Biology and Drama Studies

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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.

Course structure

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.

Modules

Year 1

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.

Year 2

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.

Year 3

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.

Course assessment

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.

  • Laboratories
    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
  • Commons
  • VLE

Resources 

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.

Teaching methods

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.

Study abroad

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.

Field trips

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.

Competitions/awards

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.

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

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.

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!”

The Drama programme offers specialised, creative arts and combined study pathways for students who wish to explore the immensity of drama as both a performance medium and an applied subject.

Drama provides you with a range of exciting modules to choose from. These explore drama from the perspectives of making theatre and performance, text study and applied theatre.

Drama is a broad based programme that allows you to identify where your place in the immense world of theatre and performance might be. It is not a vocational training course. Drama will equip you with writing, presentational, communication and collaborative skills invaluable in many professional and vocational areas.

Why study Drama?

Why study drama?

  • To prepare for careers where drama-based skills are in demand and for further studies in drama, including drama teaching
  • To make theatre and performance with others
  • To watch, think and write about drama

Course structure

Year one. You will study processes involved in taking text from page to stage. You will explore the relationship between theatre and society through the ages, examining ideas underlying dramatic texts, performance conventions and scenography. And you will attend and critique plays and other kinds of performance as well as undertake skills classes (specialised students).

Drama session

Year two. In theatre companies, inspired by your studies of key directors and companies, you will create your own work. You may also lead workshops and otherwise apply drama in community settings. And you may choose from a range of studies within Exploration modules. These studies may include musical theatre, physical theatre, stand-up comedy, American acting and so on.

Year three. You will research and write a dissertation on a drama topic of your choice and undertake a performance project (specialised students). Again, you may choose from a range of studies within specialised study modules, for instance experimental performance, staging Shakespeare and site-specific performance. 

Modules

Year one modules are:

  • From Page to Stage
  • Introduction to Theatre History
  • Contemporary Performance
  • Drama Skills
  • Musical Theatre Practice 1

Year two modules are:

  • Making Performance
  • Theatre History 2
  • Exploring Drama 1 and 2
  • Creative Entrepreneurship
  • Creative Activism

Year three modules are:

  • Dissertation
  • Performance Project
  • Specialised Studies 1 and 2
  • Drama as Protest

Course assessment

Assessment methods include essays, dissertations and other written assignments, seminar presentations, performances, group work, and professional development portfolios.

You can choose from a wide range of offerings incorporating content ranging from theatre history to physical theatre and extending to encompass such areas as experimental theatre and site-specific performance.

The approach to teaching Drama  at Bath Spa combines academic study with practical workshop-based classes which bring theoretical ideas to life. Facilities include the purpose-built University Theatre building, which incorporates a fully equipped theatre and three studios. You’ll be taught by distinguished staff who are practising theatre and performance artists.

Drama performance 

Teaching methods

Academic study combines with practical, workshop-based sessions that help bring theoretical ideas to life.

Our purpose-built University Theatre building houses rehearsal studios and a full working theatre that stages a wide range of performances.  

Bath Spa Live, the production arm of the School of Music and Performing Arts, provides a lively milieu of performance on and off campus. There are also active links with Bath Theatre Royal and the Ustinov studio.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points including A-Level Drama, Performance Studies or Theatre Studies at min grade B.

Career opportunities

Drama will equip you with writing, presentational, communication, and collaborative skills invaluable in many professional and vocational areas. Often, after undertaking a PGCE, graduates become drama or primary teachers. Following graduation, some students choose to pursue their interests further through postgraduate study in theatre-making, applied drama, acting or directing. Others use the knowledge gained to launch careers working with theatre companies or venues, or go on to find employment in the charity, media, business and government sectors. Drama graduates have gone on to work for such theatre companies as The Naturals, The Wardrobe Ensemble and The Plymouth Theatre Royal.

What students say...

Drama at Bath Spa provided me a world of knowledge, confidence and new friends. The diverse nature of the course acted as platform for countless ways to express myself and to learn from my tutors and peers.

2012 Drama Graduate Katy Muir

I absolutely loved my time at Bath Spa on the Drama course. I made so many friends and had so much fun…the highlight for me was getting the chance to direct a full scale production. Also, the staff are friendly and approachable. I was very sad to leave. 

2012 Drama Graduate Lucy Plant

The variety given in the second and third year of drama studies really helped me to create a course that I could take ownership of. The knowledge and support from all lecturers and fellow students encouraged me to develop both the skills I already had and those I gained during my time at Bath Spa. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in Drama. 

2012 Drama Graduate Natasha Cook

Bath Spa has got it right with this course, as it offers a comprehensive exploration of a wide range of theatrical styles and genres. The knowledge and expertise that Drama allows you to develop makes you stand out in the jobs market. 

2012 Drama Graduate Luke Davies

Drama student