BSc (Hons) Biology

With study abroad and sandwich year options

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Our BSc (Hons) Biology programme offers the chance to gain a solid grounding in the biological sciences – with the flexibility to develop your own interests and learn about the areas and aspects that match your career ambitions.

Study Biology at Manchester Met and you’ll begin by learning the fundamentals of the subject, before exploring the areas that interest you most through a variety of option units. Along the way, you’ll explore the issues that shape our world and touch our lives – from molecular biology and genetics, to ecology, biodiversity and conservation.

In our laboratories, you’ll get to grips with the latest equipment, as we help you develop a range of practical skills that you can take into your career. And, by getting out in the field, you can learn about biology out in the real world – whether in the UK or overseas.

This course is also available with a Foundation Year.

Features and Benefits

“The great thing about the Biology degree is the breadth of study areas available. Everything from wildlife biology and biodiversity to neuroscience, genetics, molecular and microbiology." 

Catherine Johnson, BSc (Hons) Biology

Career Prospects

Biological sciences graduates may go on to a variety of subject-specific careers in the biological, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, in medical, public health and environmental services, or in teaching or research.

Recent Biology graduates have found employment across a wide range of sectors including industrial research laboratories, medical communications, pharmaceutical companies, environmental consultancies and nature conservation organisations.

Our Biology courses are designed to equip you with transferable skills that may also be applied to non-subject-specific career pathways such as in management, local government, teaching or the civil service. For those who wish to continue their studies, there is a range of postgraduate programmes here at Manchester Met across the breadth of biological and healthcare sciences.

Learn more about graduate careers


of Natural Sciences graduates go straight into employment and/or further study.*

*DLHE survey 2017

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


104-112 UCAS Tariff Points at A2 (Grades BCC-BBC) to include A2 A-level Grade C in Biology (and a Pass in Biology A level Practical)/Human Biology/Applied Science. General studies not accepted.

BTEC National Extended Diploma/Diploma in Applied Science (grades DMM/D*D).

Pre 2016 BTECs:

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma in Applied Science (grades DMM/D*D). To include 60 Biology L3 credits at grade Distinction.

Recommended Biology Units as follows:

01, 03, 04, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 43

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C or grade 4 in English Language, Science and Mathematics. GCSE Science and Mathematics requirement may be met through the Level 3 requirements for the course. Please contact the institution if further information is required.

Level 2 Functional Skills English and Mathematics also accepted. BTEC Level 2 in Applied Science also accepted.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject (Science) with a minimum 106 UCAS tariff points.

International Baccalaureate points

26 Diploma Pts inc. HL Biology at Grade 5.

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

The course centres on the exploration of molecular biology, systems-physiology, microbiology, genetics, and adaptation and diversity, but allows you to develop your own interests in areas such as comparative and environmental-physiology, plant science, brain and behaviour, population biology and the conservation of biodiversity, to tailor your learning to your career aspiration.

Study Biology at Manchester Met and you’ll have the option to study in Europe, North America or Australasia, giving you the opportunity to expand your horizons and spend the third year at a university overseas. Alternatively, you have the option of spending your third year working on a ‘sandwich’ placement in industry or a relevant non-governmental organisation (NGO), before returning to Manchester for the final year of your course.

Year 1 aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in all aspects of biology. Typical areas of study may include biomolecules cells and micro-organisms, genetics, ecology, physiology & anatomy and diversity. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units


This unit will introduce students to the study of ecology, the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment. Themes covered in this unit will typically include; the organisation of life in natural systems, variations in conditions (eg pH) and resources (eg light, nutrients) and their effects; functional classifications, indicators; geological, edaphic, climatic and chemical influences on habitats and ecosystems; biogeochemical and nutrient cycling; energy flow; primary productivity; trophic interactions; food webs.

Fundamental Microbiology

This unit introduces the diversity of microbial life, drawing examples from aquatic, terrestrial, food and medical microbiology, emphasising microbial friends and foes.

How Science Works

This unit looks at how science is performed. Using relevant examples, students will examine how we ask questions, and gather data to answer them and communicate our findings.

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

This unit will introduce the major concepts underpinning genetics and evolution, mechanisms of evolutionary change, adaptation, and the history of life.


This unit is an introduction to the variety of life on Earth, exploring plant and animal diversity from both a functional and a systematic perspective. Students will review the origins of life, the basic evolutionary relationships of the main taxonomic groups (including fossil organisms) and examine their life histories.

Biomolecules and Cells

This unit provides an introduction to principles, concepts and techniques in the study of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Key themes are biological molecules and cell structure and function.

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

An introduction to the principles of plant and animal physiology at the systems level with appropriate links to anatomy, cell biology, pathology, and behaviour. It will focus on comparing and contrasting between species to identify patterns in the function of physiological systems and cells.

Biodiversity Monitoring

This unit focuses on the development of skills in a field and/or laboratory environment. Students will have the opportunity to develop their interests in specific groups of organisms eg mammals, birds, plants, invertebrates or particular themes in biodiversity science.

Year 2 offers you a range of units to suit your needs and career aspirations. Typical areas of study may include professional skills, microbiology,  brain and behaviour, conservation biology, species interactions, molecular biology, biotechnology and biochemistry. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Professional Skills for Biologists

This unit introduces students to the professional skills involved with being a Biologist. It develops knowledge of key methodologies, skills and experiences needed for professional development. It supports the students to enable them to formulate research proposals, apply for research projects and present their professional skills succinctly.       

Option Units

Brain and Behaviour

This unit covers the mechanisms and development of behaviour, or how brain and body combine to produce behaviour. The unit consists of a series of lectures, two practical sessions and tutorials. 


This unit covers the utilisation and genetic modification of organisms for biotechnology: including the production of food and drink; bioremediation and pollution control; biofuels; medical biotechnology. 

Professional Practice

An employability based skills unit with opportunities to work with both internal and external partners. The unit encompasses employability skills development workshops including cover letter and C.V. construction, job search strategies, interview techniques, and placement preparation. 

Conservation Biology

The unit will embrace the principles of conservation biology, namely, biodiversity, conservation genetics, habitat disturbance and species extinction using examples of research-based conservation interventions.

Conservation Science in Practice

This unit provides an overview of the historical and contemporary issues in biological conservation science and the practical applications of conservation research. 

Field Course

This unit will introduce students to applied ecological techniques and behavioural data collection.  Students will design and deliver a research project during a residential or non-residential Field Course.


The unit content includes microbial physiology, nutrition, microbial genetics and microbial taxonomy of archaea, bacteria, fungi, viruses and algae, with particular reference to recent developments. 

Sex and Survival

The unit will cover the principles of evolution, and explore the concept of behavioural traits as adaptations to an individual's environment.

Species Interactions

This unit will explore the ecology and evolution of species interactions. Key topics will include pollination, manipulation of reproduction, impacts of diseases and defence responses.


This unit will develop students’ knowledge of protein structure and function, including metabolic processes linked to cellular signalling and protein modification. 

Applied Molecular Biology

This unit will introduce students to the key principles that underpin many nucleic acid molecular methodologies, with a strong emphasis on the applications and context of these techniques. 

Plant & Soil Ecology

Students will be introduced to plant and soil ecology, with a focus on the importance of the soil environment in influencing plant performance and distributions, where the content of this unit has direct relevance for agriculture and food security, pollution mitigation and climate change.

If you opt for the four-year sandwich route, Year 3 will be spent on placement. If you opt for the four-year study abroad route you will spend your third year studying in either Europe, North America or Australasia.

In your final year, you will select areas of study from an extensive range, which includes environmental microbiology, frontiers in biotechnology, movement physiology, genetic data and analysis, social life of animals and coastal ecology. You will also undertake a final year biology project. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Project in Biology

Students will develop a research question, plan an appropriate methodological approach, and collect and analyse the data from that investigation under the guidance of an allocated project supervisor. The project may take a number of approaches and may include, but is not limited to, a combination of laboratory, fieldwork or secondary data collection and analysis and will consider any health and safety issues, and ethical issues as well as developing scientific communication skills.

Option Units

Sustainability of Biological Resources

The unit will examine biological theory underlying the sustainable use of resources. Topics covered will include: productivity; harvesting; pollution; genetic modification; tragedy of the commons. 

The Social Life of Animals

This unit will discuss the variation in social behaviour and communication between and within species in relation to ecological requirements and the evolution of cognition. 

Tropical Ecology and Conservation

You will examine effects of anthropogenic environmental changes on terrestrial tropical habitats, biodiversity, and human livelihoods, and ways to integrate conservation with human development goals.

Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour

This unit observes the key elements of the basic taxonomy, biology, ecology and behaviour of groups such as birds, mammals and insects.

Animal Behaviour and Conservation

This unit will address the importance of animal behaviour as a component of conservation biology.

Movement Physiology and Ecology

This unit will discuss key physiological adaptations in animals and plants, and use them to explain how organisms disperse, locomote and migrate. 

Frontiers in Biotechnology

This unit uses a case study approach to current issues in microbial biotechnology by developing students' own biotechnology ideas into consultancy tenders for industry.

Freshwater Biology

This unit explores contemporary issues in freshwater ecology, conservation and restoration, focussing on lakes, rivers and wetlands, providing skills relevant to environmental consultancy and regulatory industries.

Environmental Microbiology

This unit explores the role of microbes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem functioning and methods in studying microbial community structure and function.   

Conservation and Genetics of Populations

Within the context of evolutionary genetics, this unit will encompass topics in evolutionary biology, population genetics and the genetic basis of biological problems in conservation.

Biological Responses to Environmental Change

You will examine the physiological, behavioural, ecological and distributional changes in species that result from global change, and consider community and ecosystem consequences of these. 

Genetic Data and Analysis

This unit will explore genetic and genomic research to address problems in evolution, human health, and conservation with an emphasis on genetic data and analysis.

Temperate Conservation and Habitat Management

The unit will critique the conservation of biodiversity in temperate habitats, evaluating and contextualising the management of local, regional and national biodiversity.

Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Services

This unit will explore contemporary issues in coastal ecology, conservation and restoration, and examine the unique organisms that live where the land meets the sea. Example topics will include methods of coastal management and restoration, the basis of coastal ecosystem services and the links between coastal community livelihoods and coastal biodiversity. 

Impacts of Global Change on Ecosystems

In this unit, students will develop a detailed understanding of ecosystem science and the changes in ecosystems and biodiversity that have occurred in the past, and that may take place in the future, under the influence of a changing environment. Paleoecological approaches to study of past environments will be examined with typical examples from the study of tree rings and peat cores. The analysis of ecosystem functioning will be explored, principally through investigation of the means by which ecosystem processes are monitored and measured and through examination of various ecosystem manipulation experiments and national monitoring networks. 

The Undergraduate Consultancy

This unit challenges students to deliver high-quality outputs from live projects to address the needs of professional clients.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:



Optional foundation year

Additional information about this course

Students are expected to comply with the Department's codes of conduct and behaviour on field courses, placements and exchanges. Placements and study exchange opportunities are dependent on passing each stage at the first opportunity and being of good standing.

Placement options

The four-year sandwich route gives you the opportunity to spend your third year on a placement with a relevant employer, like a conservation or environmental body, zoo or animal welfare organisation, or local government or a molecular diagnostics company. It’s a great chance to gain experience, build your network and develop transferable skills – all of which can boost your career prospects.

The four-year study abroad route gives you the opportunity to study overseas during your third year in Europe, North America or Australasia.

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £16,000 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £680 to £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2312.50 per 30 credits studied per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £680 to £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international students: Part-time fee: £4000 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop for their degree (costing approximately £300 to £400) and a printer (costing £50 to £100 including print consumables, plus £20 to £40 for print consumables in every subsequent year). However, there are numerous drop-in computer facilities across campus and laptops for loan in the library. Lab coats and safety glasses are provided free of charge in the first year of entry and are expected to last for the duration of the course. Students will have to purchase replacements for lost or damaged PPE.

Other Costs

MMU now provides free travel insurance for students when they travel in connection with their programme of study, for example, placements, field trips, exchanges etc. However, students should also take out personal insurance cover for belongings as items such as mobile phones are not covered by this policy. Our courses have field-based elements of delivery so students would be expected to dress appropriately (i.e. purchase waterproof coats and trousers, sturdy footwear/walking boots). Students will be expected to print out some assessments (including posters ). Travel expenses associated with independent data collection for final year dissertations are not reimbursed by the Department. Students will be advised to undertake low-cost local fieldwork at the design and planning stages of a project if necessary. We currently offer the opportunity, subject to demand, of carrying out Level 6 project field work in Kenya or Tanzania, if available this would carry and additional cost of between £1,800 - £2,300, depending upon whether taken in conjunction with the residential optional field course.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

Want to know more?

How to apply

You can apply for this course through Clearing

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Please have the following information handy:

If you are an international student, please also have the following ready:

Call us +44 (0)161 247 3000

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.