Biology and History

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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!”

Why Study History?

"History is indeed the witness of the times, the light of truth"
- Cicero

In today’s world, history remains the most challenging and exciting of disciplines.

You'll acquire an ability to deal with profound questions about the past and to understand people’s lives, beliefs and problems in the present.

You’ll be able to explore a diverse range of sources, periods and themes, ranging from the medieval to the modern world. And, you’ll develop a wide variety of employment skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Lastly, the student of history is taking part in a voyage of discovery, exploring how people acted in the past, and how they dealt with the issues and challenges that still trouble, thrill or engage us today.

Key Features

  • Well-qualified and dedicated staff who are involved in a wide range of projects locally, nationally and internationally
  • Placements and project-based modules through which you can develop your skills and experience
  • The option of exchange visits with American and European universities

We have a flexible approach to learning- and employers welcome historians with their analytical and problem- solving skills.

Why study History?

In today’s world, history remains the most challenging  and exciting of disciplines. 

You'll acquire an ability to deal with profound questions and to provide many answers that can help in the understanding of people’s lives, beliefs and problems in the present day.

You’ll be able to explore a diverse range of sources, periods and themes, ranging from the medieval to the modern world. And, you’ll develop a wide variety of employment skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Lastly, the student of history is embarked on a voyage of discovery of how people acted in the past, but also how they dealt with issues and problems that still trouble, thrill or engage us today.

Course structure

This is a course designed to enable you to explore the aspects of history that most interest you. It will also give you knowledge and understanding of the subject as a scholarly discipline.

Year on year, we offer you a range of individual history modules designed to follow historical periods, places and persons. They enable you  to study different kinds of history, which you’ll view from some unique historical perspectives.

Naturally there are placements available during your course, as we are keen to allow you to link your undergraduate life with the world of work. Some of our recent student placements,  for example, enabled our students to engage in real-time projects with the local schools, Bath Central Library Local Studies; Bath Record Office; Museum of Bath at Work; Jollys Department Store;The Building of Bath Collection ; The American Museum in Britain; Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Radstock Museum; SS Great Britain and Downside Abbey.   Some of our students recently developed a free history resource to help primary schools teach young children about the Olympic and Paralympic Games; with a unique focus on Bath and the south west of England. The project was supported by RELAYS and Team West of England, but was fully led by the students themselves.

You will also be able to access a range of overseas study trips and our exchange programmes.

 

 

Like other subjects in the undergraduate modular scheme, the student learning experience in History is based in a 3-year (levels 4-6) degree programme with its modules available to undergraduate students in 40 (core) and 20 credit (optional) formats. Core modules are those modules that we believe are essential to the understanding of the subject; optional modules are those modules which we believe can give our students a choice of developing a more detailed understanding of a particular period, country, or persons, or historical theme. The progressive mix of the two types of modules not only gives our students a broad general historical experience, knowledge and understanding of the subject over the three years, but allows them to acquire qualities of mind in a variety of forms. It also leads to the development of generic and specific skills highly relevant to a wide variety of careers in the postgraduate world.

 

Modules

 

Each History module lasts approx. 26 weeks and has a varied contact time of between 2-4 hours per week (excluding student-staff tutorials).

 

Year One
  • Changing Histories (Core module);
  • Medieval and Renaissance Worlds (Option module);
  • Age of the People: Europe c.1870-1990 (Option module);
  • Age of Discovery to the Gilded Age: America c.1492-1914 (Option module);
  • Unruly Lot: women and social change in Europe and North America c.1550-1914 (Option module);
  • Age of Empires (c.1492-1857) (Option module);
  • Heritage and Applied History*;
  • The Business of Heritage*.
Year Two
  • Making History (Core module);
  • Humanities at Work I (Option module – project-based/work-based learning module);
  • Nineteenth Century Britain and Ireland: Politics and Society (Option module);
  • The Political World of Eighteenth Century Britain (Option module);
  • Hecate’s Daughters: early modern witchcraft (Option module);
  • Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe 1789-1820 (Option module);
  • Ships, Slaves and Sugar: Britain and France in the Atlantic Trade, 16th-19thCentury (Option Module);

  • Peace, Prosperity, Depression and War: Britain and the USA between the wars (Option module);

  • The British Empire: from the Opium Wars to decolonisation c.1840-1970 (Option module);
  • The Great War: conflict and society (Option module);
  • Immigration and Race in Twentieth-Century Europe (Option Module);
  • Heritage in Context*.
Year Three
  • History Dissertation (Core module);
  • Humanities at Work II/III (Option module – project-based/work-based learning modules);
  • Memory, Slavery and Social Cohesion in Britain and France ( Option module;
  • From Affluent Society to Permissive Society: the era of the 60s (Option module);
  • More than a Game: sport and the modern world c.1801-1992 (Option module);
  • Leisure, Pleasure and Consumption: rise of a consume society c.1750-1950 (Option module);
  • Secret Service: British intelligence and espionage (Option module);
  • Rex Pacificus c.1603-1625 (Option module);
  • Muslim Migration and Islam in Europe in Historical Perspective ( Option module);
  • Heritage and the Wider World*.

*Modules available as second subject or options from part the Heritage BA/BSc Combined Award

Course assessment

The assessment we use varies on our modules but it is especially geared to helping you learn. It includes assignments that are all designed to test a variety of skills useful in your life beyond University, as well as in the field of history. 

We link our assessment to your course learning outcomes. It is dynamic and it's diverse, but it is very much student orientated, You'll be undertaking some formal examinations, essays, research projects, timed critical analyses, and a number of differing special assignments. Your assessment will be an evolving process, it will allow you not only the opportunity to show what you know, but what you understand and what you can do. You'll be able to access tutorials and one-to one meetings to help you in your work and when you have finished particular assignments you'll have further tutorials to help you understand the next task.

In History we are particularly proud of our cohesive and comprehensive support network that helps you  to achieve the best results possible.

 

You’ll be taught by well-qualified and dedicated history staff. They not only have many innovative approaches in learning and teaching, using new technology for example, but also use their own cutting-edge historical research in the class and lecture theatre.

You’ll naturally gain knowledge and understanding of history as a scholarly discipline, but you’ll also develop a multitude of skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Teaching methods

Your history modules will be taught by a mixture of lectures (which set out the broad themes and issues of a subject), seminars (where we look at document and historical evidence  and where we also include student presentations, group-work, computer assisted sessions and documentary or audio-visual work) and one-to-one tutorials where you'll get individual help with your work. There are also educational visits, such as trips to London and Dublin, as well as to nearby locations. Exchanges with American and European universities are available.

Amongst the innovative ways we deliver the course to you is by encouraging the use of video on your own smartphones, iPads, and flip/digital cameras. ‘Podcasting’ is also used as a supplement to the traditional lectures and as part of our blended learning techniques. Twitter is also used to deliver opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ research activities across some of the modules for our students, by getting students to help with gathering information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents.

A key aim of the learning and teaching strategy here is ‘To maximise students’ abilities to achieve successful career outcomes’. Our students can reflect on their personal development via electronic log-books on their learning and its relationship to their future.

'In the [Hy5001-40] seminar this week we had a lesson on networking with Ian Rowe, this was a very interesting and helpful seminar for me as I am an amateur stand-up comedian and spend a lot of my time meeting new people who could help me get better gigs. Ian highlighted the importance of social networking and being very easily contactable, many comedians I have met, especially the professionals, have also emphasised social networking and I have decided to get a twitter account, as well as a business card. We also had to draw a diagram of our own network, I found this very interesting as even though we are all quite young we still have decent sized networks. Also while discussing comedy with Ian, I realised just how difficult it is to meet people inside the industry and how important it is for me to improve my networking skills if I want to progress'

Starting in 2016? Want to get on with some reading? The core module, which all history students have to take, is HY4001-40: London, 1660 - 1969. So, to get ahead of the game, read up as much as you can on the history of London in this period, especially looking at how people lived, what they did, and where differing classes lived. The course text is Roy Porter, London, a social history [any edition]. You should also get a copy of Richard Evans, In Defence of History [2001]. Both books are available on Amazon for around £10.00.

Happy reading!

 

 

.

 

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Enquires should be directed to Dr Alan Marshall, Head of Humanities:

a.marshall@bathspa.ac.uk

01225875595

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Employers welcome the analytical and problem-solving skills and the flexible approach to learning that history students acquire. You’ll not only gain knowledge and understanding of history as a scholarly discipline, but you’ll also develop a multitude of skills that will be useful in your future working life. As a result our history students find employment in a wide variety of careers:

  • teaching (subject to PGCE)
  • administration and management
  • lecturing
  • commerce and banking
  • media and tourism
  • museums/heritage
  • librarianship
  • police
  • law and public relations
  • There are also opportunities to undertake postgraduate work at Masters and doctorate level.

We also find that the our recent students felt that particular employability skills were developed during the course of the History programme. These include: Time management; IT skills; Written communication skills; Oral communication skills; Working with fellow students; Finding and selecting information from a wide range of sources; Evaluating information from a wide range of sources.

Since 2011, employers such as Unilever, The National Trust, Don Foster (MP),  The Jane Austen Centre, The Bishop's Palace Trust (Wells)  and The Association of Learning Providers have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Archives and Records Assistant, Historical Researcher, Curriculum Assistant, Part time lecturer and Historical Educator.

What students say...

Recent graduates:

“Studying History at Bath Spa University has proved an excellent foundation for my future academic pursuits. Prior to studying History at Bath Spa I had no real sense of my future career plans. However, the course has provided me with the inspiration, enthusiasm and skills to pursue postgraduate study. The course has also provided me with transferable skills should my projected career plans change.”

“I have found studying History at Bath Spa University immensely enjoyable and rewarding. The History faculty has been supportive, knowledgeable and approachable. I found the course offered real value to my professional and personal development.”

Kindra Jones, History, graduated 2011:

“I run my own business, KITHE, providing historical characters and events to museums, schools and heritage sites in the UK. Covering from early medieval through to the Second World War, I am constantly researching and adding to my wardrobe and artefacts.

All the skills that I need on my current career path were enhanced during my time at Bath Spa. When talking to the public my answers must be concise, well organised and backed by research, skills that the numerous essays and presentations helped me to develop. Professional correspondence and meetings with clients are critical for the bigger events, and I feel that my course prepared me for these very well. When I first started university I suffered from panic attacks when giving presentations, over the course these lessened until they stopped entirely. This was in large part due to my tutors working with me to find ways to make them less stressful and easier for me to cope with. I was so lucky to have great tutors.”

Nicola Tallis, graduated 2011:

“I loved the fact that the course was really challenging, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide and varied period of history. The tutors were always friendly, encouraging and approachable. It was a life changing experience, and the best thing I have ever done. The course prepared me for my career amazingly well. I went on to do an internship at Hampton Court Palace, and I could never have done this had I not done my course. I had to give a presentation at the end of my internship, and had I not done this many times at university, I would have had little confidence. As it was, I was complimented on my excellent verbal presentation skills! It improved my writing and referencing skills, and now I’m writing a book. It also made me consider the bigger picture in a way I never have done before, and this is crucial when you are carrying out historical research and writing a book.”