Biology and Education 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!”

Key features of the courses are: 

  • Education Studies at Bath Spa University is rated highly by students, with 91% satisfaction with teaching in the 2010-11 National Student Survey
  • All our awards are very flexible and can be tailored to your personal interests and ambitions
  • You will be able to choose from more than 45 modules which explore a wide range of subjects and issues
  • All modules are taught by experienced and respected staff 
  • You will be able to take a placement in a school or other educational setting in each year of your programme
  • You will have the opportunity to study overseas in each year of your programme
  • You will be able to apply (in year three) to stay with us to take a PGCE primary or secondary : OfSTED has rated our teacher education courses as 'outstanding' in 2011

Education Studies will give you an in-depth understanding of the world of formal and informal education in the UK and around the world. Education depends on an essentially optimistic view: that through learning we can change the world for the better.

Why study Education Studies?

There are a number of options available for studying Education at Bath Spa University.

Single honours awards in Education Studies are ideal for students who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of the world of education and education around the world. Four single honours awards are available:

  • Education Studies
  • Early Years Education
  • International Education
  • Youth and Community Studies

It is also possible to combine Education with another subject in our modular programme to achieve a joint honours degree.

  • Education Studies: Combined Awards

See the Course Structure tab for more information.

Please be aware that the above degrees do not lead to a reserved place on a PGCE Primary course, although you may apply for a place on our PGCE in year three.

If you choose to study for the Combined Award, please be aware that there is a separate Student Handbook.

Course structure

Education is a large subject at Bath Spa University so we are able to offer you various study options:

1. Education Studies (Single Honours award) (UCAS Code: X300)

Education Studies will give you an in-depth understanding of formal and informal education.

2. International Education (Single Honours award) (UCAS Code: X392)

These routes allow you to concentrate your study on either Education or International Education, but in your first year you will be able to take two modules from a selection of other modules related to your subject. This gives you a broader outlook on Education and its many related topics.

These routes are for those of you who are interested in the study of education but not yet certain about the professional route you are interested in developing beyond your degree.

If, however, you know at this stage that you would like to study a second subject alongside Education for all three years of your course (perhaps because your goal is to become a secondary teacher of that subject) you should look at Option 5 below – Education as part of a Combined Award.

You can also choose from two courses that are more directly linked to possible employment options;

3. Early Years Education (a specialised award) (UCAS Code: X312)

4. Youth and Community Studies (a specialised award) (UCAS Code: L590)

These awards offer you opportunities to both follow your academic programme and engage directly with professional practice in the relevant field which may give you an additional vocational qualification. You have a wide range of modules to choose from, but your module choices will be directly related to the specialism you have chosen (either Early Years or Youth and Community work) in order to prepare you for careers in these professions. There will be some core modules which you must follow on both these Specialised Awards which will be linked to possible professional occupations in either Early Years or Youth and Community. There will be opportunities to undertake some professional practice in your area of interest and your third year dissertation will be linked to your degree focus. As part of the Early Years Education specialised award, you will have the opportunity to gain a professional accreditation certificate in Childcare, Development and Learning.

5. Education as part of a Combined Award (with a second subject)

This option allows you to choose two subjects for all of your degree by taking two subjects throughout your three years and you can choose from a wide range of modules in both subjects. It is a suitable route for students who may wish to progress to a career as a teacher in a secondary school (for this you would need to apply to start a Secondary PGCE once you have completed your degree).

Whichever route you decide on there’s a wide range of relevant modules for you to choose from, along with some compulsory modules.

In Year 1, core modules introduce key concepts and skills that underpin the subject as well as modules in, for example: learning through life, early years education, adolescence, primary schools and education in Europe.

In Years 2 and 3 you will consider more deeply the current issues in education and how they relate to your particular course. You will think critically about teaching, diversity, inclusion, social and educational policy and explore global and international perspectives in education. There are opportunities to carry out original research and pursue your own interests in these areas.

There are also modules which give you the chance to work in schools and other educational contexts including early years settings and youth and community contexts where you can develop your understanding of the nature of children and young people’s development and teaching and learning.

Modules

Sample modules Include:

  • Education for Change
  • How Young Children Learn
  • Young People's Sub-cultures
  • International Perspectives on Education

Please note that if you know at this stage that you want to be a primary teacher you should apply to our specialised course which offers you a route to a teaching qualification. This is known as our ‘3+1’ course because it is four years in length in total – three years for the undergraduate degree element and one year for the postgraduate PGCE element.

Course assessment

You will be assessed through course work submitted during modules. Course work includes essays, group presentations, research-based reports and portfolio-based work. We will provide you with prompt feedback on how well you are doing and give you regular guidance on how to improve your skills, knowledge and understanding. There are no examinations in Education Studies.

Bath Spa is a leading university in the field of Education Studies, and you’ll be taught by a very experienced and well qualified team of more than 50 tutors with different backgrounds as qualified teachers, academics, authors and researchers. At Bath Spa we believe in helping you understand the difficulties experienced by many children and young people for whom access to good formal and informal education is sometimes difficult. You’ll gain the knowledge, critical understanding and skills needed to explore the nature and functions of education in a rapidly changing world, and prepare for a range of professional employment.

As well as offering you an exciting undergraduate programme we also have full-time and part-time higher degrees which build on your undergraduate course and support you in professional development that will equip you to compete more effectively within the labour market. We have a flexible Education Studies Masters programme which allows you to develop further the focus of your undergraduate degree and includes modules such as Social and Education Policy, Education and Globalisation, Early Childhood Education, Work Based Professional Practice and Youth in the Community. From the moment you begin your undergraduate programme we will encourage you to think of yourself as maximising your opportunities by thinking of postgraduate options that will support your particular employment interests.

Whatever route you decide is right for you, we offer you the opportunity to become a committed, caring and creative professional- able to “make a difference”.

Teaching methods

Teaching

Teaching is through a mix of lectures (50 minutes), seminars and individual tutorials. Seminars are usually more informal than lectures - they are opportunities for you to discuss, ask questions and get involved in activities and debates.  In year one your minimum timetabled time will be 12 hrs per week.  All modules are led by experienced and respected university staff.  Many staff are active researchers and authors in the field of education studies - in years two and three they will introduce you to their particular specialisms and research interests through a range of optional modules.  We also have regular visiting speakers - these include headteachers, educational advisers, specialist researchers and international visitors.

Placements

Placements occur in each year of the programme. In year two there is a compulsory placement in an educational setting or school. Optional modules provide further placement opportunities for you to work with young people both locally and internationally. The School of Education Partnership Office will arrange each placement for you. We try to ensure you are located within a reasonable distance from where you live; however, you should normally expect to travel using your own or public transport. 

Teaching quality excellence

22/24 in a Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) assessment.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

Please email admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Education Studies will provide the basis for you to work with learners – young people and older people – in different organisations: children’s centres, youth organisations and community organisations. You may choose to work in educational and training advisory roles in a range of organisations including community organisations, youth clubs, businesses, local authorities, non-government organisations, museums, art galleries and libraries.

You will also be able to apply for PGCE courses in teacher training – but if you know at this stage that you want to be a primary teacher you should consider our specialised ‘3+1’ course.

If you think you would like to work in early years’ settings or youth and community organisations you should apply for the specialised awards in these areas. This will ensure you undertake placements relevant to your course and have specialised modules that you must follow to ensure the right experiences and knowledge to help you work in these fields.

As well as going on to study for the PGCE our graduates have been recruited by Notts Trent International College, Explore Learning,  the NHS and many schools and Local Authorities working in Educational roles such as tutors, trainers and Higher Level Teaching Assistants.

What students say...

Student Profile: Kia Prescott, International Education

“The course has made me question all of my opinions I held before. Studying International Education has given me a better knowledge of geography, countries, cultures, global issues, politics and world history, all of which has given me a wider base and has helped in all my modules. This year there is a study trip to Zambia for students on the international module, and it will be the perfect opportunity to gain first-hand experience of education abroad.

Although the majority on the course want to be teachers it is understood that there are some who don’t, and this is catered for. I have a great interest in other countries and cultures, and I have not completely decided if I want to teach abroad yet – but Bath Spa are enabling me to keep my options open.”