University of Chester

Programme Specification
Biology BSc (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Combined Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences



Department of Biological Sciences

Sunday 1st April 2007

  • Provide coherent and challenging learning experiences for students in the biological sciences   
  • Provide an opportunity for shared learning experiences     
  • Encourage a critically and theoretically informed approach to academic study    
  • Facilitate a widening access to higher education through flexibility in admissions and learning and teaching strategies
  • Promote academic, vocational and personal development   
  • Foster an appreciation of the role and value of research and of a scientific approach to study

Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding of: The variety of life and evolutionary theory basic cellular chemistry and cell metabolism
Environmental modules - environmental processes and those concepts associated with the study of environmental biology and ecology - examples: ecosystems, role of micro-organisms, environmental change.
Human sciences modules - human physiology and biochemistry and those concepts associated with the study of human physiology - examples: control systems, cellular responses, immune response.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

Collecting and analysing data (in an appropriate context)
Appreciation of experimental methods and use of appropriate statistical techniques Planning and executing individual research topics
Practical Skills

Safe use of a variety of equipment (eg. spectrophotometer, environmental probes)Practical skills relevant to the subject
Using computers and appropriate software for data collection and presentation
Observation and recording skills (in the field and / or laboratory)
Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Communicate effectively (written and verbal)Application of numerical skills and use of scientific notation and units
Use of IT (data presentation, statistical analysis, CAL)
Learning to work as a member of a team and working to deadlines
Learning to learn - using appropriate modes of study and accessing information sources
Transferable Professional Skills

Appropriate practical skills, data analysis, time management, team working are all beneficial in the workplace

This programme offers the opportunity to study the biological sciences in combination with another subject.  The programme is fully integrated into the existing modular structure within the Department's portfolio of programmes.

The Combined Honours modular structure is as follows:
  • At Level 4:  modules totalling 60 credits are taken in each subject.
  • At Level 5:  modules totalling either 40 or 60 credits are taken in each subject with the remaining 20 credits being work related learning, either work based learning or experiential learning.
  • At Level 6: for a major route in a subject, students should undertake modules totalling 80 credits in that subject; for a equal route, students should undertake modules totalling 60 credits in each subject and for a minor route, students should undertake modules totalling 40 credits in that subject
Students following a major/minor route will normally be expected to undertake a dissertation in the major subject.  Students on an equal route may elect to write a dissertation.  For students following a major/minor route a dissertation will not be written in their minor subject. The Dissertation (BI 6110), which is a double module can be replaced by BI6112 Research Project (single).  The Dissertation normally involves an empirical study under the supervision of a tutor allowing development of independent research skills. If a Dissertation/Science Communication or Research Project is taken at Level 6, students would benefit from taking the preparatory modules at level 4 (BI4114 Quantitative Principles and Analytical Techniques) and at Level 5 (BI5110 Research Methods).

Throughout the programme, students will be able to share some learning experiences with students on other programmes who are taking particular modules which are common to more than one programme. However, for students that have combined BSc Biology with the BSc Forensic Biology programme are not able to take BI5116 Analytical Techniques in Forensic Biology with BI5114 Applied Molecular Biology. 

In summary, modules are included in the programme which cover relevant basic scientific subjects e.g. physiology, biochemistry, ecology.  At Level 5 and particularly at  Level 6 students can specialise in advanced  aspects of biology according to their interests.  The benchmark statements for biosciences have been used as an important reference point in the construction of this programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. The threshold statements have been addressed as providing the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking.  All students will take the core modules together with a range of optional modules. The core modules address the  benchmark statements and therefore all students will have the opportunity to develop the skills and attributes required of the biosciences graduate. The modules at Level 4 can be seen mainly as providing a foundation for study at Levels 5 and 6 and provide a comprehensive review of biological knowledge, concepts and skills for students with a range of backgrounds.  At Level 5, students take modules involving greater detail and depth of study of key ideas and enhanced skills.  The modules at Level 5 deal with essential topic areas, many of which are extended in Level 6 modules. 

Where there is module choice students are guided according to their interests e.g. human / biomedical based modules or environmental based modules.  At Level 5, a work related module is undertaken, this may be either Work Based Learning or Experiential Learning.  At Level 6, students are required to display greater levels of independence and take significant responsibility for their learning. Throughout the final year of study students are encouraged to fully develop as independent and autonomous learners. The students' knowledge base will be significantly broadened through a range of subject specific modules covering aspects of their chosen area of study. In addition, students majoring in this subject are required to undertake a research module (Dissertation or Research Project) at Level 6. Students studying joint honours may opt to undertake a dissertation in either of the subjects forming the combined degree pathway. For students undertaking the dissertation module a strong emphasis is placed on the development of independent research skills and practical abilities of along with the ability of the student to present scientific data and arguments in the context of the overall body of knowledge within the discipline.

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
BI4110 4 Essential Physiology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4111 4 Genetics and Evolution 20 Comp Comp Comp
BI4112 4 Cell Biology and Biochemistry 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4113 4 Introductory Microbiology and Immunology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4114 4 Data Handling and Project Design 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4118 4 Introduction to Animal Behaviour 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5110 5 Research Methods 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5111 5 Biology of Disease 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5113 5 Experiential Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5114 5 Applied Molecular Biology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5115 5 Applied Microbiology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5118 5 Behavioural Ecology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5126 5 Wildlife Crime and Conservation 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6110 6 Dissertation 40 Optional N/A Optional
BI6112 6 Research Project 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6114 6 Medical Microbiology and Infection Control 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6115 6 Immunology and Haematology 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6116 6 Clinical Biochemistry and Genetic Analysis 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6117 6 Forensic Toxicology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6124 6 Clinical Medicine and Immunology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6125 6 Blood Sciences 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6129 6 Animal Behaviour and Conservation 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6130 6 Conservation and Environmental Impact 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6132 6 Physiology and Behaviour 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6134 6 Animal Cognition 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6136 6 Evolution and Human Behaviour 20 Optional Optional Optional

Students graduate with BSc Honours on completion of Level6 having obtained 360 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Dip HE on completion of Level5 having obtained 240 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Cert HE on completion of Level4 having obtained 120 credits.

A minimum of 240 UCAS points, of which 200 points must be obtained from GCE and/or VCE A Levels (12 or 6 unit awards), including grade C in one subject. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE and/or VCE A/AS Levels, VCE double award, or Level 3 Key Skills certification

The department require one of the following subjects as essential for entry:
A2 Level: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Science, Applied Science
AS Level: Biology, Human Biology, Social Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Science
VCE A Level: Science

  • BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit profile
  • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects including Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 points including 4 in Biology or Chemistry 
  • QAA recognised Access course, Open College Units or Open University Credits

Please note: A BTEC National Award or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer.

The QAA subject benchmark statements for bioscience have been used as a guide in developing the programme as they define the nature of the programme and identify the skills and attributes expected to be acquired by the biosciences graduate. The statements have been used in conjunction with the relevant programme specifications and the University’s internal programme documentation.

Generic standards: transferable and core skills

Students can take options within the programme which means that they will be achieving standards in those benchmark areas appropriate to their chosen route Human/Biomedical Biology or Behavioural/Environmental Biology.  

Subject-specific standards (as appropriate)
Molecular aspects of biology (including biochemistry)
Organisms Ecology
Environmental biology   

Methods include lectures, practical sessions, seminars, group work, problem based learning.  IBIS is also increasingly used to support modules. The development of autonomy is encouraged from Levels 4 to 6.  More guidance is given at level 4 with students expected to be more independent and take significant responsibility for their learning by level 6. 

Each module is assessed on a 4000 word-equivalent basis, with a one hour examination equating to 1000 words. The module descriptors include information on assessment methods: nearly all modules involve more than one method of assessment.  At the modular level, assessment is tied to learning outcomes so that assessment modes indicate those outcomes that are being assessed. Generally, the balance over the entire programme between coursework and examinations is approximately 50:50

The programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge and practical (transferable) skills to embark on careers within the bioscience industries, teaching, further training for specialist careers or postgraduate studies. Whilst it is expected that the majority of each cohort will initially embark on such career pathways, the embedded transferable skills throughout the programme make the graduate highly employable

The programmes of study in the Dept of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity.  The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind: 

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 

  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.

  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.

  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.

  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.

  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the use of Student Inclusion Plans also enhance equal opportunity to all students.

  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.

  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

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