Canterbury Christ Church allowed me to go from a foundation student all the way to PhD student by offering a supportive environment and opportunities to gain experience.

Victoria, School of Human and Life Sciences student

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4 years

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This is your chance to gain a strong foundation in the skills and knowledge you will need to forge a career in this fascinating area.

With a focus on practical work in the lab and the development of transferrable written and oral skills, this foundation year is designed to help you achieve more.

You will have the opportunity to work with a range of employers, including the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab, Howletts and Port Lympne Zoos, Wildwood and Wingham Wildlife Park.

Why study Biology with Foundation Year?

Biology is one of the most diverse and integrated scientific disciplines, ranging from the study of microscopic molecules and their biological importance to the investigation of whole organisms and their behaviour.

Our hands-on degree will open your eyes to many fascinating aspects of biology, from the diversity of life, genetics and evolution to animal anatomy and plant physiology and during the foundation year you'll learn essential academic skills to help you succeed in your degree.

Your learning will be brought to life in the labs where you'll apply your enquiring mind and practical abilities to tackle real life issues, guided and supported by staff with a wide range of academic and industry experience. 

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have 32 UCAS Tariff points. We will also welcome applications from students with few or no formal Level 3 qualifications who wish to return to education and applicants may be asked to attend an interview.

For more information on the IELTS (International English language Testing System) requirements for this course, please click here to visit our dedicated web page.

More information about entry requirements.

UCAS Points

All about the course

During the foundation year, you'll study the core sciences of biology, chemistry and physics as well as study skills and introductory level maths. This year is deigned to give you a solid grounding in science and prepare you for study at degree level. 

You'll start the degree by learning key concepts and skills in biochemistry and genetics and you'll explore the vast diversity of life on earth. You'll then go on to learn about concepts of animal and plant anatomy and physiology and you'll develop practical skills in molecular biology. As you progress through the course, you'll select optional modules that will enable you to study specialist areas of interest. 

The course includes an option to take a summer work placement as part of your studies and you'll also be able to apply for internships over the summer breaks. These usually involve working with lecturers on their research projects in collaboration with external partners and potential employers in industry and research. 

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, laboratory practicals, field trips, visits to employers, seminars, guest speaker lectures and practical workshops. You'll also benefit from tutorial sessions where you can discuss your work and progress with an individual personal tutor, and small group seminars focusing on specific topics. 

The course is designed to support you in becoming a confident, independent learner and some of your learning will be through experimentation and observation.

In Year 1, two thirds of each module are delivered as practical experimentation either in laboratories, IT labs or in the field. These sessions are supplemented by lectures, and seminars/workshops where you feedback from your structured independent study.

In the second year, you'll continue laboratory and field based experimentation and you'll start analysing published research.

In the final year the teaching will move into student-led workshops where you'll discuss published research papers.

All teaching material is posted on the virtual learning environment.

Your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select. 

All courses are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars. Your module director will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class through the virtual learning environment.

For the 40 credit Individual Study in your final year, you will undertake independent research working under the supervision of a member of the teaching team who you will meet with regularly. 

Each 20 credit module requires 200 hours of study which includes formal contact (lectures, practicals, tutorials, workshops), structured independent learning (prescribed reading and/or online exercises) and independent learning.

Each module in the foundation year and Year 1 has 60 hours of formal contact, supplemented with 40 hours of structured independent learning. As you develop and become more independent, formal contact and structured learning reduces to 50 hours of contact and 30 hours of structured independent learning per module in Year 2 and 40 hours of contact and 20 hours of structured independent learning per module in Year 3. 

The teaching team consists of highly qualified academics with a range of expertise and experience. They are research-active and have experience in delivering research-informed teaching.

All our core team members hold doctoral qualifications and most hold or are working toward postgraduate teaching qualifications. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team web page. 

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules, however, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars. 

You should note that members of the teaching team might change. 

As we face a number of global challenges, such as the increasing threat of microbial resistance, we need fresh thinking from the next generation of drug discovery scientists. You will be fully supported by a dedicated teaching team who are committed to providing an innovative and challenging experience to nurture your talent.

Dr Lee ByrneSenior Lecturer

How you’ll be assessed

Assessment is by both coursework and examination. The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each year you will be set formative assignments to go through with your tutor. There will also be 'formative' assessment within some of the modules. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark. 

There are also formal or 'summative' assessment. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year individual study project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark. 

Coursework assessments permit you to develop key scientific and transferable skills and assignments include: scientific lab/log books, written reports, written scientific papers, discursive essays, PowerPoint presentations and poster presentations. There is a maximum of two assessments per 20 credit module studied.

100% coursework

Your future career

The broad, multi-disciplinary nature of the course is well suited to anyone seeking opportunities in science-based industry in a technical, managerial or public relations role. Our graduates have found employment in research laboratory management, conservation management, the pharmaceutical industry, medical physics, public health laboratories and in analytical laboratories.

Other graduates have progressed to study for higher degrees, including taught and research Masters degrees and PhDs, while others go into a career in teaching, either at primary, secondary or post-compulsory level. The transferrable skills and level of scientific literacy developed by this programme is also valuable in other non-scientific areas of industry, commerce and the media.


The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £9,250 £13,000
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £13,000
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fees of £9,250 / £13,000 / £4,625 relate to 2021/22 only. Please read the 2021/22 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2021/22 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

Regulated by the Office for Students

The Office for Students (OfS) regulates Canterbury Christ Church University. The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. It aims to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Further details about its work are available on the OfS website.

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4 years

UCAS code:



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