Biology and Dance

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How to Apply

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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!”

Studying Dance at Bath Spa University provides you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in an exciting and challenging artistic environment. The course is focused on helping you build the skills you need to become a versatile, creative, and articulate dance professional.  

There are three undergraduate courses available:

BA (Hons) Dance. This is a specialised award and is suitable for students who want to study dance as a single subject.

BA (Hons) Combined Award. This course is suitable for students who want to study dance alongside another subject, for example: Education Studies, Film & Screen Studies, or Psychology.

BA (Hons) Creative Arts. This course is suitable for adventurous students who do not wish to be restricted by the boundaries of a single art discipline. You can study the subject with:

Dance at Bath Spa University is increasingly respected for its work in both live and screen-based performance practice. It is contemporary-based and will provide you with exciting artistic and professional experiences.

Why study Dance?

The course has a strong practical focus and will suit creative individuals who are looking for a dance training programme that is both physically and intellectually challenging.  You will have regular opportunities to present your work in a variety of different performance projects throughout the course and lots of chances to work alongside professional dance companies and artists.

"I could not be more proud to say that I was trained at Bath Spa, and I believe that I speak for all the dance students when I say that no matter where or what we do, the things we have learnt in the past three years have not only set us up for the 'real world' but have been invaluable in shaping our artistic thoughts and confidence."

- Sarah Dyke, dance graduate.



Course structure

Studying full time for your BA (Hons) in dance means you are with us for three years.  During this time you will take a wide range of exciting modules that will build your skills in choreography and performance.

Over the course of each year you take five modules totalling 120 credits.   At the heart of each year’s study is a 40 credit choreographic module.  This is where you develop your core practical skills as a creative practitioner/artist.  You will also develop a critical and analytical mindset that will help to support your creative enquiry.

Alongside this core study area there are modules that support and inform your performance practice as a creative dance artist. Technique forms an important part of this and you take classes in the studio on a regular basis. Limon and Cunningham-based work, somatic practice, and contact improvisation are all part of your training and give you the chance to develop into a strong and confident dancer.

BA Dance

 In each year there are also performance modules that build your skills as both a maker and performer of work.  These modules take you into the world of site-specific work, collaborating with composers and other artists, filmmaking and exploring the exciting world where different art forms intersect to make performance work.  Digital technology will play a significant role in the programme, both in its application to creative practice and in an e-learning context. Screendance, and the interface and integration of digital media in live performance work is one of the distinctive features of the course.

There are regular opportunities to work alongside professional dance artists and companies and in year 3 you will undertake a work placement with a professional organisation.  By the end of your three years you graduate with your video portfolio on your own website and we pledge to continue to support you as part of our graduate alumni scheme, no matter how long ago you graduated.



It is important to note that if you choose to study dance as a combined subject, you do not do all the available modules. You can choose to study a joint degree, with 60 credits in each module, or you can major or minor, placing a greater emphasis on one subject or the other.

Modules

If you study dance as a Specialised Award you take all modules below.
If you study dance as part of a Creative Arts programme or as a Combined Award subject, you will study all the modules in the Choreography strand * (Compulsory), and depending on the weighting of your route, have options on other modules marked **

Year 1

  • Choreography 1: Constructing the Body – An exploration of a range of choreographic principles, performance practice, research, analysis and study skills. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 1 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release, as well as other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique and Improvisation: Somatic Practice – An introduction to anatomy and body-mind techniques, such as Alexander Technique & Shin Somatics. **
  • New Media and Performance Practice – An introduction to a range of digital software and practical projects exploring their use in dance performance.
  • Collaborative Practice 1 – An investigation into collaboration and creativity in dance performance. **

Year 2

  • Choreography 2: Body as a Conscious Site – Developing choreography through cultural and experiential memory, creating group and solo work. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 2 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Techniques: Contact Improvisation – An exploration through improvisation of dynamic and weight interchange between two or more practitioners. **
  • Dance on Camera: The practice of screendance – Exploring the relationship between dance and the lens.
  • Collaborative Practice 2: Sound and Site – Working with composers and musicians from the school of music, plus professional site specific performance making. **

Year 3

  • Choreography 3 – Your final independent project - practical or written. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 3 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique & Improvisation: Somatic Research – Further development of somatic skills focusing on self enquiry, movement therapy and the creative and performing body. **
  • The Company – Formation of a company to work with a professional choreographer. **
  • Professional Portfolio: The Enterprising Artist – Work placement, and the construction of your professional portfolio. **

Course assessment

Tutors assess your work through practical projects, essays, portfolios and seminar presentations. In practical projects, assessment may focus on your creative process, on the final choreographic product or both. 

The dance department has the use of three fully equipped dance studios, the University Theatre, Mac editing suite and additional rehearsal spaces for independent study. In addition, site-specific work takes advantage of our outstanding campus and the architecture and history of the City of Bath. Our greatest resource is perhaps the professionalism and experience of the tutors who teach on the course and our professional partnerships.

BA Dance

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops, seminars and choreographic laboratories are led by qualified staff, visiting choreographers and artists.  You work in our dance studios, which are fully equipped for choreography, performance and work with digital media, our Apple Mac edit suite, and in the University Theatre performance spaces.

Bath Spa regularly host professional performances and workshops from leading dance artists in the University Theatre.
 Previous guest artists/companies have included: 
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Bedlam Dance Company, Earthfall (our Associate Company), Gill Clarke, Siobhan Davies and Company, Wendy Houston, Nigel Charnock, Precarious, Silesian Dance Theatre, Liam Steel (Stan Won’t Dance), Yael Flexer, Jessica Cohen, Sean King, Arthur Pita and Protein Dance, Helen Bagget, Stuart Lynch, Maresa von Stockert, Dan Watson (Richard Alston Company), Beth Powesland. Karla Shacklock (our associate dance artist) and Jean Abreu.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points, with minimum 80 points from Dance or Performing Arts preferred.

OR dance experience outside education.

We select eligible candidates to attend a practical auditions. Auditions are normally scheduled between December and April.

Overseas applicants may submit a video application. Details from Bath Spa University Admissions.

Career opportunities

The undergraduate programme prepares you for a range of careers in the creative industries by giving you the opportunity to develop the technical, creative and performance skills needed to become a confident and highly skilled individual.  On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  

On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  Bath Spa dance graduates have moved into a wide range of roles that include dance teachers in schools, lecturers in further and higher education, choreographers, dance company and solo performers, filmmaking, running a dance company/school, making and performing work as an independent dance artist, continuing in education, dance movement therapists, community dance practitioners, digital media specialists and events managers.

BA Dance

Our students say:

"I thought I would write to let you know that I have had loads of work since graduating. I just got the job as lead practitioner for the Youth Company at Theatre Royal. I also run a theatre company at Sterts Theatre Cornwall."

Lauren Davey; BA Hons Dance graduate.

"I can't thank you all enough for all of your help and support, since returning to Ireland I have got so much work:

  • Contemporary Dance Tutor in the Bray Institute of Further Education on their 3 year dance course (Fetac and BTEC HND qualification)
  • Teach Movement for the Actor module on a Performing Arts Course
  • Dance Theatre of Ireland on their DPOP programme
  • 'Remote Intermedia Dance Theatre Company' are still around and we hope to go to the Fringe Festival next year

I am so very very happy and love all of my jobs, this is thanks to the great training and education I received at Bath Spa."

Eimear Byrne; BA Hons Dance Dance graduate.

What students say...

Here are a selection of recent student comments:

"Through my time at Bath Spa I feel I have really developed as a dancer/choreographer but most importantly I have been able to do so in my own way. The course has been challenging but also very rewarding and has allowed me to believe in myself and realise I can achieve things that I want."

Emily Gibbs BA (Hons) Dance graduate

"I will be forever grateful to the highly encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable Dance Department at Bath Spa University. All aspects of the course have enabled me to become a diverse dancer with a wide skill set. In a forgiving and understanding environment, I was able to be myself and produce innovative work that challenged me creatively and technically. I couldn't have asked for more..."

Amy Osborne; BA Hons Dance graduate

"What a fantastic degree! It has made me the creative teacher and performer that I am today! After having graduated for a year, the support from all of the dance staff is still extremely strong. The staff are always at the other end of an email or the phone and genuinely still care about all we decide to do!"

Laura Polson; BA Hons Dance graduate.

'Throughout my time at Bath Spa University, working with the staff and other students, I have found a massive support system that enhanced my confidence and helped me with my creative practice.'

Sophie Taylor BA (Hons) Dance and Drama

"Thanks for the best 3 years of my life!"

Beth Townsend; BA Hons Dance graduate

BA Dance