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MSciBiological Sciences

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom, Birmingham
Tuition fee To be confirmed
More information

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birmingham.ac.uk/..ical-sciences-msci.aspx 

Overview

Study biological sciences at Birmingham and you’ll learn about animals, plants and microorganisms – their genetic make-up, their cellular structure and how they interact in our natural environment.

This degree gives you a solid base in the subject and also gives you the opportunity to specialise in areas such as genetics or zoology.

The Masters year, which extends the three year BSc programme, is devoted to developing research competence through a multi-faceted teaching and research programme. You’ll benefit from some of the country’s best facilities and technology, being taught by experts in the field renowned the world over for their cutting-edge research.

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Advanced Degree accreditation highlights the degrees that have the potential to educate the life science leaders and innovators of the future.

Programme structure

First Year
The first year modules are designed to give you a broad and balanced view of modern biology. They will develop from what you have learned at school but you will soon be learning new material.

All Biological Sciences students take the same modules in the first year, whether or not they have selected one of the specialised degree courses. You also take a Widening Horizon Module, which allows you to access to content from other Schools, from Humanities to the Sciences to Engineering.

First year modules
Introduction to Evolution and Animal Biology | Watch video – An overview of introduction from the pre-biotic era to Darwin and his impact. Natural selection, the origins of altruism and sexual reproduction, genetic determinants of evolution.

Fundamentals of Biochemistry – Fundamental biochemical processes taking place inside cells

Introduction to Microbiology | Watch video – Broad introduction to microbiology with a focus on infectious disease, covering bacteria, fungi, protists, archaea and viruses

Cell Biology and Physiology – Tissues, organelles, reproduction and development.

Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences – This module provides a broad overview of the biology of our environment, including topics such as climate change, conservation, ecophysiology and cell biology of plants.

Genetics I – Storage of genetic information, gene expression and regulation, mitosis and meiosis, gene linkage and chromosome mapping.

Second Year
At this stage you begin to tailor the degree towards your own particular interests. In addition to the core modules you choose four specialist modules from the list below. If you have chosen one of the specialist Biological Sciences degree courses this is where your degree starts to be specific.

Second year modules
Core modules (taken by all students on the Biochemistry programme)

Communication and Skills in Biosciences – Science communication in videography, writing and speaking, ethics in science, analysis of the scientific literature.

Molecular Biology and its applications – Genetic analysis and gene cloning, DNA fingerprinting and forensics, genomics and computational approaches to genetics.

Example optional modules may include:

Animal Biology – This module explores how the central nervous system translates sensory stimuli to behaviour. Topics include comparative neurobiology, biological timekeeping, sensory biology, learning and behaviour and others.

Cell and Developmental Biology – Development of multicellular organisms, interaction between cells and the cellular matrix, regulation of stem cell function.

Microbes and Man – The impact of microbes on humans, bacteria, fungi and viruses, common themes of infectious disease mechanisms.

Genetics II – Organisation of genes and genomes, generation of genetic diversity, gene transmission and analysis of problems in transmission and molecular genetics.

Evolution of Humans and Other Animals – The primary aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of comparative animal biology in an evolutionary context.

Human Structure and Function – Human anatomy and how it relates to its function and evolutionary origin.

Critical Issues for 21st Century Ecosystems – Core skills in ecosystem knowledge

Plant Sciences: from Cells to the Environment | Watch video – Plants interact flexibly with their environment. This module explores the cellular and molecular features facilitati ng such interactions, including interactions with parasites. The module introduces the model plant Arabidopsis, and you will design and test hypotheses in specific experiments

Third Year
The third year is made up of a combination of taught modules and independent study. It is here that the link between the teaching and the research in the school is particularly important. The final year modules are informed and inspired by the research being carried out in the school.

The third year allows choice from a range of specialised topics. Central to the third year is a critical review of literature in an area that you are interested in, this makes up one third of the credits earned in the third year.

Third year modules
Core content

Project

Choose four optional modules*
Example optional modules may include:

Molecular and Cellular Immunology | Watch video – Evolution of the immune system, innate immunity, cell biology of immunity, structural basis of discrimination between self and non-self.

Cancer Biology – Regulation of cell division and aberrations in malignant tumours, genetic bases of tumourigenesis, programmed cell death.

Cellular Neurobiology * | Watch video – Neuronal function and neural development, synaptic function, transmitter receptors and ion channels.

Adaptation to changing environments – This ecology-oriented module examines behavioural, physiological and molecular mechanisms of adaptation to environmental stress. It examines animals’ mechanisms to respond to changes occurring on varying timescales and over diverse geographic areas

Living in Groups: Collective Behaviour in Animals | Watch video – This module explores features and rules of group behaviour in animals. Introducing formal concepts such as Social Network Analysis, the module defines fundamental rules that govern collective behaviour, and how individuals partake in making and communicating decisions.

Eukaryotic Gene Expression – Control of gene transcription, chromatin structure, pre-mRNA processing, mRNA translation and degradation.

Genetics III: Genetic Variation in Humans and other Eukaryotes – Genetic variation in humans and model organisms, dynamics of chromosome organisation during mitosis and meiosis, genome instability.

Bacterial Gene Regulation – How genes are switched on or off in response to external stimuli, how control of gene expression can be explored experimentally.

Plant Science in the 21st Century | Watch video- Plant growth and development in relation to food supply, biofuels and climate change. Research-based module with emphasis on analysis of the current research literature.

Structures of Destruction – Bacterial and viral pathogens explored from the perspective of their molecular structures, protein misfolding and amyloid diseases.

Human Evolution – Genetics and genomics, development of bipedalism, development of society and how humans’ activity applies selective pressure on the evolution of HIV.

Human Health and Disease – This module builds on the 2nd year module ‘Human structure and function’, and discusses advanced concepts in anatomy and physiology. It also gives students an insight into how clinicians approach problems relating to diagnosis and management of disease.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology- Microbial communities, how they compete, and behave socially.

Biodiversity and Conservation Management – Examining the scientific basis of conservation, the threats facing biodiversity and how those threats are assessed, why population size is critical and how biodiversity is maintained either in nature or at a backup location. The in situ management of diversity is given particular emphasis. The module is stand-alone but also complements Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems.

Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems – Examining the scientific basis for conservation and its genetic foundation.

Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection | Watch video- Evolution of bacterial virulence, antibiotics and antibiotics resistance, genomic data in analysing pathogenicity.

Career opportunities

Advances in the biosciences are having a profound impact on our daily lives in areas from human health to conservation. Biotechnology, biological pharmaceuticals, and personalised medicine are key growth areas in the health sector. Environmental remediation, climate change and related themes pose multi-faceted challenges for the coming decades. Expert knowledge in biology and the life sciences will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, with bright prospects for exciting and rewarding careers in research, teaching, industry, the NHS and the public sector.

A substantial part of our graduates choose to take a further degree, a postgraduate Masters or PhD. For many career paths, a further degree is an essential stepping-stone, including (but not limited to) careers in research. Our graduates are highly sought after by universities around the world, many stay in Birmingham and join one of our prestigious research groups. Did you know that PhDs are fully funded and that postgraduate students receive a tax free stipend equivalent to a salary?

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States