BSc (Hons) Biology with Foundation Year
About your course
The professionally-accredited BSc (Hons) Biology with foundation Year programme at Liverpool John Moores University opens up the fascinating subject of biology providing a core understanding of biological theory and practical skills, whilst giving you the opportunity to study a variety of specialisms, including genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, development and ecology. There are also exciting opportunities to complete exciting placements and overseas fieldwork.
- Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology
- Offers a range of optional modules such as Genes and Genomes, Developmental Biology, Immunology, Medical Microbiology and Neurobiology
- Opportunity for self-funded overseas field expedition - possible destination is Doana National Park, Spain*
- Stepping stone to careers in diverse fields such as genetics, microbiology, embryology, clinical science, radiography and environmental sciences
- Option to choose between a year's work placement or a 135 hour work-based learning placement
- £6 million invested in state-of-the-art teaching facilities
About the Foundation Year
The Foundation Year is ideal if you have the ability to study for a degree but don't have the qualifications to enter directly onto the Biology honours degree programme.
Once you pass the Foundation Year you will progress directly onto the first year of the honours degree. If you are a full-time UK student, you will qualify for student financial support for the full duration of your course (subject to eligibility criteria).
About the BSc (Hons) Biology degree
At LJMU we recognise that, because of the vast array of subject areas within the field of biology, you may want to get a feel for which ones interest you most before specialising, which is why we keep the degree broad based in the first year. In the first year, you will typically cover core modules in Genetics and Evolution, Microbiology, Physiology, Ecology, Practical Skills for Biology and Fundamentals of Scientific Research.
In the second and third years, you can either continue to keep your degree broad based, or you can specialise by choosing optional modules from a wide range topics, which may include Genes and Genomes, Immunology, Medical Microbiology, Developmental Biology, Ecology Field Skills, Marine and Freshwater Biology and Applications of Genetics in Health and Disease.
There is a core residential UK field trip in Level 4* and students can also take part in an advanced field skills expedition during Level 6 - the possible destination is the Biaowiea Forest World Heritage site in Poland - where you can learn ecological and behavioural field work skills. Additionally, you have the chance to undertake a short 135 hour work-based learning placement or a year-long industrial placement. So, you will have plenty of opportunities to put what you have learnt into practice and acquire the transferable skills that employers look for.
Other study options:
"I enjoy how in-depth the course is. I have always loved Biology and getting to study it at such molecular and cellular levels is very interesting."
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students
The fees quoted above cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you'll find all of the information you need on our specialist funding pages.
* Practical and field activities underpin all programmes in the School. PPE is provided for all necessary practical work. There are no costs for day field trips for core and optional modules. Residential field trips associated with core modules are subsidised and include travel and half-board accommodation costs. Any residential field trips for optional modules will have costs involved. Locations may be subject to change and also subject to national and international travel restrictions.
A DBS check is not required for your application, however a DBS may be required for modules where there is a work based learning placement option. Work based learning placements that do not require a DBS check are available.
Completing this BSc Biology programme will open up a vast range of career opportunities.
Many of our students have gone on to work in a variety of biological areas, such as embryology, clinical science, research and development laboratories and microbiological food and water safety, as well as working for:
- The Hewitt Fertility Centre at Liverpool Women's Hospital, Unilever, Axion Veterinary Laboratories, Astra Zeneca/MedImmune, Bioquell, Elucigene Diagnostics, The Christie Hospital, Ecus Ltd, Pathology Laboratory Southport NHS Hospital, the NHS Scientific Training Programme and Lighthouse Covid Testing Laboratories
- Conservation organisations, including Chester Zoo, Brecknock Wildlife Trust and Operation Wallace
- Environmental agencies, such as Kingfisher Environmental Services
Some prefer to continue their studies with postgraduate study (PGCE/PGDE, MSc, MPhil, MRes, or PhD) in topics as wide ranging as human nutrition, oncology, molecular medicine, tropical medicine and embryology, and some transfer their enthusiasm for biology to others via careers in teaching and lecturing.
Student Futures - Careers, Employability and Enterprise Service
A wide range of opportunities and support is available to you, within and beyond your course, to ensure our students experience a transformation in their career trajectory. Every undergraduate curriculum includes Future Focus during Level 4, an e-learning resource and workshop designed to help you to develop your talents, passion and purpose.
Every student has access to Careers Zone 24/7, LJMU's suite of online Apps, resources and jobs board via the LJMU Student Futures website. There are opportunities for flexible, paid and part-time work through Unitemps, LJMU's in-house recruitment service, and we also offer fully funded Discovery Internships.
One-to-one careers and employability advice is available via our campus-based Careers Zones and we offer a year-round programme of events, including themed careers and employability workshops, employer events and recruitment fairs. Our Start-Up Hub can help you to grow your enterprise skills and to research, plan and start your own business or become a freelancer.
A suite of learning experiences, services and opportunities is available to final year students to help ensure you leave with a great onward plan. You can access LJMU's Careers, Employability and Start-up Services after you graduate and return for one-to-one support for life.
LJMU aims to make international opportunities available to every student. You may be able to study abroad as part of your degree at one of our 100+ partner universities across the world. You could also complete a work placement or apply for one of our prestigious worldwide internship programmes. If you wanted to go abroad for a shorter amount of time, you could attend one of our 1-4 week long summer schools.
Our Go Citizen Scheme can help with costs towards volunteering, individual projects or unpaid placements anywhere in the world. With all of these opportunities at your feet, why wouldn’t you take up the chance to go abroad?
Find out more about the opportunities we have available via our Instagram @ljmuglobalopps or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.
Please note that your choice of options may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Further guidance on modules
Modules are designated core or optional in accordance with professional body requirements, as applicable, and LJMU’s Academic Framework Regulations. Whilst you are required to study core modules, optional modules provide you with an element of choice. Their availability may vary and will be subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Whilst you are required to study core modules, optional modules may also be included to provide you with an element of choice within the programme. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Where changes to modules are necessary these will be communicated as appropriate.
Skills and Perspectives in Science 1
This module aims to develop your basic knowledge and research skills and covers scientific perspectives, writing, data handling and statistical analysis.
This module provides you with a broad overview of the diverse range of disciplines comprising wildlife studies.
Skills and Perspectives in Science 2
This module provides you with an appreciation of some modern scientific issues that are commonly discussed in the press. You will also cover a selection of topical subjects in biology, chemistry and related areas, alongside developing a range of academic, research and transferable skills related to your programme of study.
Understanding the Environment
This module provides you with an understanding of the earths natural systems. You will study the global environment and characterisation of the Earths main biomes, atmosphere and climate, the hydrological cycle, the rock cycle, formation of soils, biodiversity, human environments and human-environment interactions.
Building Blocks of Life
This module provides you with an overview of key concepts in cell biology, including the chemical basis of the biosciences. Throughout the module you will gain an understanding of the basic concepts of cell biology and chemistry for the natural sciences, which you will learn through a series of lectures, workshops and practical laboratory sessions.
This module aims to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge about microorganisms and their activities, which will provide a foundation for microbiology-related modules at levels 5 and 6.
Fundamentals of Scientific Research
This module aims to develop your research skills and covers problem solving, scientific writing, data handling and statistical analysis.
Practical Skills for Biology
The aim of this module is to acquire and demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of laboratory and field-based methods in modern biology, with particular emphasis on familiarisation with basic laboratory techniques and equipment, ethics and safe working practices. You will acquire and develop fundamental research and transversal skills, which you will apply and train further throughout the degree and in your future career.
This module provides you with a basic understanding of ecology and ecological characteristics of a range of habitats. You will study basic concepts, such as species and succession, communities and ecosystems, biotic and abiotic elements, nutrient cycling, populations and diversity and adaptations of organisms to their environment. Part of this will be achieved through field visits to a range of habitats.
Research Skills and Employability
This module covers all aspects of handling and analysing scientific data and the development of employability/graduate skills. You will consider the fundamentals of analysing and interpreting scientific data using examples relevant to all biosciences. Additionally, it will allow you to prepare a better career plan in science, as well as becoming self-aware of your employability skills.
Diversity and Evolution of Life
The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth and explain origin and evolution of major taxonomic groups including prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The module will explain key evolutionary events such as transition from anaerobic to aerobic life, symbiosis and evolution of the eukaryotic cell, origin of multicellularity, colonization of land and air.
Physiology of Life
This module will provide a deeper knowledge of physiology, building upon the concepts introduced at level 4, and apply that knowledge in a health-related setting. This module builds upon the concepts learnt in level 4, developing knowledge of physiology, with special emphasis on mammalian and human physiology.
Impact of Climate Change On Biological Processes
This module enables you to examine the key biological processes that are affected in plants and animals due to climate change driven biotic and abiotic stresses. This will include examining from biochemical to organismal processes and their link to the environment.
Immunology and medical microbiology
This module provides an introduction to the practical and theoretical concepts of medical microbiology and immunology. It will also provide an understanding of the principles and practices involved in the laboratory diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in humans.
Ecology Field Skills
In this module you will examine different standardised methods used for ecological censuses and surveys in the UK. Field experience is provided and different sampling techniques are dealt with in depth during lectures and during fieldwork abroad, with the aim of explaining the quantitative framework on which they are based in addition to providing practical experience of their execution in the field. You will also learn how to digitise spatial data and produce maps using GIS which you will then use to analyse spatial data on habitat and vegetation features.
Genes and Genomes
This module enables you to study how state-of-the-art genetic and genomic tools are used to understand how genes combine with the environment to control organismal phenotypes and disease states. It covers methodologies, practical applications and recent examples of the application of genetics and genomics in the fields of biology, medicine and evolution.
Marine and Freshwater Biology
This module provides a broad introduction to fundamental aspects of marine and freshwater biology, including basic oceanography, limnology and productivity in the marine and freshwater environment. Different marine and freshwater habitat types found in various parts of the world are introduced, and their biological (e.g. ecology, animal behaviour) and physical characteristics are discussed. The exploitation and conservation of these ecosystems are also considered.
This module enables you to learn how state-of-the-art molecular and genetic tools are used to understand mechanisms that regulate the growth and development of organisms. It covers methodology and practical experiments that illuminate the molecular mechanisms that underpin developmental processes.
Sandwich Year - Biology
The aim is to provide students with an extended period of work experience at an approved partner that will complement their programme of study at LJMU. This will give students the opportunity to develop professional skills relevant to their programme of study as well as the attitude and behaviours necessary for employment in a diverse and changing environment. This extended placement forms a key part of a sandwich degree. All placements need to be assessed and approved prior to commencement in line with the LJMU Placement Learning Code of Practice. The Code of Practice requires students to conduct themselves in a professional and responsible manner during the placement - failure to do so may lead to the placement being terminated prematurely. Placements are normally for one calendar year on a full-time basis. Split placements of a shorter duration may be permissible. There is an expectation that a minimum of 1200 hours will be spent in the workplace.
Study Year Abroad - Biology
The aim is to provide students with an additional year of study at an approved overseas partner that will complement their programme at LJMU. This is an additional year of full-time study at an approved higher education institution. The modules to be studied must be agreed in advance, and must be appropriate for the student's programme of study. Assuming successful completion of this year, mark-bearing credit will be awarded by the Faculty Recognition Group. The grade conversion scale to be used will be made available in advance of the year abroad.
Study Semester Abroad - Biology
The aim is to provide students with a semester of study at an approved overseas partner that will replace one semester of their LJMU programme at level 5.This is a semester of full-time study at an approved higher education institution which will replace one semester of level 5 study at LJMU. The modules to be studied must be agreed in advance, and must be an appropriate substitute for the modules being replaced. Assuming successful completion of this semester, mark-bearing credit will be awarded by the Faculty Recognition Group. The grade conversion scale to be used will be made available in advance of the semester abroad.
The research project will be in any area appropriate to your programme of study on a topic of your choice. The module provides an opportunity for you to independently develop and demonstrate project planning, time-management and organisational inter-personal skills, along with scientific and practical working methods in a research or applied context.
Health and Disease
The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of a range of health and disease states at the cellular, molecular and organismal level.
Clinical immunology and medical microbiology
In this module, your education continues in the field of immunology and microbiology as we now focus the knowledge gained at level 4 and 5 onto the clinical aspects of disease.
Applications of Genetics in Health and Disease
This module provides you with an appreciation of some modern genetic and genomic techniques that are regularly used in studies of health and disease. It is recommended that students complete the level 5 module Genes and Genomes before taking this module.
Frontiers of Ecology
This module enables you to examine a diverse range of important contemporary research topics linked to ecology. These will be placed in a broader context by examining conflicting issues and ideas arising from ecological considerations.
Advanced Field Skills Expedition
This module provides an introduction to biological issues in ecosystems during a residential field trip abroad. You will critically evaluate biological issues in selected habitats and design and carry out field-based studies to investigate biological questions.
This module enables you to study the biology, diagnosis, treatment and control of some of the most important protozoan, helminth and arthropod parasites of humans and domestic livestock.
Within this module, you will learn about the applications of biological techniques in forensic science and be able to review how biological evidence can contribute to a wide range of forensic investigations.
This comparative module covers how the endocrine and nervous systems work together to control health and disease. Combining problem-based learning and practical sessions, you will cover topics such as sexual differentiation, sleep, stress, depression and the long-term endocrine changes caused by psychoactive substances.
This module provides relevant, stimulating and career-orientated experiential learning to encourage you to develop transferable skills relevant to the work environment and to foster initiative and independence of thought.
Teaching and work-related learning
Excellent facilities and learning resources
We adopt an active blended learning approach, meaning you will experience a combination of face-to-face and online learning during your time at LJMU. This enables you to experience a rich and diverse learning experience and engage fully with your studies. Our approach ensures that you can easily access support from your personal tutor, either by meeting them on-campus or via a video call to suit your needs.
Teaching is mostly via lectures with interactive workshops in the form of group discussions, worked examples or practical demonstrations, and online. Lecture material can also be found in our library and on our virtual learning environment, Canvas.
In addition, fieldwork and laboratory sessions give you a chance to observe animals and plants first-hand and develop your practical skills, while small tutorial groups provide a forum for discussing course material more informally. You will also have progress review meetings with your personal tutor.
Formal teaching accounts for approximately 14-16 hours of your study time each week; you will be expected to spend the rest of your time in private study.
As part of your work-related learning, you have the opportunity to undertake a short 135 hour work-based placement or a 12-month placement with a relevant organisation in the UK or abroad. This work experience will not only give you a chance to put into practice what you have learnt at the University, it will also help you develop your personal skills and add real value to your CV. Many students who undertake placements have gone on to work for the same organisation once they have graduated.
Support and guidance
Dedicated personal tutor, plus study skills support
Throughout your course you will have the support of a personal tutor who will be available to discuss course-related matters in both tutorial sessions and one-to-one progress review meetings. These meetings are to monitor your performance and identify action plans for improvement. A dedicated supervisor will also provide support during your research project.
The school is fully committed to promoting a learning environment that supports a culture of equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) and has a Disability Support Coordinator, an EDI Coordinator and a School EDI Working Group. Personal Tutors also play a vital role in promoting awareness of support services for students.
Assessment varies depending on the modules you choose, but will usually include a combination of exams and coursework.
Most modules are assessed by exam and coursework, and some via coursework only. All students perform differently depending on how they are assessed, which is why we use a combination of assessment methods. Exams may therefore include a range of question types e.g. multiple choice, short answer, interpretative, problem-based learning and essay. Coursework assessment could be in the form of phase tests, fieldwork/practical reports, data handling, oral presentations, poster presentations, group discussions, essays or the evaluation of your practical skills. These are based on individual assignments but some require group work.
Feedback on coursework assessments is normally provided within three weeks of submission and may be via Canvas, our Virtual Learning Environment, face-to-face or in writing. We believe that constructive feedback is vital in helping you identify your strengths as well as the areas where you may need to put in more work.
Feedback on coursework assessments is normally provided within three weeks of submission and may be via Canvas, face-to-face or in writing. We believe that constructive feedback is vital in helping you identify your strengths as well as the areas where you may need to put in more work.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Craig Wilding
Dr Craig Wilding
Craig graduated with a degree in Marine Biology and then completed a PhD on the Population genetics of the scallop Pecten maximus at the University of Wales, Bangor. He worked on the evolutionary genetics of periwinkle snails at the University of Leeds for 7 years, before moving to Westlakes Research Institute in Cumbria where he spent 4 years investigating human radiobiological genetics and genetic biomarkers of radiation exposure. In 2006, he moved to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to investigate the genetic mechanisms of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, before joining LJMU as a Lecturer in 2013.
I am currently interested in evaluating the extent of reproductive isolation between colour morphs of the beadlet anemone Actinia equina. My research informs my teaching and I really enjoy sharing these experiences with our Biology students.
Where you will study
What you can expect from your School
You will study at the Byrom Street site in the university's City Campus in the heart of Liverpool. You will have access to first class teaching facilities, laboratories and study areas. The Avril Robarts library is within easy walking distance and here you'll find all the information you need to support your studies.
Please choose your qualifications below to view requirements
Minimum points required from qualifications: 80
GCSEs and equivalents
Prior to starting the programme applicants must have obtained Grade C or Grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics GCSE or an approved alternative qualification below:
- Key Skills Level 2 in English/ Maths
- NVQ Level 2 Functional skills in Maths and English Writing and or Reading
- Skills for Life Level 2 in Numeracy/English
- Higher Diploma in Maths/ English
- Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths/ English
- Northern Ireland Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
- Wales Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
- Minimum number of A Levels required: 1 A2 in a relevant science, preferably Biology.
- Subject specific requirements: Not Applicable
- Is general studies acceptable? Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- Average A Level offer: CCD
- Are AS level awards acceptable? Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- Maximum AS Level points accepted: 20
- National Certificate (RQF): Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Certificate: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Diploma (RQF): Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- National Diploma subjects / grades required: DD in a relevant area if studied on its own or to the total of 88 UCAS points when combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Diploma (RQF): Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Diploma subjects / grades required: MMM in a relevant area if studied on its own or to the total of 88 UCAS points when combined with other qualifications
- Access to Higher Education Diploma acceptability: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Further information: Overall Pass required.
- International Baccalaureate: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Additional information: 24 IB Diploma Points
- Irish Leaving Certificate: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Grades / subjects required: 88 UCAS points from a minimum of 5 subjects
- Welsh Baccalaureate: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- Are Level 3 NVQs acceptable? Acceptable when combined with other qualifications
Alternative qualifications considered
Please contact the University if you have any questions regarding the relevance of your qualifications.
No interview required (UCAS application form only)
6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in each component) or equivalent English language proficiency test.
Reduced offer scheme
As part of LJMU’s commitment to widening access we offer eligible students entry to their chosen course at a reduced threshold of up to 16/8 UCAS points. This applies if you are a student who has been in local authority care or if you have participated in one of LJMU’s sustained outreach initiatives, e.g. Summer University. Please contact the admission office for further details.
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check.
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
UCAS is the official application route for our full-time undergraduate courses. Further information on the UCAS application process can be found here https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate-students/how-to-apply.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.
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