Biology and Dance
A contemporary skills based course producing highly employable professional biologists.
- Flexible structure of course allowing breadth or specialism
- Practical course using contemporary learning methods
- High employability of graduates
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 allowing you to develop expertise in specialist areas. Biology has a strong practical element and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to study plants and animals in the wild as well as in our laboratories. 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.
The course covers a broad range of fundamental biology topics such as cell biology and genetics to plant, animal and human biology. In additional to these core topics, you have a wide range of modules to choose from, allowing you to develop a particular theme which interests you.
You’ll develop a broad range of skills; some specific to Biology, while others are useful in many professional environments. The course is ‘real-world’ focussed; you’ll graduate as a professional biologist prepared to solve a range of problems and keep up to date with scientific advances.
The first year focuses on fundamental topics such as cell biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, evolution, classification, food production and ecosystems. Associated practical classes give you hand-on experience of these concepts. Optional modules allow you to explore themes in more details such as biodiversity, human biology, food production, nutrition and biochemistry.
The second year covers a range of important human, animal and plant biology. You’ll consider important concepts in biology such as ethics, biosecurity, genetics and technology. Optional themes include ecology, microbiology, human pathophysiology, biodiversity and food product development allowing you to develop your interests at a higher level. You can also select optional modules in business, science publishing and psychology.
There is an optional sandwich year between your second and final year, giving you the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice and experience a relevant job.
Single honours and major students will carry out a dissertation in the final year. This substantial research project gives you the experience of being responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on a biology topic. In addition you may study topics in medical biology, nature conservation, nutrition, animal behaviour, marine biology, digital imaging and plant biology. Modules in business, psychology and science publishing are also available.
Assessments are varied, designed to be appropriate to the particular skills required for each module. Some modules have coursework and examinations, but many are coursework only. The practical nature of our assessment contributes to our high levels of graduate employment.
Types of assessment include scientific papers, posters, oral presentation, interviews, essays, reports, reviews, leaflets and video presentation. There are also plenty of opportunities to choose the biological theme on which you are assessed, allowing you to have deeper understanding of aspects of biology of interest to you.
We have a number of well-equipped recently refurbished laboratories for a variety of practical work. Some are used for specialist microbiology of biochemistry studies while others are ‘low-hazard’ where you can carry out other activities such as the preparation of food, exercise or psychological studies.
- Newton Park Campus – ‘Natural Laboratory’
We also make extensive use of the campus which is a ‘natural laboratory’, boasting many interesting habitats including woodland, farmland, a lake, ponds and a stream.
- Newton Park Library
- Biology Resources Room
Biology students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment from binoculars, to telescopes and video cameras.
You’ll be taught using a combination of teaching and learning methods. Interactive lectures provide you with fundamental knowledge which is enhanced by the practical skills you learn in supporting sessions. Around half of your contact time will be in lectures and half in practical or workshop sessions.
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.
You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Spain, Sweden and the USA.
From Kew Gardens to Haverfordwest, you’ll have opportunities to participate in field trips across the Biology modules. Please note that you’ll have to pay a contribution towards the cost of some of these study visits.
Work placements, industry links and internship
Our students have worked with clients such as the NHS, Bristol Zoo, Operation Wallacea, English Nature and local authorities.
List of current alumni careers
Biology graduates have a range of professions including teaching, medical lab assistant, wildlife trust warden and science technician. Graduates have been employed by companies including NHS, New Zealand Department of Conservation and RSPB.
We’ll encourage you to participate in local and national science festivals.
Each year we award five prizes to our students. These are the Bath Spa University Biology Prize for best performance (one per year of study); the Oxford University Prize; and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management Prize.
All applications are through UCAS.
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.
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:
- A Level - A level grades BCC -CCC with Grade C in Biology, Human Biology, Environmental Science or Social Biology minimum.
- BTEC- Extended Diploma minimum grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) accepted in a science or related subject.
- International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points with evidence of study in Science accepted.
- Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) in a science or related subject.
English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants
IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.
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!”
Build the skills you need to become a creative and articulate dance professional.
- Rigorous practical training in choreography, technique and performance.
- Gain industry experience and contacts with weekly classes from our extensive network of professional dance artists and companies.
- 100% of graduates agreed we prepared them well for employment and/or further studies in dance (2015).
Why study Dance?
Immerse yourself in an exciting and challenging artistic environment, studying dance at Bath Spa University. You’ll be part of an exciting dance training programme with a strong practical focus.
Creativity and performance lie at the heart of the course; this, as well as the breadth of opportunities we offer, makes our Dance course distinctive. The course suits creative individuals who are looking for a degree that is both physically and intellectually challenging.
You can choose from three undergraduate courses:
- BA (Hons) Dance. This is a specialised award, you’ll study dance as a single subject.
- BA (Hons) Combined Award. In this course you’ll study dance alongside another subject, for example: Education Studies, Film and Screen Studies, or Psychology.
- BA (Hons) Creative Arts. This course is for adventurous students who don’t wish to be restricted by the boundaries of a single art discipline. You can study the subject with Art, Ceramics, Creative Writing, Drama, Music, Mixed Media Textiles or Visual Design.
"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.
You’ll find yourself immersed in a world of exciting choreographic opportunities, broadening your understanding of performance making. You’ll regularly present your work in a variety of performance projects, with lots of opportunities to work alongside professional artists and companies. We’ll encourage you to develop a critical and analytical mindset that will support your creative enquiry.
Technique forms an important part of the course, full-time dance students benefit from four to five classes in the studio on a regular basis. Cunningham and Limon based classes, somatic practice and contact improvisation are all part of your technical training and give you the chance to develop into a strong and confident dancer.
Each year you’ll take performance modules with visiting professional companies. As part of this, you’ll take part in intensive projects that build your skills as a maker and performer. We’ll introduce you to the exciting world where dance intersects with other art forms to make performance work.
Please note, if you choose to study dance as a combined award, you won’t study all the available modules. You can choose to study a joint degree, or you can place greater emphasis on one subject by taking it as a major.
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 **
Your first year will be a fast-paced, challenging experience that builds your skills in the key areas of performance, creativity and critical thinking. You’ll work on regular performance projects, creating solo, small group and large ensemble work. We introduce you to new ways to think and move that will help you to broaden your skills as a dance artist.
Regular sessions with visiting companies and artists will help you expand your understanding of the dance industry and inspire you to think about your own career aspirations.
- Creative Dance Practice 1 – An exploration of a range of choreographic principles, performance practice, research, analysis and study skills. *
- Movement Technique 1 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release, as well as other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
- Somatic Practice – An introduction to anatomy and body-mind techniques, such as Alexander Technique & Shin Somatics. **
- Digital Performance Practice – An introduction to a range of digital software and practical projects exploring their use in dance performance.
- Performance Project 1 – Build your skills in dance performance through weekly class and an intensive week with a professional dance artist. **
You’ll stretch your creative and performance skills in exciting new directions. A wide range of practical sessions will deepen your understanding of how performance work can be created for different contexts; we encourage you to see yourself – and the work you make – within a broader perspective.
The visiting guest artist programme continues to provide you with inspirational workshops and residencies that help to build your knowledge of the field and inform your artistic practice.
- Creative Dance Practice 2 – Develop new performance work through cultural and experiential memory, creating group and solo work. *
- Movement Technique 2 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
- Contact Improvisation – An exploration through improvisation of dynamic and weight interchange between two or more practitioners. **
- Digital Performance Practice 2 – Explore the relationship between dance and the lens.
- Performance Project 2 – Work with musicians and a professional dance company in the creation of two new site specific performances **
You’ll focus on developing a specialist area. Modules allow you to follow a specific pathway that supports your interests, such as performance, choreography, teaching, dance movement therapy. You’ll embark on a large scale performance project, as well as completing a work placement with a professional dance organisation and undertaking an independent project that you design and manage to completion.
Regular individual tutoring, with specialist dance careers staff, will help you build a plan for after you graduate. We pledge to continue to support you as part of our graduate alumni scheme, no matter how long ago you graduated.
- Independent Project – Your final independent project - practical or written. *
- Movement Techniques 3 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
- Somatic Research – Further development of somatic skills focusing on self enquiry, movement therapy and the creative and performing body. **
- Professional Development Planning – Work placement and the construction of your professional portfolio. **
- Performance Project 3 – Join with other dancers to form a proto-professional company working alongside guests choreographer. **
We’ll assess your work in a variety of ways such as practical performances, presentations, portfolios and essays. Practical projects may be assessed on your creative process, the final product or both.
The course has a strong practical focus with workshops, technique classes and choreographic laboratories. These are led by qualified staff and visiting choreographers and artists.
Digital technology plays a significant role in the course; we apply it to creative practice as well as using it to teach. Screendance, and the integration of digital media in live performance work is a distinctive feature of the course.
You’ll work in our dance studios, which are fully equipped for choreography, performance and work with digital media. We regularly host professional performances and workshops from leading dance artists in the University Theatre.
You can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment including laptops, ipads, projectors and cameras.
Our greatest resource is, perhaps, the professionalism and experience of the tutors who teach on the course and our professional associates and partners.
You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including the USA and Spain.
Work placements, industry links and internship
Our students have worked with professional dance organisations including Earthfall Dance, Bath Dance, ICIA, Hofesh Shechter, Pavillion Dance, ITV, Dance Voice, The Egg Theatre, Impermanence Dance Theatre, Circomedia, B&NES Youth Dance Company, Jean Abreu Dance.
Guest artists and companies
Previous guests who have worked with our students include: Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Bedlam Dance Company, Earthfall , Impermanence Dance Theatre, Lila Dance, Karla Shacklock Dance, Wendy Houston, Alexander Whitely, Protein Dance, Maresa von Stockert, Jean Abreu, Laila Diallo.
Festivals and Exhibitions
We’ll encourage you to participate in dance festivals and exhibitions. You’ll have the opportunity to apply for choreographic platforms and screen dance festivals.
All full time applications are through UCAS
For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at email@example.com.
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.
We are looking for individuals who are:
- strong and confident performers;
- creatively open-minded and willing to take artistic risks;
- good team players;
- passionate about dance and prepared to work hard to see results.
If you apply, we’ll ask you to attend an audition day so that we can assess your suitability for the programme. The audition gives you a chance to demonstrate your physical dance skills and your creative abilities. Your personal statement is your chance to show your skills and experience in dance. We want to know about what inspires you and what you hope to achieve with your training.
100% of our Dance graduates are in work or further study after 6 months (NSS, 2015).
Our dance graduates have a range of professions including:
- community dance work
- dance movement therapy
- arts management/administration
Graduates have been employed by organisations including: Earthfall Dance, Maresa Von Stockhert, Bath Dance, Institute for Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts, Hofesh Shechter , Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre, Theatre Bristol, Karla Shacklock Dance, Royal Academy of Dance, Zinc Arts, Citrus Arts, Kapow Dance and numerous schools, colleges and universities.
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