Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Studying biology at university

Studying biology at universityConsidering a biology degree? Find out what you'll need, what you could study and what it will involve.

Types of biology course

As well as a general biology degree (which will usually involve specializing towards the end of the course), there are various more specific areas of biology you can study. These include:

  • Zoology: the study of animals
  • Marine biology: studying life in the oceans
  • Genetics: studying genes and how traits develop and are passed on
  • Microbiology: studying microorganisms such as bacteria
  • Biomedical science: biology directed towards medical research

These are just a few of the options available: see more at UCAS Course Search

Like other science courses, you'll often have the choice between a three-year BSc course and a four-year MSc course.

What will it involve?

The exact structure of your course will depend on what kind of degree you do and where you study, and you should compare courses carefully before you apply. Most courses will have a heavy workload, with lots of lectures and laboratory work. Depending on what you specialize in, you might also do fieldwork.

Where can it lead?

Many biology graduates go on to do postgraduate study, further research or other lab work, but that's not the only option. There are many science-related jobs outside the lab, such as medical sales, scientific publishing and organizing scientific conferences. You might also be able to take a medicine conversion course in order to become a doctor.

Biology graduates can also find work outside science, making use of some of the skills they have learned.

What do I need?

You'll need an A-level or equivalent in biology, and most universities will expect you to have at least one other science A-level. You may also need to have achieved certain grades in maths and chemistry at GCSE if you don't have A-levels in them.