Biological Sciences

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 12 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 39.7 k / Year(s) Deadline: Oct 15, 2024
1 place StudyQA ranking:4184 Duration:3 years

Photos of university / #oxford_uni

Biological Sciences is an exciting and rapidly developing subject area. The study of living things has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years, and topics such as cell biology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology and ecology are advancing rapidly. This expansion has been accompanied by a blurring of the distinctions between disciplines: a biologist with an interest in tropical plants may well use many of the tools and techniques that are indispensable to a molecular geneticist.

The degree of Biological Sciences is taught jointly by the departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology. Additional resources include: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Botanic Garden, Herbarium, Arboretum and Wytham Woods.

Practical laboratory work is an integral part of teaching and there is a compulsory one-week field trip for all first-year students to Pembrokeshire to study ecology (for which a contribution of £200 is required from every student). Fieldwork is a crucial part of some courses; for example, there are field days associated with a number of the second year practical courses and in the third year students may be able to attend an optional overseas field course. Most students carry out their research projects in the lab or the field, either in the UK or abroad. All overseas work requires financial contributions from the student.

BioSci Careers

A significant proportion of Oxford biologists embark on a professional, scientific or technical career after graduating, while more than a third go on to further study such as a research doctorate or a postgraduate course in an applied field. Others will take up careers in areas such as industry, finance, medicine, law, teaching, the media or conservation.

After graduation, Jenny spent several years in a medical communication agency environment, and now has her own business, working directly with major global pharmaceutical companies. She explains: ‘The tutorial system and writing opportunities during my degree were critical in developing the skills needed to analyse and interpret data, present them clearly and concisely in context and discuss results of clinical trials.’

Hannah, now a research assistant at the Royal Veterinary College, reports: ‘My degree gave me a keen interest in my subject and the skills to pursue it. So far I have tracked rhinos across deserts, chased birds across oceans, and am currently working with chickens!’

Almost all teaching takes place in the departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology and can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Lectures: around ten hours a week
  • Practicals: around eight hours a week
  • Tutorials: one hour a week, plus preparation time
  • Research projects: variable hours in second and third year.
1st year
Courses

Four courses are taken:

  • Cells and genes
  • Organisms
  • Ecology and evolution
  • Quantitative methods (a two-year course, assessed during the second University examinations)

Assessment

First University examinations: Three written papers:

  • Organisms
  • Cells and genes
  • Ecology and evolution
Satisfactory practical record
2nd year
Courses

Eight courses are offered. Students are encouraged to attend lectures in all themes.

Compulsory:
  • Evolution
  • Quantitative methods

Themes:
  • Adaptations to the environment
  • Animal behaviour
  • Cell and developmental biology
  • Disease
  • Ecology
  • Plants and people

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part I:

Three written papers:

  • Evolution paper
  • Essay paper covering the six themes
  • Quantitative methods paper

Satisfactory practical record

3rd year
Courses

Around 20 options covering the full breadth of active research in the departments. Students are expected to take 6–8 of these specialist options, which are chosen freely. Two overseas field courses are also available but numbers able to attend are capped for logistical reasons.

A full list of current options is available on the Biological Sciences website.

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part II:

Four written papers:

  • A general paper
  • A data interpretation paper
  • A short essay-based paper
  • A long essay-based paper
Two course assignments and research project (prepared work counts for 30% of overall assessment)
  • Attestat o Srednam Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) would not be sufficient for candidates to make a competitive application. If your qualification is listed as being insufficient to make a competitive application to Oxford, then you will need to undertake further study if you wish to apply.You could take British A-levels (the British Council may know where you can take A-levels in your country), the International Baccalaureate (IB), or any other qualifications listed as acceptable on this page. The first year of a bachelor's degree from another university could also be an acceptable alternative.
  • IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600 with a Test of Written English score of 5.5
  • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • English Language GCSE, or O-level: grade B (for IGCSE, please see below)
  • International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)
  • European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.

Hill Foundation Scholarship

Russian nationals wishing to study for a second undergraduate degree. 

Palgrave Brown Scholarship

Students must be ordinarily resident in and/or educated in the following countries:

Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Georgia; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Rep.; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia;  Moldova; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan. 

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