Duration: 4 years full time
UCAS code: C10F
Institution code: R72
Duration: 3 years full time
UCAS code: C100
Institution code: R72
Campus: EghamView this course
BSc Biology with Integrated Foundation Year
Our Integrated Foundation Year for science is a thorough, skills-building course that will give you everything you need to start your study of BSc Biology with confidence.
Science underpins society and can help us provide answers to fundamental questions. Our Foundation Year sets you up so that you’re ready to take on those questions - providing you with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of how to get started in studying the sciences at university, including Biology.
Once you have completed your Foundation year, you will normally progress onto the full degree course, BSc Biology. There may also be flexibility to move onto a degree in another department (see end of section, below).
Biology helps us to understand the world around us – the way that plants and animals interact, the way that different living things evolve and adapt and our own role in the wider natural world. Biology at Royal Holloway, University of London gives you a sound understanding of the structure, function, evolution and diversity of living organisms and the interactions between them.
On BSc Biology you will study a diverse range of biology modules, from molecular biology to learning the science to help overcome the challenges of climate change. You can choose a pathway to tailor your degree to your own biological interests from a huge range of options taught by experts in their fields, across the spectrum of ecology or molecular sciences.
You will learn on a biodiverse campus in reach of sites of special scientific interest and put your learning into practice through fieldwork opportunities. You will develop an understanding of how to design and analyse experiments and gain invaluable laboratory experience and data handling skills.
On successful completion, you’ll be equipped with:
- a broad understanding of the fundamental knowledge base and the terminology of Biological Sciences
- an awareness of current areas of debate and discovery in Biological Sciences and how scientific knowledge and methods can be applied to investigate them.
- the skills needed to work in a wide range of sectors.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills provides the underpinning for the Integrated Foundation Year programme and is key to helping students achieve the requirements for entry into first year undergraduate study and transition effectively from school / college to HE.
- Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills 2
Mathematics. The foundation to all sciences. By engaging in mathematical reasoning you will develop your scientific thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Moreover, you will get to embark on a journey through the exciting world of maths and its application. This course will provide you with the skills to successfully continue onto a STEM degree. The course aims to aid you in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are algebra (simplification, rearrangement), sequences and series, number bases, logic, functions, graphing of functions, exponential and logarithm, trigonometry, vectors/matrices, complex numbers differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, probability, and statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
The aim of this module is to provide the calculus and statistics required for a foundation in engineering and physical science. This module will provide a foundation so that a student can apply calculus to real-world problems. The module also aims to aid students in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, Probability, Statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
Knowing how to program is a highly sought-after skill, and is becoming increasingly important. Also, it is fun. This course equips you with the basic and foundational skills necessary to be successful in programming. We mainly use Python, but the skills learnt are also applicable to other languages. The course will contain foundational programming topics, including: how computers work, introduction to algorithms, basic data structures, control flow, programming libraries, data manipulation, input/output, file manipulation, dynamic structures and objects. Upon completion of the until you’ll will be able to understand variables, types and simple data structures (lists, strings, dictionaries and arrays), use functions to simply programs and promote code testing and reuse. Throughout the course there will be lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on problem-solving.
Students will learn key topics in pre-HE-level biological and earth sciences through an interdisciplinary, chronological curriculum. The module content is divided into three broad sections: origins, present and future. The history of the earth affords the opportunity to learn topics in biological chemistry, metabolism and physiology alongside planetary science and palaeontology. The second section of the module gives students the chance to learn about key challenges in communicable and non-communicable disease, climate change, biodiversity and the impact of environmental pollutants on human health. In the module’s final section the focus will shift to the future, and students will learn some of the opportunities presented in the management of ecosystem services, nucleic acid-based technologies and renewable energy sources.
Students will learn to perform some key experimental techniques in pre-HE-level biological sciences, and to analyse and present their results. The module will consist of a sequence of experiments carried out in an intensive period of preparation, data collection and reflection. Experimental work will be conducted both in the laboratory and in the field. Students will become familiar with a number of techniques and make connections with concepts from Foundation Life Sciences and the Environment, as well as with statistical techniques learned in Foundation Maths. There will be opportunities for students to design an experiment within a given framework of techniques.
Students will address a significant life science topic through their own directed research. Their work will be based on a topic presented in the Foundation Life Sciences and the Environment module, examining techniques that promise to mitigate current challenges in the life sciences. Under the guidance provided students will select a suitable topic, find and use appropriate secondary sources, and produce an oral report supported by visual aids. Students will investigate the ways in which their chosen approach may help solve a particular challenge, and acquire a critical appreciation of the hurdles to be overcome.
In this module you will develop an understanding of key scientific concepts and effective science communication. You will learn how to process and critique different forms of information, and how to communicate science to both scientific and non-scientific audiences using diverse media, forms and methods. You will also examine ethical issues surrounding research and intervention.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the diversity and structure plants and fungi and how these can be used to reconstruct evolutionary history. You will look at the structure of the main Kingdoms of eukaryotes, examining their diversity and the relationships between the life-cycles of higher plants and fungi, and their single-cell or water-tied ancestors. You will consider the form, development and function, including photosynthesis, of higher plants, and then explore the relevance of plants to humans. You will gain practical experience in handling and observing preserved and live specimens, preparation of taxonomic keys, drawing, data analysis, interpretation and presentation.
In this module you will develop an understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell biology and the key functions of these structures and organelles. You will look at the origin of life and the principles of natural selection and evolution. You will also learn the practical technique involved in microscopy, including fixation techniques for the analysis of cell ultrastructure and aseptic techniques for bacterial culture.
In this module you will develop an understanding of genes and their behaviour in individuals organisms, in populations, and at the molecular level within the cell. You will look cellular genetics with respect to mitosis, meiosis, inheritance and recombination, and consider the fundamentals of gene expression, its control, and DNA replication. You will examine genome organisation, transcription, and translation, and gain practical experience of using techniques in microscopy, including slide preparation for the observation of chromosomes.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the use of statistical methods in biological sciences. You will examine how questions in biology can be answered using quantitative methods, looking at key concepts of statistical sampling and experimental design. You will consider how to select appropriate tests, how to apply them, and identify what can be deduced from them.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how organisms have changed through time. You will look at the historical origins of the modern concept of evolution, examining the evidence for it and the processes that have shaped faunas and floras. You will consider Darwinism and its development, the origin and maintenance of variation, and adaptation and selection. You will analyse how evolution can be studied using phylogenetic methods and the mechanisms of speciation, with a focus on human evolution.
You will carry out an individual laboratory or theoretical investigation, supervised by an appropriate member of staff, who will provide guidance throughout. You will apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout your studies, and learn to organise data in a logical, presentable and persuasive way. You will produce a report, around 8,000 words in length, and will deliver an oral presentation with a summary of your findings.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the effects of climate change on the interaction between plants and the environment. You will critically evaluate the application of novel technologies to crop improvement and assess the relationship between growth and responses to the environment. You will also consider issues surrounding human uses of plants and conservation.
In addition to mandatory modules, there will be a number of optional modules available during the course of your degree.
Teaching & assessment
In your Foundation Year, teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, practical classes and workshops, laboratory classes, individual tutorials, and supervisory sessions. Outside of the classroom you’ll undertake guided and independent practice. You will be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Department of Biological Sciences and will have regular scheduled sessions. In the Foundation Year, you’ll also be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS). Assessments are varied; practical exercises, weekly problem sheets, set exercises, written examinations, laboratory reports. In addition the Foundation Year offers a full range of skills-based training.
For your degree course, teaching methods will include a mixture of lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, and practical field and laboratory work. Outside the classroom, students will be expected to undertake study to understand the taught material, and to carry out the assessed coursework. Assessment will be through a combination of examinations, project(s) and practical work.
A Levels: CCC
This course is suitable for non-standard entrants, including mature returners to study, those without Science qualifications or with Science qualifications below the standard required for entry to a degree.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Study Biology at Royal Holloway, University of London and take invaluable skills and experience into your future career. Our alumni are building careers in fields including biotechnology, environmental monitoring and medical research. A close-knit graduate network means you’ll benefit from the knowledge and connections of Royal Holloway alumni, who regularly visit to share their experiences with current students.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
Eligible EU students tuition fee per year**: £25,200
Foundation year essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
**This figure is the fee for students starting a degree in the academic year 2023/24, and is provided here as a guide. The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you are classified as an international student. Please see the fees and funding page for more information.
Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2023/24 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.
Year 1 discount for Foundation Year students: Your Foundation Year counts as Year 0. In Year 1, Home (UK) students taking an Integrated Foundation Year degree benefit from a 10% discount off the standard Home (UK) tuition fee for that year. Find out more