which leaves and roots function in drought-prone environments, and the regulation of growth of leaves and roots in drought-prone environments. Students will also develop the skill level required identify the practical applications of modifying plant responses to their light environment, discussing the problems posed by a hot dry climate for plant growth and functioning and the rationale for breeding/engineering plants for increased water use efficiency, in addition to gaining the necessary understanding of the cellular and whole plant tissue basis of plant drought resistance and the physiological basis of salt tolerance.
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:
This module focuses on the phenotypic and genetic responses of organisms to their environment, and how a fundamental understanding of the principles of evolution and ecology can help us to explain many important biological phenomena. The module will address a number of recent advances in our understanding of ecology and evolutionary biology, and will serve as an introduction to different methods for conducting cutting edge science. Students will gain the ability to synthesise information from a range of sources and to present it in a balanced and coherent way.
This module will use a combination of lectures and workshops to examine a range of topical areas in ecology and evolutionary biology. Specifically, students will develop the ability to explain the fundamental principles underpinning ecology and evolutionary biology, and will gain confidence in constructing detailed arguments supporting or contradicting key issues in evolution and biology. Students will be encouraged in developing their own ability to analyse and assess complex topics in this area, therefore demonstrating their own expertise in problem solving. The module will present a wide range of primary literature, and will expect students to synthesise information from a variety of sources, and present their findings to their peers.
The module will be taught by a range of staff within the Biodiversity Theme and beyond, including individuals with specific expertise in the key topics covered, in order to tackle a number of contemporary and important issues in ecology and evolutionary biology. Students are prompted to think about the ‘bigger picture’ and to synthesise disparate sources of information in order to provide a balanced and unbiased summary of the issues. An emphasis will be placed on understanding and applying the scientific method to contentious areas in the field.
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 will examine how biological understanding can contribute to “global change solutions” in respect to a number of key issues, including food production, biofuels and the continuing protection of the ozone layer. However, it will also place that biological understanding in its wider context, not least by considering how the same fundamental information on specific biological approaches can lead to diametrically opposed positions on the utility and desirability of actually using the biology (e.g. the debate around GM crops).
Students will examine how different interpretations of biological technology relate to the underlying biology, and will additionally benefit from a workshop that will consider the needs of “science communication” beyond the scientific community. The module will not only provide a detailed understanding of a range of “global change solutions”, it will also consider how biology is used (and abused?) in assessing climate change and the possible responses and solutions.
Successful students will be able to describe the biology of a range of examples of both responses to global change, and possible biology-based solutions to ameliorate those responses, and recognise the wider context of the underlying biology of global change effects and/or solutions, for example in policy or the practical deployment of new technologies. Students will develop their critical skills, enabling them to evaluate the biological evidence in relation to global change effects and solutions, and assess how such evidence is used to support sometimes diametrically opposed views specific issues. This module will enhance students’ ability to write effective, concise, accurate summaries of complex biological topics in styles appropriate for different audiences, e.g. the scientific community, policy makers or the general public.
Plants and animals in their natural environments interact with a wide range of other living organisms. These include both beneficial interactions and damaging encounters with parasites, pathogens and herbivores. The module examines the different kinds of organisms that have evolved a parasitic lifestyle and the ways in which they parasitize their hosts. In parallel, the module will introduce the different strategies that plants and animals use to defend themselves, including the recruitment of other organisms to act as allies. The continuing conflict between hosts and parasites results in a so-called 'evolutionary arms race'.
Practical work will develop laboratory skills, and assessment will develop skills in data analysis, writing and argument. The module will also examine the evolutionary costs and benefits of defence, and the evidence for short and long-term immunological memory. Since the module is aimed primarily at addressing ecological and physiological questions rather than the biomedical aspects of parasitology, the focus will be on invertebrate rather than vertebrate hosts.
Students will be able to describe a range of subject specific topics, such as the main groups of parasitic organisms and their lifestyles; the structural and behavioural defences against parasites, pathogens and herbivores in plants and animals, and the key features of innate and adaptive immunity in plants and animals. This module will also enhance students’ ability to identify the main selective processes shaping the evolution of host resistance to parasites, along with providing explanations as to why many defence mechanisms are inducible rather than permanently expressed, and how specialist herbivores and parasites have co-evolved with their hosts to overcome resistance.
Join a discussion and debate where you are encouraged to critically examine primary literature and ideas on topical issues in conservation biology in the UK and globally. Gain an understanding of the key factors that constrain conservation and of the interdisciplinary nature of conservation problems in the real world.
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.
Modern resource-intensive agriculture has proved incredibly successful in delivering relatively abundant, cheap food (at least in the developed world), but sometimes at considerable environmental cost. Therefore the general public is usually keen to embrace "sustainable agriculture" but is generally unaware of the economic and food production costs of proposed changes in crop management. By emphasising the concept of crop resource use efficiency, this module focuses on the viability of less intensive agricultural systems.
Students will critically examine primary literature on topical issues concerning the sustainability of different agricultural systems. They will gain an understanding of the key factors constraining food production, and the environmental and food production consequences of different crop production systems.
In addition to gaining the ability to identify key issues affecting the sustainability of agriculture, students will critically appraise the literature on these issues, and will develop the skillset required to recognise the economic and societal problems constraining the adoption of more environmentally sustainable agriculture. Ultimately, students will gain the ability to discuss alternative scenarios and solutions for key environmental problems associated with agriculture and document said issues in a cogent and critical manner.
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.
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, you also graduate with the 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 awareness, 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:
Lancaster University's priority is to support every student to make the most of their life and education and we have committed £3.7m in scholarships and bursaries. Our financial support depends on your circumstances and how well you do in your A levels (or equivalent academic qualifications) before starting study with us.
Scholarships recognising academic talent:
Continuation of the Access Scholarship is subject to satisfactory academic progression.
Students may be eligible for both the Academic and Access Scholarship if they meet the requirements for both.
Bursaries for life, living and learning:
Students from the UK eligible for a bursary package will also be awarded our Academic Scholarship and/or Access Scholarship if they meet the criteria detailed above.
Any financial support that you receive from Lancaster University will be in addition to government support that might be available to you (eg fee loans) and will not affect your entitlement to these.
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Please note that this information relates to the funding arrangements for 2017, which may change for 2018.
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.