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

“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.


  • 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.


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!”

Critically engage with the challenges of a global media landscape with this dynamic course.

  • Taught by world leading and international scholars (REF 2014)
  • Encourages critical awareness of theoretical debates and contemporary media practices
  • Supports creative media cultures, practices and student-led enterprise within a liberal arts environment

"An engaging, thought-provoking and dynamic course that has equipped me with both the analytical and practice-based skills necessary to work within the ever-changing media environment."
– Media Communications Graduate, 2014

Why study Media Communications?

Develop your knowledge of the media and creative industries, through this Media Communications course. You’ll develop in-depth knowledge of the theories, debates and professional practices that underpin the study of media.

The course offers you the opportunity to develop your research skills, alongside your ability to critically analyse local, national and global media production. You’ll graduate with the critical, cultural and creative skills necessary to participate as a global citizen in the creative media industries.

Course structure

You’ll examine and research the media in a global context, exploring how new digital technologies shape how we perceive, consume, and participate in everyday media.

The course covers the theories, debates and professional practices underpinning the creative industries. You’ll map how cultures of production shape media audiences and explore questions of global citizenship. From popular music and celebrity culture to gaming culture, multiplatform media and digital cultures, you’ll study the global flows and impacts of the media across a range of topics.

You’ll critically examine a diverse range of media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising, social media, mobile phones, tablets, apps and video games. We expose you to a range of creative and professional practices, including skills in media research, social enterprise and media making.


  • Year 1
    Modules equip you with the essential critical toolkit for understanding and analysing the contemporary media and conducting media research. You’ll examine media technologies, popular cultures, media ownership, media representations and media branding, alongside gaining some practical media-making work involving social networking tools. You’ll be introduced to some of the key methods in media research through a series of case studies including gender in the media, television audiences, journalism, media preservation and music cultures.
  • Year 2
    You’ll explore questions of global media cultures, examining – for example – how the media transcends the borders of platforms, audiences, cultures, industries and countries. Alongside this, you’ll study the impacts of a global media culture on everything from production to consumption. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your skills in media-making, while further examining these themes in relation to more specific areas, such as stardom and celebrity, journalism and citizenship, music and digital cultures.
  • Year 3
    We encourage you to specialise in an area that interests you, and to develop independent research and/or practice. This manifests in the form of a dissertation, with specialist modules available in gender and film, media technology, fandom, music journalism, 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.

Course assessment

Media Communications is a theoretical course with a practical component. Assessments therefore range from essays, professional writing, presentations, reviews and feature writing to cross-media presentations, object history work and industry reports and investigations. You’ll also learn through the creation of journals, research logs and portfolios, blogs and collaborative projects.

Work placements, industry links and internships

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


Each year we award a prize to our students. This is the Media Communications Prize for Excellence in Research.

Teaching methods

Our teaching is driven by the research specialisms and expertise of staff, who are all world-leading scholars in their respective fields within Media Communications, be it video games, multiplatform media, digital cultures, gender and celebrity, or popular music cultures. Teaching may also come from the University’s specialist technical demonstrators.

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. You’ll also learn via workshops devoted to particular skills such as media research, as well as in project labs where you’ll work with staff and fellow students on the development of a media project.

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

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 - CCC preferred.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) accepted
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required
  • 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).

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

List of current alumni careers

Media Communications graduates have a range of professions including Marketing and Project Management, Public Relations, Education, Publications Production, Social Media Promotion and Advertising. Graduates have been employed by companies including Aspire Europe, Komedia, Conversation Creation, Apollo Strategic Communications, and John Lewis.

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.”