Biological Sciences FdSc

Full-time undergraduate (2 years)

University Centre Peterborough



Develop the core knowledge and technical skills you need for a successful bioscience-related career by studying your Biological Sciences FdSc with ARU in Peterborough

Full description


Many of our Biological Science graduates have built successful careers in the health services or in laboratory settings such as pathology, biomedicine, toxicology, forensics, and pollution monitoring or control.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Foundations of Cell Biology
    Cells are the fundamental units of life. In this module, you will be introduced to the many different types of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, with their identifying characteristics, structures and properties. You will examine eukaryote cellular organelles, including the plasma membrane, nucleus, endomembrane system, lysosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts and the cytoskeleton, together with the cell growth and division cycle, with particular emphasis on mitosis and meiosis. An overview of bacterial, viral and organelle diseases is given, which underpins the ‘General Microbiology’ and ‘Principles of Pathology’ modules, delivered later in the course. Laboratory skills, including microscopy, spectroscopy and sub-cellular fractionation techniques are developed throughout the module, as are key numerical skills in analysing and presenting data.
  • Core Biology
    The subjects you will cover in your degree will enable you to develop your knowledge of how the body functions and the consequences that occur if normal functions break down. In the Core Biology module you will be introduced to the central principles of biology, chemistry and physics that underpin all other modules on the course. We will cover topics such as the history and philosophy of science and the scientific method, chemical principles, introduction to genetics, introduction to zoology, botany and ecology, biophysics, the biology of disease and an introduction to pharmacology. You will gain a range of core skills that are necessary for you to develop as a competent scientist, and that you will need to apply in your learning in the rest of the course. Laboratory skills are essential for a biomedical scientist and in core biology you will learn to use the basic equipment, including microscopes and spectrophotometers, which are employed in more complex practicals in other modules. Numerical skills will also be put into practice in the laboratory sessions, such as determining concentrations and volumes. As a scientist, the ability to find relevant information and apply it to specific circumstances, including writing scientifically, are key skills that you will need in any future employment. These will be developed through the lectures, practicals and assessments in Core Biology in association with personal development tutorials. You will also produce a portfolio that will evidence the skills developed in the laboratory sessions, consider career options through a range of tasks, and write a reflection on their learning experience.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology 1
    On this module you will learn about how the human body works at various levels going from the underlying biochemistry, to basic cell biology and on to how cells form tissues. You will go on to study how organs function and interact in organ systems. The emphasis is on how structure at all these levels is related to function. All through the module you will find out how the body maintains a constant internal environment (homeostasis) and how this helps maintain health. You will also learn how disruptions to this homeostasis can lead to disease. The organs and systems covered in this module include the brain, nervous system and the special senses, the heart and cardiovascular physiology, the respiratory system and the lymphatic and immune systems. There will also be an introduction to haematology. There are lots of practicals in this module, including dissections, which will help you understand the concepts covered in class. On this module you will be introduced to concepts that have a strong medical relevance, focussing on how health is maintain.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology 2
    This module goes hand in hand with Human Anatomy and Physiology 1. On this module you will gain an understanding of the following organ systems: the musculoskeletal system, the endocrine system, the urinary system and fluid and electrolyte balance, the integumentary system, the digestive system including the liver and biliary system, the endocrine and exocrine pancreas, and the reproductive system. You will also learn about embryonic development. You will learn about how health is maintained and also develop an understanding of how disease, disorder and dysfunction occur in the various systems. The module forms the foundations of knowledge about the functioning of the human body which is vital for studying many modules that come later on in the degree, including ‘The Physiology of Organ Systems’ and ‘Principles of Pathology’ in the second year and ‘Human Pathology’ and ‘Clinical Immunology’ in the third year.
  • Introduction to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    This module goes hand in hand with topics covered in 'Foundations of Cell Biology' and provides a sound basis for understanding the processes of life at the molecular level. Key aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology are considered, including the four major classes of biological macromolecules, enzyme structure, function and kinetics. An overview of the central, energy generating pathways of metabolism (Glycolysis, Krebs cycle and Oxidative phosphorylation) is provided to underpin more advanced material delivered in ‘Metabolism and its Control’, later in the course. Genetic material, its replication and the mechanisms and control of gene expression are also studied. Throughout the module a number of different biochemical techniques, including chromatography, measuring enzymatic reactions and protein purification will be discussed and then employed in laboratory practicals. The module concludes by looking at the basics of genetic engineering, focusing on the use of restriction enzymes and cloning vectors. Students will also be guided through some of the basic calculations which are used daily in working Biomedical Science laboratories.
  • Biomeasurement
    This module introduces the use of statistics and computing software in the biosciences. Although we focus on biological applications, the quantitative and IT skills you will gain will be of benefit in a number of graduate employment roles. You will be shown how to use information in the form of data to answer questions about biological systems, and learn a range of visual data presentation and statistical techniques. We will also show you how to choose the most appropriate technique for a range of data types and circumstances, perform and interpret numerical and graphical analyses correctly, and communicate the results clearly and transparently.
  • General Microbiology
    Microbiology is the study of microorganisms - organisms that are too small to be seen without magnification. The taxonomic diversity of microorganisms is reflected in the huge diversity of their lifestyles. In this module you will explore the major groups of microorganism: bacteria, archaea, algae, fungi, protists and viruses. In so doing, you will learn the basic concepts of microbiology and apply them to a scientific understanding of the subject area. You will consider the diversity of microorganisms from many different perspectives including their cell structure (if present), function, taxonomy and ecology. Microorganisms have a long history of association - mostly negative - with humans, and the importance of microorganisms as human pathogens is explored, as are their actual and potential uses. Throughout this module you will be introduced to the latest advances in microbiology, whilst also learning a sound basic understanding. Furthermore, through a series of laboratory-based classes, you will be given training in handling microorganisms and the use of the aseptic technique as the basis for preparing cultures. You will also acquire the fundamental practical skills required by microbiologists and biomedical scientists, including performing a Gram stain, viable counts, subculturing techniques and maintaining safe and efficient working practices. The laboratory sessions are held within a well-equipped microbiology suite. The range of laboratory techniques experienced in this module coupled with the broad theoretical basis will be useful for a range of laboratory-based careers, particularly in the biomedical sciences.

Year two, core modules

  • Preparation for Research
    The scientific method and experimental design underpins every aspect of being a scientist. As individuals on a science-based degree course you are expected to develop your research and employability skills. This module is a critical first step in your journey through to your final honours degree qualification, providing an opportunity to develop the research skills that you will employ in your final year independent research project. As part of this module you will also have the opportunity to enhance your real-life work chances through the development of your employability skills. Through lectures and active learning sessions you will develop skills in research design and critical thinking. We will utilise team-based learning to develop collaborative approaches to the development of your employability skills including teamwork, data analysis and presentation skills. With reference to recent research studies, you will develop your own creative flair along with your friends and peers. You will also have the opportunity to learn and practice standard tools used in data analysis, including statistics and data presentation packages that can be employed across your whole degree, and most importantly in your final year project.
  • Principles of Pathology
    Disease and injury cause detrimental changes in molecular and cellular processes, resulting in loss of cell and organ function. By understanding these processes and the roles that they play in disease, we are able to develop more effective diagnostic techniques and treatments. From this module, you will gain knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that underpin pathological processes. We will study how a range of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites exploit a host for nutrition and reproduction, and how the immune system and inflammatory processes protect against these pathogenic invaders. This is accompanied by a study of the processes of wound repair and cell injury/death. You will be introduced to the field of epidemiology which determines the incidence, distribution and attempted control of diseases, and we will also look at how the newly emerging field of bioinformatics (the study of “big data”) can analyse genomic mechanisms of disease. Finally, we will study the range of diagnostic techniques currently used in pathology laboratories. You will learn through lectures, a laboratory practical and by working through case studies. In addition, you will work in a group to create and present a poster, acquiring important employability skills in presentation, literacy, group working and data analysis.
  • Work-Based Learning 2
    You'll be encouraged to explore of your professional/occupational practice, along the strands developed in previous modules, as a source of learning. In this module you'll be expected to demonstrate a significant degree of autonomy in the management of your learning, demonstrate a detailed knowledge of relevant theoretical underpinning and be able to analyse and evaluate both information and argument. You'll be required to demonstrate the application of theory to practice and will be in a work environment for a substantial part of this module. During this work placement you'll be required to keep a diary which will assist in the production of an action plan which will reflect upon your work practice. You'll agree a topic with module tutor and produce a report on this. The topic must be related to your work practice. Demonstration of an ability to work within a team will be an important aspect of the placement and report. You'll be required to log at least 45 hours of work practice. This must be IT related and may be at the your existing place of employment. An appropriate placement will be found for those that are unable to find A suitable work placement.
  • Laboratory Techniques for the Biomedical Sciences
    Practical laboratory skills are essential for a wide variety of careers available to BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science graduates. You will develop your competency and experience in a wide variety of laboratory skills essential to anyone working in a laboratory. You will gain the knowledge and understanding of basic practical laboratory techniques (such as laboratory-based maths skills, pipetting, weighing chemicals, and making solutions). You will gain experience and insight into the manipulation and analysis of DNA in silico using contemporary bioinformatics techniques, and will apply this knowledge in the laboratory, where you will clone genes and express proteins. You will conduct experiments and analyse and quantify your results, and will be monitored on your practical competency, and the ability to document your work. A key part to this module is to educate you inGood Laboratory Practice (GLP) and instruction in health and safety practices that are required of biomedical scientists in research and clinical laboratories. You will also develop key employability skills through taking part in activities such as presenting data, computing skills, organising your work, managing time, and working in both a team environment and as an individual. On completing this module you will be equipped with a variety of skills that will assist you in different laboratory-based areas, including bioinformatics, clinical biomedical science, research laboratory work, or in biotechnology companies.
  • Principles of Genetics
    We live in the age of genetics and genomics, with breakthroughs in our understanding of genetic diseases and potential cures regularly featured in the news. The pace of discovery in this field makes this an exciting time to be learning genetics. You will gain knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of genetics and how we can answer questions such as: How are genetic diseases inherited? How do scientists find out about complex diseases which are affected by both genes and environmental factors? How can you find out how common a genetic disease is in a population? You will discover how the study of genes offers a biologically-based explanation for morphological, physiological, and behavioural traits of an organism. You will gain insights into how genetics provides a mechanism for the generation and maintenance of variation; the raw material for evolution. We firstly consider the classical patterns of inheritance, building on concepts you will have covered in level 4. You will develop an understanding of the relationship between genotype and phenotype through an integration of concepts at the organismal, cellular and molecular levels. You will investigate gross structural chromosome mutations and the phenotypic consequences of these mutation, and will learn how classical and modern techniques are used for establishing the physical locations of genes. You will gain insights into gene function and the genetic basis of many diseases, and go on to look at how traits may be determined by many genes and how genes interact with environmental factors. You will learn to use mathematical methods to analyse genetic variation found in populations. You will learn how gene expression is regulated in the development genetics, and look the genetics of cancer. Modern tools of genetic research and analysis are incorporated throughout the module. Your understanding of genetic processes will be developed through a variety of problems, case studies, simple breeding experiments and other practicals. As well as gaining specific subject knowledge, this module helps you to develop a number of transferable skills including practical laboratory techniques and skills relevant to general employment including data collection, handling and presentation and report writing. You will have an opportunity to hear guest speakers talking about their careers in the field of genetics. The content of the module is an essential part of your training towards a career in biomedical science.

Year two, optional modules

  • Diagnostic Techniques in Pathology
    A biomedical scientist is trained to use and develop diagnostic tools and treatments for diseases. You will be introduced to the biomedical science diagnostic disciplines of medical microbiology, clinical chemistry, cellular pathology, haematology and transfusion science, clinical immunology and clinical genetics. You will develop an understanding and appreciation of the day-today workings of an NHS pathology department as well as the scientific background of the diagnostic procedures you would perform as a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)-registered Biomedical Scientist. You will be able to describe and discuss basic sample handling, storage and disease screening within the various pathology laboratories. You will also gain a firm grounding in the legal requirements for safe working practice, ethical issues and quality assurance procedures; you will study legislation governing these aspects, which will enable you to identify potential risks and hazards within pathology laboratories. You will also learn the fundamental principles used in obtaining results and how results are communicated to service users. Your teaching is delivered by qualified academic and HCPC-registered Biomedical Scientists. A case study approach is used to allow you to learn real-life and up-to-date diagnostic practices. You will develop the communication skills required to work as part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team, while discipline-specific laboratory practicals will allow you to demonstrate your team-working and project management skills. You will also develop business and commercial awareness through knowledge of pathology department management and planning. This module prepares you to undertake the IBMS registration portfolio towards employment as a HCPC-registered Biomedical Scientist. However, you will also be equipped with knowledge and skills required to work in areas such as medicine, clinical and medical science, healthcare policy, and management, among others.
  • Metabolism and its Control
    Metabolism is the sum of all of the complex reactions occurring in the cell. Building on knowledge gained in your first year, you will further examine a range of metabolic pathways with a view to gaining a detailed understanding of the overall strategy of metabolism and the internal logic of key metabolic pathways. The effects of drugs and inhibitors and the role of allosteric enzymes in the feedback control of metabolism will also be discussed. We look in detail at the organisation of the genome and how genetic material is transcribed and translated. This then leads to an understanding of the significance of inborn errors of metabolism and the effects of therapeutic drugs on individual reactions of metabolism. Finally, we look in detail at cellular specialisation and the structure and biological functions of the major cellular organelles, including intracellular trafficking and signalling. You will also develop a number of transferable skills including practical (laboratory) techniques and graduate skills. You will study enzyme kinetics and the effects of inhibitors, measure blood glucose levels and investigate regulation of gene expression in bacteria in laboratory session. The skills obtained in these practicals are crucial for those considering careers as biomedical scientists, laboratory researchers or workers in the pharmaceutical industry. You will also obtain valuable experience in data collection, handling and interpretation.


We’ll assess your progress using exams and essay assignments, as well as your portfolio, practical work and presentations.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

University Centre Peterborough
University Centre Peterborough

University Centre Peterborough (or UCP) is our modern campus in the heart of an historic city.

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Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Entry requirements

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64 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 1 A Level (or equivalent).

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

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Get more information

UK and EU applicants

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UK and EU students

Apply for 2021

UCAScode: 72C8

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