Human Biology (with Foundation Year)UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park|UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Human Biology is an ever-evolving branch of science that includes the study of the human body, the changes that occur in disease, and the interaction between humans and their environment. With this in mind, the Human Biology Combined Honours curriculum has been designed to provide a contemporary and dynamic programme to challenge students across a broad base, but with depth in areas of staff specialisms.
The curriculum includes the foundation disciplines of anatomy and physiology, cellular and molecular biology, human metabolism and immunology. These will be delivered in the context of contemporary health issues including aging, obesity, cancer, infectious and non-communicative chronic diseases. Students will benefit from the input of research active scientists from across the range of disciplines within the School of Health Sciences. This will support the development of an integrated, innovative and applied programme of study that is the cornerstone of the curriculum of the School of Health Sciences. Graduates will leave the programme with a fully rounded skill set and with experience in a wide range of standard and specialist lab techniques. Graduates will gain experience, competence and confidence through small group learning, giving specialist and transferable skills, allowing them to succeed in a competitive and demanding employment market.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars and lab practicals of smaller groups of around 15 - 20 students, and tutorials that typically have no more than 10 students. Lab practicals are a strong feature of the course and you typically be taught in this environment 2-3 hours every week. On top of teaching hours, first year students will take part in a short fieldtrip to the University’s Plas Caerdeon outdoor education facility in North Wales.
In your first year of study, there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of usual teaching hours, you are also expected to spend approximately 30 hours studying independently each week (across both subjects), as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments that you may have. Staff are available for 3 hours per week for one-to-one tutorial meetings in their office hours.
Assessment and feedback
During your degree, you will have a number of coursework assessments, as well as examinations in the summer term of the second and third year. These exams are typically worth 25% of the second and third years.
Assessments are wide-ranging in design and format, enabling you as the learner to excel. Assessment types include: scientific/laboratory reports, critiques, essays, individual and group oral presentations, MCTs, portfolios, case studies, and practical laboratory tests. We provide comprehensive online feedback for all coursework and future support, with the opportunity to discuss this further with academics if required.
In your third year, you will complete an independent research project in Human Biology(worth 12.5% of your final year) or a double-weighting dissertation combining both your chosen subjects. This will allow you to specialise in a particular topic of interest, whilst being guided through the process by an expert in the field.
Human Biology has been designed to enable students to study a broad range of relevant topics within the discipline. There will be also be the opportunity for specialism through in-depth study in particular areas, with a framework of learning, teaching and assessment that encourages deep, independent, yet supported application of knowledge and understanding.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body
This provides the fundamentals of human biology by developing your understanding of the structure and function of the human body and how it works. All major body systems are explored from the cellular level through to whole organs and systems integration through neural and hormonal control. Key systems include: the heart and cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, musculoskeletal, nervous, renal and urogenital, endocrine and immune systems.
Genetics, Genomics and Human Variation
This provides an introduction to genetics, genomics and human variation. Genetics is the study of heredity; how the characteristics of living organisms are passed on from one generation to the next via DNA. Genomics is the study of the entirety of an organism's genes, called the genome. Particular reference will be made to the structure and function of genes and chromosomes, principles of variation, fundamentals of genetic disorders and human evolution & development.
From Molecules to Humans
Understanding of human biology is further enhanced here through underpinning biochemistry, cell and molecular biology relevant to biological systems and organic and inorganic chemistry. Specific focus is given to cell structure and function, cell division and the cell cycle, cell specialization and cooperation. This is proceeded by foundations in molecular biology, including DNA and RNA.
Essential Laboratory Techniques
This highly applied part of the course provides a programme of laboratory work where you will learn the fundamentals of practical biological experimentation and problem solving. These practical laboratory classes will support deeper learning of theoretical concepts through the application of knowledge in understanding key biological data. There is a strong focus on developing baseline competency in key lab techniques in the discipline, with a clear emphasis on risk assessment and working safely in the labs.
Study Skills & Research Methods
A key outcome of undergraduate study is the transferable skills that you acquire, such as those in writing, presenting information, referencing, working within teams, interpreting data, data analysis and understanding evidence. Dedicated time is given for developing these skills within the curriculum to directly improve your degree outcome and employability prospects.
Determinants of Health and Disease
You will study the advanced physiology of organ systems as appropriate to the study of human health and disease states (chronic, infectious and age-related). You will understand the nature and pathological fundamentals of common diseases such as: gastrointestinal tract pathologies, diabetes, CVD, respiratory and musculoskeletal pathologies. The microbiome and lifestyle factors are further topics that will supplement the multidisciplinary approach taken in this part of the course.
You will develop and apply your understanding of metabolic physiology and biochemistry to gain a more in depth understanding of homeostasis and control of the internal environment. The key biological processes of cell-signaling and enzymology will further extend your knowledge and understanding in this key area.
Immunology and Clinical Genetics
In these very important branches of medical and biological sciences, you will gain an immunological and genetic insight into disease and dysfunction. You will study immunology (acute and chronic), innate and acquired immunity and genetics and epigenetics in relation to disease and dysfunction.
An introduction to the surveillance techniques and analytical approaches to monitoring and responding to biological diseases is fundamental preparation for careers in science and health. You will consider fundamental perspectives in epidemiology and global epidemiology of both non-communicable and communicable diseases.
Investigative Methods in Disease Biology and Practical Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Across the second year, you will continue an intensive programme of lab-based practicals and seminars which will extend your subject-specific and transferable skill set. Lab practicals will include for example the assessment of biomarkers of health and disease and microbiology in addition to practical techniques in molecular and cellular biology. This component of the course will also focus on increasing your confidence with different research methodologies and problem solving with a view to preparing you for your final year research project.
Genetic and Molecular Basis of Human Disease
Advanced concepts in the molecular and genetic study of health and disease forms the core theory at third year. This contemporary topic provides you with an excellent understanding of the mechanisms by which diseases and ageing affect the human body and how pharmacological therapy targets and treats contemporary medical conditions.
Contemporary and Advanced Lab Techniques in Human Biology
These seminars and advanced laboratory sessions will further refine your practical and research skills in more complex techniques appropriate for the field. You will study diagnostics in health and disease and some of the more sophisticated biomedical techniques with particular focus on immunology and molecular biology. You will also consider your future career and understand how effective data analysis techniques are essential for the workplace in this field.
Human Biology Research Project
You are equipped with the necessary applied skills through first and second year and concurrently at third year to enable
you to plan and undertake this important 15-credit laboratory-based research project. As a combined honours student, you have the option of undertaking an integrative dissertation (30-credits), with agreement from both of your subjects. Undertaking a research project in the final year enables the further acquisition of key skills including good lab practice, sound research design and execution, health and safety awareness, legal and ethical aspects of human research and strong data handling and analysis skills.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Human Biology graduates offer skills in specialised laboratory and field-based research, scientific report writing, data analysis and other types of written and oral communications. Recent graduates have entered careers in bioscience/biomedicine, biotechnology, medical writing, research laboratories, healthcare, diagnostic and forensic laboratories and similar scientific and technical jobs. Others have pursued postgraduate study in the form of Masters degrees or doctorates. Biologists can also pursue general graduate vacancies and training programmes in business, management, accountancy, teaching or academia.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
You will also need to consider the cost of field trips, text books, and a laboratory coat, which we estimate to cost around £300 per academic year.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is only available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: