Biology, Genetics, Tropical Biology and Zoology


At a glance

  • Be taught by academics who are actively involved in world-class research* and incorporate the latest discoveries in their teaching
  • Learn in modern laboratories in our Life Sciences Building and Medical School, and have the chance to spend time at our Malaysia Campus
  • Pursue a variety of career paths after studying at a university that is highly regarded by employers

*Research Excellence Framework, 2014.

Biology and Zoology

What is biology, genetics, tropical biology and zoology?

The biological sciences will feed your curiosity about the living world around us and help you make ground-breaking discoveries towards understanding animal and plant diseases, obtaining or producing useful biological materials, or preserving our natural environment. We invite inquisitive minds to join us and discover the science behind life.

  • Biologists study all aspects of living organisms including animals, plants and microbes, from their evolution and behaviour to their structure and function down to the molecular level.
  • Geneticists investigate the way in which cellular, developmental and organismic processes are controlled by genes and other DNA components. 
  • Tropical biologists will specialise in aspects of biology that are relevant to tropical regions of the world. 
  • Zoologists study similar topics as biologists but focus on animals, both living and extinct. 

These subjects not only feed our curiosity of the living world around us but also help us to make ground-breaking discoveries towards understanding animal and plant diseases, obtaining or producing useful biological materials or preserving our natural environment. 


How will I study?

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as laboratory classes, computer-aided learning and field work.

Learning materials such as lecture presentations, supporting literature and podcasts are made available through our virtual learning environment.

You will have a personal tutor who will oversee your academic progress and personal wellbeing.

Due to our long-standing links with other schools and departments in the University, you can take optional modules in the more applied branches of animal, plant and microbial biology, or in medically-oriented areas of biology or zoology.

BSc or MSci?

The MSci courses are an additional year of study, mainly focusing on a masters level research project. They are recommended for those who expect to follow a career in the biological sciences and would benefit from an additional research training. The BSc courses are ideal for those who wish to obtain a strong background in the biological sciences, and provide entry into a wide variety of careers and destinations including postgraduate training.

You can transfer to the MSci course up until the third year as long as you meet the academic requirements. 


Dissertations, exams, essays, laboratory reports and presentations determine your overall mark. The first year is a qualifying year which you must pass, but your marks do not affect your overall degree. Marks gained in subsequent years make up your final degree classification.

Visit our school website for more details on how you will study and be assessed.  



Biologists and zoologists are in demand in a wide range of careers. Some students undertake employment in relevant areas such as:

  • conservation biology
  • research in pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies
  • hospital laboratory diagnosis
  • legal aspects of biology

The development of transferable skills helps students find employment in careers such as:

  • accountancy
  • computing
  • finance
  • law
  • management
  • scientific administration.

Many of our students choose postgraduate study such as an MSc or PhD. Graduate entry medicine is another option.

In 2017, 96.5% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,000 with the highest being £41,600.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.


Study abroad

Tropical biology students will take their second year of study at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

There are various opportunities for students on other degrees to study abroad including Universitas 21 and the Erasmus programme. Find out more on our study abroad website.


Application and interview

Offers are usually made without interview. Students with non-standard entry qualifications, including mature students, may be invited for an interview.  

Open days

Students offered a place are invited to a UCAS visit day between December and March. For dates of University-wide open days, please visit our open day pages.  
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