Our biology programme offers students the chance to study subjects spanning the whole of the biological sciences from human disease to ecology and evolution, neuroscience to dinosaurs. Students who want to study a broad range of subjects will enjoy the great flexibility that this programme offers.
In your first year, you will gain a strong understanding of the concepts underpinning biology as you study subjects including evolution, ecology and physiology. In your second and final years, you can either retain this broad approach or choose to focus on one of many specialist fields including neuroscience, genetics, dinosaurs, mammals and parasites.
Our programme gives you the opportunity to gain practical, real-world skills and experience through in-depth laboratory practicals and a range of residential field courses. Our strong emphasis on fieldwork offers students a wide range of opportunities in the UK and abroad including:
- Ecological studies in Kruger Park, South Africa - View Dr Rob Knell's photos of Kruger Park
- Hunting dinosaur fossils in Canada - View photos from the field trip to Canada
- Studying turtles, seals, whales, and dolphins in Millport, Scotland (UMBS)
You can view more photos from our recent field trips on our Flickr page.
On a recent trip to Canada, as part of the optional final year module Species and their relationships: dinosaurs to DNA, students made an important dinosaur discovery. The rare hadrosaur skull they unearthed is now housed in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Pathology. Watch our video from the trip:
You can also watch our dinosaur discoveries video on YouTube
Research and teaching
By choosing to study at a Russell Group university, you will have access to excellent teaching and top class research. You will be taught by staff who are actively involved in research, who are enthusiastic about their subjects and sharing their knowledge with you. Find out more about our research interests on our department pages:
I chose Biology as my degree because I did not want the module restrictions that a ‘pre-planned' degree would give me. Honestly, I did not know what I wanted to study, or what would suit me, but after the first year's set module choices, I had a better idea of what I wanted to do and my flexible degree allowed me to study anything from molecules to ecology!
Ashley Cottrell, BSc Biology student
The programme structure outlined below is indicative of what you will study. It may change slightly from year to year as new topics are introduced and after we have listened to current student feedback on teaching.
- Practical Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Genetics
- Practical Biology
- Ecology (includes field trip to Somerset)
- Basic Biochemistry
- Research Methods and Communication
- Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics
- Genes and Bioinformatics
- Techniques for Biological and Chemical Sciences
- Evolutionary Genetics
- Animal and Plant Diversity
- Comparative and Integrative Physiology
- Marine and Animal Diversity (includes field trip to Millport, Scotland)
- Transmission Genetics
- Metabolic Pathways
- Microbial Physiology and Growth
- Membrane and Cellular Biochemistry
- Ecological Interactions (includes field trip to Croatia)
- Research Methods and Communication II
- Behavioural Ecology
- Endocrine Physiology and Biochemistry
- Molecular Basis of Disease
- Population and Chromosome Genetics
- Membrane Proteins
- Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics
- Human Genetics and Genomics
- Enzyme Catalysis
- Functional Genomics and Epigenetics
- Neuroscience: from molecules to behaviour
- Parasites and Infectious Disease
- Mammals and Evolution
- Reproductive and Developmental Biology
- Species and their relationships: dinosaurs to DNA (includes field trip to Canada)
- Tropical ecology and conservation (includes field trip to the African savannas)
All third year students must complete one of the following:
This programme includes several optional modules with a field course component. These modules generally require your attendance at a location away from Queen Mary and outside of the normal teaching semesters.
We do everything we can to minimise any additional costs that may be incurred during your studies. Complusory fieldwork will not cost you anything extra. For optional overseas fieldwork, you will need to contribute up to £150, plus the cost of your flight (based on costs in the year 2015/16). Full and partial bursaries are available. Destinations can vary year-on-year, are subject to availability and depend on the modules you choose. If you are interested in attending a field trip, you discuss this with your personal academic advisor (every student is assigned an advisor once they start with us).
- A-levels: Typically ABB and above at A2 level from three subjects including Biology, however, we consider applications with BBB in Biology and two other subjects of Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Geography
- International Baccalaureate: 34 points overall including grade 5 in Biology (Higher Level)
- BTEC: We do not accept BTEC qualifications
- Access to HE Diploma: We will consider applications from students with the Access to HE Diploma (60 credit in a Science discipline e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics). We take all aspects of your UCAS application into careful consideration; we look at the merits of your personal statement, academic reference, predicted grades and actual grades, and, due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers purely on the basis of meeting the grade requirements. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve an overall Pass, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.
All applications are considered by our admissions tutors on a case-by-case basis, and this may mean we would request an interview.
Visit our frequently asked questions page for answers to our commonly received queries about entry requirements.
Students from outside the United Kingdom must give evidence of their English language ability by producing an English language test score. The university provides guidelines for English requirements for all degree programmes.
Students may enter this degree programme via admission to the QMUL Science and Engineering Foundation Programme. Students must complete the foundation year and meet the required progression criteria.
If you have qualifications, which are not listed above, please contact us to check your eligibility:
Tel: +44(0) 207 882 5511
Learning and teaching
All our programmes involve a mixture of classroom activities and laboratory work. A variety of teaching styles are employed, which vary slightly among modules and programmes. Most material is delivered via lectures. These last around 50 minutes each and, typically, you would have two lectures per day.
Lectures are backed up with small-group tutorials and workshops, where you have the opportunity to ask, in a relatively relaxed and small group setting, about material in lectures that you did not understand, to go through problems and practise past exam papers. In general, lectures, tutorials and workshops take place in the mornings and laboratory classes in the afternoons.
A typical weekly workload would be:
- 6-8 one-hour lectures
- 4-5 hours of practical laboratories or workshops
- 20-25 hours of private study/coursework.
For every hour spent at University you will be expected to complete additional hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; assessing data from experiments; completing lab reports; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study and laboratory sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
For all programmes you must take 120 credits (normally eight modules) in each academic year. Each module is assessed through theory examinations (typically accounting for 75-80 per cent of the final mark) and coursework (for example, practical reports, field course reports, essays, problem sheets, online exercises and tests). Examinations normally last two and a half hours for first and second years and three hours for final-year papers.
Final-year students undertake a research project/investigative project or equivalent worth 15 or 30 credits; these are assessed with a detailed written report, poster and an interview. The main examination period is in May/June, with deferred exams and resits in August for first- and second-year students. The format of undergraduate examinations varies among programmes and may include multiple choice questions (MCQ), extended matching questions (EMQ), short answer questions, problem solving or case-based exercises, and essays.
Fees and finance
Tuition fees for Home and EU students
Tuition fees for International students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Employers specifically target Russell Group universities because of the calibre of these institutions' graduates and, as a result, over 90% of our 2013 graduates are employed or in further study.
A large number of biology graduates will go on to further study with recent graduates opting for:
- MSc Ecology and conservation
- MSc Bioinformatics
- MSc Biology
- PhD in Zoology
- DS Dentistry
- PGCE Secondary Science
- Medicine MBBS (GEP)
Recent graduates of this programme have gone into a wide range of careers including:
- Clinical project assistant
- Microbiology lab technician
- Veterinary nurse
- Health associate professionals
- Aircraft engineer
- Internship in a Cardiac Research Department
- Junior accountant
Queen Mary’s specialist career service is on hand to offer you advice throughout and after your university studies. We are committed to helping our students achieve their career goals and were placed top 10 in the UK for student employability, according to the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2012.
Harriet ClewlowBSc Biology
- Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
"Biology has always been something I've been passionate about. My programme is module-based and extremely flexible. This was perfect for me as when I started I wasn't sure what I wanted to specialise in. Field courses are the best part of the programme as they give you the chance to get hands-on experience of what you've been learning about in fascinating locations."
- How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
"The area around Queen Mary is very multicultural and this makes it a really interesting and exciting place to live. There are parks and the canal close by, so it's easy to escape the hustle and bustle of the area if you want to. Shoreditch and Brick Lane are two of the local highlights. Brick Lane is packed full of excellent curry houses and bars. Shoreditch is full of trendy boutique shops and is the place to be in east London.
I'm Volunteering Officer for the student council this year and so I'm involved in organising volunteering events for students in the local community. These give you an insight into London you couldn't get in any other way. By doing this I've gained skills and awards to enhance my CV for the future."
Ashley CottrellBSc Biology
"I chose Biology as my degree because I did not want the module restrictions that a 'pre-planned' degree would give me. Honestly, I did not know what I wanted to study, or what would suit me, but after the first year's set module choices, I had a better idea of what I wanted to do and my flexible degree allowed me to study anything from molecules to ecology!"
Being at university is not just about studying (but let’s be honest that is a pretty important part of your time with us!) there are lots of other opportunities available to you as a Queen Mary student. One of the most popular ways to meet new friends, get involved in causes you care about and share knowledge is by joining a student society.
- Find out more about the Biological Sciences student society