In line with good practice, module content is regularly updated and module titles may on occasion change to reflect updated content in the advances in the field of study.
Year 0 - Foundation Year
Biological Concepts (20 credits)
This module aims to aims to introduce students to the central principles of biology, namely the basic structure, function and variety of living organisms and how they reproduce. It also aims to give students the basic transferable skills needed to understand scientific reasoning and to undertake scientific investigations.
Advancing Biology (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to build on material learned in the module ‘Biological concepts’. Elements of genetics and molecular biology are extended and you will be introduced to various facets of the environmental sciences, including ecology and conservation, agricultural science, and pollution science. The module also aims to extend your practical skills within the life sciences.
Principles of Chemistry (20 credits)
This is an introductory module that aims to develop your familiarity with fundamental chemical concepts such as atomic structure, chemical nomenclature, bonding, stoichiometry and a range of chemical reactions. The module also aims to develop your basic chemistry laboratory skills.
Advancing Chemistry (20 credits)
This module aims to build on the knowledge acquired in Principles of Chemistry and to explore different fields within the subject of chemistry (physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and environmental chemistry). The module will also further develop your laboratory skills.
Physical Laws of the Natural World (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the physical concepts that underpin all of science and how physics are studied in the natural sciences. You will develop an understanding of how physical laws are used to describe natural phenomena and how they may be applied to gain a deeper knowledge of particular systems and processes.
Study Skills (20 credits)
The course aims to give you the basic transferable skills needed to understand and practice scientific reasoning, to undertake scientific investigations and to communicate effectively scientific ideas and outcomes.
Biochemistry (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to introduce the basic concepts and chemical foundations of biochemistry and cell biology to develop an understanding of structure and function at the molecular level. This module prepares you for further study in more advanced cell and molecular modules
Diversity of Life (20 credits)
This module aims to equip you with a fundamental understanding of evolutionary relationships between living things, their shared evolutionary history and the physiological and anatomical features that groups of organisms have in common. The module also aims to develop skills in identification of organisms and the use of dichotomous keys
Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)
This level 4 module aims to give you the necessary background in genetics and evolutionary biology, providing broad knowledge of Mendelian genetics and the mechanisms of evolution, which are essential for the study of biological and environmental sciences.
Microbiology (20 credits)
This module aims to develop your aseptic microbiological skills and knowledge of the classification and uses of microorganisms. You develop independent research skills as you investigate the various disease issues that microorganisms can cause.
Science Skills and Introduction to Statistics (20 credits)
This module aims to develop the necessary background in science communication, skills and methods essential for the study of biological sciences. This module will also provide the background knowledge required for the Level 5 Data Handling module.
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to introduce the basic concepts of soil science, focussing on the physical properties of soil, the fundamentals of soil chemistry and hydrology, and the way in which soils and plants are inextricably interlinked. This module prepares you for further study in more advanced aspects of soil science, plant physiology and land management.
Data Handling (20 credits)
This module aims to develop the techniques necessary to handle quantitative biological data analysis and introduce the beginnings of bioinformatics. Central to the first aim will be introducing the powerful statistical programming language, R. This “programming” language is critical to current approaches to handling/analysing data, particularly “big data”. The module will also introduce critical biological sequence analysis techniques that form the foundation of the more complex bioinformatics techniques and knowledge (much of which will be introduced in the level 6 Bioinformatics 1 and Bioinformatics 2 modules). The module will also conclude with a brief session introducing R as a potential bioinformatics tool. This module will enable you to become comfortable with the console-based software and to use it for your statistical and data display needs.
Genetics of Plant Breeding 1 (20 credits)
The module aims to develop an understanding of basic concepts in plant genetics/breeding and how these fundamental principles could be applied to develop high yielding and more resilient crop plants for the future.
Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (20 credits)
This module will build upon the fundamental knowledge gained during the level 4 Genetics and Evolution and Biochemistry modules to provide an in depth perspective of the theory, practical and commercial applications of molecular biology. The practical emphasis of this module permits you to develop a range of fundamental molecular biology techniques which are not only essential for studying biomolecules within a laboratory research setting, but also highly desirable for future employability.
Plant Pests and Pathogens (20 credits)
This module enables you to develop a knowledge of common important plant pests and diseases, their effects on plant growth and yield, and how to recognise them in the field. The module also aims develop your ability to analyse and interpret published data through student led discussions about specific pests and diseases and their control.
Plant Physiology and Development (20 credits)
This module aims to equip you with a sound knowledge of the basics of plant physiology and development. The module also aims develop your ability to analyse and interpret published data through student led discussion of the role of plant hormones (plant growth regulators) in controlling physiological processes and developmental switches.
Advanced Plant Growth and Development (20 credits)
This module aims to enable you to develop an advanced knowledge of plant physiology and development. The module also aims to develop your ability to analyse, interpret and critically discuss published data through student led discussion of molecular basis of acclimation responses to abiotic stresses.
Bioinformatics 1 (20 credits)
The module aims to develop a systematic understanding of the role of computing in biological research, the fundamentals of molecular biology and to introduce the key concepts and techniques in Bioinformatics.
Honours Projects (20 credits)
This module allows you to undertake a piece of commercially/socially relevant research. You are required to identify an area of research directly relevant to your degree pathway and design and undertake appropriate experiments. BSc (Hons) Ecology students are required to undertake field based research evidencing a minimum of 10days fieldwork. The module aims to give you experience of independent research, analysis and experience of presenting findings in two styles: a written scientific paper and a presented poster to a non-specialist audience.
Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions (20 credits)
This module enables you to develop skills in critical analysis, interpretation and presentation of experimental data. The module enables you to develop a detailed knowledge of the molecular and genetic processes that underpins the interaction of plants with a range of different microbes.
Likely optional modules
Options are subject to availability and may change. The work placement module is offered based on suitable work placement being available and the student being accepted by the employer offering the placement.
Natural Product Chemistry (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to provide you with an understanding of the chemistry of natural products, building on the chemical knowledge acquired in level 4 modules. It aims to introduce you to the chemistry of natural products and the links between molecular structure and properties, establishing connections with the behaviour of these compounds in biological systems. It also introduces purification methods and different analytical methods that can be used in the isolation and identification of these compounds, and to encourage a critical approach to these methods.
Plants in the Environment (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to build upon the basic concepts of plant science from level 4, considering how plants differ in space and time and how plant communities are managed. You will have the opportunity to study natural and agricultural systems in the field during the five-day field course section of the module. The module allows you to apply a cross-disciplinary approach to the management of problems in the area of plant ecology. The strong fieldwork element also gives you practical skills that can be used throughout your undergraduate studies and beyond.
Work Placement (20 credits)
This module provides you with the opportunity to develop key skills and experience while working in a commercial environment. You will develop critical reflection skills as you review your own competencies and development requirements.
Options are subject to availability and may change.
Bioinformatics 2 (20 credits)
The module aims to deepen the techniques and analyses introduced in the pre-requisite module Bioinformatics 1, focussing on building the programming and computational skills to allow you to design and undertake complex analyses. The module develops an understanding of how to analyse and investigate bioinformatic questions using various development tools and how to make results available via differing visualisations. Central to this is building an understanding and ability to use various industry standard tools and software platforms. The module therefore develops an integrated understanding of various bioinformatic development and analysis tools and of how to build these into analysis pipelines
Current Science Issues (20 credits)
This module aims to develop your wider understanding of how science influences and affects society. You develop your independent research and analysis skills as you comment on important science issues.
Genetics of Plant Breeding 2 (20 credits)
The module aims to develop a deeper understanding of concepts in plant genetics/breeding gained from Genetics of Plant Breeding 1 module. In this module, you will learn how linkage maps are used to map QTLs and clone genes of desirable traits. You will develop a good understanding of different methods for breeding cross-pollinated crops. A special emphasis will be placed on hybrids and hybrid seed production. We will explore genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of heterosis and engage you in discussions why molecular basis of heterosis are still elusive. You will also learn about RNAi technology, phenomics and abiotic stress breeding. Most lectures will consist of a selected topic and a recent paper to develop deeper understanding, nurture analytical ability and learn latest developments in the field.