Biology and Creative Writing

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

This course covers all the core aspects of biology while still allowing you to develop expertise in specialist areas. Biology has a strong practical element and you will have plenty of opportunities to study plants and animals in the wild as well as in the laboratory. There is also a strong human biology thread in our degree programme. As well as scheduled practical sessions, day trips and residential field trips provide the opportunity to study topics in greater depth.

It will particularly appeal to students that have studied a biologically orientated subject at A level such as Biology, Environmental Science or Geography. However, if you are considering studying with other qualifications, but have a keen interest in Biology, you are also encouraged to apply.

Our staff are friendly and enthusiastic with expertise in many areas of biology from occupational diseases to plant anatomy and wildlife conservation. By the end of your degree you will be particularly well equipped to be a professional biology but you will also have a broad range of transferable skills and the versatility to succeed in many other careers. There is also the opportunity for you to gain work experience in a relevant organisation as part of your degree programme.

Our campus is particularly suited to the study of biology, boasting many interesting habitats including woodland, farmland, a lake, ponds and a stream. As well as these important natural resources we also have a boat, wildlife video system, walled garden, greenhouses, recently refurbished laboratories and a range of specialist equipment and computer software. In brief, we can provide everything you need to make your biological studies relevant, interesting and applicable to a rewarding career.

Above all we are looking for motivated and committed students who wish to push the boundaries of their academic knowledge and get the best possible preparation for any future career – but also who want to become socially engaged global citizens, ready to make a difference. You will benefit from joining the Bath Spa University community if you are willing to take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available to you outside of your study – such as volunteering, joining clubs and societies, and taking part in extra-curricular activities.

We are ranked 1st of all UK universities for Overall Satisfaction and Assessment & Feedback and ranked 3rd for Teaching and Personal Development. (Source: National Student Survey, 2014). This feedback from our students demonstrates the quality of experience you will receive if you study with us.

There are two additional pathways into Biology, that you may like to consider:

Why study Biology?

This course covers all the core aspects of biology while still allowing you to develop expertise in specialist areas. Biology has a strong practical element and you will have plenty of opportunities to study plants and animals in the wild as well as in the laboratory. There is also a strong human biology thread in our degree programme. As well as scheduled practical sessions, day trips and residential field trips provide the opportunity to study topics in greater depth.

Our staff are friendly and enthusiastic with expertise in many areas of biology from occupational diseases to plant anatomy and wildlife conservation. By the end of your degree you will be particularly well equipped to be a professional biology but you will also have a broad range of transferable skills and the versatility to succeed in many other careers. There is also the opportunity for you to gain work experience in a relevant organisation as part of your degree programme.

Our campus is particularly suited to the study of biology, boasting many interesting habitats including woodland, farmland, a lake, ponds and a stream. As well as these important natural resources we also have a boat, wildlife video system, walled garden, greenhouses, recently refurbished laboratories and a range of specialist equipment and computer software. In brief, we can provide everything you need to make your biological studies relevant, interesting and applicable to a rewarding career.

Course structure

In your first year you will study the core module, Introduction to Biological Sciences. This allows you to develop your understanding of the fundamentals of biology from cell biology and genetics to characteristics of plant and animal communities. You may also choose to study additional modules in human biology, biochemistry, biodiversity and nutrition.

In the second year you will look at the biology of plants, animals and humans in greater depth and be able to study additional topics that particularly interest you, such as ecology, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, microbiology, human pathophysiology, and food product development. A work placement module gives you the opportunity to gain academic credit for relevant voluntary or paid work carried out during your second year. There are also modules in business, science publishing and psychology available to complement your Biology modules.

In your final year of study you will specialise in topics such as animal behaviour, marine biology, nutrition, digital imaging, food safety, nature conservation, medical biology and plant biology. All students also carry out an independent study as part of their dissertation which enables you to pursue an area of biology which is of special interest to you. In addition modules in business, sociology, psychology and publishing are available.

Overall you have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics, but can specialise in areas which are of particular interest to you.

Modules

Year 1

  • Introduction to Biological Sciences (compulsory)
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Food Nutrition and Health
  • Fundamentals of Biochemistry
  • Global Food Issues
  • Human Biology
  • Investigating Earth Environments

Year 2

  • Biology: The Science of Life (compulsory)
  • Biological Research Skills (compulsory)
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Biodiversity Tools and Techniques
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Food Product Development
  • Human Pathophysiology and Nutrition
  • Work Placement
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Biological and Cognitive Psychology
  • Science Publishing

Year 3

  • Biology Dissertation (compulsory)
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Digital Imaging
  • Environmental Consultancy
  • Food Safety
  • Marine Biology
  • Medical Biology
  • Nature Conservation in Context
  • Nutrition and Exercise Science
  • Plants and People
  • Enterprise: Creating Your Own Business
  • Successful Freelancing
  • Science Publishing Project
  • Neuropsychology
  • Individuals, Health and Society

Course assessment

We use a wide variety of assessment types in our modules, including essays, practical reports, oral presentations, posters and leaflets. Some first and second year modules have an examination component, but all final year modules are coursework only.

Biology with a year in professional practice (UCAS code: S117)

Subject to approval, if you join the programme in 2016, you can opt to take a year in professional practice ('sandwich year') between your level 5 (year 2) and level 6 (year 3) studies.

This placement will enable you to put theory into practice, build professional networks and meet and work with potential employers. It will also help with work management and give you experience to bring back to your studies in your final year.

Your degree title will include the phrase “with a year in professional practice”, so it is clear to all employers that you have this experience as part of your degree.

We strongly believe that learning is not a one-way process and our teaching reflects this philosophy. We encourage discussion and participation in our classroom sessions and provide a lot of choice within assessments. This helps you focus on aspects of biology which particularly interest you, whilst ensuring we maintain the highest academic standards. Our range of natural and specialist resources support our wide range of teaching methods.

Teaching methods

The Newton Park campus is an excellent location for the study of Biology. The 'natural laboratory' of our campus provides a rich variety of woodland, grassland and freshwater habitats, which are used extensively in practical work.

Our laboratories, glasshouses and experimental areas provide specialist facilities for a wide range of biological studies including aquatic, ecological, anatomical and soil analysis. Our modern ecological surveying equipment such as bat detectors and night vision wildlife camera enables you to be involved in interesting and contemporary biological research studies.

Application method

All applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

The University has a programme of Open Days throughout the year where you can learn more about our courses, see our facilities and talk to some of our current students. See the main University web pages for more information.

If you wish to know more about the content of the Biology degree please contact the Biology Subject Leader, Dr Ian Todd.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points with minimum 80 points from a relevant science subject such as biology, chemistry, human biology, environmental science or social biology.

Career opportunities

We realise that having a degree relevant to employers is crucial if you are going to find a job at the end of your studies. We are particularly aware of skills employers need and this is reflected in the content and structure of modules. Our assessment is very 'real world' focussed to make assignments more interesting and relevant to biological employment.

Our graduates are successful and many take further qualifications such as PGCE, Masters or doctorates. Others have been employed in both public and private organisations such as ecological consultancies, water companies, wildlife trusts, teaching and government agencies such as the Environment Agency.

Since 2010, employers such as Yeovil Hospital, Hanson, the NHS and Bath Spa University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Medical Lab Assistant, Student Cardiac Physiology and Science Technician.

What students say...

James Pymm, Biology, graduated 2012:

“I am currently taking a graduate internship at Bath Spa as a science technician and looking into applying for a course in graduate medicine. 

There is a real focus on quality teaching at Bath Spa. The class sizes are small enough that everyone knows everyone and the staff get to know specifically what you are interested in, which creates a really positive atmosphere and makes Bath Spa a great place to learn in. 

The course is driven towards making you as employable as possible and has proved to be the perfect spring board for me to start doing what I want to do.”

Katie Duke, Biology & Business, graduated 2006:

“I work for the Royal Agricultural College as Enterprise Co-ordinator. It is a great job and every day is very different. My main responsibilities are helping to encourage students to set up their own business and promoting rural entrepreneurship. In addition, I run a small business for the RAC called Muddy Wellies which is a drinks range with the proceeds invested in student enterprise. I also run a national business case study competition for Universities called the Grassroutes Challenge.

I would advise students to get as much work experience/voluntary work, as possible. I really enjoyed working as a Student Ambassador when I was at Bath Spa. I even met my husband Matt when we were both working as Student Ambassadors!”

Creative Writing at Bath Spa is celebrating twenty-three years of excellence in 2015. Here you will join a thriving community of world-class writers and experiment with a wide variety of forms, and, with time, focus on the kind of writing you have come to enjoy most – poetry, fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, journalism – even copywriting and writing for new media.

Why study Creative Writing?

As part of one of the largest and most successful writing departments in the UK and indeed the world, this course is challenging, exciting, and versatile. At Bath Spa University you can expect a professional level of tuition – and we expect a professional level of commitment and achievement from you in return.

Employability is central to the writing programme. Both individually and in groups you will prepare for the writing / creative-industry career of your choice.

To learn more, please write directly to the Subject Leader of Creative Writing Dr Paul Meyer at p.meyer@bathspa.ac.uk. 

Alternatively, please click on the tabs above.

Course structure

Our Creative Writing course has three main components:

  • Your own development as a writer
  • Your awareness of other writing and how your work relates to it
  • Your critical awareness of the markets for creative writing and how you can get your work published or produced

Throughout the course you will be expected to:

  • Write and rewrite your work to become a sensitive and efficient editor of your own work
  • Read extensively, learning how writers do things, so that you can do them yourself
  • Find out how books get published, how films get made, so that your own work is informed and enriched by an awareness of past and current practice

As you move through the programme you push yourself and your work as far as you can, engaging with the world outside the University. Final-year students have (among many other things) promoted a European Fussball championship; run poetry readings; edited and produced student publications and worked on live projects for the Bath Literature Festival.

Modules

Sample modules:

Writers’ Workshop I and II; Poetry; Short Stories; Planning and Making a Film; Feature Journalism; Writing for Theatre; Writing for Young People; Life writing; Fiction Project; Writing for New Media; Digital Publishing.

Course assessment

Assessment is by coursework only. At all three levels, great importance is attached to the process of drafting, redrafting and improving work, in response to workshop discussion and public performance.

As a student you will join a community of practicing writers across the University including Professor Tim Liardet (poet), Ms Lucy English (poet and novelist; Reader in Creative Writing), Dr Steve May (scriptwriter and novelist, Dean of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries), Professor Gerard Woodward (poet and novelist), Dr Carrie Etter (poet and critic), Ms Julia Green (writer for young people), Ms Celia Brayfield (novelist and journalist), Dr Mimi Thebo (novelist), Ms Katharine Reeve (editor, author and Subject Leader: Publishing), Dr Paul Meyer (novelist and advertising creative director; Subject Leader of Creative Writing) and Mr Steve Voake (writer for young people).

Students will also benefit from the experience of ten Professors of Creative Writing: Naomi Alderman, David Almond, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Tessa Hadley, Philip Hensher, Kate Pullinger and Fay Weldon.

We also host a lively programme of visiting agents, publishers, writers and representatives of the broadcasting industries which are open to and often organised by undergraduate students.

Creative Writing at Bath Spa University will help you develop a number of skills valued highly by employers such as clear communication, language skills, sensitivity to different audiences, the ability to organise your own time and ideas, and project management.

Resources:

The state-of-the-art equipment in our Artswork Broadcast and Publishing labs is at your disposal to help you make your dreams a reality. For those with a technical bent there is also the opportunity to work in our Artswork Media facility at the Paintworks development in Bristol.

 

Teaching methods

Creative Writing is taught through a mixture of workshops, lectures, presentations and tutorials. Workshops offer you the opportunity to read and discuss each other's work in a supportive, informal and informative atmosphere. Lectures are used to introduce techniques and themes in detail. Tutorials provide you with the opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor on a one-to-one basis. Advanced students may also get the chance to work with industry mentors on project work.

We believe that for you to achieve your maximum potential you have to take yourself and your writing seriously, and that the best way to do this is to develop a professional approach. Therefore, wherever appropriate, our modules run to industry standards and adopt industry practices.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please write to Dr Paul Meyer, Subject Leader of Creative Writing, at p.meyer@bathspa.ac.uk, or the Admissions team listed above.

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points. including A- level English Literature, English Language, Theatre Studies or a related subject at grade B.

Candidates are sometimes asked to send samples of creative writing.

 

Career opportunities

Our graduates are communicators. They can talk, they can listen, and they can persuade. They are confident. They can manage projects through from initial idea to successful completion. They can work alone or as part of a team. That’s why recent graduates have found jobs with the BBC, Random House, and other media giants; they’ve gone into  journalism, teaching, social work, marketing: just about any career that requires a good Humanities degree.

External examiner:

“This is where the modules at Bath Spa are exceptional. The programme and module design is geared to the many facets of the industry. From journalism modules to enterprise projects, and modules involving scriptwriting and film making – all of which address industry standards and encourage external networking – the programme seems fully equipped to point students towards employment. Indeed, I saw evidence that student career choices found expression and sometimes advancement in project and course work. The quality and outcomes of the student work emphatically demonstrates that the programme is working well in this respect.” 

Since 2011, employers such as BMW/Mini, Wiltshire Police, Random House, Hot Press Magazine and Clarks have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including English Language Teacher, Music Journalism Intern, Retail Communications Coordinator Associate and Scriptwriter.

 

What students say...

Ivan Matsumoto (2012):

“Bath Spa recognizes the importance of work placements and will do their best to provide support and guidance. Now I feel even more confident that I have the education and relevant work experience to back up my degree.”

Victoria Knowles (2012):

“The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published.”

Ieva Lakute (2012):

"The class workshops helped me assess my own writing from a more professional angle. I learnt how to give and accept criticism, both positive and negative. The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published."

Rosie Mercer (2010):

“Since graduating I’ve set up my own review site. I now review books, television and audiobooks.”