Biology and Film and Screen 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!”

 

 

Supported by Pinewood Studios Group

This course offers an exciting route into the study and appreciation of film and screen and their industries together with the opportunity for some practical and creative work in filmmaking.

Why study Film and Screen Studies?

We want to enable you to develop a critical understanding of film and screen theory and criticism and to appreciate the relationship between film, media and culture. But we also want to provide you with the conceptual tools for understanding how society and culture is mediated by cinematic, televisual and electronic images. In choosing this course you will be starting on a journey of critical understanding of the institutions of film and screen production, distribution and exhibition. As part of this we will develop your understanding of reception and consumption practices in film and screen.

Course structure

In the first year there are two cores modules. The first is Introduction to Film in which you will investigate film as a specific academic discipline and how meaning is conveyed through film form and content. As part of your work you will analyse how films are constructed and be introduced to ways of writing effectively about film. The second core module is Understanding Hollywood, which offers an advanced investigation of key theoretical and methodological issues involved in the study of cinema, and explores film as a commercial, cultural and aesthetic institution.

In Years 2 and 3 you can design your programme from a range of exciting modules including film theory, Hollywood cinema, video games, film and national identity, stardom and celebrity, Asian cinema, European cinema, film genres such as westerns and horror, young people and the new media, planning a film and making a film, and documentary filmmaking. You can also take part in organising LineUP, the annual Student Film Festival at Bath Spa University.

Film and Screen Studies aims to produce graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach to both understanding film and screen in contemporary society and to their own forms of critical, reflective and communicative practice. You will develop intellectual, analytical, research and creative skills that will help you to prepare for employment and have the opportunity to engage in practical filmmaking projects if you wish.

Modules

In the first year you are introduced to the methods and methodologies of film as an object of critical investigation, with special emphasis upon the relationship between film and contemporary popular culture. In Years 2 and 3 you will take one core module and select from a range of module options. There are also some opportunities to engage in film planning and production.

Year 1

  • Introduction to Film*;
  • Single Camera Production
  • Introduction to Television;
  • Framing Film: From Silent Screen to World Cinema;
  • Media/Screen Project
  • Digital Practice.

Year 2

  • Film Theory and Practice: Understanding Hollywood*;
  • Short Film Production
  • Film and British National Identity;
  • Television, Representation and Gender;
  • Stardom and Celebrity;
  • Popular Cinema and Culture;
  • Film and Philosophy;
  • Film Noir: The Dark side of the Screen;
  • Key Movements in World Cinema
  • Film Cultures Project;
  • Asian Film National Cinemas and Global Impacts;
  • Work Placement

Year 3

  • Dissertation;
  • Film Audiences and Cultures of Spectatorship;
  • Wired Up: Computer and Videogames;
  • European Cinema;
  • Power, Pleasure and Feminist Film Criticism;
  • Rock n Reel: Popular Music on Screen;
  • Cartoon Time: Thinking Through Animation;
  • Psychos, Killers and Voyeurs: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock;
  • Media Technologies and Change;
  • Short Form Documentary Filmmaking;
  • LineUp: Student Film Festival;
  • Indian Cinema: From Arthouse to Bollywood;
  • Creative Enterprises Project.

* Compulsory modules.

Course assessment

Assessment includes essays, research reports, journals and group presentations and examinations.

Film and Screen Studies at Bath Spa University comprises an exciting opportunity for you to study film and screen alongside aspects of the new media, together with some optional practical work in film planning and production.

Dr Rebecca Feasey, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Communication:

“Film and Screen Studies is a wonderfully diverse programme that gives students the flexibility and choice to look at a wide range of cinematic genres, from a number of fascinating theories, perspectives and historical periods.

I am passionate about teaching at Bath Spa because the students are always curious, motivated and interested to learn. Furthermore, because of the small scale of the campus, it is possible to foster genuinely supportive relationships with students.”

Teaching methods

Our modules have well-defined teaching structures consisting of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, which give you wide opportunities to learn progressively, stretch your capabilities, test your ideas and methods and interact positively with staff and other students in the Department.

As you would expect, Film and Screen Studies modules also use parts of the new media in their teaching practice. Students are encouraged to make use of the University's virtual learning environment, 'Minerva' and of the worldwide web in seminars and workshops.

Teaching quality excellence

In the National Student Survey of 2011:

93% of students said that staff were good at explaining things

92% of students said that staff have made the subject interesting

99% of students said that staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching

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.

Career opportunities

Employers welcome the high level of subject-based, generic and personal skills which are embedded in our programmes. The main focus of interest for our Film and Screen Studies graduates is the creative and cultural industries in the UK. These industries include advertising, journalism, publishing, film and film-related employments, television, radio and the heritage sector. However, there are also employment opportunities in local and central government and the voluntary sector.

Since 2011, employers such as BBC Bristol, Argonon and The Sheffield International Documentary Festival have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Unit Assistant, Festival Assistant and Film Location Manager.

What students say...

Claire Reynolds, Film and Screen, graduate 2012:

"The course turned my interest into a passion, with the subject covering extensive and wide-ranging areas of film and television. The tutors support you throughout, bringing their own specialist knowledge in various subjects to the course to make it interesting and engaging."

Student statement in the National Student Survey 2012:

“The academic support from tutors has been very good and the enthusiasm of tutors is really great. The willingness and friendliness of the staff are such a benefit.”

Here is what more our students think:

"All aspects of the course have been interesting and useful."

"The lectures are very informative."

"Awesome lecturers."