Study biology at university

What is biology?

Biology, or biological sciences, is the study of life and living organisms, from plants and animals to genes and evolution. It is about how things live and die and their vital processes that affect all aspects of life.

This natural science covers how living organisms interact with each other and their environments and is a subject that contains many different and unique fields.

From the study of insects, reptiles and fish, to the study of bacteria, parasites and viruses, there are a range of biology disciplines. 

Some of the main, broad areas of biology are:

  • Biochemistry and biophysics – the study of chemical substances and processes
  • Microbiology – the study of microorganisms
  • Botany – the study of plant life
  • Zoology – the study of animals and how they interact with their ecosystems
  • Ecology – the study of interactions among organisms and their environment
  • Genetics – the study of heredity

Why study biology?

There are a number of benefits to studying biology at undergraduate level:

If you cannot decide on what career path you want to follow, biology is one of those subjects that can open up a variety of options. Biology allows you to study the subject as a whole, or specialise in a particular area of interest, whether you want to study genetics, botany or marine life, you will have that choice.

Rather than analyse existing knowledge, you will often get the opportunity to conduct your own research, helping to develop a breadth of core skills while looking for an answer to your own biological questions and theories.

You could help solve many of the challenges that are increasingly being faced in today’s world. As the human population grows, pollution worsens, the strain on sustainable agriculture increases and biology can help find the answers.

Why study biology at Durham University?

You will get to be part of the University’s Department of Biosciences which studies all areas of biology and it ranks in the top 10 UK Biology Departments for research impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Studying biology at Durham University means you will benefit from state-of-the-art tailor-made buildings that feature modern teaching facilities to enhance your learning experience.

You will have access to the latest technology for a variety of aspects of biology including:

  • Transgenic studies
  • DNA analysis and proteomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Remote sensing
  • Ecological field sampling
  • Computer modelling
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy.

You will also have the advantage of having extensive woodlands and a botanic garden close by, perfect for fieldwork opportunities.

16th in the UK

for Biological Sciences (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)

8th in the UK

for world-leading research impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014)

International Study Centre student Jia Lin from Malaysia

I found out that Durham conducts a huge range of research that actually affects the world. So, doing Biology here is definitely a good choice.

Jia Lin
Studied International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering
Now studying BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

Key skills - from studying biology

Studying biology will give you a number of skills that will help you succeed throughout your degree and your desired career:

  • Research
  • Teamwork
  • Analytics
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy
  • Communication

What biology degree can I study at Durham University?

If you are looking to a follow biology path after a foundation year, BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences provides a route to a number of careers. The three-year degree is designed to give you the option to follow a range of specialised routes within biological sciences, or concentrate on specific areas as you progress.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

Our International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering prepares international students for their biology degree at Durham.

You will learn key English skills and core academic skills, as well as covering biology focused modules to give you the knowledge needed to succeed.

Biology career opportunities

There are multiple career options directly related to a biology degree. Whether you want to continue your education with a Masters degree and specialise in a specific branch of biology, or go straight into a research or field role, there are lots of opportunities.

Some of the jobs you could follow include:

  • Microbiologist
  • Zoologist
  • Research scientist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Environmental management
  • Botanist
  • Marine scientist
  • Oceanographer
  • Science writer

Study Biological Sciences

Durham Student Jia