School

Life Sciences

Two hands holding overlapping petri dishes

Exploring the science of life

There has never been a more exciting time to study the science of biology, whether your interest is in human, animal or plant life. As one of the University’s largest departments, we’re renowned for our high levels of student satisfaction on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. 

At Essex you can study a wide and exciting range of subjects including biomedical science, marine biology, biochemistry, biological sciencesgenetics or genomics.

We address problems ranging from how to exploit enzymes as new industrial catalysts and how they evolve to drive antibiotic resistance, to use microbes as agents to clean up pollution and keep us healthy, to stop cancer cells forming. We are working to develop better crops to feed us, understand the effects of climate change on ecosystems from the tropics to the arctic and how modern life affects the workings of the human genome.

Like our students, our staff are passionate about science and have travelled from all over the world to be at Essex. Our founding principle of research-led teaching is central to our ethos, giving you the opportunity to develop an enquiring research mind set while you gain practical laboratory skills and field techniques in our first class facilities.

Our curriculum is constantly evolving, so you have the freedom to explore what interests you most from our diverse selection of modules. Whatever you choose, we equip you with everything you need to build a successful and satisfying career.


Our work with business

Through our research and teaching and our external Advisory Board we have developed strong links with companies, government bodies and charities. Our Advisory Board brings together representatives from external organisations, key employers, regulators and professional bodies to help inform our curriculum, employability and research outputs.


View our courses

Why choose us?

Biology at Essex is ranked 10th in the UK for overall student satisfaction (NSS 2020)
89% of our School of Life Sciences students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020)
University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2018)
State-of-the-art laboratories
Athena Swan Silver Award
A man wearing a lab coat reaching across a laboratory shelf, picking up a clear bottle with a blue lid.
A pipette held over a row of test tubes that have red, yellow and blue liquid in them.
UoTY winners 2018
A pair of hands wearing green disposable gloves holding a bottle with some red liquid in it.
A female academic, wearing a white lab coat and plastic goggles, holds a piece of scientific equipment in her hands
A head and shoulders photo of Professor Leo Schalkwyk, wearing glasses and a tan-coloured top.
"Life Sciences covers the entire scale from whole ecosystems through organisms, cells, proteins and genes. As a student in the School you’ll be taught by and get to know leading researchers in their field. You’ll experience the excitement of finding out how living things work in a friendly and supportive environment."
Professor Leo Schalkwyk Head of School
A sample being held up to the light in a lab
Our research

Our research covers the whole spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Two-thirds of our research was rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014)

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Latest news
Salmon eyes may hold secrets of their survival … and decline
06 May 2021
Essex part of world’s largest coral restoration programme
06 May 2021
Lockdown would be heaven for the Caribbean reef octopus
19 Apr 2021
Two female students talking
Get in touch with us

If you would like any more information about Life Sciences or have a question you would like to ask, please complete this short enquiry form.

Contact our School of Life Sciences
Colchester Campus Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ
All enquiries:
Telephone: 01206 874074