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BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences: pathway

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This degree is made up of 360 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

You’ll begin your studies with the compulsory 60-credit introductory module Exploring science (S104)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S104,,1. You’ll develop your study skills while engaging with a broad and absorbing introduction to a range of science subject areas including:

  • biology and health sciences
  • chemistry and analytical science
  • Earth and environmental sciences
  • physics
  • astronomy and planetary science.

Using a blend of text and online study materials, this wide-ranging module investigates the major scientific issues affecting contemporary society. You’ll explore the fundamentals of modern science, and develop important scientific concepts and skills to give you a solid basis for higher level study.

You’ll be introduced to practical science through the compulsory 30-credit module Investigative and mathematical skills in science (S141)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S141,,1. You’ll also choose one of four 30-credit modules according to your particular scientific interest:

  • Introducing health sciences: a case study approach (SDK125)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SDK125,,1
  • Topics in science (S142)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S142,,1
  • Topics in health sciences (SK143)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SK143,,1
  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,MST124,,1

Alternatively, you could choose 30 credits from a non-science module if you prefer.

Stage 2

The first part of Stage 2 consists of two 30-credit compulsory modules.

In Human biology (SK277)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SK277,,1 you'll explore the mechanisms that maintain a healthy body, the interaction and coordination between body systems, and their responses to some of life’s challenges – including sleep, stress, ageing and reproduction.

You’ll also consider the huge diversity among organisms arising from the same simple molecular building blocks Cell biology (S294)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S294,,1. You’ll study the structure and function of cells, including microbes and the more complex cells of plants and animals; and investigate the importance of cell biology in human health and technology.

You can then choose from a number of 30-credit modules including The science of the mind: investigating mental health (SDK228)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SDK228,,1 to gain an understanding of the different approaches within psychology for treating mental health conditions such as depression and dementia; Analytical science: health, heritage and environments (S240)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S240,,1 which investigates questions like how diseases are diagnosed, how sport drug cheats are caught, how pregnancy test kits work, how old the Earth is, how antiquities are dated and how we know our water is safe to drink; or Science in context (S250)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S250,,1, looking at the role of science in society, including science communication, risk, ethical issues and decision making.

Your final study at Stage 2 will be Practical science: biology and health (SXHL288)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SXHL288,,1 to develop the practical skills you need to complement these modules.

Stage 3

You will start Stage 3 with two compulsory 30-credit modules:

  • Molecular and cell biology (S377)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S377,,1 – examines the processes common to all life forms, with emphasis on animal cells and looks in depth at molecular cell biology and cell processes, including differentiation, ageing and tumorigenesis
  • Signals and perception: the science of the senses (SD329)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SD329,,1 – is a multidisciplinary study of how we interact with our environment through the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and the somatic sensory system, which includes touch and pain).

Then, depending on your interests, you can choose one of the following 30-credit modules:

  • Infectious disease and public health (SK320)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SK320,,1 – approaches infectious disease from several perspectives and explores the underlying biology, epidemiology, ecology and evolution of pathogens in relation to the extraordinary immune defences of their human hosts
  • Ecosystems (S396)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S396,,1 – explores the habitat of a vast array of different organisms, the connections between them and their surroundings, and their resilience to anthropogenic changes such as pollution and climate change
  • Evolution (S366)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,S366,,1 – investigates evolutionary science's key concepts, including natural selection, and how these account for the characteristics of living organisms and the history of life on Earth.

Your final study will be a 30-credit project module, Researching biology and health science (SXL390)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-2,module,SXL390,,1 in which you’ll undertake an individual investigation on a topic chosen from a range of defined areas related to biology and health:

  • stem cells
  • the human senses
  • emerging infectious disease
  • coevolution.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically it takes six years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from three (full-time study equivalent) to 16 years. You can choose to vary the pace at which you study, although we recommend that you aim to study 60 credits a year as the Science curriculum is designed to be studied part-time. Some modules are best studied sequentially rather than simultaneously – particularly as you develop your study skills at Stages 1 and 2.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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