Subject

Biological sciences

Biology is the scientific exploration of the vast and diverse world of living organisms. Biological sciences has expanded enormously within recent years, revealing a wealth of knowledge about ourselves and the millions of organisms on our planet.

Biological sciences

Undergraduate degrees

At Essex, you will learn modern lab techniques, participate in research field trips, develop employability skills and explore the most recent developments in the field. Some of our most recent research has focused on areas of biology such as the impact on invertebrates due to melting glaciers, using microbes to ward off barnacles from hulls of ships, tracking the eating habits of cows and goats, and assessing the science behind the perfect garden.

You will study integrative biology, which covers a wide breadth of biology from molecules and cells, to whole organisms and ecosystems, giving you a solid foundation across all of biological sciences.

Why study here?
  • We are ranked 10th for biosciences for overall positivity score(National Student Survey 2023, English Broad Discipline Institutions).
  • We’re 23th in the UK for Biology in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • Tailor your degree to your specific interests, whether they be molecular biology or field-based ecological science.
The large research greenhouse - part of our School of Life Sciences
The large research greenhouse - part of our School of Life Sciences
A research student working with plants in a specialist lab
A research student working with plants in a specialist lab
Students and staff discussing research in the greenhouse surrounded by plants
Students and staff discussing research in the greenhouse surrounded by plants

Career prospects

Our courses equip you with the analytical and computational skills that are in high demand by employers. The Life Sciences 2030 Skills Strategy predicts that the life sciences sector could expand by over 130,000 jobs between 2020 and 2030. You will also become skilled at report writing, data analysis and delivering presentations.

A biological sciences degree can lead to an exciting range of careers. Essex graduates have gone on to work in a range of different careers in private, public and third-sector organisations including GlaxoSmithKline, the Sainsbury Laboratory (University of Cambridge), ALS Laboratories, the National Health Service, Suffolk County Council, Essex Wildlife Trust and Natural England.

There has never been a better time to study biology. Find out more about careers and employability in Biological Scicences

Liam Knapp-Bates
“In my degree I focused on molecular biology and cancer was a topic I found to be really interesting, so getting to study a whole module centred around the disease was fascinating! After graduating I undertook an internship at Colchester Zoo as a full-time Zookeeper. The internship lasted for 12 months and I trained to become a fully-qualified. I secured the position through the University's volunteering programme, allowing me to volunteer at the zoo at least one day a week during my studies. I had the best time and still can't quite believe I get to look after so many amazing animals as my job!”
Liam Knapp-Bates BSc Biological Sciences

Masters degrees

Our multi-disciplinary environment enables us to offer a wide range of modular and interdisciplinary taught postgraduate courses which provide targeted training in specialist areas of biological sciences such as biotechnology, cancer biology, health genomics, tropical marine biology and molecular medicine.

In addition, we collaborate with a number of academic departments from across the University, including social sciences and humanities, on areas such as marine science and sustainable development.

Studying a Masters degree in biological sciences can help you build up your skillset and develop expertise in a specific area of biological interest. It shows your commitment to your professional development, and builds upon the experience gained in your undergraduate degree.

As one of our Masters students, you will gain hands-on experience in our dedicated life sciences labs. You will use the same types of facilities that you will find in private and public sector organisations, making you familiar with tools and techniques that you will use in an advanced career.

Why study here?
  • We are ranked 23rd in the UK for Biology in The Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • Our research and teaching are guided by a mission to build a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world from responsible management of natural resources through deep understanding of biological systems to health technologies and cancer treatments.
  • Our teaching facilities are second to none, from the laboratories in the cutting-edge STEM Centre to our newly refurbished Aquatic Biology Laboratory.

Research degrees

Our School of Life Sciences will provide you with a stimulating environment for research training. The research being conducted by members of staff and research students in our School of Life Sciences covers the whole spectrum of biology from genes, proteins, and cells through to whole organisms, communities, and entire ecosystems.

We employ a range of state-of-the-art techniques covering all the biological sciences including biochemistry, biomedical science, environmental microbiology, marine biology, ecology, statistics, and computational approaches for biologists. Our research and teaching are guided by a mission to build a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world from responsible management of natural resources through deep understanding of biological systems to health technologies and cancer treatments.

Start your application with us

Explore our research programmes in environmental biology and environmental sciences and  by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our school pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.


Explore funding opportunities Ready to apply? Start your application today
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