School of Biological Sciences - University of Aberdeen


School of Biological Sciences - University of Aberdeen
In Aberdeen

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Important information

Typology Bachelor's degree
Location Aberdeen (Scotland)
Duration 4 Years
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Aberdeen (Scotland)
  • Duration:
    4 Years

Facilities (1)
Where and when



Aberdeen (Aberdeen City)
See map
Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, AB24 2TZ


On request

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Course programme

Programme Structure & Content

First Year
Core courses, Organismal Biology, Ecology and Environmental Science, The Cell and Chemistry, give a grounding to students from all degrees. Two other courses are chosen from a variety on offer.

Second Year
Vertebrate and Invertebrate Zoology provide an overview of animal structure and function, including locomotion, thermoregulation, reproduction and immunity. Further choices such as Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ocean Biology, Genes & Evolution, Infection, Disease & Defence and Essential Animal Cell Biology, or choices from other courses ranging from Biomedical Science to Plant Science or Geography complete the eight units, along with a residential field course.

Third Year
A core programme of zoological subjects is offered comprising, in the first half session, Experimental Design, Analysis & Presentation, Evolution, Environmental Physiology and Animal Population Ecology. In the Second half session there is a choice of Animal Behaviour, Marine Biology, Diseases & their Vectors, and Aquatic Biology Conservation & Exploitation. Other subject choices are available in this second session. Students wishing to study for a degree in Immunology, from a zoological base, would choose Molecular Biology of the Cell; Core Molecular Technologies for Biologists or Environmental Physiology and Immunology.

Fourth Year (Honours)
An independent research project (either field or laboratory based with staff supervision), and a major review essay together with four six-week taught courses provides the basis for the final Honours year. The taught courses develop insights into specialised topics and, where appropriate, include visits to research establishments and commercial organisations. To these are added other skills-oriented activities, including statistical analysis, computing, literature summaries, oral communication, study of biodiversity, and career development. Furthermore, every Honours student attends a residential team-building course designed to give experience of team working, and a two day careers workshop.

Teaching & Assessment

Courses use a wide variety of teaching methods: lectures, laboratory practicals, fieldwork, seminars and tutorials. Most courses are assessed by both continuous assessment and a written examination, taken at the end of the semester. Continuous assessment takes many forms including essays, a series of practical reports, or a group project which may be presented to fellow students in the form of a scientific poster. The variety of assessment methods helps to develop a range of communication and transferable skills suitable for different occasions.

In third year, a typical six-week course is likely to involve four to five hours of lectures and a three-hour practical or field excursion per week; seminars or tutorials are held where appropriate to the course content. Team working by students engaged on projects and field work is encouraged.

Additional information

Comments: There will be opportunities for expeditions, voluntary work overseas and ‘year-out’ placements. North American exchanges are also possible, normally in the second year of a four year programme. Similarly, it is possible to study for part of the degree in another European university under the Socrates programme.
Career opportunities: Courses are designed to provide a broad based set of specialist and generic skills for future employment. A considerable number of graduates continue their education by reading for higher degrees either in the UK or abroad. Graduates may also enter teaching biology or general science by taking a post-graduate diploma. Graduates find full-time employment in a wide range of careers. Employers include Universities, research institutes, government agencies (eg. SEPA, SNH), environmental consultancies, environmental charities (WWF & RSPB, National Health Service) and others.