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

“The Bath Spa Biology team gives you the confidence to go on and achieve any aim you set for yourself, and the freedom to explore science in the most incredible environment.”
Liza Stanley, Biology graduate

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.

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 internships

Our students have worked with clients such as the NHS, Bristol Zoo, Operation Wallacea, English Nature and local authorities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!”

Discover your place in the world of Drama at Bath Spa University.

  • Gain skills valued in a variety of employment contexts including the theatre, the creative industries and education.
  • Experiment, critically reflect and innovate in your work
  • Develop high standards of professionalism when working with others

"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

Why study Drama?

Drama at Bath Spa provides you with a range of exciting modules to choose from that equip you with the skills to make, explore and analyse theatre and performance work in a diverse array of contexts.

This Drama programme is for passionate individuals interested in exploring drama, theatre and performance in its many forms. It will give you a strong grounding in the ideas, traditions and (sometimes heated!) debates that inform contemporary drama practices, while providing you with the tools to analyse, interpret and create a wide range of performance work. Through our core and optional modules you will encounter areas of practice such as play production, performing, writing, directing, and topics such as Shakespeare, musical theatre, physical theatre, comedy and media and performance.

Course structure

You’ll study plays, practitioners and genres that have been particularly influential in shaping contemporary theatre and performance. We give you the opportunity to explore:

  • Theatre practitioners;
  • Playwrights;
  • Performance making;
  • Theatre history; and
  • Writing, directing and performing.

The course also includes a focus on:

  • plays and musical theatre productions in the University Theatre;
  • theatre in education performances and workshops in local schools;
  • stand-up comedy performances in local venues;
  • new plays written by students; and
  • new and existing works devised, directed and performed by students.

Drama session

Modules

  • Year 1
    Build the foundations. You’ll undertake modules in theatre history, approaches to working with dramatic texts, contemporary performance and theatre skills. These will be taught through a mixture of practical workshops, seminars, lectures and rehearsals.

  • Year 2
    Apply your skills. You’ll have the opportunity to apply yourself in a variety of performance projects. The core modules focus on allowing you to create your own original work, while a range of optional modules allow you to explore your particular areas of interest such as physical theatre, comedy, applied theatre, musical theatre and theatre production.
  • Year 3
    Develop your specialisms. You’ll carry out research into an area of drama or performance of your own choice on our Dissertation module (optional for Joint Honours) as well as selecting areas of study from a range of specialist modules such as: Performance Projects; Staging Gender; Modern American Drama; Staging Shakespeare; Musical Theatre; Docu-drama; Media and Performance; and Devising and Site-Specific Performance.

Course assessment

We use a variety of assessment tasks across the programme, including:

  • Public performance
  • Playwriting
  • In-class performance of devised or published work
  • Oral presentations
  • Performance of backstage / technical roles
  • Critical reflection
  • Working as part of an ensemble
  • Script analysis
  • Devising
  • Individual and group research projects

Work placements, industry links and internships

You’ll benefit from visits from industry professionals. Previous visitors cover a range of specialisms including: playwriting, directing, acting, television production, theatre in education, and children’s theatre.

In 2015 and 2016 visiting professionals and practitioners included:

  • Baz Taylor – television director (Bergerac, Eastenders, Shine on Harvey Moon, Lovejoy)
  • Neil D’Souza - actor and writer
  • Kylie Walsh – Paper Birds Theatre Company
  • Mark Wilson – Natural Theatre Company
  • Geese Theatre Company – internationally renowned applied theatre company
  • And local professional theatre companies – the Misfits; Travelling Light Theatre Company; Up In Arms Theatre Company.

We also have partnerships with local venues; local schools; and the local community groups. 

Teaching methods

Our teaching is done through a range of activities including lectures, workshops, seminars, skills classes, rehearsals, tutorials, work placements and theatre visits.

Drama performance

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC including Grade B in Drama, Theatre studies, English or related subjects accepted.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma in Drama, Theatre Studies or Performing Arts grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points required in addition to evidence of additional qualifications or experience in Acting, Drama or Theatre Studies.
  • 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) accepted in addition to evidence of additional qualifications or experience in Acting, Drama or Theatre Studies

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.

Suitable applicants will be invited to audition at our Newton Park campus between December and March. The interview process will focus primarily on the following: 1. Your group skills 2. Your aptitude for taking part in workshop activities 3. Your spontaneity and creativity 4. Your interest in drama practices More information will be sent via email on invitation to audition.

Career opportunities

We equip you with creative, collaborative, writing, presentational, and communication skills that are invaluable in many professional and vocational areas.

Some graduates choose to pursue postgraduate study, especially in teaching, or vocational training. Recent graduates have gone on to MAs at Central School of Speech and Drama, Yale Theatre School and the Royal Academy of Music.

Other graduates launch careers in the creative industries, including working with theatre and media companies.

Graduate successes include:

  • Kerry Lovell – a founding member of award winning Bristol based company The Wardrobe Ensemble who just performed their new show 1972: The Future of Sex to rave reviews in Edinburgh. The Company has recently performed at the National Theatre Shed and the Soho Theatre
  • Alex Duarte-Davies – production and directing assistant at The Egg (Theatre Royal Bath)
  • Kristina Penton and Michael Elledge – founders of Tzedakah Theatre, a theatre company that uses immersive performance to engage with issues of human trafficking
  • Lucy Payne – principal of Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in Bath
  • Christine Northey - Dramatherapist and Tutor.

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