Our BSc Human Biology (including foundation year) is open to Home and EU students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your English language and academic skills.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.
You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.
After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with the School of Life Sciences.
How does the body respond to challenges such as infection? What is the future of stem cell therapies? How does our lifestyle and genes affect our risk of disease?
Understand the structure and function of the human body, from the cells and molecules that perform the chemical reactions for life, to the mechanisms of disease and how our immune system fights infection. Our BSc Human Biology builds on the foundations of biology to explore the complexity of the human body using cutting-edge technology. You learn how recent advances in understanding our genetic make-up and cellular function is leading to exciting new developments in treating and preventing human disease.
Our course provides you with a cellular and disease-focused understanding of human biology, covering topics including:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Cell biology
A major research area at Essex is centered on the relationships between protein structure and mechanisms of disease. This sheds light on the complex cellular pathways involved in cancer and brain cell damage. Another research area uses computational approaches to study the role of epigenetics and DNA structure in human disease. In your final year, you carry out an individual research project. Popular topics have ranged from mutagenesis of proteins linked to human diseases such as blindness and cancer and mechanisms of cell death and antibiotic resistance.
In our School of Life Sciences you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical lab sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and develop skills by doing experiments at the laboratory bench.
Visit our biological sciences subject page for more information and content.
Our expert staff
As one of the largest schools at the University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.
Our academic staff carry out research that tackles key issues in human biology, including Lecturer of the Year at the Essex Education Awards (2016) Dr Louise Beard, Dr Greg Brooke and Professor Nelson Fernandez.
The University of Essex has a Women’s Network to support female staff and students, and our School was awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award in October 2020, which reflects the work carried out by staff in our School to continue to improve equality, including a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff, and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.
- Carry out practical work in our new teaching laboratory, equipped with a suite of iPad-enabled Zeiss microscopes
- A next-generation genome sequencing facility. Receive training on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genomes in real time
- A high performance computing cluster with 368 CPUs, 5.4Tb of RAM and 700Tb of storage for analyses of large biological data sets
- An advanced bioimaging suite to visualise and process images of biological processes in real time
- X-ray Crystallography and Macromolecular Interactions facilities for the biophysical characterisation of proteins and other macromolecules
- Fully automated laboratories with robotic liquid handling systems and equipment for cell culture, molecular biology and gene editing
Human biology is a rapidly developing field. It’s an exciting time to be working in human biology – our understanding of the human genome and epigenetics, the importance of the human microbiome in health, the introduction of stem cell therapies and manipulating ageing cells are all hot topics on the brink of changing modern society. BSc Human Biology will prepare you for graduate careers in education, research, teaching. science communication, and with further study could lead to medicine, dental science, diagnostic radiography, physiotherapy, biological and medical science, forensic science, sports science and more.
We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Study in our new STEM Centre which is equipped with cutting-edge facilities including modern teaching laboratories, a suite of iPad-enabled Zeiss microscopes and an IT-rich exploratory learning space.
- We are ranked top 25 for overall student satisfaction for Biology in the National Student Survey 2021.
- You gain valuable research experience by being involved in cutting-edge project work.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.