MBiol Biology

Are you fascinated by the scientific study of living organisms, from the molecular details of disease causing bacteria through to the ecology and evolution of large mammals? Our MBiol Biology degree is ideal if you have a keen interest in living organisms and want to gain an all-round knowledge of the subject of Biology. This complex and enthralling area of science defines our very existence, and graduates of biology degrees are well equipped to address some of the biggest problems facing our world such as how to combat antibiotic resistance, or how species adapt to climate change.

Based in our state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching rooms, you’ll study a wide range of stimulating topics, and develop the broad foundation of knowledge and solid practical experience that is required to start an exciting scientific career. The acquisition of theory will be complemented by the practical application of skills on field courses in the UK and abroad (additional costs apply to overseas field courses). In your fourth year, you will have opportunities to further develop your analytical, problem solving and communication skills, graduating with the skills necessary for a career in research.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
S2A1 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
S2A1 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

In the first year of your Biology degree you will gain a thorough grounding in key areas in biology, including microbiology, genetics, and ecology. You will also develop the techniques and skills to conduct work in the laboratory and in the field. You will begin to develop your transferable skills such as the ability to communicate effectively too.

The second year will expand your knowledge in core subject areas such as zoology, medical microbiology, GIS and human genetics. You will have the opportunity to study the latest research in a topic which interests you, and further develop your communication, problem solving, and teamwork skills. You are also able to choose from some optional modules, enabling you to tailor your biology degree to suit your own interests. There is the option for an overseas residential field trip (additional costs apply)

During the third year of your Biology degree, you can specialise even further by choosing subject areas that best fit your career plans and passions. You will conduct an in-depth research project on a specific topic under the supervision of a member of staff, and you will have the opportunity to present the results of your research at an undergraduate internal conference.

The fourth year is for those who want to develop their research and transferable skills further. You will undertake an extended research project, and hone your science communication skills. You will also have the opportunity to specialise further, with optional modules available including the opportunity for further field work, and to work closely with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to develop your natural resource management skills.

Year One consists of the following modules:

Microorganisms and the Dynamic Cell (20 credits)
Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)
Biological Research Skills (20 credits)
Evolutionary Botany and Zoology (20 credits)
Principles of Ecology (20 credits)
Biological Chemistry (20 credits)

Year Two:

Human Molecular Genetics (20 credits)
Frontiers in Biology (20 credits)
GIS for the Biological Sciences (20 credits)
Vertebrate Zoology (20 credits)
Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Plus one of:

Ecological and Wildlife assessment (20 credits)
Ethology (20 credits)
Tropical Ecology and Conservation (20 credits)
Metabolism and Biochemistry (20 credits)

Year Three:

Biology Research project (40 credits)
Humans and other primates (20 credits)
Agriculture, Evolution and Biotechnology (20 credits)

Then either two of:

Advanced Ecology (20 credits)
Marine and Freshwater Biology (20 credits)
Global Ecological Change (20 credits)
Tropical Medicine (20 credits)
Clinical and Molecular Immunology (20 credits)

Year Four will consist of:

Research Project (60 credits)
Science and Society (20 credits)

Plus two of:

Restoration Ecology (20 credits)
Field trip (20 credits)
Natural Resource Management (20 credits)


We teach using a combination of group activities, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, directed learning, online activities, UK and overseas field trips. The number of contact hours per week will vary depending on your module choice and year of study, but on average you can expect 10-12 contact hours over five days a week. You will also need to spend a significant amount of time each week on preparation for classes, background reading, revision, or working on assignments.

There are a number of one-day local field trips included as part of the course. There is also an optional overseas field course, Tropical Ecology and Conservation, in which students in the second year will have the opportunity to learn to scuba dive and to develop their knowledge of tropical ecosystems, terrestrial and marine. There is also an optional UK based residential field trip in the fourth year.

Our teaching is complemented by a range of subject experts who give guest lectures for various modules. There is also a Biology Speakers Series with a variety of external speakers which third year students have to attend, and other students are encouraged to.


A mixture of exams, portfolios, laboratory reports, practical skills (lab and field), presentations, group and individual assignments.

1st year – 43% exam, 57% CW
2nd year – 27-35% exam, depending on module choices
3rd year – 17 – 28% exam
4th year – 0 – 8% exam


As a science student you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University. Our courses are delivered from state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities on our Glyntaff campus.

Our new George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well equipped spaces.These join the Grade II listed Alfred Russel Wallace building which is also used for teaching.

You will benefit from several well-equipped laboratories for practical and project work. Our facilities include:

  • Microbiology laboratory capable of handling pathogens (category 2)
  • Molecular biology laboratory for DNA isolation and analysis
  • Projection microscopes in the microbiology and microscopy laboratories for group teaching
  • General biology laboratories for teaching, including a range of skeletons for vertebrate zoology
  • Computer rooms with specialist GIS software to support your learning

Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and BB at A Level to include Biology but to exclude General Studies

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit in a relevant subject which must include Biology modules

Typical IB Offer

31 points to include 18 points at Higher Level to include grade 6 in Biology

Typical Access to HE Offer

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits equating to 18 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 3 Passes to include Biology modules

Typical A-Level Offer

BBC to include Biology but to exclude General Studies

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

<p>We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our <a href="http://international.glam.ac.uk/#europe">international website</a> for exact details.</p><h4>English Requirements</h4><p>In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall <span class="caps">IELTS</span> grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.</p> <p>However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English <span class="caps">IELTS</span> might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our <a href="http://international.glam.ac.uk/#europe">international website</a> for exact details. If your country is not featured please <a href="https://myusw.southwales.ac.uk/contact-us">contact us.</a></p>

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12300 

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU

Apply now 

Admissions statement

There is high demand for science graduates. Graduates of our MBiol Biology degree have found employment in a range of fields, including environmental consultancy, hospital laboratories, the food and drink industry, and teaching. Many biology undergraduates progress to a postgraduate biology degree or science degree.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.