Oxford Brookes University

At a Glance

In Depth

Why Study Biology at Oxford Brookes University

New discoveries and technological advances within biology are at the heart of modern society. Progress in animal, plant and microbial sciences has increased our capacities in agriculture, biodiversity assessment and conservation, medicine and pollution control and remediation, and these sciences are at the forefront of the continually expanding global biotechnology industry.

The biology course at Oxford Brookes offers opportunities to study animal, plant and microbial systems from the cellular and sub-cellular levels to the interactions of organisms with the environment. This course allows you to focus on specific areas or to maintain a broad perspective. As well as developing your skills as a biologist, you will have the opportunity to gain invaluable professional experience, which will further enhance your career prospects.

At Oxford Brookes, there is a strong emphasis on laboratory and field work including residential courses in the Cévennes (in the south of France) and Devon, enabling students to put their skills into practice.

We have great links with regional environmental organisations, providing exciting work placement and career opportunities. For example, one of our students researched mobile applications for recording information in the field for WildKnowledge Ltd.

Students have opportunities to work with research groups such as our Environmental Information Exchange and Pond Conservation, providing students with potential project ideas and work experience.


Various teaching methods are used, including lectures, group projects and practical exercises, all backed up by good library and IT resources. Throughout your course, emphasis will be placed on general transferable skills such as public speaking, computer use and report writing; these skills often form part of the assessment of individual modules.

The courses are taught by specialist staff who are actively involved in research work. This work is sometimes included in module content and students may have opportunities to participate in research projects, reinforcing our commitment to integrate research into teaching.

Assessment methods vary according to the range of knowledge and skills covered. In some modules, assessment is entirely by coursework.


Research in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences spans a wide range of areas, including plant and animal biology, biomedical science, cell and molecular biology, conservation and the environment. The quality and impact of our research has been reflected in the UK government’s latest Research Assessment Exercise, where the majority of our research was judged to be world leading or of international standing.

We offer a number of flexible research degree opportunities including MSc by research, MPhil, PhD and PhD by published work. As well as part-time and full-time study options, we advertise a number of studentships each year.

Our long-standing reputation for research excellence is underpinned by expert supervision from internationally-recognised staff and comprehensive research skills training. There are many opportunities to interact with students across a variety of disciplines and from different institutions at our research forums, research students symposium and research lecture for example.

Research groups


Career prospects

There has never been a more exciting time to be a biologist. Bioscientists are at the heart of the action in today’s world. They frequently work with chemists and physicists to contribute to improvements in health, sport, medicine, conservation and the food industry.

This course will equip you for a variety of stimulating roles in biological and environmental organisations or academia. For example, recent graduates have been employed as field trial officers, forensic scientists, environmental health officers or teachers, or worked for Pfizer, the Health Protection Agency or the UN. Our students have a very good record of gaining employment that is relevant to their degree subject. Your broad-based understanding is often an advantage over narrower specialisms and employers value the transferable skills you gain from our degrees.

Some of our students choose not to pursue their subject specialism but use their degree to gain degree-level employment in a wide range of contexts including management, journalism and the media, finance and other areas of commerce, law, computing and the leisure industry.

Further study

Some of our graduates go on to further study at postgraduate level, for example our MSc degrees in Biotechnology and Conservation Ecology.