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MSci | Undergraduate

Biological Sciences

Entry year
2021
Entry requirements
AAB/AAA
Duration
4 years (Full Time)
UCAS code
C102
  • Overview

    Biological Sciences encompasses many aspects of the biosciences, from molecules to ecosystems and includes exploration of:
    • Biological diversity, systematics and conservation
    • Cell and tissue structure, function and physiology
    • Ecology and behaviour
    • Form and function of microorganisms, protists, fungi, plants and animals
    • Genetics and mechanisms and pathways of evolution

    The MSci Biological Science degree programme is underpinned by research. MSci students gain in-depth knowledge and understanding through research-led discovery. In the final year, students are immersed in a research-active environment where they develop subject specific research skills through completion of a full time project.

    During stages 1-3 students will gain practical laboratory- and field-based skills to help them investigate and manipulate biological material including relevant physical, chemical and biological measurements and their application in a laboratory, field, and research project setting. During the third year research project module students will have access to cutting-edge research facilities across the molecular and ecological disciplines. Additional skills achieved include: Collation, quantitative analysis and interpretation of experimental data, including problem-solving; communication and application of knowledge; the use of computers for data management and presentations, and the development of intellectual, personal and team skills for employment and further study.

    Biological Sciences Degree highlights

    Biological Science graduates are employed in sectors which are addressing worldwide problems such as climate change, food supply and security, biodiversity loss, and global health issues.

    Professional Accreditations

    • Royal Society of Biology Accreditation

      This course has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. This highlights the academic quality of the course and recognises the course in enabling graduates to meet the needs of the employer through development of technical and transferable skills.

    Career Development

    • Optional work placements (16 weeks) on these degree programmes provide students with the opportunity to utilise the practical skills gained during the teaching of their degree and apply these in a work environment. In previous years, students have gained placements with organisations such as Almac Pharma Services, Norbrook Laboratories, Warner Chilcott, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Belfast Zoo, the National Trust, Atlantic Whale Foundation, and the RSPB. In addition, students can avail of opportunities to undertake short summer placements abroad through programmes such as IAESTE, Operation Wallacea, and Frontier.

    Student Experience

    • Final year intensive research projects allow students to gain considerable research experience in one of the research laboratories at Queen’s University Belfast. Working alongside world-leading researchers enriches the students experience and assists them in pursuing a career in academia or in research.
    “Studying MSci Biological Sciences at Queen’s enabled me to study different aspects of the Biosciences including Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Zoology. This helped me to decide which area I wanted to work in and gave me valuable experience in a range of laboratory techniques. The third and final year research projects allowed me to conduct my own research on a specialist topic which I had learned about during my studies. These experiences were very rewarding and encouraged me to continue my research career by beginning a PhD at QUB.”

    Allister Irvine, MSci Biological Sciences

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    IntroductionBiological Sciences graduates tackle worldwide problems such as climate change, food supply and security, biodiversity loss and global health issues. Students on this programme can choose to complete an optional work placement to develop the core skills and employment related experience valued by employers.
    Stage 1•Molecular Basis of Life
    •The World of Microorganisms
    •Biodiversity

    At this stage students enrolled in the Biological Sciences can move into a specialist degree option (Marine Biology, Zoology, Microbiology) or remain enrolled on the Biological Sciences pathway to retain breadth in subject teaching.
    Stage 2Core Modules

    •Cell Biology 2
    •Plant Biology and Rhizosphere Interactions
    •Invertebrate Biology

    Optional Modules
    •Invertebrate Biology
    •Forensics and Toxicology
    •Applied Genetics
    •Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
    •Coastal and Oceanic Biology
    •Applied Ecology
    •Animal Biology and Physiology
    •Microorganisms in Action
    •Work Placement


    Throughout stages 1 and 2 practical classes in Biological Sciences reinforce and complement theory in the biosciences, providing students with a solid foundation on which to build upon for stage 3.

    Work Placement

    •Biological Sciences students can complete a 16 week degree-related work placement during the summer period between stages 2 and 3.
    Stage 3•Core Modules
    •Research Project

    Optional Modules
    •Parasitology
    •Zoonoses
    •Industrial Microbiology
    •Immunology and Immunotherapy
    •Medical Microbiology
    •Bacterial Genetics and Genetic Manipulation
    •Behavioural Ecology
    •Global Change Biology
    •Conservation Biology

    *During stage 3, students in Biological Sciences take a two-module research project under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. The research project generally involves practical work carried out in the field and/or laboratory.
    Stage 4• Research Project

    *Students carry out a full-time research project under the supervision of academic staff based in the School. There are no taught modules or examinations in this year, thereby allowing students to concentrate fully on their research activity.

    People teaching you

    Dr Angela Mousley
    Programme Director

    School of Biological Sciences

    Contact Teaching Times

    Large Group Teaching15 (hours maximum)
    Typically around 9 hours teaching [3 hours for each module studied – see later information on course content] and 3 hours practical every two weeks for each module.
    Personal Study28 (hours maximum)
    For private study and writing assignments each week

    Learning and Teaching

    During the MSci Biological Sciences, the school provides a range of learning experiences to enable students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip for life and work.

Students can make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

    • Learning and Teaching Introduction
      E-Learning technologies, lectures, personal tutor, practical classes, research projects, self-directed study, work placement, and Work-Related learning/Field Trips/Industrial Visits.

    Assessment

    Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    • The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Most modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of academic year examinations. Some modules [e.g. final year Honours Project module] are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Details of how each module is assessed are outlined 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

    As students progress through the course they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including Lecturers, Module Coordinators, Placement Supervisors, Personal Tutors, Advisors of Study and through their peers.

    • Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including: written comments, face to face comments, placement employer comments or references, online or emailed feedback, pre-submission advice, feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A level requirements
    AAB including Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or + GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
    OR
    AAB including Double Award Applied Science or Double Award Life & Health Sciences + GCSE Biology and Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
    OR
    AAA including Biology + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4.

    It would be an advantage to have studied Chemistry beyond GCSE level.
    Irish leaving certificate requirements
    H2H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H2 and H3 in any order in Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Chemistry and Mathematics
    OR
    H2H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H2 in Biology + Ordinary Level grade O4 in Chemistry and Mathematics.

    It would be an advantage to have studied Higher Level Chemistry.
    Access Course
    Not considered. Applicants should apply for the BSc degree.
    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    34 points overall including 6,6,5 at Higher Level including Biology and Chemistry (preferred) or Mathematics or Physics or Geography + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
    OR
    36 points overall including 6,6,6 at Higher Level including Biology + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4

    Standard Level grade 4 would be acceptable in lieu of the GCSE requirement.
    Graduate
    A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree, provided any subject requirements are also met.
    Further information
    MSci applicants will automatically be considered for admission to the BSc if they are not eligible for entry to the MSci, both at initial offermaking stage and when results are received.
    Option to transfer
    Transfers between BSc and MSci may be possible at the end of Stage 2.

    Selection Criteria

    In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

    Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Biological Sciences. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

    Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

    For entry last year, applicants for programmes in the School of Biological Sciences must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C/4 or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.

    Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

    Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected and all subject requirements must be met.

    Applicants offering other qualifications will also be considered. The same GCSE (or equivalent) profile is usually expected of those applicants offering other qualifications.

    The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Biological Sciences, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

    A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

    Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview.

    If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

    If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

    INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

    These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Careers

    Career Prospects

    Introduction
    A degree in biosciences opens the door to a wide range of careers. Our graduates are employed in organisations working within research and development, environmental monitoring and management, water quality management, animal welfare, academic research, the agri-food industries, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, teaching and education, and science communication. 

Employment in these areas is critical to address global problems such as climate change, food supply and security, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, and global health issues.

    Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

    Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

    Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills

    In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £4,530
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
    Other (non-UK) EU * TBC
    International £21,400

    The undergraduate fees for 2021 entry are set out above.

    * The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit-advice/information-for-students It is however expected that there will be a specific arrangements put in place for RoI nationals living in the UK and Ireland and those with pre-settled and settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

    Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

    If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

    Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Biological Sciences costs

    Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10 and an E-Book at a cost of £25 and a dissection kit at a cost of £20.

    The following optional modules have a compulsory field trip:
    Year 1 Biological Diversity Module has a field trip costing £80.
    Year 2 Applied Ecology Module has a field trip costing £125.
    Year 2 Marine Ecology Module has a field trip costing £90.
    All students may apply to go on a School Workplace Tour at a cost of £100.

    How do I fund my study?

    There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

    Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

    Scholarships

    Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

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  • Apply

    How and when to Apply

    How to Apply
    Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.

    When to Apply
    UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2021 from 1 September 2020.

    Advisory closing date: 15 January 2021 (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.

    Applications from UK and EU students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2021) subject to the availability of places.

    Applications from International (non-UK/EU) students are normally considered by Queen’s for entry to this course until 30 June 2021. If you apply for 2021 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

    Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

    The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

    Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

    Apply via UCAS

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

    1. Applying through UCAS
      Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2021.
    2. Applying direct
      The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
    3. Applying through agents and partners
      The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

    Download a prospectus

    Keywords

    BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

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Course location

Biological Sciences

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