StudyQA — Bachelor: Environmental Biology — The Queen's University Belfast

Environmental Biology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 4.16 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 13.4 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 15, 2023
200 place StudyQA ranking:1152 Duration:36 months


Environmental Biology deals with the responses of organisms – animals, plants and microorganisms – to environmental stimuli and stress, and the ways in which organisms interact with their own and other species in populations and communities. Organisms are studied on every scale – from the very small to the very large, i.e. from the molecular to the biosphere. Environmental Biology also considers the history of life on earth.

Our degree courses are modular allowing for choice and flexibility. Students complete six core modules at Level 1 which equip them with key biological principles and provide a solid foundation for their degree. This broad base in Biological Sciences enables students after their Stage 1 year to transfer, should they so wish, to pathways leading to degrees in Biological Sciences, Marine Biology or Zoology. At Level 2 students choose six modules allowing them to focus on areas of special interest within the field of Environmental Biology. During the final year (Level 3), students will take four taught modules and a double-module research project. The research project is carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff and is most typically laboratory- and/or field-based.

As students’ progress through their degree programme, the teaching they receive will become more research-led and, therefore, the module content will reflect the fast- moving disciplines of biology, ecology and evolution, and the interests of our staff.

In addition to subject knowledge, modules aim at developing skills in critical, independent thought and management and decision-making.

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 student to achieve their full academic potential. Training in the practical aspects of Environmental Biology includes residential field courses at both Level 1 and Level 2.

On the BSc in Environmental Biology we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, 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:

  • Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • Practical Classes: where students will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. All modules at Levels 1 and 2 have a practical element. Practical classes reinforce the teaching received in lectures and facilitate the acquisition of skills that are greatly valued by employers.
  • E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning tools are also embedded in the degree through, for example: online exercises and assessments, interactive web-based learning activities.
  • Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
  • Work placements: Students taking Environmental Biology may undertake an optional 16- week work-placement in the summer between Level 2 and Level 3. The work placement is assessed as a second year module and contributes towards students’ final degree mark.
  • Work-Related learning/Field Trips/Industrial Visits: As part of several modules, including Environmental Biology (EVB1004), Applied Ecology (BBC2025), Marine Ecology (BBC2026) and Marine Zoology (BBC3041), students are taken on field trips (up to one week in duration). During this time, students will be trained in subject-specific practical skills as well as the more generic ones associated with experimental design, statistical analysis, data interpretation and good laboratory/field practice. Students will be expected to undertake a number of group-based tasks and present their findings to classmates and a panel of lecturers.
  • Research (Honours) projects : In final year, students will undertake a laboratory- or field-based project under the supervision of an academic member of staff. The research that they undertake will be novel and will address an important biological question. Supervisors will guide students in carrying out this research. Feedback will be provided on draft write-ups. This project will count for 20% of students’ final degree mark.
  • Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.


A degree in Environmental Biology 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 obtained during completion of a biosciences degree will place graduates 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.

Employer Links – Consultations: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.

Further study is also an option open to Environmental Biology graduates. For those wanting a career in biosciences research, the normal route is to obtain a PhD (a three year postgraduate degree which involves intense research into a topic under the supervision of one or more academics). Every year, some of our Environmental Biology graduates have secured fully funded PhD studentships at leading universities, and associated research institutes.

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 Plus initiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.
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.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline January 15 Tuition fee
  • EUR 4160 Year (EEA)
  • EUR 13380 Year (Non-EEA)

England, Scotland and Wales £9,000; EU £3,575; International: £11,500

Start date September 2015 Duration full-time 36 months Languages Take an IELTS test
  • English
Delivery mode On Campus Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

Stage 1

Biological Diversity
Environmental Biology
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Introductory Skills for Biosciences
and usually Biochemistry
A field course is an essential component of the Environmental Biology module.

This broad base in Biological Sciences enables students after their Stage 1 year to transfer, should they so wish, to pathways leading to degrees in Biological Sciences, Marine Biology or Zoology.

Stage 2

Applied Ecology
Marine Ecology with field course
Marine Ecology
and four other modules, including at least three (preferably four) from the following:
Comparative Animal Physiology
Environmental and Applied Microbiology
Invertebrate Biology
Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics

Modules are based mainly on practical classes and lectures, but students are also expected to prepare seminars and extended essays. Applied Ecology has an associated field course held at a venue in Northern Ireland during September.

Stage 3

During final year, students take a two-module research project carried out under the supervision of one or more members of staff. The research project generally involves practical work conducted in the field and/or laboratory, and is carried out in one of the many active areas of ecological research in the School of Biological Sciences.

The four taught modules are:
Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology
Marine Processes or Marine Zoology
and two other modules

English Language Requirements

IELTS band : 6.5

To study at this university, you have to speak English. We advice you to

take an IELTS test. More About IELTS


  • A-level BBB including Biology or Double Award Applied Science + GCSE Chemistry or Double Award Science + GCSE Mathematics. Note: it would be an advantage to have studied Chemistry beyond GCSE level.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate B2B2B2B2CC/B2B2B2B2B2 including Higher Level grade B2 in Biology + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade C in Chemistry and Mathematics. Note: it would be an advantage to have studied Higher Level Chemistry.

Work Experience

No work experience is required.

Related Scholarships*

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship

    "The Academic Excellence Scholarship can provide up to a 50 % reduction in tuition per semester. These scholarships will be renewed if the student maintains superior academic performance during each semester of their 3-year Bachelor programme. The scholarship will be directly applied to the student’s tuition fees."

  • Access Bursary

    Bursary for UK students all subjects where the variable tuition fee rate is payable.

  • Alumni Bursary

    Alumni Bursary for UK Undergraduate students

* The scholarships shown on this page are suggestions first and foremost. They could be offered by other organisations than Queen's University Belfast.

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