Biology and Media Communications

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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 media is all-pervasive. It affects, influences, reflects and analyses ever aspect of our lives.

Media Communications explores and asks fundamental questions about media, its organisation, representations, audiences and impacts and influences.

Why study Media Communications?

In the 21st century our knowledge of major political, social and cultural happenings in the UK and across the world is usually shaped first by the media. This course explores and critically examines media as diverse as film, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising, the net, mobile phones, tablets and video games.

Course structure

In the first year our modules will equip you with the essential critical toolkit for understanding and analysing the media and conducting media research. There is one core module, Media Today. This will involve you in examining issues such as media technologies, media influence, media ownership and regulatory issues, globalisation, media representation and media effects, together with some practical media-making work involving social networking tools.

The core module will also introduce you to some of the key methods in media research through a series of case studies including war journalism, TV audiences, news reporting, soap operas and news interviews. In addition to the core module students in the first year can take modules on television, popular media culture, digital skills and media history.

In Years 2 and 3 you’ll explore issues of media power and the everyday, examining for example the influence of media messages and the ways media are embedded in the daily lives of audiences. Other modules look at the UK magazine industry, popular music cultures and media cultures of stardom and celebrity. In the third year you will undertake the study of media audiences, together with elective modules in gender and film, media technology, computer and video games and the central role that they play in our leisure time, community media, and the reporting of panics, disasters and terrorism.

At various points in the course, students have the opportunity to engage in media production projects and to undertake work-volunteering and work placement opportunities.

Modules

 

Year 1

  • Media Today*;
  • Introduction to Television;
  • Popular Media Culture;
  • Before the Net: Media, History and Culture;
  • Media Project;
  • Digital Natives.

Year 2

  • Media Power and Audiences*;
  • Commissioning and Work in the Media;
  • Music Cultures, Media and Markets;
  • Journalism and Citizenship;
  • Television, Representation and Gender;
  • Stardom and Celebrity;
  • Print Media Culture
  • Media Studies 2.0 Old and New Media;
  • Work Placement

Year 3

  • Dissertation*;
  • Creative Enterprise Project;
  • Media Fandom;
  • Machinima: Virtual Filmmaking
  • Videogames;
  • Popular Music Journalism;
  • Feminist Film Criticism;
  • Journalism: Practice and Profession;
  • Media, Risk and Panic;
  • Community Media.

* Compulsory modules.

Course assessment

By coursework assessment only, including:

  • Media journal
  • Applied media study
  • Group presentations
  • Individual presentations
  • Essays and the dissertation.

There are no examinations.

Media Communications at Bath Spa examines and explores media as diverse as film, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising, the internet, mobile phones, iPods, tablets, and video games. We provides students with an exciting and interdisciplinary approach to the study of media in contemporary societies. We study media in relation to their social, political, economic and cultural contexts and in relation to social relations and processes of change.

 

Teaching methods

Lectures set out broad themes and issues from a range of existing media scholarship, while seminars stimulate discussion by encouraging student debate. Individual tutorials provide an opportunity to discuss your work with tutors on a one-to-one basis.

Teaching often incorporates group analysis of material from different aspects of the media such as: the media treatment of the environment, the spread of the Internet, the impact of the new technologies on news production and the role of Reality Television as a form of democratisation in contemporary society.

Teaching quality excellence

External Examiner 2012:

The modules represent a healthy variety of issues related to the study of communications, culture and the media and the material taught is stimulating.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For all enquiries about the course, please contact Dr Terence Rodgers, Department of Film and Media Production:

Telephone: (01225) 875659

t.rodgers@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

The main focus of interest for Media Communications graduates is the creative and cultural industries, which is one of the largest sectors of employment in the UK. These industries include advertising, journalism, publishing, film and film-related employments, television, radio and the heritage sector. There are also employment opportunities in local and central government and the voluntary sector.

Since 2011, employers such as

Link Publishing, BUPA, Ministry of Justice and Leicester College have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Marketing Assistant and Account Executive. 

 

 

What students say...

Amy Tuckwell, Media Communications, graduated 2010:

"My time as a Media student at Bath Spa University was really the best three years of my life. Not only is it a beautiful campus, it is bursting with some of the most talented lecturers in their field. I moulded by goals and career plans at Bath Spa with the guidance and encouragement of the Media Department and I am indebted to them for that. I'm now a Production Manager Assistant at the BBC just two years after graduating and I'm proud to say that I honed my craft at Bath Spa."

Student statement in the National Student Survey 2012:

“The lecturing was absolutely fantastic. Having a team who were passionate about each of their sectors within the media industry really helped when studying.”