BSc Honours Biological Sciences with Professional Studies (UCAS Code: C104)
For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
For course information
The School Manager
School of Biological Sciences
T: +44 (0)28 9097 5786
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information on other acceptable English Language qualifications is available here
If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including:
International Foundation in Engineering and Science
Biological Sciences encompasses many aspects of the biosciences from biochemical and molecular biological to environmental and behavioural biology. It is centred on Darwinian theory as it applies to the chemistry of life:
• Cell and tissue structure, function and physiology
• Genetics and mechanisms and pathways of evolution
• Biological diversity, systematics and conservation
• Form and function of micro-organisms, protists, fungi, plants and animals
• Ecology and behaviour
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Introductory Skills for Biosciences
and normally Biochemistry
This module combination provides students, undecided as to their final specialist degree area, with considerable flexibility at later stages. Students enrolled in the Biological Sciences degree pathway can move into a specialist biological degree option (Environmental Biology, Marine Biology, Zoology), or vice versa, on entry to Stage 2
This pathway gives students a good choice of module combinations and ensures that the student retains a breadth of study of living organisms at a number of different levels of organisation. The modules introduce a wide range of up-to-date biological techniques including genetic manipulation, electron microscopy, physiological studies of living organisms and modern approaches to ecology and evolution.
During the final year, students in Biological Sciences take a two-module research project in one of the following subject areas:
• Environmental Biology
• Marine Ecology
• Molecular Biology
The research project is carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff and generally involves practical work carried out in the field and/or laboratory including at Queen's University Marine Laboratory. Four taught modules are chosen so that module combinations either embrace a relatively broad range of these areas or permit a degree of specialisation within the subject. In addition to subject knowledge, modules aim to develop skills in critical, independent thought and management and decision-making.Back to top
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BSc in Biological Sciences we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society. Students can make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
Assessment (general): The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Most modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Some modules [e.g. final year Honours Project module (BBC3025)] are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction, and is available on our School website (http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/).
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.Back to top
Studying for a Biological Sciences at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline, including Biological Sciences.
A degree in Biological Sciences opens the door to a wide range of careers. Completion of the final year research project inspires many of our graduates to continue into the higher degree programmes of Master of Science (MSc) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), with the goal of pursuing a career as a research scientist or academic. There are also numerous opportunities for graduates in both the commercial and public sector, with many securing jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, government departments, environmental agencies and charities. Many of our graduates enter postgraduate teacher training programmes (PGCE) for entry into the teaching profession. Alternatively, the transferable skills you will obtain during completion of a biosciences degree will place you in excellent standing for specific graduate programmes to enter professions such as accountancy, management or journalism. Indeed, although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in the life sciences, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors including agricultural and medical laboratory work, forensic science, nature conservation, journalism, commercial life, Civil Service and accountancy. The following is a list of the major career sectors that have attracted our graduates in recent years:
We regularly consult and have developed strong links with a large number of employers in the Life Sciences Sector through the Work Placement programme. The School of Biological Sciences offers students a Work Placement and Professional studies module, designed to help students develop important employability skills required for the graduate employment market.
We deal with many of Northern Ireland’s leading Environmental and Life Science employers including Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Invest Northern Ireland (Life Sciences Division), Almac, Randox, National Trust, Ulster Wildlife Trust amongst many others throughout the UK, Ireland and Internationally.
Each year students undertake placements abroad through programmes such as IAESTE, Operation Wallacea, and Frontier. Over the last couple of years, students from the School have worked in New Zealand, Switzerland, the US, Honduras and Indonesia.
The School has employed a dedicated Work Placement and Careers Adviser, who helps students find suitable placements and provides information and guidance when students are making important career decisions, throughout their degree programme from first year to final year.
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:
Other Employer Links
Graduates from the School of Biological Sciences are employed in organisations working within environmental monitoring and management, environmental consultancy, water quality management, animal welfare, academic research, the agri-food industries, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, teaching and education, and science communication. We have developed extensive links with employer in these areas.
These employment areas have always been important but have now become increasingly important due to global issues such as climate change, food supply and security, biodiversity loss and global health issues.
Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives: Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.Back to top
Accreditation: the most generally appropriate professional body for graduate biologists is the Society of Biology.Back to top