School of Life Sciences

Undergraduate study

Biology science equipment in the lab

Immerse yourself in scientific thinking

As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. We offer a range of undergraduate courses, and all include the option to study abroad for a year.

Explore how the human genome responds to nicotine addiction, discover how enzymes can be converted into novel bio-catalysts, how a cancer cell arises, how a plant makes food for us all, how microbes can clean up oil pollution and live in extreme environments. 

Depending on which course you choose, you could be learning to dive in Sulawesi while studying coral reef ecosystems, spending a week on a yacht ocean sampling in Greece, or developing animal and plant identification skills while studying environmental biology and ecophysiology in Portugal. Please note that these options may be subject to additional costs.

Explore our undergraduate courses
Why choose us?
  • We are in the top 15 nationally for overall student satisfaction in biology (NSS 2019)
  • Our teaching is underpinned by research - new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom
  • We emphasise employability and have strong links with industry
A head and shoulders photo of Phoebe Magnone, a graduate from the School of Life Sciences.
I really enjoyed studying medical microbiology at Essex. By this point I realised that I wanted to study medicine, and the way this course was run really held my attention. I also found immunology and cancer biology to be very interesting, and all of these have been incredibly useful and relevant for my current course. I'm now on the MBBS Graduate and Professional Entry Programme at King's College London. If I hadn't been at Essex, I wouldn't have realised how much I loved human biology. There was a particular staff member who helped me become more resilient, confident, and independent, things which are essential in medicine, and I will be eternally grateful to her.
Phoebe Magnone BSc Biomedical Science, 2018

What do we have to offer?

Leading experts in their field

We offer a range of undergraduate courses taught by experienced academic staff from around the world. With such diverse areas of study available, our academics contribute their wealth of research experience in areas including:

  • cancer biology and proteomics
  • protein structure, function and drug targeting
  • coral reef diversity and threats
  • plant productivity: genetic manipulation and global change

Supporting your studies

The student experience is at the centre of everything we do to prepare you for life after study. From the moment you start your course, you will be supported right through to graduation. Our staff and student mentors help you achieve your full potential throughout your studies, while our focus on our students led to 95% of our biology students expressing overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019).

Learning to fit your interests

All of our undergraduate courses offer a degree of flexibility so that you can design your learning to suit your interests. You can focus on specific areas with a choice of modules and independent research projects in your final year or choose to make your course a four-year programme.

Making your course a four-year programme by taking a year in industry, or studying abroad, can really broaden your horizons, making you more appealing to potential employers.

For example, with our study abroad links to institutions in the USA, Australia, Europe, Japan and Canada, you have a chance to enhance your CV and develop your life skills.

Getting you ready for life after graduation

We place an emphasis on learning key skills, even if you choose to move away from the sciences. Such skills also prepare you to undertake postgraduate study in the future.

A picture of Lucy Gardner, a graduate from the School of Life Sciences.
I am currently in my first year of studying Medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and I’ve recently completed a two-week placement in ophthalmology in Whipps Cross Hospital. Studying biomedical science at Essex gave me a great foundation of knowledge which underpins so much of what I am now learning in medical school – having studied biochemistry, genetics and microbiology has all been useful.
Lucy Gardner BSc Biomedical Science, 2018
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