What are Biological Sciences?
Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field
Biology is an exciting and rapidly developing subject area. The study of living things has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years, and topics such as cell biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and ecology are advancing rapidly – all of these areas are covered in the taught course. This expansion has been accompanied by a blurring of the distinctions between disciplines. A biologist with an interest in tropical plants may use many of the tools and techniques that are indispensable to a molecular geneticist; contemporary evolution can be studied in laboratory and field settings; and behaviour of animals and plants needs computational perspectives. Our modular structure encourages this cross-disciplinary approach.
Framework of understanding
All the branches of biology can be unified within a framework of five basic understandings about living things. Studying the details of these five ideas provides the endless fascination of biological research:
- Cell Theory: There are three parts to cell theory — the cell is the basic unit of life, all living things are composed of cells, and all cells arise from pre-existing cells.
- Energy: All living things require energy, and energy flows between organisms and between organisms and the environment.
- Heredity: All living things have DNA and genetic information codes the structure and function of all cells.
- Equilibrium: All living things must maintain homeostasis, a state of balanced equilibrium between the organism and its environment.
- Evolution: This is the overall unifying concept of biology. Evolution is the change over time that is the engine of biological diversity.
Degree of Biological Sciences
- Biological Sciences BSc Hons
- Biological Sciences MSci Hons (4 year undergraduate course)
- Biological Sciences (Study Abroad) BSc Hons
- Biological Sciences (Study Abroad) MSci Hons (4 year undergraduate course)
- Biological Sciences with Biomedicine : BSc Hons
- Biology: BSc Hons
- Biology with Psychology : BSc Hons
- Biochemistry : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Biochemistry with Biomedicine : BSc Hons
- Biochemistry with Genetics : BSc Hons
- Biomedicine : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Biomedicine : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
- Biomedical Science (IBMS Accredited) : BSc Hons
- Pre-medical Studies : Certificate of Higher Education
- Ecology and Conservation : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Ecology and Conservation (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
- Environmental Biology : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Environmental Biology : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
- Environmental Science : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Environmental Science and Technology : BSc Hons
- Environmental Science and Technology (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
- Environmental Science : MSci Hons / Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
- Earth and Environmental Science : BSc Hons / (Study Abroad) : BSc Hons
- Earth and Environmental Science : MSci Hons / (Study Abroad) : MSci Hons
- Environmental Change and Sustainable Development : BSc Hons
- Geography : BSc Hons / North America : BSc Hons
- Geography (Professional Experience) : MSci Hons
- Physical Geography : BSc Hons / Australasia : BSc Hons
- Geography : BA Hons / North America : BA Hons
- Human Geography : BA Hons
- Biological Science : PhD
- Biomedical and Life Sciences : PhD
- Biomedical Science : MSc (research)
- Plant Sciences : MSc (research)
- Medical Sciences : MSc (research)
- Biomedicine : MSc
- Bioethics and Medical Law : MA
- Environmental and Biochemical Toxicology : MSc
General skills Developed
- You’ll be taught in lectures, workshops and tutorials, and learn practical skills in laboratory sessions.
- Of course you’ll gain detailed subject knowledge from world leading researchers, but you’ll also gain transferrable skills in time management, group work, writing and critical thinking and you’ll grow in confidence in your presentation skills.
- In addition to gaining these skills, which will enhance employability, some students will also have the opportunity to undertake a placement with an industrial collaborator during their degree, further enhancing employability.
Reasons to study Biological Sciences
Where more specific degrees like Forensics or Biochemistry root you in one particular biological discipline, Biological Sciences lets you taste a little bit of everything. It’s like a world-buffet but with microbiology instead of sweet and sour chicken.
2. Lab and field work
That flexibility means that, if you don’t want to, you never have to choose between lab and field work. Ecology students might never get the chance to don a lab coat and try out some pipettes, just as microbiologists will rarely ever lace up their boots for a walk through the woods. If you’re studying Biological Sciences, though, you get both in spades; one week might see you cramming cells under a microscope for a course in genetics and the next might have you grouping plants for a module on, well, plants. Again, Biological Sciences is what you take if you’re feeling indecisive, or if you just can’t bear to leave any one part of biology behind.
Where some degrees make the student a filter for pre-existing knowledge, a Biological Sciences degree will often ask that you go out there and conduct research of your own, pursuing a question of your own concoction. Not only is this exceptionally fun, it’ll help develop the kind of skills employers drool over. You’ll be working in a team, so you’ll develop skills in communication, delegation, research and management.
4. You’ll start to understand the world
It’s a bit of an adage that, if a particular topic affects us every day, if we have to live and breathe and work in its presence, then it’s probably worth studying. That definitely holds true for the Biological Sciences.
This stuff is everywhere; it’s whizzing away when you eat your lunch, when you’re throwing coffee down your gullet to prep for a 9am lecture, when you walk your dog, when you’re browsing the internet for guidance about what degree to take. Study Biological Sciences and it’s impossible not to come face-to-face with whatever it is you’re learning about. It forces you to get under the skin of everything you see, to think about the mechanics whirring around under the hood of the world.
- Graduates pursue biological careers in a wide range of settings, many gain a Masters or PhD qualification, helped by their research led degree.
- Whatever their final qualification, graduates can work in research, industry, universities or a hospital. Alternatively, students can take advantage of the skills they have gained to access careers in, for example, finance, management or marketing.
- Recent Lancaster graduates have joined PhD and MSc programmes in Biochemistry, Biomedicine, Cell and Tissue Engineering and Conservation Management.
- Others have been employed as researchers, microbiologists, immunologists, teachers, scientific equipment sales specialists and wildlife consultants.
- Although their transferable skills are used in all these roles, some have used them to move into fields involving data analysis, such as accounting and finance.