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BSc in Biological Sciences / Cell and Molecular Biology / Human Biology / Microbiology and Immunology

These modern degree programmes are specifically designed to promote an awareness of the application of biological knowledge to human health and welfare and to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in a continually changing dynamic subject. 

Why choose this course?

  • The Overall Satisfaction level in the 2013 National Student Survey among Aston leavers studying Biology was 91%
  • Research in the School ranked 3rd out of 63 universities in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
  • Emphasis on human and applied aspects of biology
  • Integrated placement year opportunities in a wide range of health, medical and commercial settings
  • Biology at Aston is ranked Top 10 in the UK regarding Satisfaction with Teaching, Overall Student Satisfaction, and Career Prospects in the 2014 Guardian University Guide
  • Biology at Aston is ranked 11th in the UK regarding Teaching Excellence according to the latest Sunday Times University Guide.


Entry requirements & fees

4 years full-time with integrated placement year or 3 years full-time

UCAS Codes: Biological Sciences (C112)

Cell and Molecular Biology (CC17)

Human Biology (B150)

Microbiology and Immunology (C550)

Typical offers:
A Levels: ABB-BBB including Biology or Human Biology.
IB: 33 points (Biology Higher Level 6 points, plus another science subject at Higher Level)

BTEC, Access & other:

  • Access to Science for mature students (21+) considered on an individual basis.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science: DD plus A level Biology at grade B
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science: DDD. Eligibility dependant on modules.

Specific subject requirements: 

  • A level: Biology / Human Biology at A level grade B or above. Chemistry at A/AS level welcomed but not essential.
  • GCSE: English and Maths grade C
Tuition fees: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. (2013).  More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.



There are currently four biology programmes available at Aston University as well as the Biomedical Science programme. These modern degree programmes are specifically designed to promote an awareness of the application of biological knowledge to human health and welfare and to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in a continually changing dynamic subject.  

After a common and broadly based first and second year you will choose topics for specialisation in your final year.  The combination of options chosen will determine the degree title as given above.

Download the course flyer PDF >

The titles of the first and second year modules are listed below. Each one these modules typically comprises approximately 100 learning hours which include lectures, tutorials, practical classes, directed student-centred learning and preparation for coursework assignments and examinations. 

In the first term of the final year you will choose five modules to study in depth.  

  • Students of Biological Sciences will have a wide choice from amongst the final year modules listed below 
  • Human Biologists will concentrate on modules such as Human Physiology, Stem Cell Biology and Cancer Biology
  • Students of Microbiology and Immunology will focus on Immunology, Food Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease
  • Students of Cell and Molecular Biology will specialise in modules such as Cell Biology, Applied Molecular Biology and Cell Biology of Cancer Metastasis

The second term is devoted to a research project which is supervised by an individual member of the academic staff.

Year 1

  • Microbiology I - provides the student with an introduction to bacterial physiology, pathogenicity, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology.
  • Biochemistry - provides the student with an overview of the structure of biological macromolecules and the small molecules from which they are assembled.
  • Physiology - provides students with a theoretical and practical approach to the physiology of nerves and the nervous system, muscle, brain, endocrine glands, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, blood, kidneys, gastro-intestinal tract and digestion.
  • Inheritance and Population Genetics - examines the modes of inheritance of the gene. This module also introduces students to some of the underlying principles of population genetics.
  • Development and Human Anatomy - reviews the principles and foundation elements of embryology and the study of human anatomy.
  • Cell Biology - provides a basic introduction to cellular components and processes involved in the birth, life and death of cells.
  • Molecular Biology - provides students with a basic introduction to the nature, properties, structure, function and replication of genes.
  • Introductory Immunology - provides the student with an understanding of the immune system as an integrated system of tissues, cells and molecules.  This module also explores the cellular and molecular basis of immunity and examines how these may be controlled.
  • Key Skills - comprises a series of academic tutorials with a personal tutor and a series of workshops on career management and IT skills.

Year 2

  • Microbiology II - covers microorganisms of medical importance including Gram-positive, Gram-negative and intracellular bacteria from the perspective of clinical manifestations, microbial pathogenesis; infection control and prevention.
  • Metabolism - provides the student with an understanding of major pathways of intermediary metabolism and their integration and regulation.
  • Molecular Genetics - describes the molecular basis for the regulation of gene transcription and presents the key techniques in gene manipulation. 
  • Biotechnology - provides an insight into the importance of biotechnology and commercial biology including fermentation, large scale microbial culture, antibiotic production and tissue culture.
  • Nutrition and Dietetics - provides the student with the basic concepts in human nutrition and dietetics including macronutrients, obesity, vitamins and minerals, food allergy and diabetes.
  • Endocrinology - provides a detailed study of the endocrine system, extending and developing information covered in earlier parts of the course.
  • Molecular Pathology - examines some of the molecular mechanisms involved in cell growth, differentiation, maturation and senescence.
  • Immunology II: provides the student with an understanding of the immune system as an integrated system of tissues, cells and molecules.
  • Key Skills II: focuses on personal and professional development, group work, scientific communication and preparation for the placement year.

Year 3 - Optional placement year

See placement year section or find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year

  • Human Physiology: provides a detailed study of the mechanisms and processes through which the body achieves and maintains homeostasis.
  • Immunology: explores the cellular and molecular basis of immunity and examines how these may be controlled.
  • Food Microbiology: provides a study of the relationship between food and health including the scientific, technical and manufacturing factors which influence food quality and safety.
  • Applied Molecular Biology: provides in-depth explanation of genetic engineering techniques and their applications.
  • Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease: provides an overview of microbiology and infectious diseases within the community and hospital setting and methods of diagnosing infection.
  • Cell Biology: investigates current models of how proteins regulate and execute the cellular process of differentiation, migration, protein trafficking, synapse formation and vesicle release.
  • Medical Biochemistry: provides a detailed study of the application of chemical and biochemical methods to the study of disease.
  • Toxicology: informs the student of the basis of the toxicity of xenobiotic compounds including drugs and environmental toxins.
  • Cell Biology of Cancer Metastasis: provides an insight into the organisation of the cell cytoskeleton and how modification of this structure leads to changes in migratory properties that occur when cells become malignant.
  • Bioethics: considers ethical issues related to social factors, healthcare and research in the biological arena.
  • Biological Basis of Human Disease: considers the basic biological principals underlying the development of diseases in man.
  • Cancer Biology: considers the causes of cancer, its detection, prevention and treatment from the perspective of a Human Biologist.
  • Stem Cell Biology: develops a basic understanding of what a stem cell is and of how stem cells are being developed as research tools and medicines.
We use a range of assessment methods, although the typical methods are coursework and an end of year examination.  Exams generally take the form of unseen essay,short answer and multiple choice questions.  Coursework assessments take many forms and could include essays, reports of individual and group practical assignments, oral presentations and laboratory reports.  We specifically encourage team working in some assignments in which there will be peer assessments where you will assess the contribution of your colleagues and vice-versa.

For further information, see the programme specifications:

 

The year involves a twelve-month professional work placement (sandwich course) between the second and final years of the degree.  This offers students the opportunity to gain valuable experience and set their studies in the context of a working environment alongside professional biologists.  

Our recent placements have been with: 

  • Research institutes
  • Breweries
  • The food industry
  • Pharmaceutical companies (e.g. AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Clinical trials
  • Medical sales
  • Biotechnology companies.


Find out more about placement years in the Life & Health Sciences. 

Graduate employment for Biology students mirrors the outstanding success of Aston University as a whole.  30-40% of our graduates go into research, while others enter a wide range of careers in health, welfare and the biological industries.  In addition to scientific positions, some graduates take on general management, product development, teaching or marketing roles. 

Graduates in Biological Sciences will leave university equipped with key skills including:

  • Fundamental laboratory techniques
  • Record keeping
  • Project development
  • Management
  • Critical analysis
  • Communication (written/oral)
  • Presentation
  • Team working
  • Report development
  • IT
  • Problem solving
  • Debating.
  • Modern lecture and tutorial rooms equipped with full interactive AV facilities
  • Modern laboratories with up-to-date equipment and projection facilities for demonstration purposes
  • 130-seater computer laboratory equipped with Pentium workstations and linked to key networks 
  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) using Blackboard 9 software to support learning
  • Wide range of learning resources – such as up to date key texts, scientific journals and e-journals and databases, CD-ROMs and media publications.
  • newly refurbished and extended Aston University Library open 7 days a week all year round and 24 hours a day, 6 days a week at key times of the academic year.

Biology at Aston University is part of the School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS), which also includes The Pharmacy School, Optometry, Biomedical Science and Psychology undergraduate programmes and a thriving research culture. There are over 30 teaching and research staff in Biology with other LHS staff also undertaking Biology related teaching.



LHS virtual tour biology

View the prospectus

View the prospectus

View the School of Life & Health Sciences prospectus

Fees & funding

Fees & funding

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research