We understand that there are a number of questions you might have about applying to study an Undergraduate degree related to Biology. Check our commonly asked queries before you get in touch with us directly.
General questions about applying
I would like to take a gap year, will this affect my chances of being accepted?
Applicants wishing to apply for deferred entry are not disadvantaged in any way. Gap years not only allow you to widen your horizons, they can leave you refreshed and ready for study.
I am a mature student, will my application be considered?
We welcome applications from mature students. Such applicants are advised to contact the admissions tutors to discuss what preparatory courses would be appropriate before making a formal application through UCAS.
What is the accommodation like?
See the accommodation prospectus for more information on University of Bristol Accommodation.
Is Maths, counted as a science subject?
Yes, Maths is counted and is one of the preferred science subjects.
Does Human Biology count as a science subject?
Human Biology is only acceptable as a science subject if it is accompanied by other strongly science based subjects. Our preferred science subjects are Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths.
Are Geography or Psychology counted as a second science?
Yes, these are counted as science subjects. Our preferred science subjects are Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths, but Geography and Psychology are also regarded as science or science-related subjects.
Questions about qualifications and entry requirements
Do you accept Baccalaureate qualifications?
International or European Baccalaureate qualifications of an equivalent standard are fully acceptable.
I am doing Scottish Higher and Advanced Higher Exams, how will my application be assessed?
Applicants with Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers are treated the same as A-level candidates, that is a strongly science-based curriculum is favoured with actual/predicted performance equivalent to grades that we expect from A-level candidates.
I would like to become a mature student but have no qualifications beyond GCSE, what should I do?
We welcome applications from mature students with non-standard (non A-level) academic backgrounds, or with other appropriate experience. Such applicants are advised to contact the admissions tutors to discuss their application and what preparatory courses would be appropriate before making a formal application through UCAS: please contact us.
English is not my first language. What English qualifications do you accept?
In all cases where English is not the first language, evidence will be sought of proficiency in English, using an IELTS score requirement where appropriate. Currently the university requires an IELTS score of 5.5 or above. The IELTS test is strongly preferred to any other test as it is a more accurate guide to a student’s skill in the sort of English required for academic study. If you have any further queries about requirements for international students please contact us.
About our degrees
How many hours of teaching will there be a week?
In your first year you will usually have 18-19 hours of lectures and practicals per week, with additional personal study. The two biological units studied each involve three 50 minute lectures and a three hour practical per week. We expect a further 20+ hours per week from our students, and this time will involve analysis and report writing from practical classes, assignments from tutors and directed reading from lecturers and tutors. You will also take an additional unit of your choice, which compromises of a similar number of contact hours.
The number of taught hours does not increase in your second and third year, but the amount of personal study required will increase over the course of your degree.
Can I switch between Biology and Zoology once I am at Bristol?
Our flexible degree programme makes it is possible to change between the Biology and Zoology programmes once you have arrived. Beyond the first year, moving between Biology and Zoology will be dependent on the units you have selected in Year 2 and Year 3.
How did the School of Biological Sciences do in its QAA review?
Our teaching has been rated as 'excellent' by HEFCE. The combination of excellence in research and teaching places us in the top rank of UK biology departments.
How was the School of Biological Sciences rated in the Research Excellence Framework?
The Research Excellence Framework 2014 ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities.
Our research is shown to have top quality and major impact on society and the economy, according to this assessment of research at every UK university. REF2014 will decide how around £2 billion in research funding will be allocated each year from 2015-16.
Thirty-six per cent of the University’s research received the top 4* rating, defined by HEFCE as ‘world leading’. This is six per cent above the sector average and twice the level the University achieved in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, placing Bristol 10th in the Russell Group.
What type of careers do Biology and Zoology students go on to do?
The world needs biologists; many of the major threats facing mankind require biological solutions. About 30 per cent of our graduates continue to postgraduate degrees, while a further 30 per cent enter biologically related jobs directly. Many graduates find work in universities, research institutes, conservation, ecological consultancy, public health, the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, science education and media – Bristol is home to the BBC’s Natural History Unit and a hub for documentary film companies.
Around 30 per cent of our graduates continue in careers unrelated to biology, for example industrial and commercial management, banking and finance, law, computing and the civil service. These areas require high levels of literacy, numeracy and the ability to analyse and solve problems; study in the biological sciences provides an ideal general base.
For more information on where a degree in biology from Bristol could take you, please see the careers section of our website.
Applying to Bristol
The School of Biological Sciences welcomes students from across the globe. Find out more about country-specific entry requirements, visas, language support and other resources that we provide for our international students.
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